Friday, April 8, 2016

Getting Your Baby on A Schedule

If I think back hard enough, I can remember what it was like when Scarlett was unscheduled.  It feels like so long ago though. She napped whenever she wanted throughout the day.  My little bundle of baby could sleep at 2:30 PM one day, and then the next day she'd be up and ready to party at the same time.

In the early days and months of Scarlett's life, she woke up to eat every couple of hours.  She would sleep 5-6 hour stretches during the night and then my day would begin early, around 5:30 AM.  Scarlett would have a bottle and then go back to sleep.  This cycle would repeat many times a day.  

I was tired but couldn't nap when she slept because I wasn't sure how long her naps would be.  Of course I was worried I wouldn't hear her cry either when she woke up.  Going out was difficult because you'd never know if she needed a nap or if she'd be perfectly fine in her stroller.  I can recall many instances of her screaming and tired from being overtired and exhausted.  This doesn't make for a fun mommy or baby. 

Unscheduled 3 month old cute girl

Right around the 6 month mark, I had had enough of my little one being unscheduled.  I remember looking at a sample wake/feed schedule online for her age.  That day I decided to implement it and it was the best thing I could have ever done.  I changed the schedule to my liking and to the times I thought would be best.  She woke up around 6 am and would have a bottle immediately. After that breakfast was 7:30, nap 9-10, lunch 11:30, nap 12-3, dinner 5:30, and then bath and bed at 7.  I was very lucky that Scarlett was extremely adaptable and did wonderful with her new schedule.  The best part was that since she was eating solids and more full, she was sleeping 12 hours a night! How fantastic is that? 

Now that Scarlett is 16 months old, she's been on the schedule for 10 months.  I've changed the schedule a tiny bit over the months, but she now wakes up for the day at 7 am and has a sippy cup of milk as soon as she's up.  After that, breakfast is at 8 am.  She doesn't take a morning nap anymore.  Lunch is at 11:30am, and she goes down for a nap from 12pm to 2:30 or 3.  Scarlett has dinner at 5:15-5:30 pm and a bath after that.  Then she's ready to go to bed at 7 pm.  I truly believe that a scheduled child is a happier child.  Children need routines and consistency to flourish and grow.

Lunch-time girl

A great benefit of a schedule is that since your child knows the routine, they'll know what to expect everyday.  They'll be ready to eat breakfast at 8, and ready to sleep at 12 pm.  It's a wonderful feeling to be in-tune with your child's needs and know exactly when they need to sleep and have them know it too.  Having no guessing games is such a benefit.  You can go to the store right after their nap and know that they won't have a screaming meltdown because they're tired. 

It may take some adjusting for you or your child in the beginning, but everything will become so much better.  A schedule is everything and makes for a happier parent/child relationship.  

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