Most babies from around 2-3 months old start to respond to a more predictable rhythm or pattern to their day/night that reflects their developing needs for number of milk feeds, wake time and sleep cycles. Routines or rhythms that work have some flexibility that allows for the usual intrusions of daily life such as holidays, illness and busy schedules of working parents.
The arrival of siblings creates a greater need for flexibility and adaptation. For mum or dad you still only have one pair of hands!
Here are 3 things to keep in mind;
- Establishing an age appropriate rhythm or routine somewhere around 10 – 14 weeks becomes important for baby’s sense of expectation of the feed/play/sleep or feed/sleep cycles. Their circadian rhythms are developing (internal body clock) so distinguishing between night and day will evolve.
- Guiding this rhythm can be particularly helpful when the primary caregiver/parent returns to the workforce and having a flexible structure to the day can help you continue to breastfeed for example.
- When the inevitable disruptions in life appear such as sickness, holidays, moving house, starting day care, then it’s important to “park” the routine and meet your baby’s increased need for feeding, your comfort and reassurance.
- Your baby is a little individual, genetically blessed with a unique temperament, so their sleep needs and wake times will vary. Some days will go smoothly and others won’t. Generally if your baby is happy, relaxed and alert during their wake time then that’s your evidence that they are probably getting enough sleep.
- And what worked for your first child may not necessarily work for the next, different temperaments and different kids. Just when you thought you had it nailed!
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