Every baby is so unique, and their sleep patterns and rhythms are no different. My two older boys always slept like angels from day one. My #3 on the other hand, has given us sleep trouble from day 1.
So should you have a newborn schedule?
The answer is yes, at least a loose one.
The thing to remember about baby schedules is that they are always changing. Once you feel steady within a rhythm, baby is sure to change it up. But that doesn’t mean you don’t do your best to provide consistency to help keep baby well rested and well fed.
Jot It All Down
Keep a log of babies naps, feeds, poops, etc. Routines and rhythms will pop out much easier if you are keeping track on paper or in an app. Don’t just rely on your own memory- especially postpartum. Keep all the logs, and go over them from time to time. Is there a certain time baby seems to wake up? How long is baby usually up between naps? Is he feeding more in the evening? Once you have a pattern, sketch out a rough schedule. Remember that it doesn’t have to fit in with strict hours- a newborn schedule can also look like “2 hour nap, feed, 1 hour up and repeat”. This is sometimes referred to as a “baby-led” schedule. If you want to tweak the schedule a bit and be more “parent-led” that is up to you- different newborn personalities may work well with one or the other.
Gently Help Baby Follow the Schedule
Without being overly rigid, help baby follow their schedule. Keep as much predictability in the day as possible- bath times, bedtime routines, feeding routines, walks, etc. You decide how strict you want to stay to the schedule. You can keep things right on schedule, or give yourself a window of time for each activity. Continue to keep a log of the newborn schedule, and let the schedule shift as baby gets older and his needs change.
Keep Baby’s Well-being First
If baby is acting hungry, feed her. There are a number of factors that could be increasing her appetite, or need for extra comfort. Teeth, growth spurts, gas, etc. There will always be an opportunity to steer baby back to her schedule later on.
Ask For Help
Keep in mind that good sleep habits are often tricky to implement- don’t ever feel like you have to do it alone! A consultation with an newborn expert could help you and your partner get on the right track to helping baby be the best possible sleeper!
For more info:
The Importance of Newborn Healthy Sleep Habits
Avoiding Bad Newborn Sleep Habits