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How do we get on a schedule?

Alright -

I'm new at this motherhood thing. I'm college educated, speak more than one language and do my own taxes. But I know nothing and can find no good sources on scheduling.

I have a two month old, breastfed son who basically has me at his mercy. I read that he should be taking at least two big naps a day, but we're so far hit and miss there. I know he needs to sleep and it's not for lack of trying that we fail. I keep thinking that if we had a schedule things would go much more smoothly. But how does one impose such a thing. It isn't as though if he's hungry and crying I'm not going to feed him. Can we nudge him into napping and feeding at roughly the same time every day?

Advice on what a schedule would look like and how to get us there would be welcome.

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Asked by seabass11 at 10:32 PM on Mar. 21, 2010 in Babies (0-12 months)

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Answers (8)
  • Honestly, you don't. I am a believer in working with a baby's natural patterns. Babies can't read the books :)
    Sleep patterns change a lot in the first year and don't really settle until age three or four. BAbies know when they are tired and it is easier to work WITH their natural pattern than to impose one.

    For example, my baby goes to bed at 10 pm for "night time" used to be nine, but because of the time change it is ten. Instead of making her change her schedule I just work with it. After all, she's still technically tired at the same time! She wakes every four hours to feed / change. She has a 10AM nap, a mid afternoon nap, and a late afternoon nap. I can't tell you how long they are. When she's done sleeping she wakes up. LOL.

    She is six months old now and we breastfeed. I don't "make" her sleep and she's well rested.

    Answer by amileegirl at 10:39 PM on Mar. 21, 2010

  • With breastfeeding, you really can't schedule so to speak. When bottling yes, you can nudge. But, you need to feed on demand until the baby shows you her schedule. Just pay attention to about when she eats and about when she sleeps, then you will see a pattern start to emerge.

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 10:42 PM on Mar. 21, 2010

  • She has her own personal pattern. Some people will disagree with me. But, frankly imposing a schedule is more trouble thatn its worth. It's stressful for both of you and you end up with situations where you want to go out at 1:00pm but can't because little JohnJohn has a meltdown if the routine nap is skipped or missed. I'd rather my baby be comfortable sleeping when she's tired anytime, anywhere, or will at least be able to put off a nap if we happen to be out.

    I guess some would say I'm "at the baby's mercy" but to me I am supposed to be at her mercy until she's able to do things without me. I actually have embraced her pattern and I take the time to rest myself, or read, or putter on the computer. These moments are so short lived. But that's just my philosophy.

    Answer by amileegirl at 10:43 PM on Mar. 21, 2010

  • Well, I think that naturally he is going to make his own schedule. Whoever said that babies should take two long naps per day probably didn't have any children! HA! My boys DID do that, but NOT my daughter. she only ever nursed for 5 minutes on each side every 3 hours since birth (not long/frequent enough according to all the "recommendations") AND only ever took one nap a day (except when she was a newborn up until a few weeks of age). He will settle into his own routine. I bet there are some things that he is already doing on a schedule. There ARE certain things that you can set up though. For example, when he shows signs of sleepiness, take him into a quiet dark room, play some white noise (e.g. fan, soft music, etc.) and nurse and rock. Do this at bedtime too so he associates it with sleep time. Be consistent and follow his cues. His biological clock is only starting to learn how to tick =]

    Answer by threeeunder3 at 10:45 PM on Mar. 21, 2010

  • Like the others have said, I've pretty much let my daughter set her schedule. I'm not all for strict schedules anyway. I also BF and I BF on demand, so there isn't really much of a schedule there. As far as sleeping, she goes to bed between 8:30 and 9, earlier if she seems really sleepy. Gets up around 4:30 to eat, back to sleep until about 7-7:30 when she starts babbling really loud. She sleeps in her crib at the foot of our bed so at that time, I will bring her into our bed and nurse her and she'll usually go back to sleep for another hour, sometimes two if I'm really lucky. Then I put her down for naps when she starts to fall sleep during one of her feedings. Usually about 2 or 3 hours after waking and then again two or three hours after waking from the first nap. Sometimes she just does one long nap if we are out running errands. She's 7 months old, so at 2 months, her sleeping patterns were a bit different.

    Answer by Christina807 at 11:05 PM on Mar. 21, 2010

  • He is still too young to be on a schedule. It will be a lot easier for both of you if you stop trying to think about what he "should" be doing, and go with what he is doing. Where does it say he "should" be taking two good naps a day? I'm sure he falls asleep while nursing a few times a day and gets some naps right? My breastfed babies have always napped when they fell asleep while nursing. When they finally let go, if I could put them down to sleep longer then I would. Sometimes it would work and sometimes it would not. Many naps in those first 6 months took place in my arms, in the moby wrap or sling, or in the swing.

    Answer by maggiemom2000 at 11:11 PM on Mar. 21, 2010

  • My son at that age set his own schedule...eventually you will get the hang of everything. Its hard at first.

    Answer by leann74016 at 11:11 PM on Mar. 21, 2010

  • With my son, since the day we brought him home, we do the exact same thing every night at the exact same time. This goes on everyday all day. But it is so worth it. I know he will get cranky around 2 pm and 7 pm, then it is off to bed. It has its bad times, like when you have a sitter and you want to stay out later than 7:30, but in the long run it is SO worth it. All I can suggest is repetition! and good luck!

    Answer by Afrontz at 11:14 PM on Mar. 21, 2010

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