You won't hear many doula's say that!
It's not something I prescribe to mums, it's not something I ever bring up in conversation, but you'll be amazed how many times mums bring it up with me.
I've noticed during my time as a mother, and as a postpartum doula, that different cultures certainly have different views about schedules, and Gina Ford in particular. So much so that back in 2018, and before I was a doula, I was wrote an article for BAMBI Bangkok about why I chose to have a routine for my new life with my daughter and husband.
Read it here: I Confess, I'm a Gina Ford Mum
But has it shaped me as a postpartum doula? No, not in the sense that I prescribe schedules to new families, but it has given me tools to discuss with parents that openly express a desire to have some routine in their life. Having a baby is chaotic, there is no avoiding that fact, but that isn't always an acceptable conclusion for some parents. For some parents some order, out of the chaos, simply has to occur for the sake of their own mental health and relationships, and that is when I use my additional experience and skills to help new parents identify what aspect of a routine is most important to them.
As I have grown as a mother, and gained experience as a postpartum doula, I now clearly see the difference between schedules and routines. Routine's need to come first, you can't even begin to consider a schedule until you've mastered the thought process of a routine.
A routine is about identifying what is important to you, think of it almost as ritual's for your family. For some people that could be mum and dad spending the evenings together, adult time, or the whole family eating together, or bath time being a key moment of the day. Whatever you want your family ritual to be, that is the place to start.
Always remembering - DO TOUGH THINGS ARE EASY TIMES - never ever try to implement something new at a time of day when you, or the baby, is tired and cranky. So start with rituals and routines that are at easy times of the day.
Routine's are not for everyone. As a trained postpartum doula I would never prescribe one, it's something that a family needs to decide. Of course I have some tricks up my sleeve to help families that want to have a routine, and I fully support them if they do, but it's only a small part of how parents need support during their postpartum journey.
Understanding why a family wants a routine, actively listening to the reasons and rationales enable me as a postpartum doula to draw out key aspects of a routine and help a family start with very small steps - no "cry it out" on my watch!!!
Choosing if, when and how to start a routine sometimes feels like a big decision, especially if those around you are judgmental about it. But please know that you are not alone.
At Empowa Kathy, the Founder, reviews many many routines and schedules and has a knack for picking out aspects that can work for families if they need some order out of the chaos, so don't be afraid to ask for support or advice.
It doesn't have to be all or nothing!
It's your family, do it your way!
Schedule or no schedule
Routine or no routine
Do it your way!
For guidance on implementing routines and what to look out for please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or +65 9295 1035
Learn more about BAMBI here