Since I've started Baby Planner SG, I've been journeying with many new parents through offering Private Prenatal Classes. The classes have helped these new parents grow with their confidence of getting ready for their newborn to join the family, especially by ensuring they know exactly which areas of their house to do which activities with baby, and buying the right items to ensure they will be most comfortable.
However, usually, the toughest time hits everyone the first days baby is back with you from the hospital. Even with a confinement nanny's help, many struggle to figure out how to establish a routine that works comfortably for baby and parents. In fact, many do not even think about establishing routines at all, because one thing just keeps happening after another and you find yourself just reacting to whatever the need at the moment seems to be.
While some parents find being "led" by baby quite an interesting learning journey and enjoy the moments, many find it rather frustrating not to be able to predict what their days and next days will be like. In fact, some parents feel almost trapped by the obligations of this new lifestyle and resentment builds. This is the beginning of post-natal depression.
While every baby is different and every family is different, this is general routine for the first 2 weeks I think might work for most families:
|Wake baby, feed from both breasts if latching (if bottle-feeding, 30-45ml would probably keep baby full for 3hours). As baby is still very young, chances, are, baby keeps falling asleep at the breast, and/or does not latch well. You probably will spend quite a long time trying to keep baby awake and maintaining a good latch.
|By this time, allow baby to sleep, or if you think baby really hasn't drunk enough milk to last till 10am, top up 15-30ml in a bottle which baby can suck in a drowsy state before swaddling baby tightly to sleep. You can now have breakfast and rest before baby's next feed at 10am. Alternatively, I try to arrange for my post-natal massage to be done just before 9am before baby wakes.
|Unswaddle baby to allow natural waking. As baby is stretching to wake up, prep a large bowl of warm water, a soft cloth, a clean set of “day” clothes, a new piece of diaper and moisturizer.
|Give your baby's face and body a warm wipedown. Moisturise your baby all over, change the diaper and put on the set of "day" clothes.
|Feed from both breasts if latching. Again, you might spend a long time keeping baby awake and getting a good latch.
|By this time, allow baby to sleep, or if you think baby really hasn't drunk enough milk to last till 1pm, top up 15-30ml in a bottle which baby can suck in a drowsy state before swaddling baby tightly to sleep. You can now have lunch and rest before baby's next feed at 1pm. If you dont think baby has been drinking much from your breasts all morning, pump till both breasts are empty before you have lunch.
|Unswaddle baby to allow natural waking.
|Change baby's diaper, then feed from both breasts if latching. Again, you this will take quite a long time as you continue to work on getting a good latch and/or keep baby awake.
|By this time, allow baby to sleep, or if you think baby really hasn't drunk enough milk to last till 10am, top up 15-30ml in a bottle which baby can suck in a drowsy state before swaddling baby tightly to sleep. You can now have a good rest before baby's next feed at 4pm.
|Unswaddle baby to allow natural waking.
|Feed one breast and a bit of the second breasts if latching. Again, you might spend a long time keeping baby awake and getting a good latch. If baby is happy after one breast, stop and play with baby for a short while.
|Fill half the baby bathtub with warm water and give baby a bath. Moisturise baby everywhere and change into pajamas after.
|Feed baby the second breast.
|By this time, allow baby to sleep. If you think baby really hasn't drunk enough milk to last till 7-8pm, top up 15-30ml in a bottle which baby can suck in a drowsy state before swaddling baby tightly to sleep. You can now have a good rest (or pick your older kid up from preschool!) and dinner before baby's next feed at 7-8pm.
|Unswaddle baby by 7.45pm if baby has not woken naturally by then. Feed from both breasts if latching.
|Unswaddle baby, change the diaper and then feed from both breasts if latching, from a darkened room with no eye contact. If baby keeps falling asleep without latching properly, consider whether you want to bottle feed 30-60ml instead and then swaddle baby tightly and you can all go to bed early. If so, after feeding the baby (or while daddy/someone else feeds the baby), pump till both breasts and empty and then head to bed.
|If baby has not woken you up for a feed yet, wake up to pump both breasts until empty. If baby had and you had latched on both breasts, you can skip this pump. Or if baby wake up immediately after this so you can't latch, bottle feed baby 30-60ml in a darkened room and without eye contact, swaddle baby back tight and go to sleep.
And the day repeats the next day!
The milk volume range given above depends on what age the baby is as their tummies expand a lot in the first 2 weeks!
In the second week, you might find this routine does not work as well any more, partly 'cos baby has regained the birth weight and is ready to switch to a little more varied feeding (besides 3hourly) and/or a little more awake time during the day. For example, baby may keep waking up in the middle of the naps. You will need to establish whether this is really due to hunger, or some other reason, eg. baby has pooped, baby is feeling too hot/cold, etc.
I'll post more about identifying the signs on whether it is genuine hunger, and/or what you might be able to do to keep baby distracted/sent back to nap during those times in separate post. I'll also share what the schedule for Weeks 2-3 could look like in another post! Hope this one has been helpful!