The arrival of a new baby might make you feel like you’re constantly on the go but never actually accomplishing anything. Establishing a family timeline for newborns is essential as all of this is very normal. You and your newborn’s care must be your top priority; everything else can wait. It’s normal not to be able to organize your days to the smallest detail right now.
After those first few months have passed, you may want to make a family calendar. Having goals and parameters to work within will help you accomplish more and worry less, even if you can’t always strictly adhere to your plan. Having routines and a set schedule can help children stay healthy, content, and out of trouble as they develop into young adults. Here are some suggestions for those who need help designing a family schedule that accommodates infants.
What Roles Family Rituals Play
Even if it feels like your baby is developing rapidly right now, remember that every child is unique and that you know your baby better than anyone else! That’s why, as your kid develops, you’re the best person to establish routines like mealtimes, bath times, and nap times and stick to them. Babies benefit from having a routine both for sleep and for feeling safe. Establishing this kind of routine at home can help your baby develop the stability they need for a long, healthy life.
Babies’ First to Third Month: A Look at Their Daily Schedules
Your newborn should have all the say when it comes to feeding and resting. It’s normal for babies to mistake day and night, at least at first. It’s typical. Soon, they’ll be back to their regular day-to-night rhythm.
Babies’ Eating and Sleeping Habits Between the Ages of 1-3 Months
Babies’ development and health rely heavily on their ability to sleep. A child’s sleep habits significantly affect their mental and behavioral growth. Some infants may sleep as much as 17 hours per day, which is often unexpected by new parents.
Babies one to three Months Old: Sleeping
The average newborn sleep 8 hours during the day and another 8 at night. What to anticipate is as follows:
- Infants often sleep for 1- 2 hour spans at a time. Babies typically need to be woken up this frequently so they may be changed, fed, and comforted.
- Short, 1-2 hour bouts of sleep are normal for the first several months.
- Get some rest when you can, and try to nap when your baby does. You need to prioritize your health to provide for your baby.
- It’s okay to seek assistance when you need it. So that you may get some rest, you should enlist the aid of friends and family to help with the older kids and household chores.
Babies one to three Months Old: Eating
Babies often need to eat every two to three hours. However, their guts are about the size of a cherry, so that shouldn’t be a problem. It’s important to listen to your baby and respond to their indications about when they are full or hungry. Regular feedings will keep your milk supply steady and prevent your breasts from engorging while breastfeeding.
- In other words, don’t restrict the frequency or duration of feedings. When the baby nods off while breastfeeding or you hear the bottle nipple drop, you know she’s had enough to eat.
- By keeping an eye on your baby, you can catch the first signs of hunger before your baby becomes too fussy to eat.
Family Activities Beginning at Four Months Old
Most infants begin to regularly clock 6-plus hours of sleep once they’re at least 3 months old, though every child is unique. Babies only sometimes start sleeping through the night once they’re a year old or later. Your baby should be in a habit where she sleeps through the night and eats at around the same times each day by the time she is 4 months old. This will allow you to establish a daily family routine based on her feeding and sleeping habits.
Babies four months old and up Sleeping
Babies start transitioning from light to deep sleep and wake up less frequently at around 16 weeks. This is why many parents report their infants’ sleep improving around the 4-month mark.
- Expect your 4-month-old to sleep 14-15 hours each day, with naps of 3 hours or longer.
- Around the fourth month mark, most infants continue to take a morning sleep and one or two naps in the early afternoon. Many infants may get by on just one-morning sleep and one early afternoon nap by the time they are 6 months old.
- Most babies who have started sleeping through the night experience sleep regressions between 4 and 6 months.
- Always keep an eye out for signs of fatigue in your baby (such as yawning, fussing, or wiping her eyes) and put her down for the night before she falls into a dangerous overtired state.
- You can never have enough cuddle time with a newborn. Putting your baby to sleep in your arms is a comforting ritual, but you should consider putting her in her crib when she appears sleepy. She will be better able to get back to sleep on her own if she awakens in the middle of the night.
- Putting a baby down for the night or a nap can be difficult, and they may cry or complain. Allow your child to calm down before returning to offer support.
Making a Nighttime Routine
A soothing bedtime routine is a strong tool for putting your baby to sleep. You can do a shortened version of this routine to prepare your baby for naps, perhaps only with books and rocking.
