Setting a schedule for your baby, whether strict, flexible or baby-led has great benefits for you, your baby and your family. There are a few different types of infant schedules that parents adhere to. Below is a simple overview for the three major scheduling methods, baby-led, parent-led and combination.
This type of schedule is best for attachment minded parents who look to baby to create a schedule. The pioneer and most well known advocate of this method is Dr. Spock, author of The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care. You will follow your baby’s cues to choose their next activity. If baby is showing signs of hunger it will be time to feed. If baby falls asleep then it is time for sleep. You may notice a schedule evolve all on its own in this method.
A parent led schedule is the most structured of schedules. The best known advocates of this method are Gary Ezzo, author of Babywise: Giving your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep and by author and nurse, Gina Ford. You decide how you want to set up your family’s day, including your baby’s feeding, sleeping and playing times. You can develop this schedule based on baby’s behavior, your family’s schedule or by expert suggested schedules
This style of scheduling is a fusion of the parent-led and baby-led schedules. “Supernanny” Jo Frost made this method popular. You may have a set schedule every day but you can also have the flexibility to push back scheduled feeding, sleeping and playing times if needed.
Benefits of a Schedule
Setting up a schedule for your baby will teach them when and how things happen throughout the day. They will know when it is time for breastfeeding or bottle feeding, when to play and when to nap. As they grow older they will understand how to go about activities on their own or may request things of their caregiver at certain times. For instance, your toddler may come to tell you that it is snack time and they are hungry. Or that it is time to play outside. Or that it is time to put on their shoes for daycare. Eventually they will know when to put away toys and brush their teeth for bedtime!
Helps Baby’s Wellbeing
When a schedule is set for your baby they will eat consistent amounts at regular intervals. Their bowel movements will be more consistent. They will nap at normal times and develop better nighttime sleep habits. All of these factors will result in a happier, healthier baby.
Lessens Decision Fatigue
As a parent, setting a schedule has many different benefits. One is the reduction of decision fatigue. Decision fatigue affects us when we have too many decisions to make throughout our day. If we have a generalized schedule that we stick to every day then our decisions are reduced. This will help your mood and increase your ability to make other decisions as they come throughout your day.
A Good Reminder
Being a parent is tough. There are so many tasks to juggle during your day. From getting your baby to daycare to remembering doctor’s appointments. Remembering those doctor’s appointments can be especially difficult during pregnancy when that wonderful pregnancy brain hits! Setting a schedule will help you remember all of the important parts of your child’s day. Even if you maintain a flexible schedule you will know that your baby eats at this time and naps at this time. You’re far less likely to forget a feeding or daily activity if it is always a part of your schedule.
Developing a schedule will result in a baby that understands it is part of a healthy, stable household. They will grow to expect and look forward to their set daily activities. When difficult times come along in family life, like illness or parental stress, your baby’s routine will give them a sense of security.
Assists Outside Caregivers
If you send your baby to daycare, have a nanny or even have a grandparent care for your child occasionally, a schedule is always helpful. Being able to provide your baby’s caregiver with a written schedule, even if somewhat loose, gives them everything they need to give the best care to your child. You can use your BlueSmart mia along with the BlueSmart Baby Tracker app to ensure that your baby’s caregiver is maintaining the schedule you provided.
However you decide to set a schedule for your baby, know that it will make a positive difference in your, your baby’s, and your family’s lives.