How to Create a Successful Daily Routine with Your Newborn

Did you want to create a schedule for you and your new baby? Surprise, newborns don’t follow a routine and now you live in a world of chaos. Welcome to parenthood!

Just kidding (not really). Bringing a newborn home can be both exciting and overwhelming. While at this point there is no set routine, that doesn’t mean you can’t start building some sense of structure into your day.

Set Realistic Expectations

It's important to remember that newborns have their own schedule and needs. Be flexible and patient as you navigate this new chapter. Setting realistic expectations for what you can accomplish in a day will help reduce stress and allow you to focus on what truly matters.

Newborns should not be put on a schedule and should be fed on demand. So, whenever your newborn is hungry, you feed them. And while your baby is getting the hang of things, they may feed for an hour, or be able to down a bottle or drain a breast in less than 5 minutes.

Newborns should also not be sleep trained. Babies don’t even develop a circadian rhythm until around 8-11 weeks. Thus, newborns sleep at all hours of the day and night. There’s no rhythm to it and it can change from day to day. And while it may feel confusing and out of control, rest assured, it is developmentally appropriate and very normal.

And when newborns aren’t feeding or sleeping, they need their diapers changed. Sometimes you are changing diapers 4 times an hour and sometimes your baby may not poop for 2 days. Again, you just have to manage whatever comes your way.

Establish a Daily Routine

With newborns, mornings can blur into nights, and nights into mornings. When your little one wakes up (which could be anytime, let’s be real), start with a diaper change and a cuddle session. Then, feed your baby whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. After that, maybe try a little tummy time and a nap. And, hey, if you can squeeze in a quick shower or a cup of coffee while your baby naps, consider it a win!

By midday, you and your baby have probably settled into some sort of rhythm. Or maybe not. Either way, it’s time for round two of the day. If your little one is still napping, take advantage and get some rest yourself or tackle a few chores. When your baby wakes up, it’s back to the basics: diaper change, feed, cuddle. If the weather’s nice, maybe venture outside for a stroll around the block. Fresh air does wonders for both you and your baby.

This is when things can get a little dicey, especially if your baby is prone to witching hour meltdowns. But fear not, you’ve got this. Stick to your “routine”: bath/book, diaper change, feed, cuddle. Don’t forget to dim the lights to help signal that it’s time to wind down. 

(Note: this outline is geared towards first time moms/parents. When you have other children, things look a bit different and your newborn is folded into the daily routine you have with your older children.)

Take Care of Yourself

Remember to prioritize self-care as you navigate the challenges of caring for a newborn. Make time to rest, eat nutritious meals, and ask for help when you need it. A well-rested and healthy parent is better equipped to care for their baby.

While these early days are tough, but they’re also fleeting. Before you know it, your little one will be sleeping through the night and you'll be able to create a schedule that follows your family's natural rhythms. And your days will feel less chaotic.

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