washing. A daily flow and routine helps you not to feel snowballed by the unimportant, so that when an important scheduled event arises, you can do it. You stick to your survival needs.
The natural element of sunrise wakes us early for a quiet and unhurried time before breakfast which is ideally suited to your yoga and meditation practise. After breakfast is time for working activities, usually of the most dynamic type. Just before lunch is a good time for Yoga Nidra for those who may have had a bad night's sleep or who feel their energy waning after the morning working period. Ideally, lunch is the main meal of the day, however I know this does not fit well with most households where the workers are absent for lunch. The afternoon, with its waning energy can be used for work again, usually of a less dynamic type than the morning. Late afternoon is a good time to briefly enjoy the closing of the day with a walk in nature, a relaxing read, or even a Yoga Nidra session if time allows and if your energy levels require it. Early evening, rather than later, is time for a light and easily digested meal. Late evening is for recreation before meditation and then bedtime.
Now you might think that is all very fine for yoga renunciates, hippie communes or a full time mother with one child and a couple of house-maids, but I have found that a modern and efficient life can be adapted to a similar routine, allowing for both flexibility and exceptions. The main thing which prohibits these possibilities is the modern mentality of trying to achieve 100 things in each day and the old mother's lament - "I haven't got time to relax". Well, I think if anyone should be afforded the time to relax by jettisoning old attitudes, old neuroses and old anxiety habits it is the mother of a new child.
It is around this basic timetable you and the baby work. Giving a baby a taste of this routine from day one and settling him into it more and more as he grows, you will be amazed at how easily he adapts to nature's cycles with better sleeping and eating routines. Remember that he has been in utero for 9 months and has only been responding to darkness and your body movements. He is now a passive receiver of your lifestyle programming. All humans have in-built lunar and solar cycles which need to synchronise with the natural light cycles to produce a balanced energy pattern and your new baby has only you to look towards in helping these to develop naturally.
The most important element of every day is of course your feeding routine. The key to being able to establish some sort of feeding rhythm is to ensure from the very beginning that he is fed to satisfaction, cuddled to satisfaction, and attended to so that he is warm and dry when returned to bed. Out of these early patterns will grow more complex habits as the baby grows, so remember, it is easier to establish it well in the beginning, than to have to undo and re-establish it later.
Babies love simple rhythms - they need simple rhythms. Feeding routine and general lifestyle routine are symbiotic, in fact I recommend they be made one and the same, neither one a slave to the other but a natural harmony between the two. I work on the system of not having a baby breastfeeding when I am eating or interrupting my meal by having to attend to him. That is not good for my focus nor his. Since I might be preparing meals just before eating them, it is therefore better that he wakes soon after I have finished eating. Since 5 - 7 pm is crazy time in most households, especially with other kids, it is better that he is asleep during that time. To reduce broken sleep, feeding him just before your bedtime and feeding him at a your own wake up time, usually requires only one night feed in between.
In the early months of my last 3 babies' lives I had a set routine that ran somewhat like this:
· 6.00 am early morning feed then back to bed for baby while I did my yoga practices till breakfast at 7.30 am which was made by another household member who also organised the other kids' wakeup, wash and dress. At breakfast I had time to be with my other children, partner and friends.
· Usually around 8.30 - 9.00 the baby would wake. I'd give her the daily bath, massage and a feed. She was back to sleep by mid morning giving me time to do household chores and a Yoga Nidra if necessary before making and eating lunch.
· Lunch was at 12.30 and then soon after the baby was awake again for another feed, kick, company and then back to sleep again.
· In the afternoon I had time to relax with my other children, or if the baby was unsettled take everyone for a walk away from the house.
· I aimed for a good long feed and cuddle time beginning around 4.30 - 5.00 so the baby was definitely asleep by the evening rush and meal time of 6 pm.