- Family and Parenting
Putting Your Baby on a Schedule..Get Some Sleep
Getting It Together
Setting your baby on a schedule is a highly personal choice. When you decide that you are ready to put your little one on a schedule you should decide what they need (age depending) and what you need (schedule depending). I have 3 young children. The older 2 were set on a schedule around 6 months. The youngest is just now hitting this age so I am letting the scheduling begin. Around 6 months MOST babies are in some type of sleep/wake/play pattern. It is important to remember that all children are different (at least that is what I was told a hundred times when I have my 3rd/very difficult child). Most babies no longer need to feed at night around 6 months which is a beautiful thing.
To begin scheduling your baby you should watch their sleep wake pattern. See what time they are naturally tired. Take notes on what time they want to eat and how long they stay awake before they are sleepy again. Once you have all of this written down for about one week you can create a schedule that will work for you baby and yourself. Babies need to sleep and working around their sleep schedule usually work best. Keeping in mind that not every day will run by the clock you set is also crucial when you are scheduling your little peanut. I have always had a problem with remembering that.
Once you have decided what you want your schedule to look like you can start the process. Start the process. It is a long process for most people myself included. I do not have any quick tips for scheduling a baby because I felt that taking a slow approach would work better for our lifestyle. If you will be moving your child’s naptimes you can start this by waking them up a half hour earlier than they would normally wake. Do this for the first week and when they are used to that you can wake them up another half hour early as needed.
On the flip side of waking them up earlier you should also be laying them down about ½ hour earlier to move their naps. You do not want a cranky sleepy baby when you are trying to get them on a schedule. Making sure they are getting enough sleep is also a big part to making this process successful. You want to be sure they are taking long enough naps to get them into a routine pattern.
Feeding should also be on a loose schedule. Feed your baby when they are hungry no need to keep the bottle away because the clock doesn’t say it’s time to eat yet! Most feeding time should be on a routine schedule though so baby is not waking up during their naps starving and feeding should be part of the routine for your baby. Babies love routine when they are really given one (at least everyone I know does and I know a lot of babies). Being very consistent and having patience during the scheduling process is a key to making it work with minimal resistance.
Bedtimes should also be routine. It helps baby to have a sleepy time routine that is different from their nap routine, not drastically different though. If your naptime routine is a bottle and a hug then lay them down bedtime should have some additional steps so that little baby of yours knows it’s time to sleep for that extended period of time. A nice routine that we use is bath time, book, family prayer, and bottle with cuddles. This has helped our children from the time they were 6 months old until now. The routine is a little different. We have added family prayer and done away with bottles for them but it’s the same basic routine.
I know you have heard most of these tips before but I wanted to share what I know to be true. Keeping a routine for children is important for them and for your family. Routines make everyone much happier in the long run. Knowing what to expect on a constant basis help to keep children secure and gives them an understanding of the world around them.