Daily Routines: Birth to 14 Months

It is deeply in my personality to love to know what’s going on! All the time.  I’m a huge planner and I’m usually the first one in any group of people to want exact details, or to create them.  I knew that in having a baby, routine was going to be a need for us, especially as I went back to part time work (from home) at 5 weeks postpartum.
There were other reasons I chose to embrace a schedule and those are for a different post but we’ve loved having a routine for feeding, and for life.  That said, I know that scheduled feeding isn’t for everyone, and that’s great!  This post isn’t to say what I think is ideal or best for everyone but just to throw out there what we’ve loved after getting some questions about it.
I’ve broken it into rough segments based on the ages it majorly changed.  Each change happened over about a one week period once Clayton showed he was ready, and it took a little work to lock in but each time it felt like we’d happily found our new groove!  I’ve included some notes along the way but if you have any questions, feel free to leave them below in the comments!

From birth to 2 weeks:

To start with we didn’t try to find a schedule, I just focused on bonding, learning to feed and sleep, and learning his cues.  My one goal feed/schedule wise was to get a really good full feed every time he fed and not to have short choppy ‘snacks’.  This usually resulted in about 2 hours between feedings.  I was also focusing on trying to nurse him right after a nap rather than nursing him to sleep.

From 2 months: 

From here I began to pay attention to the times he was eating, and to properly establish a two hour wait between feeds – the goal being to have him be hungry and ready for a feed, and to eat a good full feed.  Again we fed right after a nap and then have wake/play time after feeding.
  • 7am: wake and first feed
  • Through the day feed every 2.5-3 hours on a flexible schedule.
  • 7pm: final feed followed by bed

 From 2.5/3 months:

After about 4 days of implementing this schedule, Clayton began to sleep 11 hours at night, however day time naps struggled.  I had many melt downs as I read he was ‘meant’ to be sleeping for multiple hour naps.  I finally let go of that and allowed myself to be ok with 45 minute naps, and suddenly everything was calmer! So during this phase naps were bang on 45 minutes and I’d put him down about 1 hour before each feed.
  • 7am – wake and 1st feed
  • 10am – 2nd milk feed
  • 1pm – 3rd feed
  • 4pm 4th milk feed
  • 6-6.30pm final milk feed then bed by 7.30pm

 From 4 months:

We were still on the 45 minute nap cycle through until about 5 months so the same as the above applies for that here!  Then just one day he took a two hour nap and never looked back, neither did I.  2 hours naps are life changing.
  • 7am – morning feed
  • 9am – nap
  • 11am – 2nd milk feed
  • 1pm – nap
  • 3pm 3rd milk feed
  • 5pm – shorter ‘cat nap’
  • 6.30pm final milk feed
  • by 7.30pm bed

From 6 months on:

**This is when we started to introduce solid food meals. You can read about that in a blog post HERE.  At 8 months he dropped the cat nap and takes 2 2-3 hour naps a day.  This schedule started as a 7am/11am/3pm/7pm one but then migrated to the one you see below as that seemed to be Clayton’s natural rhythm and it worked well for us too so we’ve landed there. 
This schedule will be the one we stay on until he is 1 year old, if he continues to drink at each milk feed.  The milk feeds basically always proceed the solid food meals as close to within 20-30 minutes as we can so that his main nutrition is still coming from milk up to 1 year.
  • 7am – morning milk feed
  • 7.30am/8am – family breakfast
    • (usually followed by wake time where we usually make lunches/clean/run errands/he has indepedent play time.)
  • 9.30 – morning nap
  • 11.30am – 2nd milk feed
  • 12.30pm – lunch
    • (usually followed by play time together in his room)
  • 2pm – nap
  • 4pm 3rd milk feed
    • (usually followed by play time downstairs while I do tasks, or with Jared when he comes home and I prep dinner)
  • 6pm family dinner
  • 7.30pm final milk feed
  • by 8pm: bed

From 1 year:

My goal was to breastfeed to 1 year and we made it! The plan on how quickly we wean is less certain but I’ll keep you posted!  At 12 months I began to switch the milk feeds to after solid food starting with the 11.30am lunch time feed.  We did that for about a week and then it was clear he didn’t need any milk ‘top up’ after his solid food so we dropped it all together.

  • 7am – wake up and morning milk feed
  • 7.30am/8am – family breakfast
  • 9.30 – morning nap
  • 12pm – lunch
  • 1pm top up milk feed
  • 2pm – nap
  • 4pm 3rd milk feed
  • 6pm family dinner
  • 7.30pm final milk feed
  • by 8pm: bed

About a week later he wasn’t hungry for the final night feed either so we dropped that too leaving us at the following schedule:

  • 7am – wake up and milk feed
  • 7.30am/8am – family breakfast
  • 9.30 – morning nap
  • 12pm – lunch
  • 2pm – nap
  • 4pm 2nd milk feed
  • 6/6.30pm family dinner
  • by 8pm: bed

At 13 months

…he dropped his second nap so we moved to a schedule like this, which is what we’re still on and will stick with for the time being and just slowly move the nap slightly later!

  • 7am – wake up and milk feed
  • 7.30am/8am – family breakfast
  • Activities, errands and play
  • 11am – lunch (moved earlier so he’s not too sleepy when he eats)
  • 12pm – nap
  • 3pm wake up and milk feed as afternoon snack
  • 6pm family dinner
  • 7pm: bed (earlier as he adjusts to just one nap!)

 

As I said above, it’s easy to write out a schedule in hindsight but it took work, some tears, and a lot of unknown and motherhood doubts in the process.  If you have any questions I’ll try to answer them the best I can or point you towards books/resources I found helpful!
Kezia