Having a set routine is wise. It doesn’t mean that you never ever deviate from that schedule, but it does help to maintain a somewhat basic routine each day. Kids feel safer and more secure when their lives are predictable and they know (generally) what is coming next.
It's especially important for babies because it's easy for them to get overstimulated and over-tired. Having a predictable wake and sleep routine will benefit everyone!
6:30-7 // Wake up and feed
7:30 // Nap
9:30 // Feed, diaper change, *play
10:30 // Nap
12:30 // Feed, diaper change, play
1:30 // Nap
3:30 // Feed, diaper change, play
4:30 // Nap
6:30 // Feed, diaper change, play, evening bath
7:00 // Change into jammies and put to bed for the night
**10:30 // Dream feed (while still swaddled) and put back to bed
When they wake up through the night, feed them. For us, it’s typically every 3 hours.
*Play for a newborn can simply mean being un-swaddled on a playmat, in a swing or bouncy seat, or just hanging out. Keep in mind that babies can get overstimulated quickly.
** Some people LOVE the dream feed and it works great for them. With all 4 of my kids, it has never worked out for me. They either naturally wake up around that time to eat, or they will sleep longer if I don’t bother them.
Other tips for that Newbie:
+ Swaddle for naps and sleeping at night.
+ Yawning, rubbing eyes, staring off into space, tugging ears are all signs of tiredness. Crying is a sign of over-tiredness. If you wait until they are crying before you put them to sleep, then it’s pretty likely you’ll have a baby that can’t get to sleep on their own.
+ Use white noise and a darkened room.
+ Keep your baby awake long enough to get a full feeding. Babies LOVE to fall asleep while eating. But if they fall asleep before they get a full tummy, they won’t sleep as long. A full tummy = better sleep
+ Begin a pre-nap and bedtime routine. It might seem silly to start a “go to sleep” routine with a newborn, but it’ll pay off down the road. A small routine before putting your kiddo into bed cues him for sleep, and over time your little one will learn that sleep follows the nap/bedtime routine (Choose something simple, and that anyone putting your babe to sleep can do. An idea would be closing the curtains, turning on white noise, rubbing your little ones back and saying “night night, I love you, see you in a little bit”).
+ Don’t rush in when your baby stirs or cries. Wait a few minutes before going to get your baby, because chances are she will fall back asleep on her own. Babies, just like kids and adults, will wake up at night. When adults wake up, we typically just change positions and fall back to sleep. We can create a bad habit by quickly going to them and trying to get them back to sleep. Just wait and see first.