It was important for me to get into a routine as soon as possible once my husband returned to work. The first three weeks of my daughter’s life were a complete blur, full of laundry, nappies and takeaways. We couldn’t continue like that when it was just me and Isla at home. Well we could, but we would be living in a complete craphole and there was no way me and my OCD could handle that.
Everyone laughed at me when I said I wanted to get into a routine. A routine with a newborn, not a chance! They were correct to an extent and it took a while to find out what works for us. Really, Isla has fallen into her own routine, and I have just gone with it. We don’t always manage to stick to it to the letter, but this is a very rough idea of a normal day for us.
6am – Feed in Mummy and Daddy’s bed
6.30am – Back to sleep in Next To Me.
I get up at this time, do a quick clean through the house and will do a load of washing if I need to. I then chuck my breakfast down my throat as fast as possible before Isla wakes up.
7.30am – Isla wakes up. I go into our bedroom and open the curtains to let Isla know its daytime. Feed and then I get Isla dressed.
8am – Playtime. Isla will usually go in her swing on play in her crib whilst I tidy our bedroom and get myself ready for the day.
9am – Nap
Isla will usually nap for an hour in a morning but has been known to sleep for up to three hours. If she doesn’t get this morning nap she is a grizzly bear so I try to avoid waking her up, which isn’t always possible when we need to go out!
We don’t stick to a set routine during the day. I feed on demand so days are normally spent feeding and playing with sensory toys, or out and about. I let Isla nap whenever she wants to, but they are normally short catnaps.
I used to go back to sleep with Isla at 6.30am, not getting up until she woke again, usually an hour later. I was constantly chasing my tail though, and never getting anything done because as soon as I started cleaning up Isla would start crying. By getting up an hour earlier than her, most of my jobs are finished by the time she wakes up and she then has my undivided attention for the rest of the day.
5pm – Bath time. I have started to get a bath with Isla, sitting her in her Angelcare bath seat. This is for convenience more than anything, as I found she would always wake up the second I stepped in the shower.
5.15pm – Baby massage, dressed for bed and feed.
6pm – Cuddles with Daddy.
We also have our evening meal around this time whilst Isla sits with us in the rocker part of the Joie 2-in-1 swing.
8pm – Feed and cuddles in Mummy and Daddy’s bed.
8.30pm – Bedtime for Isla
10pm – Wake Isla, change nappy and feed. She will then have cuddles until she falls asleep, usually at around 10.30/11pm when we place her back in the Next To Me.
Between 8.30pm and 10pm I try to do a quick clean-up – tidy the kitchen after tea, fold the laundry etc, just to make things easier for myself the next day.
It is relatively recently that we have started putting Isla to bed at around 8.30pm. Before this she would just go to bed with us at 10pm. We noticed that she was getting really crabby in an evening though, which we’ve worked out is down to tiredness, rather than her just being a grumpy little madam. We don’t always manage the 8.30pm bedtime, and she will sometimes end up falling asleep downstairs rather than in her bed, but the aim is for her to fall asleep in her own crib. Eventually, as she gets older, we plan to bring bedtime forward to around 7pm.
We are extremely lucky that Isla usually sleeps through the night from 11pm until around 6am. She will occasionally wake up around 4am, but this is normally because we’ve disturbed her by getting up to go to the toilet. A quick feed and she drops off again pretty quickly.
I’m sure as Isla gets older this routine will change, with less daytime sleep, longer sleeps overnight and more play and interaction during the day. For now though this works well for us!