Routines – When Things Don’t Go As Planned… 

So in view of CNY, we kind of expected that Nat’s daily routine would be disrupted so we tried to work around those instances where he would be overstimulated, thereby potentially becoming cranky. Thankfully, things were not too bad! Thus bringing me to reflect on how even when having a daily structure, there still needs to be room for flexibility because things rarely always go according to plan.

Context: Nat is on a ‘eat, wake, sleep’ routine in the daytime until evening and now at week 12, his daily schedule is as such.

  • Daily feeding times happen every 3-3.5hours at 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm,10pm and 3am (+/- 30min), taking in approx. 145ml. We’re hoping to consistently give him 150ml next week so that maybe his between-feed intervals will stretch out from every 3hours to 3.5hours or more? His last 10pm feed was 150ml but sometimes depending on the amount I pump out or time of the day, his intake varies from 125ml to 140ml. 
  • He has also been attuned to having some waketime after his feed for approx. 45min-1hour followed by a nap, usually lasting for 1.5hours before he wakes for his next feed. Sometimes he will wake up after an hour but because he’s not hungry yet, we’ll just leave him alone or engage him a little bit until it is time to eat.

So for CNY, we anticipated that perhaps during visitations, he’ll probably be overstimulated because of the crowd and true enough that happened so certain adjustments had to be made.

Once visitations were over, instead of doing his usual “study routine” during his waketime after his lunch and/or afternoon feed, we let him nap straight away. Technically sleeping right after a feed is supposed to happen only in the evenings but we applied it to the daytime anyway. This way, Nat was able to at least get 2hours of rest before his evening feed. So on both days of CNY, he knocked out in the afternoon (pic below) before the next dinner event.

Another superb way to stick to our routines without making that much adjustment afterwards in the afternoon was having the carrier around! After the initial period of overstimulation and having people carry him, once it was time to nap (usually 45mins after his feed), HJ would strap him in the carrier and that made it quite obvious that it was time for Nat to nap. So yes…even outside in the garden, Nat was able to snooze in the carrier oblivious to everything.

I guess some important lessons for us during these few days can be summed up below:

  1. It is OKAY if routines/schedules don’t go according to plan – what is more crucial is to have some flexibility and ways to work around the disruptions. For example, if there is a lunch event to attend, we’ll let Nat sleep more in the morning as opposed to how we gently wake him around 10am for his bath. Likewise, if the morning had been too overstimulating, we do not stimulate him anymore in the afternoon when we go home but let him nap more because what we dread most is having an overtired baby that can’t sleep even if he wanted to 😦
  2. Have a clear plan i.e. modus operandi and stick to it so for CNY, the plan was to put Nat in the carrier when it was time to nap so that it would send out a clear message that the baby needs to rest. For some of our own family members/closer relatives, we just told them upfront that it was time for baby to nap and they would stop engaging/stimulating him so much. Communication is key. 
  3. It is okay to say ‘NO’ or when in doubt, check with your other half – this applied most to when people wanted to carry Nat. At each house visit, 1-2 people asked if it was okay for them to carry Nat, and we happily let them carry all 6.7kg of him! Thankfully it was no more than just a few people who approached us, if not we would have had to decline or agree but give some perimeters i.e. carrying only for a short while if it is time for him to nap.
  4. Understand that not everyone operates the way we do – esp. when it comes to Nat’s routine. After all, we are the ones that know it best. I felt this was the most important for me to drill in my head because when things don’t go according to plan, I usually tend to get a bit irritated but telling myself this helped in dealing with the frustrations when Nat could not nap because the circumstances did not allow for it. Now even if things don’t go as planned, I’m like “it’s okay… we’ll damage control later” hahaha

– CK

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