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DO BABIES NEED TO BE IN A ROUTINE FROM DAY ONE?

Written by Olivia Arrow

Babies are a bundle of joy and bring immense happiness to a family. From their cute giggles to their innocent smiles, every moment with a baby is precious and unforgettable. However, along with all the joy and love that a baby brings, comes the responsibility of taking care of them. One of the most commonly debated topics among parents is whether babies need to be in a routine from day one. Some parents believe that a strict routine is necessary for a baby’s development, while others argue that it is not essential and can even be harmful. In this article, we will explore the potential benefits and drawbacks of having a routine for babies from day one.

First and foremost, let us understand what a routine means in the context of a baby. A routine refers to a set of activities or tasks that are followed in a specific order and at regular intervals throughout the day. This could include feeding, napping, bathing, and playtime. A routine provides structure and predictability for both the baby and the parents, which can be comforting and helpful in managing the chaos of a newborn’s life.

Proponents of having a routine for babies from day one argue that it is necessary for their overall development. Babies thrive on consistency, and a routine helps them establish a sense of security and stability. A routine can help regulate a baby’s sleep patterns, which is crucial for their growth and development. Quality sleep is crucial for a baby’s physical and mental development, and a routine can help establish a healthy sleep pattern. It also helps in regulating their hunger cues, which is essential for proper nutrition and growth.

Moreover, a routine can also help in creating a bond between a baby and their caregiver. When a baby knows what to expect from their day, they feel safe and secure, which leads to a stronger bond with their parent or caregiver. This can also help in reducing separation anxiety when the parent or caregiver needs to leave the baby for some time.

Another benefit of having a routine for babies from day one is that it can help in managing the household. With a routine in place, parents can plan their day and schedule their tasks accordingly. This can be especially helpful for working parents who need to balance their job responsibilities with taking care of a newborn. A routine can also help in coordinating with other family members or caregivers, ensuring that the baby’s needs are met consistently.

However, there are also arguments against having a strict routine for babies from day one. Some experts believe that a baby’s needs and behaviours are constantly changing, and a strict routine may not be suitable for their individual needs. Forcing a baby to follow a rigid schedule can cause stress and frustration for both the baby and the parents. It can also lead to overfeeding or underfeeding the baby, as their hunger cues may not always align with the scheduled feeding times.

Moreover, a strict routine may not be practical for every family. Some parents may have other children or responsibilities that make it challenging to stick to a set schedule. This can lead to feelings of guilt or failure for not being able to follow the routine, adding unnecessary stress to an already hectic time.

Another concern is that a strict routine can limit a baby’s exposure to different stimuli and experiences, hindering their development. Babies are curious and constantly learning from their surroundings. A rigid routine may restrict their exploration and limit their exposure to different environments, people, and activities. This can impact their cognitive and social development.

Furthermore, some experts argue that a routine can also affect a baby’s natural instincts and disrupt their natural rhythm. Babies are born with their own internal clock, and forcing them to follow a strict schedule may interfere with this natural rhythm. This can lead to sleep disturbances, irritability, and difficulty adjusting to changes in their routine.

So, what is the verdict? Do babies need to be in a routine from day one? The answer is not so straightforward. While a routine may have its advantages, it is not necessary to follow a strict schedule from the very first day. Every baby is different, and what works for one may not work for another. It is essential to observe and understand your baby’s needs and behaviours and adjust the routine accordingly.

Instead of following a strict routine, some experts recommend following a flexible routine or a “rhythmic routine.” This means having a general schedule for the day, but being open to adjustments based on the baby’s needs and cues. For example, instead of feeding the baby at a specific time, parents can watch for signs of hunger, such as rooting or sucking on their hands, and feed the baby accordingly.

While a routine may provide structure and predictability for both the baby and the parents, it is not necessary to have a strict routine from day one. Parents should observe and understand their baby’s individual needs and behaviours and adjust the routine accordingly. Remember, every baby is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. The most important thing is to provide a loving and nurturing environment

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