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Baby's Routine - A Hot Topic

baby's routineWhen you have a new baby you want to do everything right. And of course, who do you turn to for advice? The experts. Unfortunately, they don't all agree, especially when it comes to the subject of establishing a routine. This means that, regardless of what approach you decide to take, there will be someone who says you should be doing it differently.

Routine is one of those hot topics that even many moms don't agree on. That's because the decision to have very strict routines and follow a plan to the letter relies very much on the temperament of the mother. But it's wise to have all the information to hand before you make a decision about your routine and whether you're going to be a flexible “anything goes” mom, or as rigid as a ruler, enjoying the benefits of predictable days and nights.

The truth is, every method has worked for someone, otherwise they wouldn't swear by it. This means you have a range of options to choose from. To help you make the right choice for you and your family, take a look at the different approaches to routines.

Different approaches to the Routine

Advice on routines falls broadly into three categories:
  • A strict parent-led routine sets feeding, eating and sleep times and often employs the “Controlled Crying Technique” .
  • A relaxed child-led approach involves attachment parenting to respond to your child's demands or needs .
  • A combination of structure and needs responds to your baby's needs within a flexible order of events, but not according to the clock.
Childcare expert and former maternity nurse, Gina Ford, has divided parents and experts with her strict, routine-based methods, including the “Controlled Crying Technique”.

She advocates a strict feeding and sleeping routine, which involves sticking to set feeding times as opposed to feeding your baby on demand. She also recommends a strict bedtime routine (bathing, cuddling, lights out) to teach your baby to associate these activities with sleep time. Gina also tells parents to limit day-time naps and wake your baby up if necessary. While she has strong supporters, Gina has equally ardent critics, who equate her approach to animal training techniques.

Also an advocate of the “Controlled Crying Technique” in some cases, Jo Frost, known as the Supernanny, believes that establishing a family routine is essential. But she says, “Every routine is different. That's because every family is different and has different needs. It's not a one-size-fits-all.” She explains that “the main purpose of a routine is to give structure and shape to the day and make life easier.” But she adds that routines “should still be flexible enough so you can tweak them here and there when you need to.”

Different Strokes for Different Folks [more...]

article first published in Your Baby magazine,