A Guide To Newborn Routines (with Free Printables)

4 min read
A Guide To Newborn Routines (with Free Printables)

Routines are important to mums. It helps us keep stability in our lives, allows time for other household tasks and makes it easy when other people are caring for our baby.

In saying that, getting your baby into a routine can be easier said than done “” especially in the early days.

If you’ve got a newborn, forget routines and just go with the flow for now. Babies don’t usually start cueing into rhythms until about 3 months of age.

At 3 months, you’ll notice that your baby has some sort of routine throughout the day and at about 6 months, they’ll get into a routine for sleeping at night. However, a daytime routine won’t really stick for most babies around 9 months of age.

Newborn babies will have very limited activities. They will essentially sleep, feed, be awake for a very short period of time where you will need to change them, may bathe them or have a play or a cuddle with them before they need to go back to sleep. While the order will vary depending on what works for you, many mothers swear by the sleep, feed, and play routine. Newborns may go through this routine every 2 to 4 hours (sleep for 3 hours, feed for ½ hour, play for ½ hour, sleep again)

But beware, just when you get used to baby’s schedule, it will change.

There are some pretty awesome things that happen with baby’s schedule as she/he becomes older. Baby will get used to the routine and better stick to it. And they’ll probably become more adaptable, so you’ll be able to tweak it a bit””maybe even skip that late afternoon nap and head to the park once in a while.

But, we hate to break it to you, just when you two seem to have the whole schedule thing nailed down, baby might decide to make a big change. They might decide to be done with that late afternoon nap, and there’ll not be too much you can do about it!

Don’t make these common mistakes:

1. Distinguish Hunger from Overtiredness

One of the common problems that new parents have is that their new baby always seems hungry. It is impossible to over feed a newborn baby but they may be experiencing more wind and tummy pains than necessary if the feeds are too close together. Babies may act hungry, sucking on their hands and turning towards your breasts, when they are tired. Try to spread the feeds out by 2 hours or more if you can.

2. Don’t keep baby up too long

If baby’s under 6 months old, within two hours of waking, your baby should be asleep again. Some parents don’t realise when their baby is overtired. They may show it if they seem to have gotten enough sleep but are cranky when awake.

3. Going the opposite of baby’s natural rhythm

If your baby has a very irregular routine, and you try to put them on a regular schedule, it’s not going to work”¦some babies will be fine, but others have a stress reaction and the whole routine gets completely lost. You may have to use some trial and error to see what works for your child.

4. Pulling a sudden switcheroo.

Slight changes in routine won’t affect the baby too much. But a big change in schedules like a missed nap or a delayed feeding may leave you with a really cranky kid. With a schedule, your baby will learn to anticipate the next step, and when that routine gets messed up, they can become very irritable.


Here are some examples of baby routines from one month to one year.

One Month Old

One Month Old | Stay at Home

Four Months Old

Four Months Old | Stay at Home

Nine Months Old

Nine Months Old | Stay at Home

12 Months Old

Twelve Months Old | Stay at Home

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What routine do you follow with your newborn baby?

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About Author

Kate Davies

Senior Journalist & Features Editor. As the modern-day media hunter-gatherer, Journalist Kate Davies is harnessing 10 years in the media to write...Read More engaging and empowering articles for Stay At Home Mum. Her years of experience working in the media both locally and nationally have given her a unique viewpoint and understanding of this dynamic industry. Hailing from a small town in Tasmania and spending many years travelling the world, Kate now calls the Sunshine Coast home alongside her husband and one-year-old son. Read Less

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