One of the best things when it comes to parenting, and it will become your absolute best friend, is routines. Everyone's baby is different, so everyone's routine will differ, but there are a few things that i would highly recommend you implement to your routines, whether it be night or day routines.
Early Life Routines
When it came to my son's typical daily routine, it took me quite some time to work out what best suited him. Routines are all about trial and error, and working out what suits your baby and you. For my son, he was very textbook to begin with; hungry every three hours, acquiring sleep every two to three hours, awake for one to two hours, very short attention span. This of course was during his first few months of life, where newborns are typically rather repetitive, you know, eat sleep, cry, poop, repeat. So the routines you develop during this time of your baby's life is more so going to be centered around their demands and what they need, more than developing a sense of organisation and routine. This is different for everyone, but this is how it was for me. The first few weeks/months of baby's life i devoted to working out baby's ticks, fusses, likes and needs. Once i worked out every little thing i was then able to work out a decent routine that was suited around my baby.
Things to Remember About Routines
There are a couple of things that i would highly recommend to keep in mind when developing and maintaining your routine.
Timing: a few people would probably argue with this, but timing is what i found pretty important with a baby like mine. I stuck to a very strictly timed schedule as i found my son responded the best to timed feeds, naps and wake times. Timing can be difficult to maintain during leap days, or teething moments, but timing can make things so much easier in the long run. It helped to get my baby used to routine early on, and i could then adjust times as i deemed reasonable or necessary.
Pickup and Cuddling: This is where i will get a lot of people arguing with me. I kept my baby cuddles and pickups to a minimum. I know that this may seem bad, but for me and for my child, this was a good thing. I still gave him the love and attention he needed. I picked him up if he needed to be cuddled (if he were in pain, or overtired etc.) and i still cuddled him before bed, and we had designated pickup and cuddle times, but outside those times, if my baby wasn't needing to be picked up or cuddled i wouldn't do it. If i knew my baby was crying for attention, but didn't necessarily need to be picked up, i would; sit with him, give him a gentle pat on the tummy or a bounce in his bouncer to remind him that i am still there, and that he didn't need to be in my arms to feel comfort i could still comfort him without that. I know this can be argued a lot by other mum's, and that's okay. Everyone's parenting choices are different, and every mum should feel free to make their own choice's free of judgement. If you want to cuddle bub lots, do that, if you want to take my approach, do that, you are free to do so. Your baby won't be mad or upset with your parenting choices, they will adapt to whatever you choose. I found that my approach to cuddling helped with our night-time routine. This of course isn't for everyone, but for me it was very helpful, and i do encourage mum's to give it a go and see if it works for them.
Consistency: this is something i would 100% stand by. Consistency is the most important thing when developing and maintaining a routine for a baby. A baby may be flexible, but if you don't maintain a routine consistently by doing your routine ever day or night, then a baby won't grow accustomed to what you want them to do. Sticking to the same routine will help your baby understand how the day works, or how night times work. With day routines, being consistent can help your day flow heaps better. Plus it gives you the opportunity to have your baby work around your schedule rather than working your schedule around them. Going solely off my experience, my baby adapted to the routine i had set after about a week and a half, and i was able to take control of my own routine. Having my baby set to a decent routine i was able to do my chores, cook and keep the house maintained in between the baby's feeds.
After the Newborn Phase (3-6 months)
After the newborn phase is when the real routine development can begin or at least that's how it was for me. To begin with i developed a daytime routine that i knew would work for my baby's needs. At about three months old my son was ready for a strict routine. We had worked out his ticks for when he was hungry, tired, bored etc. and with that knowledge, i developed a daily and nightly routine that best suited to him and it went like this.
