New Parent: Scheduling

As I mentioned before, I’m a systematic person. I love to have a defined structure for my days. I live with to-do lists, calendar notes, alarms, you get the idea.

 

Well, a baby takes all that bundle of organisation and makes a very pretty ball of garbage with it. Out the window goes every bit of predictability; during at least the first month there’s no way to tell how your next two hours will be. Very calm waters or complete hysteria; prepare for both because you could have either one, or even both during the next ten minutes.

 

But I didn’t knew this when I had baby J. I thought it was up to me to fix the changes and the craziness that is taking care of a newborn. I had to do something about it, so I thought I needed to work on scheduling. I downloaded hourly charts divided by activity. You can laugh now. I mean, needless to say, trying to apply such a tightly fixed schedule to a one month old baby was useless.  Seeing all my efforts go out the window made me stressed and cranky.

 

When baby J was about twenty five days old I implemented my first successful scheduled activity: a bath. I decided I was going to bathe her every day before bedtime. Bath, feeding, sleeping. Before establishing this sequence it took me anything between one to three hours to put baby J to sleep, one week after I began doing this she was sleeping forty five minutes after her bath.

Right now she either wakes up right on time or begins to get fuzzy when it’s time for her bath-feed-sleep sequence. Sometimes I have to move it thirty minutes before or after my mark, but in general this is one time of the day that I can predict. In fact, now that she is two months old this one thing has put into place other feedings and activities. For example, we now have play time before bathing. That is, of course, whenever she is not just waking up and too hungry.

 

My point is: after a baby, it is very important to learn to go with the flow. Relax. Focus on enjoying the baby. Structure will eventually come, just begin with one thing. Choose something simple, preferably something that you already have to do, and maybe establish a time for it. As time goes by you’ll add around that and one day you might begin to have a to-do list with more than three items on it.

 

Have a great week!

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