Year One – Post 7 | Baby Schedule?
To schedule or not to schedule is a major controversy. I have some suggestions that may help you to decide what works for you. Every baby and parent is unique. A word you will need to understand is “compromise.” You have a “little voice” that helps guide your schedule. Knowing a schedule and what to expect is a good start and then you can modify it to suit everyone’s needs.
A suggested schedule would be: feed, diaper and burp every three hours beginning at 6 a.m. This means if you are nursing, you may have to be in an area where you are comfortable at the time you should be feeding. If you pump your breasts and your baby takes a bottle, you need to plan for this schedule change. This means pumping extra milk at every feeding until you have two or three ounces. Some women can pump in between feedings or later in the evening. It is not as hard as it sounds. If you will be leaving the house, you will need to pack a diaper bag with all the essentials. So, if you start with the 6 a.m., 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., 9 p.m., midnight, and 3 a.m. schedule, you need to know when to address your own needs in between the feedings.
If more than one caregiver is involved, a schedule is a good idea because then everyone is on the same page about the baby’s care. Even if you stay on a schedule, you will have to adjust for illnesses (both you and baby), baby’s growth spurts, work schedule changes, vacations, etc. Some babies like to know what is going to happen next in their life and therefore they are more secure with a schedule. Some babies don’t care. You will have to decide what works for your own baby.
If this is your first baby or you have multiple births, I recommend starting with a schedule. A book by Gary Ezzo, On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep, has been very helpful to some parents. Other books that may be useful are: The Baby Whisperer Solves all Your Problems by Tracy Hogg or The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer by Harvey Karp. Read about different strategies and try what works best for you and your baby.
– Kathryn Thorson Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series