A lot of new mums ask me about routines for their babies. By far the most common question I get is about whom should be doing the leading in a routine, the parents or the baby? The quick answer is, both. But it depends on the baby's age.
Take your baby's lead when she's very young. But once you start weaning your baby and she starts to need more stimulation, you'll see more structure in her day. When that happens, notice the times when your baby's more or less active and use those times to your advantage. Work with her body clock. When she's about 6-8 months old you can start to implement proper, timed sleeps.
When it comes to any kind of routine for your baby, you need to bear in mind that you're putting things in place because it's good for your baby, not you. And as she gets older it's not about putting her down to sleep because ‘you need your evening,' it's because your baby needs her sleep. Sleep is crucial for babies' health and development. You want your baby to wake up and get the best out of the next day, because when she does, it's rewarding for her, but also for you.