Experts disagree about when to start a baby on a schedule.  Some experts believe both the baby and the family will benefit by establishing a schedule as soon as several days after birth.  Other experts assert that establishing a schedule when the baby is two to four month old is more realistic. What experts do agree on is that a schedule helps a baby feel secure.  Schedules help baby to predict what will happen next.

Schedules are not only a safety net for the baby, but a sanity guard for parents.  Schedules allow parents to meet the baby’s needs and the needs of the rest of the family with a minimum of stress.

Where to Start

Whether you plan to implement a schedule in the first weeks or several months after the baby’s birth, parent should begin as soon as possible to chart their baby’s rhythms.  Chart the following:

  • Time baby goes to sleep and for how long,
  • Number of diaper changes,
  • How often you child eats and how much, and
  • Periods when the child is particularly fussy.

Over a period of time ( a week to 10 days),  a pattern develops out of the chaos.   From the pattern , you can begin to loosely construct a schedule.  In the early days that schedule may be more about the parents finding a predictable time to shower or sleep, than beginning to acclimate the baby to a more family -friendly routine.

Baby Schedules in Flux

Baby schedules are always in a state of flux.  As your baby grows and learns more skills, she will also sleep for longer periods and take fewer short naps.  The mistake many parents make is that once the chaos of the first six weeks has passed, they stop charting the baby’s sleeping and eating patterns.  The result is often a schedule that doesn’t match the child’s developmental stage.

 

 

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