Mommy & Baby: Establishing Your Baby?s Routine
Whether you have one baby or a passel of them, consistency of care will establish peace for all in your family. What do I mean by this?
Basically, you?re going to fall in to a pattern of routine for your baby and your family as you care for your bundle of joy and her needs. The first week you may struggle with keeping her awake enough to properly feed; that?s okay?newborns are sleepy heads! Wakefulness is a goal to strive for. By the second week, you?ll probably see her more alert and awake for feedings than she was the first week
Your lifestyle will be a large determinant in your flexible routine: are you scheduled and orderly or do you happily ?fly by the seat of your pants?? The idea of something flexible is that it will bend and shape as you need it to, returning to its original shape and position. Flexibility is not a lack of routine, it?s a temporary alteration of a regular pattern.
Let?s look at your baby?s life in stages:
Stage 1: Stabilization?birth through 8 weeks
For a breastfeeding mom, the establishment of stable milk production is the goal. For your baby, the stabilization of her hunger metabolism as well as sleep/wake cycles are primary goals.
Determine your daily routine and what needs to be done as you consider setting your baby?s eating pattern. Will you be home when she?s hungry or in the middle of the grocery store? Additionally, you get to set the time of your baby?s first feeding of the day. In other words, if you wake her up at 7:00 a.m. and feed her then, you?ll feed her roughly between 9:30-10:00 a.m. and every 2.5-3 hours thereafter for the rest of the waking day.
Stage 2: Extended Night?9-15 weeks
During this stage, a breastfed baby can generally stretch her nighttime sleep from 9-10 hours at a time, and a bottle-fed baby can generally go 11 hours.
Bedtime during this phase will be adjusted closer to the early-evening feeding. By her 13th week of life, your baby should be eating 5-6 times per day, but never less than 4.
Stage 3: Extended Day?16-24 weeks
Somewhere between 16-24 weeks, you will introduce your baby to solid foods. Your pediatrician will direct you here; most doctors these days err on the side of caution and starting babies closer to the 6 month mark. By 24 weeks, your baby?s eating times should line up roughly with your family?s mealtimes, in addition to the extra, liquid feedings she takes.
Stage 4: Extended Routine?25-52 weeks
In this phase, your baby will continue to eat three meals per day, supplemented by a liquid feeding before bed. She should be averaging 2 naps per day from 1.5-2.5 hours in length each.
About the Author: Kirsten Hawkins is a baby and parenting expert specializing new mothers and single parent issues. Visit http://www.babyhelp411.com/ for more information on how to raising healthy, happy children.