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Put a new baby on a schedule or not?

My due date is February 18th and I plan on breastfeeding. So, I'm trying to think ahead to the next step and have come across the debate of whether or not to start the baby on a schedule or just let the baby dictate what she wants.

What are your thoughts?

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Asked by chambersjenn at 7:02 AM on Jan. 21, 2010 in Babies (0-12 months)

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Answers (10)
  • I'm a schedule person. For me, it just made things easier to know what to expect. At the hospital, they put all 4 of my kids on a 3 hour breastfeeding schedule so when I came home I just continued that pattern. After a week or so, I started letting him sleep as long as he would at night, but still waking him up every 3 hours during the day - it helped him figure out his days/nights and start taking his long naps at night. All 4 of my kids were sleeping through the night (8 or more hours) by 2 months.
    That's not to say that if my baby seemed hungrier sooner than 3 hours that I wouldn't feed them, but I tried to stick pretty close to the schedule. It helped me as far as running errands and planning appointments as well, because I knew what time(s) they would be eating and when they wouldn't. I also think that all children plan to do best when they have a routine and consistency.

    Answer by missanc at 7:17 AM on Jan. 21, 2010

  • I think a schedule works better, but be prepared that little babies don't know the schedule and they will wake up at odd times. Sometimes they have a different idea about when they will sleep, too, but you can still keep the schedule as closesly as you can.

    Answer by NannyB. at 8:27 AM on Jan. 21, 2010

  • We attempted somewhat of a schedule since they had him on one when he was in the NICU for a week. However, it just didn't seem right once we got him home. When baby is hungry, feed him. If baby skips a meal, he obviously doesn't want to eat at that moment. It was tough at first, but trying to schedule was tougher since you'd have to deal with waking him up to feed him (causing fussiness) as well as dealing with him crying for food off-schedule & trying to wait it out (which we'd only try to soothe him for about 10min before giving in & feeding him anyways). Eventually though he put himself on his own schedule...around 8wks he was eating at regular intervals, but we had to wait for HIM to do it. I feel this was the right way to go about it, even though it was tough, it was worth it. Scheduling just doesn't seem right, especially for BFing since they'll want to eat every hour or two anyways (unlike FFing which is every 3-4hrs).

    Answer by WannabeMommy87 at 8:27 AM on Jan. 21, 2010

  • I really think if you're planning on breastfeeding, it's best to just nurse on demand for several reasons. one, it will really help build your milk supply. also, baby is going to want to nurse for comfort, as well as food. and then there's those fun cluster feedings during all the growth spurts. i really would suggest ignoring a schedule for a while - like WannabeMommy said, baby will work out his/her own schedule...just lay in bed with your new baby & nurse whenever he/she wants to.

    Answer by Wheepingchree at 8:48 AM on Jan. 21, 2010

  • great book on breastfeeding -- "Nursing Your Baby" by Karen Pryor.

    It talks about scheduling and on-demand feeding and how to keep up your supply. It's very good about schedule suggestions for mothers returning to work.

    Answer by ecodani at 9:46 AM on Jan. 21, 2010

  • Let sleeping babies lie.
    Feed newborns when they are hungry.

    Answer by rkoloms at 10:05 AM on Jan. 21, 2010

  • my daughter is one month old and i keep her on a schedule she does great on it, but if she skips a feeding or gets hungry before the next scheduled feeding i feed her usually she gets hungry within a hour of when she is supposed to. also just a tip if u keep the baby up for a hour or so after feeding them it helps with their digestion and they sleep way better. i pretty much let my daughter tell me her schedule then just tweaked it a little here and there and now she sleeps like 4-5 hours at night solid. good luck and congrats.

    Answer by SouthTxPrincess at 11:39 AM on Jan. 21, 2010

  • depends on how rigid you'll be about the schedule. I have seen women hold their one month old baby that everyone in the room knew was hungry, including her, and have her say "well, she's not supposed to eat for another hour." That's just cruel.

    Answer by whiteroses82 at 12:20 PM on Jan. 21, 2010

  • No scheduling for a breastfed newborn! You need to feed them at any signs of hunger, even if it is 10 minutes after they just ate. This is how baby makes sure you make enough milk. Please read Does My Baby Need to Be on a Schedule?

    If well-meaning friends or relatives pressure you to "put that baby on a schedule," think about whether the schedule truly meets your baby's needs or if it's meant to please other adults.


    Answer by maggiemom2000 at 12:21 PM on Jan. 21, 2010

  • Scheduling a breastfed baby is an invitation to failure to thrive. Toss your clocks and nurse on demand.

    ROUTINES are fine. But no "every two hours" or "one side for 15 minutes then the other." Nurse as often as baby wants, as long as baby wants. Following this will help baby start stretching the feedings out and setting a schedule on her own faster.

    Answer by gdiamante at 3:06 PM on Jan. 21, 2010

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