scheduling with a baby

For my Huggies post today, I’m going to be talking about schedules.

When I was pregnant with Hudson, I really didn’t make any plans for what I was going to actually do when he arrived. I didn’t read any books about babies. I didn’t read anything about scheduling methods or feeding methods. I read plenty of pregnancy books and I sure as heck read a lot of baby name books.

So when Hudson arrived, I really relied on the nurses to help me know when to feed him and what exactly to do with him. I chose to let him stay in the nursery during the night, but he was with us all day during the day. The nurses would bring him to me every three hours to eat–or more often if he was cranky and seemed ready to eat.

Their involvement helped me establish a schedule with Hudson where he was eating every three hours. He was sleeping constantly, so I wasn’t really sure yet how often he should sleep. I’m pretty sure he slept 21 hours a day.

When we got home from the hospital, I created a little form so I could keep track of his feedings. I know there are plenty of phone apps now, but I am still a pen-and-paper kind of girl and I loved my form. I printed off a sheet for every day and kept them in a little three-ring notebook. The benefit there was that I could look back on the previous day and try to recreate the schedule.

We were tracking the number of dirty and wet diapers, number of ounces per feeding, and number of minutes he was asleep. I know a lot of new moms don’t really want to do a schedule, but it was important to me. I wanted to be able to have an idea of what to expect, and I wanted a bit of routine for my day, as well as my baby’s day.

With Hudson, we ended up following the BabyWise method and their “eat-wake-sleep” plan. It worked out great, and by 12 weeks he was sleeping through the night. The BabyWise method didn’t work out as well for Hayes, so we used the Moms on Call method for him and it was a lifesaver. I’m thankful that both of my boys are great sleepers and that I could plan my day and our outings around their feeding and napping times.

With both boys, it was important for me to have an idea of what their routine was for that day. If I had to run an errand or had an appointment and needed a babysitter, I’d ask the sitter to fill out the form as well. Our family members helped us with this, too.

If it was a Sunday and we were out at church, I usually just let the schedule go. I didn’t expect the nursery workers to maintain his schedule. If we were on vacation, I knew we’d have to be flexible and just plan to adapt. And thankfully, we have two very adaptable children who will nap on the go.

Did you establish a schedule for your baby? What did you find that works best for you? What challenges did you run into?

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  1. KBgrits says

    That form takes me back to my high school days when I worked at a daycare center. We had to keep charts for all the little kids. 🙂

  2. says

    I totally believe in a routine. Babies thrive on it. I had a night time routine from day 1 but it took me about 4 weeks to realize we really needed a day time routine. I used THE BABY WHISPERER and Mom’s on Call and both changed my life. My son sleeps through the night and is a great napper.

    My biggest challenge was myself. Trying to “control” everything instead of knowing that babies are always changing. I needed to learn to let go and take a look at my son and find out what he needed and what his natural bio rhythm was instead of me forcing something. Once I did that, MIRACLE! We’ve been doing amazing ever since!

  3. says

    I have been a big scheduler, and it was totally worth it! I think it is a bit harded on a parent at first, but then the benefits are wonderful! Dell Harper began sleeping 11 hour stretches the night she turned 12 weeks. Quick question- did your boys have any sleep problems at 4 months? all of the sudden she has been waking up starving in the night- gone from 5 feedings a day to 7-8 the last 3 nights.

  4. says

    You know I love a schedule. Babies that sleep are healthier and happier! With the wonderful support that programs like Moms on Call give us, it makes it a lot harder to listen to people whine about getting no sleep. There are so many great options to help those babies sleep!!! 🙂 My favorite thing as a new mom was when people would say “You must be very tired!” And I’d be like, “No, not really, my baby sleeps!!!”

    It definitely takes a little bit of work, but the benefits are SO worth it! Great post, Erin.

  5. says

    I had one of those papers for #1 and don’t know if I will for #2, but as a Mommy who works, let me tell you that I LOVE when daycares use those! I just like knowing what she did throughout the day. makes me feel like I was there kinda.

    One good thing baout the charts is that if you have others helping you out, or if someone else is taking a night shift, when you wake up it gives you an idea as to when the’yll need to eat next. If you rely on people ot remember when they woke up, they’ll usuually forget, so hubby and I wrote it down just to help each other out.

    Now that I’m thinking about it more .. I think schedule is coming back with #2. It was just so darn handy! ; )

  6. says

    This is great! I am SUCH schedule mommy its ridiculous. We had a similar experience with Charlotte. I started BabyWise with her around 9 weeks old, and by 11 she was sleeping 10 hours through the night and hasn’t stopped since! Good to know it doesn’t always work out with #2….I am going to need to read up on all of this again! Thanks for the reminder haha!

  7. says

    We had a Babywise schedule going with our first born the day she came home from the hospital. She thrived on it and was healthy, happy, and STTN at 7 weeks. She’s almost 2 now and sleeps so great still!

    Our twin boys came along around 5 months ago and I guess I was just too overwhelmed by their early birth, exhausted, and basically sleepwalking thru the day to realize they might like a schedule too! It was chaos on all levels, until we starting implementing a schedule. The boys weren’t really fans of Babywise so we did Moms On Call. They started STTN at 3 months.

