How to Shape the Day
So, you might be wondering how does the day become predictable, like the rhythmic flow of a waltz?
Firstly, routineness begins with your consistent responsiveness and sensitivity to Baby as you interact and care for his needs, showing him you are dependable. This is reinforced each day as you carry out the sequence of Baby's vital caregiving routines of feeding, changing/dressing, bathing and sleep-time (discussed in Caregiving Routines). Then together, you and Baby will need some time for play (discussed in Let's Play) and relaxation (discussed Next).
Intertwined into this sequence is a high likelihood that you may have some 'daily domestic drudgery' that needs to be carried out, and trying to find time to take a shower some days can be a challenge! (Motherhood challenges are discussed in Parenting from the Beginning → Challenges of Becoming a Mother) While this 'consuming effect' does take most parents by surprise ... along with how your conversations become dominated by the number of nappies you change, how often the baby 'spits up' on you, how long he is sleeping and how often he feeds ... the true wonderment of having a baby and growing 'into' your relationship with him goes unsaid. In saying all this, your day with Baby does require some balance. Knowing there is still a world going on outside your door and stepping out with Baby to breathe the air may be just what you need for your wellbeing.
Remember, too much of one thing will weigh you down, 'tipping the scales'.
SO, to get a rhythmic flow to the day with Baby, think of it as the 1, 2, 3 steps to the waltz of 'Sleep, Feed, Play/Activity'.
- Upon waking, consistently greet him with your warm smile, open arms for a cuddle and reassuring words. Then you prepare him for what is to happen next e.g. 'Let's change your nappy'.
- As you change the nappy (discussed in Caregiving Routines → Nappy/Diaper Changing and Dressing) talk to him, sing, and as Baby develops you can add some fun with a tickly rhyme e.g. Round the Garden and Round the Bellybutton from the Bond With Baby Songs, Rhymes and Music. Of course this will depend on Baby's mood - he may be starving! (Click here to listen to mother-baby interactions during nappy/diaper change).
- This takes time during the early weeks (discussed in Caregiving Routines → Feeding). When Baby's finished allow for it to digest as you sit together.
- Time for play needs to be included everyday. Gradually as Baby develops, playtime fun will extend but in the beginning it may only be for about 10 minutes as some babies tire quickly (discussed in Let's Play and babies' tired signs are discussed in Caregiving Routines → Sleep-time). The first signal of Baby being tired means he needs another nap, ready to be energised for the next part of the day.
- There could be domestic drudgery calling? With Baby by your side, you can chat and sing, have some music playing or even 'whistle while you work'!
- Go on an outing
- Take Baby walking which is great for you both, especially if she needs some soothing
- It could be bath-time
- Relaxation may be needed (discussed Next).
So the 'flow' and predictability to the day with Baby is really about a progression of activities that not only care for his needs but is about your developing relationship and how to bring enjoyment to it. Do not fear ... in a short time you will work out a rhythm that best suits you both. Also keep in mind that the rhythm will continue to be adjusted as Baby develops and his needs change. The good thing is it usually gets easier as Baby develops.
Of course some days' rhythm will flow smoother than others. This is NORMAL!