The best thing to do is start early – there’s no perfect time to start than when you have a week-old newborn. Encourage bedtime by creating a routine of a bath and feed.
As your little one gets older, these stages will help him realise that it is time to go to sleep and not just a nap. Encourage him to sleep in his crib/cot/basket for naps instead of falling asleep on you to make it easier as he gets older.
Your baby doesn’t know the difference at first. It’s up to you to teach this. Start by keeping the room dim at night and not talking during the feeds.
During the day, make sure the curtains are open so sunlight gets into the room and take your baby out more. Socialise with him so he realises that the day is not the time to sleep a long time.
Your baby will give you cues of when it’s food time, the nappy needs changing or it is time for a nap. Watch out for these cues and work with your little one to create some type of schedule.
Not only will you create a routine but you will be able t anticipate issues. You will know when to have the food ready and be able to plan trips out to avoid coinciding with naptime.
Yes, you want to create a schedule that works with your needs but you need to put your baby’s needs first. Time your needs around that, whether it is feeding, sleeping or even getting a shower!
You want to avoid anything that will push your baby’s needs at least during the first couple of weeks, including feeds on the go and naptime while out.
As your baby grows up, his needs will change. He will become more sociable during the day and won’t need as many naps.
You need to adjust his routine to work with all that. Look out for the milestones that lead to these changes.
There will be times that your little one deviates from the schedule. This often happens during milestones, such as cutting a tooth or a growth spurt.
There may be a few days that he needs to eat more or wants to sleep more. Go with the flow and adjust as you see fit.
Nobody is perfect and no baby is going to stick to the routine you set perfectly.
If you expect this perfection, you’ll only be disappointed and feel like you’ve failed as a mum. Instead, accept that there will be times something doesn’t go to plan and come up with some contingency plans.