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Parenting Hacks, Lifestyle, Wellness & Everything In Between. For Parents-To-Be & Parents-Right-Now. Parenting Hacks, Lifestyle, Wellness & Everything In Between. For Parents-To-Be & Parents-Right-Now.
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A Case for Routines:
Baby talk Baby talk
A Case for Routines:
April 11, 2018
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Baby talk Baby talk
A Case for Routines:
April 11, 2018
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Life before Alfie: firstly, I’d like to mention I had never fed nor changed a baby’s nappy. I remember looking at newborns and I would just think “sweet”, before turning away knowing I was the world’s most un-maternal woman. My life as a Fashion Editor consisted of sample sales, editorial shoot trips away, handbags galore, breakfast, lunch and dinner in London’s finest restaurants, and forever looking and planning ahead. At that point in time, I couldn’t have been happier, and I really felt like I had it “all”.

“It sounds so cliché but I really didn’t know how much Alfie would make me seriously realise the value of life and what really would make me happy”

That was until Alfie arrived. Instantly, everything materialistic in my world felt so meaningless to the love I felt for him. From the girl that would never leave the house without a face full of makeup, constantly looking ahead and buying the latest Chloe handbag (9 months later and I have to admit the handbag addiction has come back!), I suddenly only wanted to stay at home, in my trackies, with my bubba boy morning through to night.
That’s when I realised what having it “all” really meant.

When I was pregnant with Alfie, I knew I would want to create some kind of baby routine. I have a tendency to be a bit of a control freak, so I just felt that routine & structure would suit my personality and lifestyle best. They say that babies reflect the energy given from their parents, and whether this is true or not, from Day 1, my husband and I have always tried to remain as calm and patient as possible around him.

I might regret saying this, as every single night I suddenly feel the panic that Alfie is going to wake up at 3AM uncontrollably screaming, *but*, he’s now been sleeping through the night from 6.30/7pm until 7/7.30AM since he was 12 weeks old. Maybe he just takes after me and lives for a good night’s sleep, or maybe I hit the jackpot with a sleepy baby, but either way (from the girl that knew nothing about motherhood this time last year) I have definitely learnt a few things along the way and I’m convinced that it’s Alfie’s routine that has helped towards this.

Here are a few tips/techniques I used in the first few months of having Alfie that really helped keep me sane/shape him into the happy baby he is:

Happy Mama, Happy Bubba

If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that babies are SO intuitive! If Alfie is unsettled for whatever reason, my energy really has an impact on how quickly I can settle him. Of course, patience runs thin during the middle of the night with a backlog of sleep deprivation, but with the help of a few breathing techniques and the support of my husband I quickly learnt that when I remain calm and collected, Alfie, in turn, settles quickly. During my husband’s paternity leave we used to do all the night feeds together just to feel each other’s presence and support. Teamwork makes the dream work!

Zen Time

For the first few weeks it seemed as though Alfie slept the entire day, but as soon as he became more alert and awake during the day I introduced ‘zen time’, which usually started around 5PM before his bath-time routine. I would often find that late afternoon would be his most awake/ irritable/ whingy time of day, so I felt that I needed something within our daytime schedule to fall back on and feel confident that it would keep him calm and happy before going to bed. ‘Zen time’ consisted of (and still does!) reading a few books upstairs in his nursery (which I have also kept tonal and calming for this very reason!), nappy free time, a flashing dome light show whilst listening to some chilled out music. His favourite from the beginning has been Bob Marley’s ‘Legend’ album. I once read that babies love Reggae music, so this was my first choice! It’s basically an hour of calm and relaxing stimulation before BBB.

BBB – Bath, Bottle, Bed

I started this routine when Alfie was 3 weeks old and I’m convinced this is what helped him understand the difference between morning & evening so quickly. At this point I was still feeding Alfie on demand but I wanted to establish some kind of bedtime routine and tried my best to work towards putting him down by 7pm at the latest. I had Alfie in the Spring, so it was very bright outside when he woke up in the morning and went to bed at night. Because of this, I felt that it was very important for him to understand ‘bed time’ as soon as possible.

Settling Techniques

I may sound really naive here, but I genuinely had no idea it was possible to settle a screaming baby without cradling or rocking them to sleep. I soon found out that rocking Alfie to sleep in my arms was a terrible habit to get in to (although I secretly loved doing it!), as every time he was calm in my arms, he would instantly start screaming again the minute I put him down in his crib. He just needed to feel safe and secure to feel content, so I started a few self-settling techniques, which worked so well that by night three of this routine, he suddenly managed to settle himself back to sleep whenever he woke during the night. Apparently, every baby has their own ‘sleep spot’ whether it’s on the side, back or tummy, and for Alfie it was on his back with his head facing left. With a gentle but reassuring pressure, I would place the palm of my hand on his chest and use my other hand to gently stroke his forehead side to side. I remember creeping back to bed feeling happy, knowing that I had settled my baby without even having to pick him up, it was such a fulfilling feeling and I all of a sudden felt so confident with my approach.

Every Day is Different

When Alfie was a newborn, this is what I struggled with the most; not knowing what to expect and thinking I had ‘cracked it’ after having a good day with this eating and sleeping, for it then to be followed by struggles and screams the next day! The minute I took the pressure off both myself and Alfie, I suddenly felt a lot more confident without any expectation on how each day should be. Since getting through the newborn phase, I’ve since had teething/ weaning/ developing to adapt to, which, of course, has come with its own challenges, but I constantly tell myself I can only do my best, and so far, it seems that that is good enough for Alfie.

 

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