Coping with a newborn baby gave mayhem a new meaning! Starting day one itself, things were quite a blur. The days and nights mirage! I slept when I could. I ate when I found time and with some luck, I managed to shower.
I was a ‘mom-bie’ in spite of all the help I had! I was still going crazy. My first born was lactose intolerant who puked violently for the first few months. So I was unable to establish a routine for him. With him, the only aim was getting through the day alive!
But with my daughter, I was not a new mom anymore. I thought she had, what resembled a pattern of feeding and sleeping. By the time she was 8 weeks, I started setting a routine in place that was somewhat predictable.
I believe that giving a baby, especially a newborn a routine is a very personal thing. While some parents find it easier to have no routine and go with the baby’s drift, I used my daughter’s cues and worked around to establish a schedule that worked well for her and us.
Quite true to what I had heard, my newborn slept a lot. She was programmed to sleep in short bursts of about 2-3 hours between feeds, night and day. Sleep routines for newborns can be vastly different; from one baby to another. So while I was never rigid with the plan, I realized that maintaining the set pattern helped both me and my daughter thrive.
In the first few months of your baby’s life, it’s best to go slow – get to know each other and work out what’s best for the baby and for you.
I followed the – feed, play, sleep pattern (led largely by my daughter)
To start with, pick a reasonable time. I chose 7 p.m. and chose three or four things we'd like to do together, every night.
You could put your baby in pajamas, sing songs, say prayers, read a book, or give your baby a massage. It doesn't matter exactly what you do, as long as it's relaxing for everyone and you do it every night at the same time. This way you are giving signals that the baby will eventually learn to understand. In my case, I chose the warm water sponge bath.
At nights I would feed her whenever she woke up and this usually was every 3-4 hours.
But the one thing that I strictly did since day one was to act drastically different from when she woke up during the day to when she woke up at night. If she woke up during the day I would usually talk normally, take her for walks and do everything that day-time protocol would permit. As opposed to this, when she woke up at night, I never indulged in play, didn’t talk too animatedly and totally abstained from playing.
I realized that cuddling her and swinging her in rhythmical movements almost always calmed her.
On few occasions, I had to give her a “top up” breast feed within 30 minutes of the last feed. This pattern lasted till she was around 8 weeks.
8.00 am - 9.30 am
She was always an early riser and I used this time to get her to bond with the rest of the family members; cuddle with her dad, just lie there, tummy time and once she could, even use the baby gym.
9.30 am - 10.30 am
Massages were not an option for us because she was born with atopic dermatitis. Bath time was ‘father-daughter time’ (yes in spite of a nanny my husband always gave the kids a bath) followed by a tummy full of feed and sleep.
12.30 pm - 1.30 pm
I always wanted her to be fed at lunch time so when I eventually weaned her onto solids, her afternoon meal time would be in accordance to the rest of the family’s. After this, I put her down for a nap. This afternoon nap schedule worked very well for us because my son would get back home from school during this time and it gave me ample of opportunity to be with him.
After the evening feed and change of diaper we would get ready for an evening of some activity. My son played with her around this time; talked to her, sang rhymes and / or we would all take a stroll outside in the park.
7.30 pm – 8.30 pm
We would wrap the day with a warm water sponge bath, feed, swaddle (we noticed that my daughter slept hard and long when she was swaddled and hence we swaddled her only at night)
11.30 pm – Feed, swaddled and put back to bed
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