Thursday, October 13, 2011

three-month mark

Making Routines For Children

No need for strict schedules now, but around the three-month mark, you'll start to see a pattern in your baby's schedule. Here's how to maximize it.

As he nears his three-month birthday, your baby may begin to establish a regular daily pattern all on his own — waking, eating, and sleeping at approximately the same times each day, or at least in a predictable two- to four-hour cycle. (Not sure if this is the case for your baby? Take notes for a few days, jotting down the times he eats, naps, and is cranky.) If so, thank his for the favor; you'll likely find that if you follow his lead and stick to the pattern, he'll sleep well and cry less often. Plus, his consistency lets you plan your day more easily — if you can count on a two-hour nap in the morning, then you know you have time for a shower, a few chores, or a snooze of your own.
Don't insist on a minute-by-minute plan. A too-strict schedule can be too much for both of you, while none at all is also stressful and hard on the whole family. How can you establish a routine that works for everyone? Try to introduce a few anchors into your baby's day: a special chair for nursing, for example; a walk after lunch; and bath and bedtime at the same time and in the same way each evening. If he's feeding more frequently than you'd like, gradually stretch out the between-meal intervals by distracting his with a song, a toy, or a book. If he falls asleep without finishing a feed, try to wake his and encourage his to finish so you won't have to start again so soon. The goal: Help his ease into a pattern that's not too strict or too loose, but just right.

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