Looking after a newborn, especially if it’s your first baby, can seem anything but easy!
From trying to get your little one off to sleep, to knowing how often to feed them, establishing baby routines can feel impossible.
But give baby whisperer Tracy Hogg’s simple baby sleep method a try, and your baby will grow up happy and healthy, plus you’ll even be able to fit in a bit of me-time too.
What is the EASY baby routine?
Getting a newborn into any kind of routine may sound difficult, especially as new mothers are told to feed on demand, but the EASY routine for newborns simply means following a set order each day: eat, activity, sleep, you.
How often you have to repeat the sequence will depend on how long your baby takes to eat and sleep – and no two babies are the same!
That’s it. Of course, each day will be a bit different, but this routine is so simple that you’ll be able to cope with it, even during those first few weeks when your brain feels like cotton wool and sleep is a distant memory. The important thing is not to get stressed out if your baby is suddenly having longer gaps between feeds or sleeping less.
As long as you follow the correct order throughout the day – eat, activity, sleep, you – your baby will grow and, just as importantly, you will still feel as if you have a bit of you-time. Even if it is just a bit.
E is for eat
In the first few months, babies tend to feed about 6 times a day. Once they are on to solids at around seven months, the number of feeds gets less because they are getting more food at each meal. When working out your E.A.S.Y. routine, think about whether your baby is a slow eater or a guzzler and allow more or less time for the feeds.
The EASY routine for the first few months also includes cluster feeds and the all-important dream feed when you feed your baby while he or she is asleep. This will help them to sleep through the night.
A is for activity
People used to think that a baby needs to eat and sleep – nothing else. But the A for activity bit makes a lot of sense. If your baby has been busy mentally or physically (in the early days this can just mean looking at a toy or listening to some songs), he or she is more likely to be tired enough for a nap. Just don’t overdo it or your baby will be too wired to sleep! As they get older, activity can mean having another baby over to play, or going out to a local park. It’s a good idea to use bathtime as the last activity before bed.
S is for sleep
The EASY routine is designed to help your baby sleep through the night and to do this, he or she needs more feeds before bedtime. Tracy Hogg calls these cluster feeds: what it means is that you give your baby two feeds close together before bedtime at 5-7pm and 6-8pm. She calls this ‘tanking up’ which should mean more sleep for baby – and you!
Then, while your baby is asleep, at 10-11pm, you give them a final feed for the night, called the dream feed. Obviously the idea here is that your baby doesn’t wake up, so no nappy changing, burping and keep lights and noise down.
Baby sleep is hard to predict. Some babies may only sleep for 20 minutes at a time to start with, if that. But as they grow, the naps should get longer until they go down for 2 hours. Although it’s tempting to let your baby sleep for as long as possible, remember that lots of very long naps during the day may make it difficult for your baby to sleep at night. Also, don’t let your baby sleep for too long for the last two naps of the day or they may be wide awake at bedtime!
Y is for you-time
When you’re a new mother it can feel as though life becomes one big baby slog. Of course, you love your little bundle of joy to bits, but it’s really important that you try to keep up with the things you used to love too, before the baby arrived.
Use this you time to phone a friend, catch up with Facebook, read a magazine or have a soak in the bath.
What if it goes wrong?
Babies are not always predictable. Growth spurts, illness, reactions to vaccinations and teething can all temporarily affect a baby’s routine, making them sleep less or more, eat nothing at all or suddenly seem as if they’re starving all the time! None of this matters. Just try to go with the flow and relax. As long as you follow the EASY order you’re doing great!
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect and Communicate with your Baby by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau, is available from Amazon