Routine – something that happens in a certain order or with regularity.
Say in a zumba performance. Or a way of stacking and unstacking the dishwasher.
It refers to something commonplace. Everyday.
Or so it is according to various dictionary sources I’ve stumbled across anyway.
Put it in the context of a young baby though and it becomes the gospel of the new parents. It’s proponents evangelistically proclaim its benefits whilst simultaneously scorning those who are yet to follow it quite so religiously.
And those who continue to struggle to establish such a “routine” are left feeling both guilty and failures in equal measure.
Since having Sophie, we must have been asked a hundred times about her routine. The questions are always the same:
Food: How many feeds? When? How much do you give her?
Sleep: What time is her morning nap? How long does she sleep for?
Bed: When do you start bedtime routine? Do you bath every day? For how long? What time do you “put her down”? (sounds like she’s on her way to the vets!)
While I can see the inherent value of a steady routine, I find the pressure to establish one really difficult. Every child is different after all.
The worst we’ve come across has been books by a well-known parenting author who prescribes for every minute of a baby’s life. The parents who follow this must have incredible brainpower…I know we struggle to remember the basics of feed, sleep, change!
We’ve had a “bedtime routine” in place since 4 weeks (go us!) but recently Sophie has not been interested in it and keeps changing how easily she falls asleep. We’ve had to adapt to her growth and work that into our system.
It’s also been hard to get a daytime routine in place due to feeding. Not an issue, but according to the rigid “routine”, we’re making it much harder for ourselves and need to get a grip. “My child sleeps right through for twelve hours and they’re only two months old,” comments are quite hard to take.
Actually, Sophie is a very healthy, happy little girl who, at nineteen weeks, is still very much learning about the world. We’re getting a system in place, but only because the feeding is becoming more predictable.
And sometimes, even the best laid plans can fall by the wayside.
When your child is screaming through an hour long car journey (which they would normally sleep through) even though it’s past their bedtime, you know that something’s not working.
I guess for some of us, that’s just routine…!