I’ve been wanting to write about our routine for a while now as I’m constantly asked how I manage with 5 boys, and honestly I don’t know. There is no magic solution to deal with the madness that occurs on a daily basis in our household, but I have figured out that a routine goes a long way in helping the day stay as stress free as possible. You need to consider though that just because a routine works for us doesn’t mean that it will work for you as not only is every baby/child different so is every family, so what works for us might not work for you.
I start introducing a routine around 6 weeks old, most of the things I mention I have done since bringing them home from the hospital it’s mostly timings which I introduced at the 6 week mark, its nothing over the top and there is absolutely no routine during the day. I would start at 6.30pm with a calm bath, well as calm as it can be as only 1 out of the 5 boys have actually liked the bath at that age, I would put the baby towel on the floor so when I got him out of the bath I could lie him in the towel straight away to keep him warm. Baby massage, I never actually took a class in it but I would gently rub coconut oil (which is a completely natural oil) all over him as it seemed to relax him and also I believe helped us bond which is very important in the early stages. After putting a fresh nappy and babygrow on him I would sit on my bed and feed him to sleep, generally he would fall asleep so I would swaddle him and put him in the Moses basket and he would sleep till around 9.30/10pm which then again I would feed him to sleep. I never switched the main light on but did turn my bedside light on and only spoke softly and quietly as not to fully wake him. At around this age I was still breastfeeding so it was very much demand feeding however I found after a bath was when all of the boys slept the longest, through the night was a different matter but having those 3 hours in the evening was a life saver as it meant I could put the other boys to bed, shower and sort lunches and school uniform out for the next day.
Its easier if I tell you about Jaspers routine at 6 months old as he was my last baby and each of them have been slightly different at this age. By 6 months old Jasper would nap 3 times a day and this is when I started to introduce timings in the day also at this point I started weaning him onto solids. Our day started at 7am with a bottle and around 8am he would have a little bit of porridge, at 8.45 he would nap in his pram whilst doing the school run, I never timed how long he would nap for but I generally worked out when his next nap was due to when his next feed was due (at this point we were formula feeding). Jasper would next have a feed at 11am followed by a nap and again at 3pm followed with his last nap of the day. At 6.30pm we would then start the above bedtime routine minus the swaddling but instead he would sleep in a Grobag, at 10pm I would lift jasper out of the cot and give him a dream feed which is when you feed your baby a bottle or breast whilst they are still asleep I have found this works with both breastfeeding or formula feeding.
At 8 months Jasper went from having 3 naps to only having two naps during the day and was eating 3 meals a day, he also cut out 1 of his day time bottles at this stage.
Our routine was….. 7am Jasper would wake and have a bottle, 8am breakfast, 10am nap time, 11am bottle, 12.30 lunch, 3pm bottle and nap time, 6pm bath, 6.30 was mission run out the last bit of energy he could possibly have left so we would put music on and dance, roll a ball so he could crawl after it or sometimes at this point he was generally tired so we would just have cuddles on the sofa, 7pm bedtime and finally 10pm dream feed.
This is where I’m at now Josh is 11, Owain is 8, kallum is 6, Oliver is 3 and Jasper will be 1 in September. Our routine has changed a bit since the newborn stage as each boy has got that little bit older and more independent, however a lot of it is still the same.
6.30am– This is when Kallum, Oliver and Jasper wake up for the day and Jasper will have his first bottle.
7.30am– Breakfast time for the youngest 3 which will normally be wheetabix, porridge or something along those lines.
8.30am– Josh and Owain will normally wake around this time and there will be no waiting around for breakfast as they keep on reminding me they are growing boys.
Between 8.30 and 9.30 we are getting dressed, doing teeth, finding Oliver’s shoes…as at the moment the boys are on summer holidays, if it was a school day the times would be slightly different as well as our day.
9.30am– Put the lunches under the pram along with juice cups, colouring book plus colouring pencils and head out for the day.
10.00am– Jasper has a bottle and his first nap which can be anything from 1/2 an hour to an hour-long, it really just depends on how long he sleeps for.
12.30- Lunch time, all the boys have lunch at the same time which is generally a sandwich/wrap something along those lines and Jasper will have a sandwich cut up into little squares or a hot meal it really depends on the day.
1.30pm– I will make sure Jasper has a small snack at this point as he will then go down for a nap and I like to think that when he wakes it’s because he has had enough sleep and not because he is hungry. He will sleep (depending on how long he slept at 10am) anything between an hour to 2 hours.
The older boys are allowed to snack throughout the day as they have a lunchbox put together the night before.Jasper also has a little lunchbox which contains a few snacks for him to eat during the day.
5.00pm– Dinner time, nothing really to write about this part…all the boys sit together at the table and either my husband Paul or myself feed Jasper.
6.00pm– This is when we start with the bedtime routine, Jasper and Oliver will bath together and this is when they have heaps of fun covering my bathroom floor with bath water. Next is Oliver and Kallums turn in the tub followed by Josh who is at the age where he prefers to bathe on his own.
6.30pm ish– All 5 boys sit down and have biscuits and milk with a bit of screen time (t.v)
7.00pm– All of the boys are in their beds, this is the time Josh and Owain are allowed there iPad whilst the other 3 have a story which is read in Kallum and Oliver’s room. Then its lights out for the younger 3, Kallum and Oliver have the Grolight in their room which is connected to their ceiling light so it’s not completely dark as this adds a soft glow to the room.
7.15 ish– I sit on my bed whilst holding/cuddling Jasper as he has his bottle, then we have cuddles as he falls asleep which can take about 20 minutes.
10/11.00pm– Jasper has a dream feed, he never wakes whilst having it and will go straight back in his cot asleep which is our room.
I breastfed Kallum till he was 22 months and still had a somewhat routine, nap times during the day werent as timed due to demand feeding but bedtime and the dreamfeed were still included in our routine which worked really well.
When the boys are in bed I use this time to clean the house, do the washing, the ironing of the clothes for the next day, the lunchboxes, shower, watch a movie and generaly spend time with Paul (hubby).
A few people have commented and said if I put the boys to bed a little later they might not get up so early in the morning, but to be honest I prefer having my evenings to be able to have time for Paul and myself rather than having a lie in, because lets face it you can never guarantee the time your little ones will actually wake. I find my boys are better behaved when they have a routine, as when they are overtired this leads to them being irritable with each other which never leads to a good out come for the day.
Thanks for reading x