Before you gave birth, you had everything planned and you knew you were going to make your baby stick to a routine. So you spent a few blissful days with your newborn in the hospital where everything was just perfect. He didn’t cry, you fed him every three hours, and when visitors came, he looked at them wide-eyed and content. Then you brought him home and were totally thrown for a loop as your little angel wailed his head off, refused to latch, and wouldn’t be soothed by anyone. How are you ever going to put this screaming fusspot - who refuses to be put down for even two seconds - on a schedule?
Before you give up and accept that your life will be a series of reactions to each and every cry, know that it is possible. According to Cricket Chen, M.D., a pediatrician who specializes in natural medicine, “It takes a while to establish a daily rhythm. When babies are born, they are not able to distinguish between day and night yet because they have been living in their mother’s womb where the environment is dark.” So take heart - and take some notes. Creating a schedule for your baby isn’t that hard. And it’ll definitely bring some of your sanity back.
Why a schedule? Joan Yang-Ongtenco, business woman and mom to Ellie, 1, says, “Creating a schedule for her helped me - and my entire household - organize our day. When Ellie woke up, we would take her outside for a stroll in the park. During that time, the maids cleaned her room, and the yaya and I took turns eating breakfast and taking a shower. When we all got used to this sched, it became easier for us to start our days, and chores were done on time.”
Rea Kang-Uyco, full-time mom to three boys, says she definitely needs a schedule to keep herself sane. At the same time, she consciously makes room for playtime. “It’s easy to use ‘I’m tired’ as an excuse,” she says. “But knowing it’s playtime forces me to interact with my baby - not react. It also ensures that he has enough playtime with Daddy.”
Pediatrician and hands-on mom Susan Cruz, M.D., agrees that sticking to a routine is a great help for parents, but she also stresses its importance for babies. “Babies basically are born without knowing anything. With routines, we can instill discipline in them early on; and perhaps later in their lives, this will help them be organized and learn to manage themselves in the right direction.”
Joan says her daughter thrived on a schedule. “At first, we had a hard time putting her to sleep, but as we went along with the routine, it became easier. I also love how she would wake up so refreshed and ready to play because that’s what we would do right after her nap. It’s as if she knows what’s next and would anticipate it.”