Flexible Routines, Not Strict Schedules

There are so many different opinions as to whether or not to have a routine with your baby, but I believe a flexible routine can be so helpful to both you and your baby (and your husband!). If your baby wakes and is hungry 30 minutes before “it’s time” based on your routine, I would bend your routine to meet the needs of your baby.  It’s a tool to help you, not to enslave you.

I believe a flexible routine can help you know what your baby needs.  If you just fed him 30 minutes ago, and he had a  full feeding  of at least 20 minutes (or the right amount of formula for his age and weight), you can be confident he doesn’t need to eat again, and may be tired, or needing some attention.  It can also help you know generally when your baby should need to sleep, and those times should change as he grows.

Without a routine, you may assume your baby is hungry almost every time he cries, and he winds up snacking frequently.  This can be negative with breastfeeding because he may only get the foremilk, which is more watery and lower in calories, but when he feeds for a longer stretch, 20 minutes or more, he should get the higher fat, higher calorie hindmilk.

A flexible routine can cue your baby as to when it’s time to sleep and when to be awake.  It should help him to also lengthen his sleep at night, when he’s getting consistent naps and feedings during the day.  It seems counterintuitive, but when a baby is well rested during the day, he will generally sleep better at night, too.  When a baby is overtired, and starts releasing stress hormones, it’s harder to get him to sleep and stay asleep.

I believe a flexible routine can create so much peace and consistency for both you and them, and it should leave you with more time and energy for your husband, too.