Up until a few weeks ago, I had the most difficult time to make sure me and my daughter got a little structure in our day. When she was just born, it was easy. She was a dysmature baby (which means her birth weight was way too low) and needed a lot of sleep, so in between bottles she slept for a full two-and-a-half hours. Then she got a hernia, the poor little thing, and instead of sleeping she cried those two-and-half-hours. They fixed the hernia when she was three months and changed everything. As the weeks passed, she got more active so I didn’t have the slightest idea what was ‘normal’ and how long she was supposed to take naps and all that. Recently, I figured it out! It makes the day so much easier and it even helps her sleep through the night, which is something we absolutely couldn’t manage to make her do before. Now, before I share with you my daughter’s daily routine, I must tell you that you don’t have to follow this schedule by the minute. It’s not perfect yet! But you can use this schedule as a guideline and do what’s best for you.
6-8 AM: getting up & bottle nr. 1
My daughter usually wakes up between 6 and 8 AM, this differs from day to day. So naturally, this is when our day starts. If I’m awake before her, I get dressed and do my thing while I wait until she wakes up. Or if it’s 8 AM already, I wake her up. By the way, the look on her face when I come and get her is priceless! Then I change her diaper, wash her face, put on her clothes and give her the vitamines she needs, which is 10 drops of vitamine D. Then we go downstairs and while she plays (or cries when she’s really hungry) I prepare her bottle. I give her 200 cc but she drinks around 150 cc most of the time. After her feeding she plays or we play together.
9 AM: naptime
Around 9, I put her down for a nap. I experimented a bit with the perfect place for her to nap. I used to let her sleep in het play pen in the livingroom where I would be around. That worked when she was a few weeks old, but now that she’s 6 months, she wakes up really easy, so I started to let her nap in her bed, which is better anyways I think. I still close the curtains and put her in a her little sleeping bag at this point, because it’s somewhat early and it makes her sleep better. I let her sleep until she wakes up, which is usually 30 minutes to an hour later.
10 AM: snacktime
While she sleeps, I prepare her snack. Which is a fruit puree (100 grams) with a little bit of rice flour, just two teaspoons to make it a bit more like a porridge. I make 100 grams of this because it’s easier to blend it in my blender. She usually eats just 20 to 50 grams of it, which is fine at her age. After her snack we go for a walk or she plays, which gives me the time to work, write or do some chores.
12-1 PM: bottle nr. 2
Around lunch time it’s time for her second bottle. I prepare the bottle before I change her diaper. If I change her first, she’ll know there’s a bottle coming up and she won’t be able to wait for 6 minutes until it’s properly heated. Me don’t wanting another drama parade isn’t the only reason though, she also drinks better and calmer this way. So I prepare the bottle and then pick her up and change her. Again I made a 200cc feeding. After her feeding I let her play again for a bit.
2 PM: naptime
Around 2 PM she takes a nap. Though the time can be different every day and sometimes it’s right after her bottle, I try not to put her down later than 2 PM. This is supposed to be a long two-hour nap, but that almost never happens. It changes everyday, sometimes it’s 30 minutes, sometimes 90.
4 PM: bottle nr. 3
Time for her third bottle! I make 200cc again and she won’t drink it all, but that’s fine. I try to feed her at least a 100cc. I won’t settle for anything less. She’s is still too small, so she really needs it.
5-6 PM: veggietime
While my daughter is playing after her bottle, I prepare her dinner. This is also when my husband usually comes home from work. We feed her her dinner right before, during, or after our own meal. Whatever soots best that day. Again I make around 100 grams of veggies for her, but she won’t finish it. Of course, it also depends on wether she likes it or not. When we are all fed, Rick usually goes for a walk with her, to spend some time wih his daughter and to give me some alone time. Even if it’s just for 30 to 60 minutes, some days I really need this.
7-8 PM: bottle nr. 4 & time for bed
Around 7 PM one of us gets her upstairs, changes her and puts her in her sleeping bag. Then the three of us sit down on the couch, play with her (calmly) or read a little book together. After that, Rick feeds her quietly in her bedroom and puts her to bed after that. And then the Making-Her-Go-To-Sleep-Dance starts. She will cry and she will lose her pacifier a few times, but usually it takes around 10 to 30 minutes to make her fall asleep. We always take turns in who goes upstairs.
11 PM: bottle nr. 5
When we go to sleep, the parent who has the night shift (we take turns!) feeds her her last bottle. I make 200cc again, but now I add a teaspoon of rice flour. Not to make a porrigde out of it, but to make it just a tiny bit thicker and more filling. We try to make this a dream feed, which means that she won’t wake up when she’s drinking and will go right back to sleep after it. Having night shift means that the baby monitor will be on that person’s side of the bed and that it’s that person’s job to comfort her or make her go back to sleep. I highly suggest new parents to take turns in this, that way both of you will get enough chances of a full night’s sleep. Being rested is so important! Of course, I understand that it’s difficult to do this when you’re breastfeeding.
Of course, I’m not going to pretend every day goes like this. There are days that everything goes wrong and I have no idea how I ever got to the point where she’s tucked up into bed. But every day is a new chance and it’s okay if it doesn’t always go the way you want it too. I hope this guide will help you though! The days that I manage to stick to it are great and easy and my daughter sleeps the whole night through!