Q: My mother-in-law is insisting that our three week old is too young for a structured routine. We disagree and have been following a set routine with him, which I feel is going really well. My mother-in-law likes to spend time with her grandson but won't follow this routine and he gets upset. How can I convince her to follow my routine? She feels so strongly about this, I'm starting to feel like I'm wrong. I am a first time mum and am feeling confused about what to do for the best.
A: There are various pieces of research on the issue of routines. Some findings support the use of routines while others are more critical of this type of structure. The use of routines has also varied from generation to generation and, naturally, every parent has their own opinion regardless of the latest research or trends.
At the end of the day, what works for you and your son is the right thing to do. If you feel you are both benefitting from a routine, you certainly should not question yourself. It is true that happy mums lead to happy babies, and if your son is thriving on this type of structure then there is no reason why you shouldn't carry on. Your baby will soon tell you in his own unique style if there is an issue!
With regard to your mother-in-law, you must take this issue up with her. A three week old baby is very hard work and the last thing you need is to feel increasingly frustrated. This can only lead to resentment.
When your son is sleeping, perhaps you could sit down together over a cup of tea and gently make it clear that your son has a routine and gets very upset when he is taken out of it, which is not doing any of you any good.
Alternatively, if you feel that you can't cope with any unnecessary confrontation, could you partner address this issue with her instead? Given that he is her son, he might find it easier and less stressful to have this type of uncomfortable conversation with her.
When it comes to doing what's best, as long as your son is happy, feeding well and gaining weight, then you are clearly doing the right things. New baby is a learning curve, even for an experienced mum, so please do not be hard on yourself. A mother's instinct is a very powerful, accurate device and if you feel your son needs to continue in this structure, just keep going and enjoy watching him thrive.
Do you believe in routines or should nature take its course? What worked best for you? Leave a comment below...