Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Baby: To Schedule, or Not To Schedule?

My husband and I never considered putting our baby on a schedule while I was pregnant, and we didn’t think about it after she was born. When we thought she was hungry, I nursed her, and when she seemed tired, we let her sleep.

I thought that was what most parents did, but as we talked to more and more new parents, we realized it’s very common for parents to get their babies on a regular schedule almost immediately.

I admit that there were some days when I wondered if I was hurting our daughter by having a “go-with-the-flow” attitude. I wondered if she might benefit from a more regular eating and sleeping routine. I usually dismissed those thoughts, though, because she was happy, and my husband and I were happy.

In addition to being happy, my daughter was also well-fed and well-rested.

Because I nursed her on demand, I never had trouble with low milk supply. Maybe my body would have produced an abundance of milk whether I fed her on demand or not, but I’ve read about and heard first-hand stories where women had extremely low amounts milk as a result of trying to get their babies on a schedule.

We never tried to force her to sleep when she wasn’t tired, and we never tried to keep her awake if she wanted to sleep, regardless of the time of day or night. This might have been easier for us than other families because she was our only child and we didn’t have to coordinate naps and bedtimes. In addition, I stay at home with her, so I can usually nap when she naps. Either way, it worked very well for us. Naps and bedtime weren’t stressful – we just waited until she was tired, then let her sleep (often in our arms and in our bed).

This non-schedule continued until she was about 5 ½ months old. At this time, she began making her own schedule. I noticed that she was getting tired, hungry, and ready for bed at about the same time each day. It was nice to follow her cues and plan her naps, feedings, and bedtimes accordingly.

Instead of wondering whether a parent-imposed routine would be a good idea or not, I’m confident and at peace with the routine our daughter chose for herself. It might not work for every family or with every child, but it sure worked for us!

No comments:

Post a Comment