As a first time parent it is very daunting to get your life into a routine. Before having a child you’re carefree – it doesn’t matter what time you come back home or wake up or have lunch. You have your own routine (which only happens during the week and is remotely revolved around your work schedule). So when this tiny little person lands on your lap, suddenly you realise everything needs a routine (even when to wash your own hair).
Z daddy and myself realised how important routine was from the onset – other than the 100 feeds a day we started the routine in the evening. We set a time that we thought was feasible for bath time, roughly 7.30pm which moved on quite swiftly to one night time feed before bed.
Once she got a few months older and weaning was introduced – 4 months to be precise, we added a specific time for her dinner… this we matched as closely as possible to our own at 6pm therefore swapping a bottle feed with food instead. This led nicely into the earlier time set of bath and bed.
Our routine continued to grow slowly and within a year of pure focus and team work we had achieved it. A full days routine that worked for us as well as Z.
By the age of one she was waking up at 7am to have breakfast, snack and bottle was at 9-10am and then lunch by 12pm. Bottle and small snack between 2-4pm and dinner by 6pm. Bath by 7pm and bed by 8pm.
Her sleep has been great from the start so other than waking up once at 11pm for a bottle she’d sleep through till morning. After a while she even got rid of her 11pm bottle and slept through till breakfast time.
This routine has stuck with us for the last 3 years and she is so used to it that if one day she doesn’t have her bath she actually makes us take her to the bath, telling us that she’s stinky.
But now she’s in pre-school, timings are being changed again, having to wake up earlier (6.30am) and sleep earlier (7pm). We have semi shifted around her evening. We give her a bath at 4.30pm, dinner has been moved for all of us to 5.30pm (that way we can still have one meal together) and bed is at 7pm. We swapped her night milk to breakfast milk therefore she still has two glasses a day and is ready for a few hours in nursery.
Looking at the routine all written down has made me realise that our life has become a schedule, however, we made that schedule around ourselves more than Z. She was the main reason for it, but she didn’t control it – which is possibly why it has worked so well for us.