Finding a Routine as a Househusband
It may sound like a regimental approach to childcare, but getting a baby to follow a routine will make life far easier for all concerned. There is no need to synchronise watches and start the first feed of the day at 0800 hours, but failure to add a certain amount of structure to the day will let chaos reign and can lead to sleepless nights and constant crying - and that's just the dad!
The good news is that babies love routine and, if given time and left to their own devices, would fall into feeding and sleeping patterns naturally. With a bit of guidance, a baby can slip into a routine quickly and easily, and once a routine is established the baby will enjoy having regular meals and naps.
It's important for parents to be consistent when settling a baby into a routine. Try to keep roughly the same time for the first feed of the day and then the rest will fall into place.
Organisation and RoutineThe order of events should be consistent too - feeding time followed by play time and then nap time. Try to keep each element separate. Never distract a baby with a toy when feeding, for instance, as this can create problems later because the baby will associate feeding with playing.
Bedtime should be about 12 hours after the baby has woken up, so the bedtime routine has to start around an hour earlier. This allows time to bath, dress and feed the baby.
One of the biggest hurdles faced by parents setting up a routine is fighting exhaustion. If a baby is not sleeping well during the night, it can be tempting for parents to take advantage and grab some sleep when the baby takes a nap during the day.
Although this is perfectly understandable, it can lead to problems, especially if the baby sleeps for too long and misses a feed. The baby is then less likely to sleep well the following night and, to the dismay of parents, can fall into a routine that mixes up day and night.
A Fresh StartAllow a week for the routine to fall into place, although it may not take quite that long. If things do begin to slip and it feels as though the routine is falling apart, it is essential not to give up. Instead, just make a fresh start the next morning.
It is important not to let the routine take over. As long as a househusband is properly prepared, there is no reason why he cannot get out and about as usual. There is no need to feel confined to the house for fear of breaking the routine, as the baby can take a nap in a car or a pushchair as long as it is at the allotted time.
The baby can be fed at the usual time too, even if it is in a café or at a park, and it is can be beneficial for both the baby and househusband to have a change of scenery instead of being cooped up. Just make sure to take all the nappies, wipes, creams, bottles and baby milk that are needed for the trip.