Being consistent is critically important for parents whether you have one baby or a house full. So how do you go about being consistent?
Setting up a regular schedule for providing care for your baby is a great for both of you. During the first week she’s home, you’ll likely have a difficult time keeping her awake long enough to eat, which is to be expected. However, keeping her awake long enough to feed should be your goal the first week. By the second week, she will likely be more alert for feedings.
The way you live your life can sometimes hinder your routine. Are you good at scheduling and organizing or someone who lives in chaos, doing whatever comes up as they happen? Making sure your routine is flexible is important for your baby because they often don’t follow a schedule. A flexible schedule doesn’t mean you must live in chaos, it just means you may, from time to time, have to alter your schedule to meet your baby’s needs.
Your baby will be going through several stages, so let’s have a look at them.
Stage 1: Stabilization – birth through 8 weeks
If you’re breastfeeding your baby, your main goal is to establish milk production. Your baby’s goal is to establish sleep and wake cycles.
You can set a routine up for your baby’s eating patterns so it’s easier for you to determine when you can run to the store, etc. Setting the time of her first feeding of the day will likely determine your daily routine for the rest of the day.
Stage 2: Extended Night – 9-15 weeks
At 9-15 weeks, a baby who is breastfed may be able to sleep from 9 – 10 hours at night, while a bottle fed baby can go about 11 hours. This is when you’ll be able to start sleeping through the night again.
You’ll adjust your baby’s bedtime so it’s closer to the early-evening feeding. When she is about 3 months old, your baby should be eating around 5 – 6 times a day, but never less than four times.
Stage 3: Extended Day – 16-24 weeks
Between 16 – 24 weeks is when you’ll start your baby on solid food. Your pediatrician can let you know the best time to do this. When your baby reaches six months old, their feeding times usually line up with family mealtimes, in addition to the extra bottles she will need.
Stage 4: Extended Routine – 25-52 weeks
During this period, your baby should be eating three meals a day, in addition to a bottle before bedtime. She should also be having two naps a day ranging from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours each.