Before we even read that having a routine with children was good for them, B and I decided that we’d try to do our best and stick to one for the little guy. When he was a newbie, it was super hard — he was still trying to get his days and nights sorted out, and would sleep a ton during the day and wake up and be up up at around 2am and be awake for the day. And while that did really suck, we knew that it would only be temporary.
Eventually around the 6 or 7 week mark, he finally got his days and nights straightened out. He was still getting up twice at night (around midnight and three am), but he was in his crib by 8pm every night. (sidenote: we put him in his crib at exactly one month – before that he slept in a Pack and Play in our room). B and I were (are) pretty strict about this bed time. We don’t make plans that will keep us out past 8 (hahah to that, anyway), and Sheffield is usually asleep around 730 most nights anyway.
We knew that a strict routine would be the way to go with this guy, and eventually he began to know it and crave it. Prior to him eating table foods, this is how we did things:
Once we got home from daycare (around 430 or 5), we’d feed him. He’d play for a little bit, until he started to get super grumpy, then we’d take him for his bath. After bath, we’d get in jammies, read a story and get a bottle. After the bottle, he’d go to sleep in my arms (when I get my snuggles!!!), and then sleep until around 730-8 when B would put him down.
Once he started eating table food, we wanted him to get him accustomed to eating at the table with B and I, so we changed around his routine just a little bit. They’d also adjusted his routine at daycare, and put him more on a schedule as opposed to a “whenever the baby is ready” schedule. They all eat breakfast, lunch and snack together at a long table, and take only one long nap in the middle of the day. Ok, off that mini tangent — since he was eating more and more “adult” food, we knew it was time to try to change up his routine. We were a lot nervous about it, because he had gotten so used to what we had done for the past seven or so months.
So for his new routine:
We get home (still around 430-5-ish), and instead of immediately eating, we’ll do play time. If he starts to get grumpy, we’ll whip out a snack to keep him occupied until dinner time. We’ve moved our dinner time up earlier (around 6), so we can have him sit in his high chair and have our meal with us. Most of the time, he’ll be eating something other than what B and I are eating, but we’ll give him a taster or two of what we’ve got on our plates. After our meal together, it’s straight into the bath, and then jams and story time. Usually he’s pretty tired by now, so he’ll get a bottle and he’ll usually fall asleep.
It isn’t any sort of drastic change, and we waited about two weeks after they made all the changes for him in daycare, but we really wanted to do it. We’d been saying for awhile that we needed to start eating at the table instead of in front of the TV, so this was the perfect excuse for it. I’m hoping we can keep it up!!!