Thursday, December 18, 2008

How Routine is a Routine?

I'm always hearing about this whole getting your baby on a routine concept. This seems to be the holy grail of many a new parent, myself included. But I've come to ask myself how routine must a routine be to be considered a routine? Still following me on this?

Jillian tends to fall asleep around the same time each night (give or take an hour). She tends to wake up around the same time each night (although occasionally will move that time back an hour or two). She tends to operate in 3 hour cycles during the day that consist of a feeding, awake time and nap time. So does this constitute a routine? And honestly will these trends even last long enough to be considered a routine? And why on earth do I feel the compulsive need to obsess about a routine when none if it really matters as long as I'm following her queues, she is happy and my sanity is in tact?

So to all of you out routine is a routine and how old were your babies when they really got on a routine?


Birdee said...

I think for me, a routine was established more for me than for him, less brain damage if I just got used to doing the same thing’s every day. And my routine changes as he changes, even still. If something stops working - we quit doing it, If we need something, we add it to our routine.
I love routine and depend on it - but I also roll with the punches.

I hope your not waiting to get used to something! (giggle) j/k - you'll get used to is always changing.

Nicky said...

We have the same routine -- a normal bedtime, a normal wake-up time, and ~3 hour cycles in between. That is definitely a routine. A routine means that you know Jillian is going to want to play when she's done eating, then she'll nap when she starts getting tired, and she'll be hungry again when she wakes up.

What it's NOT is a schedule, which (I hear) commonly develops somewhere in the 4-6 month range. A schedule means (for example) that you know she naps at 11:00am every morning.

To me, a routine is helpful, because I know how the next few hours are likely to go. A schedule is the real holy grail, because then I'd be able (in theory) to say days in advance at what time I'll be able to leave the house to to do something, because I'll know what time LL will be napping and waking.

For now, though, I'm pretty grateful to have a routine! Sounds like you're doing great!

Ann said...

I don't have any more wisdom than you do because, well, Tyler is few days younger than Jillian. But I thought we had a similar routine down. Then, about a week ago, he totally changed it up. Sometimes, those cycles during the day will be 2 hours instead of 3. Oh, how I long for predictability!

Sunny said...

This topic comes up every now and then in our co-op preschool. We all run the gamut from one mom who could set her watch by naptime and mealtime, to other moms (often those who have older kids with activities and such) who wing it every day. Our teacher believes that as individuals, we are all prewired as to how much we follow a routine. How things work with your baby is the interaction of your tendancy and hers. It's not good or bad -- it just IS.

That being said, of course you'll want to make sure she's napping when she's tired and eating when she's hungry. But whether that's always at the same time or varies by degrees each day, it doesn't necessarily matter (unless it matters to you).

We didn't really get into a schedule until recently, and it's a VERY loose schedule. I go much more by his cues than the clock. Like you predicted, as soon as you get used to a routine (e.g. three naps a day), it all changes again (now it's two a day -- but sometimes still three!).

I wouldn't worry unless she seems grumpy/tired or if your current way of doing things isn't working for you. You are doing great!

Katie said...

That sounds like a routine to me, and rather early, too!

In fact, the Baby Whisperer recommends just the routine you've mentioned for a baby her age.

E (eat) A (Activity) S (Sleep) Y (You) in a three hour window that repeats throughout the day. It should switch up to a four hour rotation at around 4 - 5 months.

So, good job!