Just when you think life has slowed it's pace and things are running smoothly, everything changes and once again your routine goes out the window. So what can we do about this? You just start again. That's about as realistic as it gets.
If you are a mum of newborns then my advice is to learn to be flexible and have extremely low expectations on your current routine. When you have a small bubba your routine can change weekly and sometimes less than that. However if you just keep getting yourself back into a routine every time your previous one comes to an end then it can help both your baby to settle and you to not stress. Now if you aren't the routine kinda gal then that's totally fine, no one is right or wrong and every one has their different parenting agendas. A routine for me comes naturally with my personality type and getting into the habit from being a teacher. However if you have just started as a mum and is against routine but you are having daily freak outs, your baby is unsettled and you are not coping then a) can I encourage you to just give it a try for 4 weeks and b) email me for support.
It is extremely overwhelming to go from working full time to becoming a full time mum. I found this really tough as I'm not very good with change and because my routine kept changing on me, I had to learn to add some flexibility in and take some chill time. So when I say routine, I'm talking about your bubbas feed, play, sleep rotations. You pick or learn from your bubba how often they need to be fed, which is usually every 3 or 4 hours and in that time they have a short time for being awake and interacting with you or in their rocker etc and then down for a sleep. In that space of 3 or 4 hours you can start adding your own routine. So for feed times, my bubbas at the start were shockers, taking a hellish 1.5 hours to feed (don't worry this is normal and they get quicker by the week) so I was usually at home or a friend's house to do this where I was more comfortable. As they got quicker, I was happy feeding in the shopping centre parent rooms but you do what your most comfortable with and what will relax you the most so your milk keeps flowing. After the feed time I used baby's play time spending it with them and then when it was time for their sleep, I set myself things to do. I will just focus on this with my first because when you have other kids, you generally spend the baby's sleep time with your other kids or getting errands done so it's a little different. When your bubba is down for a nap and you have yourself an hour or two to yourself, that is your chance to get anything you need done or some greatly needed rest time.
Resting while baby sleeps has been an extremely difficult activity for many mums I know including myself. If you are feeling guilty, lazy, lost or stressing about putting up your feet, watching some TV shows or taking a nap.... DON'T!! When I listen to mummas talk about this I put their new life into perspective. When you worked 9-5 or something along those times, you had a morning tea break and lunch break (generally). You also finished for the day and had the rest of the night to do whatever you wanted. You could sleep the whole night without interruption and then there was the weekend. That has gone now for your baby season or at least while you are at home. So when you sit down to watch a movie or are lucky enough to have a day watching TV shows, doing a little bit of washing and feeding your bub in between, don't feel guilty because this won't happen to you everyday. You may get to do this for a day but then spend the next three weeks getting no more than a two hour block of sleep or having to hold your baby the whole day because they won't leave your arms. This might not happen to you but realistically you will have a few of these times and so I urge you to take your chill time when you can. Add it into your routine everytime!
Running errands during sleep times are good if your bubba is happy to sleep in a pram or car. A little advice from me, is teach them to sleep everywhere from the beginning. I know a lot of mums who stayed in their house with their newborn for a month or so getting them settled, which is good but they got so settled that their bubbas were a nightmare to take out or sleep anywhere but their cots. Thanks to advice from my sisters, from week one I had my bubbas changing from their cot, pram, car seat, rocker, mat on the floor and other friend's houses taking their naps. This especially came in handy when we moved to Sydney and had no babysitters and had to take Jack everywhere with us. So on my errands days, I would feed Jack, burp him and then set off to get things done before having to get back for his next feed.
So what does a routine look like for a week? This will change for everyone depending on if you are still doing some kind of work or have another responsibility than just your bubba. Typically for a mum at home with her newborn full time though the best thing to do is set things to do on different days. I advise giving yourself one or two tasks each day so you can get some time to have a break or if your day goes belly up with an unsettled bubba then you can add it to another day. While it felt completing overwhelming at the beginning, looking back I loved that time I got before my other kids came along and I starting pursuing my writing career. You as a first time mum of a newborn probably won't feel this way just yet and that's ok. It's not an easy job being completely responsible for someone else's life and it makes for one exhausting mumma. If you can stay calm and focus on doing one thing at a time, then your baby will learn these cues from you and do the same. If you are constantly anxious then your baby will feel that. That's why giving yourself a routine makes moments like this a little less daunting and if you know in your head they can change at anytime then you will be prepared and flexible to deal with it when it does. Below is what my day looked like in the first couple of months as a new mum. Doesn't look like much but at the time it was my capacity and it gave me the opportunity to enjoy so many moments with my little one.
Note: The times are approximates as it depended on jack's overnight sleep
7am - 10am: Jack - feed, rocker play, sleep
Me - feed Jack, shower and dress, house chores
10am - 1pm: Jack - feed, car ride, sleep in pram
Me - feed Jack, out for the morning e.g. shops, cafe, friend's house, home
1pm - 4pm: Jack - feed, big afternoon sleep
Me - feed Jack, break time e.g. nap, watching TV or reading a book (doing this rest in the afternoon helped with my milk supply at night)
4pm - 7pm: Jack - feed, playtime, sleep
Me - feed Jack, play with Jack and bath him, cook dinner
7pm - 10pm: Jack - feed, hang with daddy, sleep (hopefully for night)
Me: - feed Jack, tidy up dinner and hang with Cam
10pm - 2am: Jack: feed, sleep
Me: feed Jack, sleep until Jack wakes for next feed between 6 and 7 (I try and stretch them during the night to teach them to sleep longer so I make sure I stick to 3 hourly feeds during the day so he gets enough)
© The Realistic Mum
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