Most new parents will agree that life is easier when you maintain a baby schedule. When first out of the womb, babies have no sense of when it is time to eat or sleep, and definitely do not sleep through the night. It is up to you as a parent to teach them this. Children thrive when life is predictable and they know what to expect. Lessen the stress in your life by encouraging your baby to be on a baby schedule.
Start putting your baby on a baby schedule by focusing on a bedtime routine. This will eventually teach your baby when it is time to sleep through the night. Start with giving your baby a warm bath in the evening to help him wind down. The bath can be especially relaxing if you use a chamomile and lavender baby wash. Wrap him up with a warm towel when bath time is done.
Massage your baby with baby lotion using gentle pressure. You can learn more about infant massage in the book Loving Hands: The Traditional Art of Baby Massage, written by Frederick Leboyer. Infant massage is known to relax your baby and communicate love and strength between the both of you. Although a massage isn't required to put your baby on a baby schedule, it does improve her sleep habits.
Dress your baby in comfortable bedtime clothing. Eventually your baby will learn to recognize a bath and pajamas as being signs of time to go to sleep. Feed your baby and place him in bed, while still awake, but in the process of drifting off. Make sure this is done close to the same time every night. If you want to move up your baby's bedtime, put him to bed five minutes earlier every three to four days until he is going to bed at the time you want.
When it comes to nap time, put your baby down at the same time, every day. She may not fall asleep right away in the beginning but she will learn to recognize the crib or playpen as a place to sleep. Make sure you give her enough time to relax and fall asleep, even if she fusses a bit.
If your baby is eating at sporadic times throughout the day and night, you can encourage him to get on a regular feeding schedule. This is done by waking him up at the same time, every time, to eat. If he is waking up in the middle of the night to eat, wake him up at the same time the next night as well. This will help regulate his internal clock. If you want to encourage him to start sleeping through the night, push the time back five minutes every couple of days. With time and patience, he will start eating on a regular schedule, making it easier to go out on the town.
As with everything in life, a little flexibility is required. Illnesses, holidays, work and stress may occasionally mess up your baby schedule. As long as it is consistent a majority of the time, your infant will bounce back to the normal baby schedule and life will continue.