- Maintain coherence. It’s best to begin winding down for the night at roughly the same time each day and to follow the same sequence of activities.
- Prepare for your soak by running some hot water. If your infant enjoys being massaged, try using a soothing lotion with a pleasant scent.
- Do this right after the previous feeding, either by brushing the baby’s teeth or gums or wiping them with a clean washcloth or cotton. Good dental hygiene practices can begin early, even before a baby has all their teeth.
- It’s best to avoid any unnecessary stimulus. Reduce the volume of the TV and music, and dim the lighting.
- Rocking, reading, and singing are all good possibilities, but finding what works best for you and your baby is a question of trial and error.
- When your infant is sleepy but not yet sleeping, put her in her crib. If your baby is distressed, attempt to calm her down without removing her from her crib. If she continues to be agitated after you leave the room for a while, tries returning.
- Try to be patient, as this too shall pass. Sleep training your child takes time, but as she gets older, her sleep schedule should stabilize.
When Your Baby Starts Eating
Your infant will be able to go longer in between feedings and consume more food per meal as she develops.
- Keep paying attention to your baby’s signals for when she is full and needs to eat.
- There will always be times when your baby eats more or has to be fed more frequently; this is completely natural. Your infant may be experiencing a growth spurt.
- When babies are ready (usually between 4 and 6 months old), the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that parents introduce solid foods. Nutritionally, babies still rely heavily on breastmilk or formula, even when they begin attempting solid meals. Consult their pediatrician when deciding whether solid foods are safe for your kid. For example, honey shouldn’t be given to infants under one year old.
Develop a routine for your family by creating a weekly schedule.
You may not know your typical day, but you may consider the big picture. Think over the upcoming week and prioritize the tasks that need to be completed around the house. Is there anything urgent that has to be done? Tell me about the things you’d like to accomplish.
If there are many adults living in your home, it’s crucial that you all take 30 minutes every Monday to sit down and talk about what needs doing, when it needs doing, and who is responsible for what. Plan out things like meals, cleaning, washing, work, and necessary appointments like doctor’s visits.
Get it down on paper.
Put together a family calendar that everyone can access from a common location, or use shared calendar software to ensure everyone is on the same page—having a shared app where everyone can check the schedule and make changes whenever necessary is convenient. Digital alerts can be set in these calendars to help you remember important dates and appointments.
Be aware of the entertaining parts.
Put some lighthearted and recurring events on the family schedule. Maybe you and the family have Pizza Night on Wednesdays, or you go for walks on Saturday afternoons. Do things as a family that everyone in the extended group can enjoy. Maintaining family traditions is a great way to keep in touch with each other throughout this trying yet rewarding period.
Engaging in physical activity is also important.
Participating in active play is a great way to bond with your baby while providing them with vital developmental benefits. The first six months are crucial for developing a baby’s sense of balance and coordination, so plan some activities accordingly. You could move their hands and feet around with different objects and pet their hands and feet. Put things out of reach to tempt them to explore independently. Babies who engage in vigorous play daily have better moods and sleep patterns.
Keep in touch throughout the week.
Spend time each day, before bed or first thing in the morning, reviewing your daily schedule and goals. Ensure that everyone assisting you is aware of what they are expected to accomplish daily. When your partner needs more assistance, do what you can to provide it.
Be flexible and always be sure to ask for assistance.
Help is a necessity for all parents. To get some rest, prepare a meal, do laundry, or run errands, ask a family member or friend to watch your children while you do so.
Consistency is Key
Just as you endeavor to maintain uniformity in the application of family laws and punishments, so should you strive for stability in your daily routine. Adults, as well as infants, benefit from regular routines. To minimize the likelihood of tantrums, it’s important to schedule meals, naps, and bedtimes in advance. You may feel like you’re missing out sometimes, but remember that this stage is fleeting because newborns develop rapidly.
As Soon As You Break the Normal Family Routine
Even if you try to stick to a strict daily or weekly routine, unexpected events can throw it off. The plan can get thrown off if your child misses a nap or you must wait longer than expected at an appointment. Try to adapt as best to unforeseen circumstances, and trust that your routine will resume as soon as possible. You’ve got this, and all your efforts will eventually pay off.