Morning time anywhere between 6 and 7:30 was when he decided he wanted to wake up for the day. Typically we would have his morning bottle, change of nappy, changed out of PJ's and then we would have a bit of a cuddle and a play in mummy and daddy's room. Then it was time for our day to begin. I would take baby out of the room and into his toy room, where he played. He would have tummy time on his sensory mat with rattles and some colorful toys this would last anywhere from half an hour to forty five minutes depending on his mood. He would then go underneath his play gym with his dangling toys for about fifteen minutes. After that we moved into the lounge room, as he was active for a good hour or more, i'd let him lay in the bouncer and watch ABC Kids TV. After being in the bouncer for a while i would give him his next feed and he would fall asleep. I was able to do some housework whilst he watched TV and while he slept.
After his nap which usually lasted about an hour, he would have some more tummy time, and then jumper time (He went into his jumper at about four and a half months when he could hold his head properly and was starting to get the basics of sitting up). After Jumper time would be time for another feed and a short amount of TV time before a nap. During his nap i was able to cook dinner, and do other chores if i hadn't completed them already. The afternoon was some play time again in his toy room under his play gym and then a bit of TV. Daddy would usually be home by now and he would get some cuddles in before our son's night time routine would begin. And that would conclude our daytime routine. We were very consistent with this routine when i was home. When i was out he got extra visual time depending on where i was, and almost no TV, but we still stuck to the same eating and napping schedule.
From 3-6 months we kept to relatively the same routine. His eating schedule changed as he started solids and became more active. he was sitting up on his own by five months and crawling by six, so his schedule was adapted to suit that, but only very small amounts.
Night Time Routine
Our son's night time routine we were extra strict on as we found that it helped him to sleep longer stretches during the night until he learnt how to sleep through. His night routine before bed went like this; he would start off with a bath in the afternoon around 5pm or 5:30pm. His bath would be warm with night wash in it as well as Vitamin E wash as he had eczema. After he was washed and cleaned, we would dress him in his pyjamas, put on his nappy rash cream, moisturise him with night time moisturising baby lotion, and comb his hair with night time baby oil. He would then snuggle up with daddy or mummy on the lounge for about thirty minutes. Then it was time for a night bottle and a gentle bounce in his bouncer and he would typically fall asleep in the bouncer, to which i would then transfer him to his porta cot with his Riff Raff for the night which was by about 7:15pm. His first wake up would typically occur after about 6 hours of sleep.
His routine changed as he got older and more active. Now that he was crawling, i was able to leave him in his toy room without massive amounts of supervision as he could get around well and played with his toys on his own. So his routines from then on were much simpler. Morning time when he woke, was breakfast, then playtime, then bottle, then nap. Once he woke from his nap it was lunch time, more play time, then bottle, then short afternoon nap. Once he woke from his afternoon nap it was Daddy and TV time and that usually concluded our daytime routine. Our night time routine was the same as beforehand, only we added a meal for bath which was now at 6pm, and baby went down to sleep in his cot with a bottle and his Riff Raff at 7:30pm, instead of bouncer time.
Daily routines are super flexible for us by this point. Our son spends most of his time walking or running around the house, playing with his toys and watching TV. We stick to breakfast lunch and dinner, and he only gets a bottle to nap. He naps once a day for about an hour to hour and a half just before lunchtime. His night routines are the same as 6 months+ we haven't needed to change them, as the consistency has helped him to sleep through the night from about 9 months on wards.
Our routines have helped me to stay sane really, and it has also helped our son to develop a sense of organisation. Anytime i have had a hard time with him, whether it be from leaps or teething, i can adjust my routines to suit whatever issue we are having at the time. Routines are a real saving grace, for me i found it helped me get control of my housework and cooking and i no longer felt like i couldn't do what i needed to do. Being able to get my child into a routine just made it all the much easier, especially when going out, as i knew exactly what i needed, when i'd need to feed and when he'd need a nap etc. As he got older routines became easier as he could adapt to almost anything by that point. My approaches obviously won't work for everyone, but i would strongly urge you to start your baby on a routine nice and early, it may just help you in the long run