Guest Post from: Tune In Start Early – Babies and our Routines

Babies have a natural and sensible aversion to systems and processes. Their view of the world right now is the complete opposite of routine. Babies think, “Oh wow, let’s explore everything and deal with each new experience right as it comes.” Notice how we can distract a baby with 5 things at once? Its because they are easily distracted, they have no idea what to focus on and in our crazy world with so much information flying at us from all these different sources, it is no wonder that babies are often confused about their surroundings and the people in them. When babies do get used to something, be it a shiny spoon or a piece of hair on the floor. We adults come in and shatter that experience when we take them away from it and place them into any process or system. Our lives are built on routine. It makes sense that we expect baby to adjust to that routine. How we handle that transition is the only thing we are discussing.

They need to learn to eat a certain way. For instance, they’re either breastfed or fed from a bottle. When they’re older, they get strapped into a high chair. Food arrives at their mouth on a spoon. Its a routine they will need to learn.

They need to adjust to the process of changing diapers, which involves lying down, having their clothes partially or fully removed, getting cleaned up, and receiving a new diaper.

Whatever the process or routine is that we want them to learn, remember that as we start this learning process, we just took them out of that pleasant, fun, completely brand new-world experience they were having, which is essentially being a brand new human being and we stick them into systems and processes, which they don’t expect and obviously don’t like. “Why are you changing my diaper now?” our babies wonder. “I was enjoying the shiny smooth spoon!” “Why am I no longer enjoying whatever it is I was just enjoying? How did I get to this new place? What are you doing & what is happening?” That is the basic thought process we are dealing with as parents.

Our job is to understand what our babies are experiencing. If we do that right, we’ll make the adoption of a new process, system or routine a little easier for our babies to handle. The more we adjust ourselves to a baby’s view of the world, the more benefits we receive in a happier, much less annoyed baby.

Babies just want to play with the food we’re putting in their mouths. Hey, this stuff is cool and weird. Looks strange, I am tasting this thing for the first time, and still, the biggest question, What Is This Thing I am Chewing On?? These will always be the biggest questions on a babies mind. They don’t know that we are expecting them to respond to the system we are placing them in. They don’t know they need to sit quietly, eating and forgetting about all the wonders they are seeing and tasting for the first time.

We want them to adjust to us. We bring that entire system of thought over to baby virtually on day one.
It’s unavoidable; we have to do it. After all, babies must integrate into our processes and begin to learn that they need to follow rules as well.

So, for example, when babies are tired, they are extra fussy. If we ignore this, our whole process of putting baby to bed will be much more difficult than it needs to be. Instead, we need to understand how normal it is for baby to be fussy at bed time. Your little munchkin is tired and doesn’t know what to do with their tired body & droopy mind. Baby has no idea how to relax itself yet and set the stage for a restful sleep. It’s a process they need to learn and we are the ones who will teach it. We know that baby has to learn this bedtime routine. So help the baby with what you know.
That help will only come from us, and they completely rely on us and us only to set the stage for this process to occur more easily.

The main thing to grasp here is that a baby is not used to any process yet. Yes, they have to adjust to it, but we can make that adjustment easier on them. The easier it is on them, the easier our life as parents become. Much less fuss from baby equals a ten times more happier parent. Happier parents feel more normal & there is no better result than feeling even a little bit more normal at the end of the day or in the middle of the night.

That brings us back to an earlier post about moving more slowly from one environment to another with your baby to allow your baby to process what is going on a little bit better. (link)

Start adding up all these small moments of extra breathing room and less insanity with your baby. The more you do this, the better stage you are setting for more relaxed moments with your baby. Everything gets easier when the baby is in a more relaxed state. Help baby get there.

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