    I see moms all the time who throw schedules out the window and want to be the cool, hip mom who lets the baby lead the family. That’s cool if that what they want, but I can only vouch for what has worked for our three kids. They are all so happy, so well rested, and so well adjusted. So yes, schedules are GREAT!!! 🙂

  8. says

    When I was pregnant with Landon, I actually bookmarked a lot of your posts regarding Hudson’s schedule and how you did it as a reference. Once L was here and I tried to put him on some sort of schedule (I had read Babywise and all of your posts) I learned pretty fast that it just wasn’t going to happen for him anytime soon. He was a big baby (just like your boys) and I was breastfeeding and he wanted to eat every hour or so and he’d often fall asleep after feedings and there was no way I was going to wake him up. It was causing both him and me so much stress and I felt a lot better once I dropped the whole schedule thing for awhile. That was SO HARD for me because I love schedules and thrive with one and I thought L would too. Now that L is just about 1, we definitely have a routine. It’s not an exact schedule where he eats at the same time every day or whatever, but it’s pretty close and I know what to expect and I can plan our days much easier now. I know how long he can tolerate being awake between naps and how long he can go between nursing sessions and solid meals. I would say Landon wasn’t really ready for a schedule until he was like 6 or 7 months old, and I kind of just followed his cues and looked for eat and sleep patterns. He really set his own schedule. His sleep is a lot better now, but that took forever too. I do worry if I have another baby like this because that child will have to somehow fit into whatever schedule we have going.

    It’s really amazing to me how different each baby is, even with your 2 and how one method worked great for one and you had to do something else for the other.

  9. jen says

    Does moms on call help with older kids as well? I have a three yr old daughter. She has always had a day schedule but, night is a total different story. For the last 40 months she wakes up anywhere from two to ten times a night. Which means ontop of sleepless pregnancy nights i havent slept thru the night in almost 4 years. If anyone knows any advice please let me know!

  10. Katie says

    I have read moms on call and babywise. My son is about to be 4 months old and we have a pretty predicatable routine now. He is usually asleep by 7pm and sleeps till 5:30 or 6am. Sometimes I have to feed him but he usually makes it throught the night. Daytime I feed him about every 3 hours and try to put him down for a nap every hour and half to 2 hours. He usually does not nap longer than 45 min to an hour at a time though. I have tried letting him put himself back to sleep and also settling him but this doesn’t work.
    My doctor said some babies don’t settle into a 2 nap routine until 5 or 6 months? Has anyone experienced this? I am hoping his naps will become longer and will shink to 2 or 3. Right now some of his naps are in the car because I can’t stay home all day.

    Any advice? Will he likely settle into a morning and afternoon nap once he gets a little older?
    Thanks so much!

  11. says

    @Katie. I will clarify this immediately by saying that I have not read baby wise or moms on call. But I am a mother of 4, and the second oldest in a family of 8. All I will say is that each child is different, and what works for one, may not work for another. Baby’s nap routines often change around 6 months. Instead of sleeping all day every day, they will usually fall into the morning/afternoon nap thing. But they may not. My 11 month old generally goes down for a longish nap (2-3 hours) sometime around 11 or noon. And that may be the only nap she takes. Sometimes she will go down for another hour around dinner time. Some kids sleep more than others. Yours sounds like a sleeper. Just go with it. Do what feels right to you. There is all kinds of advice in this world, and not all of it agrees. But, kids generally tend to grow up rather well adjusted, despite us.=) Hope this in encouraging rather than not.=)

  12. Nichole says

    Katie, my daughter was about 6 months old before she had a solid napping routine. I was big on scheduling (I was an engineer before I became a SAHM, so order and predictability are both important to me!), but she just wouldn’t settle into a routine until then. I fought it for a long time and was making myself miserable fighting with her. Once I let it go and she got a little older she got into a great schedule that we still kind of have going now and she’s almost three. My son was completely different though and went for a schedule very early on. Just keep trying…it will happen eventually!

  13. says

    It’s crazy to me how something that works for some people can so NOT work for others. After my daughter was born, she didn’t leave my sight for a second until we arrived home (except for when I needed to shower or use the restroom). I couldn’t bear to have her stay the night in a nursery away from us. She slept right between my husband and I up until about a month ago. I researched everything “baby” for YEARS before I got pregnant and at the advice of everyone I trusted, I nursed on demand. I let my daughter communicate her needs to me because I knew she was fully capable of doing so. I very quickly learned what her sounds meant and how to meet her needs, whether she was tired, hungry, wet, etc. At 11 months, she is sleeping through the night, a fantastic eater, and still nursing. Like Nicole’s comment above, once I learned to let go and stop fighting the “schedule” (because I did attempt one in the beginning), everything got SO much better.

  14. step moMster says

    babywise? moms on call? STTN? my curiosity is getting the better of me. must investigate…

  15. says

    I’m super worried about what that will be like. I haven’t actually given much thought to *how* exactly to figure out how much to feed and how often to do so. LOL. Guess I have four months to figure it all out!

  16. says

    Hey Erin!

    I’m back from vacation in Florida and Hilton Head, so just catching up! Oh girl, pregnant w Ryderi did read all the books but quickly got frustrated because one book contradicted what the other said. Happiest Baby on the Block VS Babywise VS babycenter mom forums and so on and so forth. I ended pumping exclusively and bottle feeding every 3 hours after I didn’t want to throw the towel in just yet, and now with Brynley at 8 months, still nurse every 3 hours. I was so happy not to have to pump! I guess it goes to show every baby is truly different!

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