STICKING TO A
routine aids in your child’s development. Your child begins to build her self-esteem and learns that there are certain rules in life. Below is a guide to establishing a routine. Use it until you find your own rhythm.
Remember to stay flexible. Often just when you become comfortable that you have established a routine, your baby may decide to change pace and switch things up!
At this age babies usually sleep between twelve to fifteen hours in a day. Twelve of these hours are spent sleeping at night, but not without waking up in between.
If your baby wakes up around 06:00, try to keep the environment calm while you change her nappy and cuddle her for a little while in bed.
She may want to feed immediately on waking, especially if she did not wake up for a feed during the night.
Babies can start solids between four and six months, but milk will still make up the biggest part of what they eat. The amount of solids they eat in the beginning is small. Give her milk when she wakes up in the morning. If she is already eating porridge she can have it at around 07:00 after her milk.
From 08:00 onward you can wipe her with a facecloth and dress her. Keep her body warm. Play with her for a while by massaging her body before you dress her. Play soothing music because she is going to want to sleep soon.
By 09:00 your baby might be ready for her morning nap. If you have to go grocery shopping this would be the ideal time. She will want to sleep for about an hour in the morning.
Between 10:00 and 11:00 she is going to wake up for her next feed. If she does not want to drink immediately you can first play for a while. If she is on solids, give this meal to her first and then her milk.
Entertain her a bit after lunch. By 11:30 you can start preparing her for her afternoon nap so that she is in dreamland by 12:00. She should sleep between two to three hours.
Give baby her milk when she wakes up. Afterwards you can enjoy playing with her. This is a good time to stimulate her because babies are at their most alert once they wake up from their afternoon nap. You can give her some water during the afternoon if she is thirsty.
Play can include anything that helps develop your baby’s body, senses and emotions. You can go sit in the garden and listen to the birds or lie on a blanket and watch the clouds or the leaves in the trees.
Steer clear from too much stimulation such as loud noises before nap time. An energetic baby at night is a sign of a baby that is tired due to overstimulation.
The time spent awake during daytime naps is short: anything between two and three hours. That is why your baby will likely want to sleep again around 16:00 for a short while. She might ask to be soothed with a bottle or to breastfeed.
DINNER AT AROUND 17:00
If she is on solids you can give her milk first, followed by solids and a long feed. After dinner she can lie under her play gym while you cook and enjoy dinner. She will tire very quickly.
Allow between two to three hours between her afternoon nap and her bedtime. It’s a good idea to put her to bed before 19:00, at around 18:30. Don’t take her out of the room again once you get ready to go to bed.
A part of the routine should be a calm atmosphere after dinner, without too much stimulation or excitement.
Remember bathtime forms part of preparing for bed. Keep it calm with soft, soothing sounds.
Once she is dressed you can read a book or sing a song. Once she is ready for bed you can give her night feed. Often this is whatever was left over from dinner.