THAT is the question!
With my first baby, I had questions about EVERYTHING (see this post), and I quickly learned that if you Google anything baby-related you will find VERY passionate opinions on BOTH sides of the coin. Thankfully, we survived that first year (barely), and I’ve been MUCH more confident about my parenting decisions this time around. Well, I’ve been confident about everything except whether or not to push for a schedule…
On the one hand, I believe that babies probably do thrive on routine. (I thrive on routine, so this makes sense to me.) I also think (see previous parentheses) that my life would be easier and smoother if I knew my baby’s basic schedule and could count on consistent meal, nap, and bed times. To be totally honest, I think I’d be able to be more present with Nora when she is awake, if I knew that a nap was coming instead of having to constantly attempt to load the dishwasher, write a blog post, and make the bed in five minute intervals. Are you with me? I really LIKE the idea of a schedule for my baby…
I really like the idea of a schedule UNTIL I actually try to implement one. 😉
I nearly lost my mind trying to put Sam on a schedule; and, so far, I don’t think Nora is much different. My babies don’t seem to be “schedule-able” per se. Both of them do/did OK with a three-hour eating schedule; but, try as I might, they sleep when they feel like it and – almost exclusively – in my arms. They also laugh in the face of the wisdom that “baby may cry for five to ten minutes before falling asleep” and would cry for days if I let them (which I don’t). I like to say they have minds of their own (also gassy stomachs).
In addition to the above, and as unpopular as admitting this may be, I rather like the fact that I don’t have to be at home every day at a certain time (Sam napped basically whenever we got to it) and can go out to dinner etc. in the evenings without rushing to make a 7PM bedtime.
Sam turned out fine with no schedule. He still has a late bedtime, but he napped well for a full three years (sadly, no more) and sleeps great at night now. He also is super flexible and has almost always been able to skip a nap or stay up later as needed with virtually no problem. He is proof that going without a schedule isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Of course, there’s a flip side to that though… Our first year with Sam was HARD. And, I’m finding that life with TWO kids on no real schedule means I have virtually ZERO time to myself these days… Even when I’m home alone with Nora, twelve hours can disappear in a flash, and when I finally fall into bed at night I realize that I spent the entire day trying to get her to sleep and accomplished NOTHING else. It’s hard.
So, Nora is six weeks old today. So far, I’ve been letting her do her thing; but, I just finished reading the Moms on Call book, and I’m considering putting a little extra effort into a schedule with her… I can tell already that it will NOT be easy; but, will it be worth it?!?
I’d love some input on scheduling… Did you do it? Do you recommend it? Do you think ALL babies can be scheduled? What worked for you?
ALSO, I’m going back to work in a little over a week… Should I try to get her on a schedule before that or just wait until summer break when she will be around 12 weeks?
I would LOVE to hear your thoughts, experience, and wisdom!
Thanks in advance!