I’m a routine-driven person by nature; falling into the same pattern day after day is very easy for me, sometimes to my detriment. Ideally, I would like to wake up at the same time, eat the same breakfast, drink the same coffee, and head out of the house at the same time every day. I like predictability, I like being on time, and I like knowing what is coming next.
So, as you can imagine, having a baby really rocked my world. Gone were the days of predictability and schedule. Gone were the structured days with designated meal, rest, and activity times. Instead, I was thrown into a whirlwind of nursing, napping, changing diapers, and trying my best to keep my eyes open when I was only sleeping in 2-hour stretches. To be honest, I was worried for my sanity; this ever-changing infant in my life could very well be my undoing.
I read everything I could get my hands on about putting baby on a schedule, developing routines, and sorting out mixed up nights and days. But a two month old doesn’t understand the EASY method; if she wanted to nurse, who was I to insist it was ‘activity’ time instead? Little Oats was strongly and resolutely anti-schedule.
So, in an attempt to make sense of my changed world, I let go. I let go of the idea of 2-3-4 nap schedules, of knowing that I could eat lunch at 12:00 on the dot, of being able to predict the next step in my day. And instead of focusing on a strict schedule, I adopted the idea of a general routine.
Hold on, you’re saying. Aren’t schedule and routine just two different words for the same concept? Absolutely not. My idea of a schedule going into this whole parenting thing was exactly that; the day-planner equivalent to mapping out my day with a baby. 7:00am wakeup, 7:30 breakfast, 8:00 playtime, etc. But a routine (especially a loose routine) was more a general idea of how the day would go. So regardless of what time Little Oats woke up in the morning, I knew that we’d start our day off with a long nursing session. I knew that she was happiest in the mid-morning; if we were planning to head out anywhere, that was the time to do it.
A typical day for us around the 3 month mark looked a little something like this: