Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Scheduled Baby

Hi, I'm Kristen, a Christian, wife, ex-teacher, stay at home, new to cloth diapering, and the natural way of doing things mommy.  I have been married to my husband for 4 years, and been a mommy for the past 18 months.  While I didn't want to stay home at the beginning, God opened my eyes to the wonderful gift He had for me by staying home with my little one.  This in turn has led to many things I would never had seen my self doing (or have had the time to do) such as learning to cook, clean, and most recently cloth diaper.  I began my blog Faithful Steps ( to chronicle my journey as I learn more about all these things as well as be an encouragement to other women.  Come join me, take a look around, laugh some, and just have a good time.

Becoming a parent for the first time is exhilarating, tiring, and sometimes a little scary.  Suddenly you have gone from 2 people to 3, you're handed this little bundle of joy and expected to know what to do with it.  Talk about crazy!  This was exactly the way my husband and I felt when my now 18 month old son was born.  However, there was one decision we feel made all the difference, especially as we look back.  We decided to use a schedule with our son from day one and oh am I glad we did.

I know there is some controversy about whether or you should use a schedule to feed your baby or to feed on demand, however when we looked at each method, using a schedule just made sense.  I knew for my sanity, I couldn't get up at every drop of a hat and hope this was the time he would want a full feeding, or that there would be enough time in between cries so I could shower.  I needed to know (roundabout) what to expect and that I could have time to do those things that I needed to do (like shower haha).  Since I breastfed, my husband couldn't really do a whole lot of feedings for me, especially in the beginning, so having a schedule saved my sanity.  Here are the basics I learned, granted I have just one child, but I would do it the same with any children the Lord allows us to have later on.  Most everything I am going to tell you I learned from a book called On Becoming Baby Wise, a read I highly recommend.

1.  Use the clock as a GUIDELINE.  If you are going to put your baby on a schedule you will need to use the clock, and try to stick to it.  For example, it is common knowledge that newborns eat every 2 and a half to 3 hours, so if you feed your child at 12, and all the sudden they begin to cry at 1:20, it might be an indicator  something else besides hunger that has them riled up.  Perhaps they need a diaper change, are tired, are bored, or just need to be snuggled.  Because you know what time you fed them last and a goal time of when you should feed them again, it is easier to deduce the problem instead of just offering a quick fix with the breast.  However, babies are human, I know that, as do you, and sometimes the schedule is off (like if they are going through a growth spurt and need to eat more often).  That is why I say use the clock as a guideline, not a rigid tool that is unyielding.

2. Get a full feeding:  One of the best things I learned was I should attempt to get my little guy to eat a full feeding at EVERY feeding, which would help him to stay full longer and to not get used to "snacking".  This can be hard at the beginning, when babies really like to sleep, but it can be done.  By talking to them, gently blowing on their face, rubbing their palms, a mom can help to keep her baby awake for a full feeding.  One thing I learned to do was to offer one side, then change a diaper, and offer the other side, that way my baby was awake and ready for the next breast.  Making sure he ate enough helped to put my mind to rest when he would cry before the next scheduled feeding time.  I knew he had gotten enough to eat so there must be something else wrong, and there usually was.  Rarely did he use my breasts as a pacifier. 

3.  Have a routine:  Another important aspect I learned about early on to have a routine and when he was a newborn, to have a "wake time".  This meant after every feeding during the day I tried hard to keep him up, even if it was just for 10 minutes in the early days.  This helped him to distinguish his nights from his days earlier.  He gradually came to understand that "during the day I eat then play and then nap".  This is how every feeding during the day went until he stayed awake and played after a feeding on his own.  When the last feeding before bedtime came I would feed him, then swaddle him, and put him in his bed, so he understood that it was night time and we sleep now.  This really seemed to help him sleep through the night sooner, which I was thankful for.

4. Give yourself a break:  Know now that there are going to be hard days, days where your baby will just be cranky, want to be held, or cry for no reason at all sometimes.  Understand that's ok, it happens to everyone!  However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't have a goal, and strive to attain it.  Know you are a good mom and are doing the very best for your child!

Having a schedule and a routine really helped to make our son a much more flexible baby.  He knew when meal times were, and that he would get fed no matter what, so there was a trust there.  There was comfort for him and for me in the fact we knew what was coming up on any given day for the most part.  He transitioned so easily from breast to bottle, to eating every four hours, to no bottles and eating three meals a day now  as a toddler (with snacks in between of course).  

I urge you to think about having a schedule for you and your baby.  It is hard work in the very beginning, but there is a bigger pay off in being a mama who is in control and knows what is coming. Regardless of what method you decide to use, you are the Mama and know what is best for you and your baby. If you have any questions or I can help you in any other way, send me a message, I would love to hear from you.


  1. What a great post!! Thank you for sharing. My husband is a marine and we are very scheduled people, even our dog knows that he eats supper between five and six and if it starts to get towards the latter part of that hour, he wonders where his food is lol. Everyone always tells me to get ready to have our life flipped upside down - as our son is due August 5th - but it's good to read from another mom who has been through this before and gotten her baby on a schedule. I understand there will be days that don't go as planned, that is life, but I do agree that having goals to work toward during a time period helps to keep everyone happy. Thank you again!!

  2. I have to disagree. NOT watching the clock and letting baby feed on demand has been one of the most important factors in establishing a successful nursing relationship with my son.

    1. I agree with you Amy!

      As a mom who STRONGLY believes in extending bf'ing, and co-sleeping. I would never in a million years follow babywise. I've NEVER had to use a bottle or nasty chemical laden formula. Just so I could shower or get more sleep. I've always been able to shower, and get adequate sleep. The first few months I didn't get a lot of sleep, but I survived. That's called PARENTING. There are times your baby and YES child will wake you up. Sickness, TEETHING, colic etc. Are you going to let them cry it out, because you need your sleep?

      And there are women who use bf'ing as birth control, instead of taking MORE chemicals. Scheduling your baby could not work.

      I'd also be concerned about milk supply w/new moms. You are trying to build up your supply.

  3. LOVE THIS POST! Looking forward to our first little one and was planning on doing babywise and super excited to have yet another confirmation that it is a great thing to do :)

  4. I will be trying to establish a schedule, but we'll see how it goes. If he cooperates, it may work!

  5. Whew scheduling anything with kids is so hard. LOL Love this post and great photo's.

  6. This is so informative! No kids yet but I heave heard some great things about this method. Good to hear about both sides.

  7. Great post! I think babywise has some good points, but I would not follow it too closely. We must take everything with a grain of salt! The schedule I do like, but some of the other things I do disagree with. In my opinion you can not knock the method until you have read the book. Once you have read the book, then you can make an accurate decision for yourself!

  8. Great post. I wish I'd put mine on a schedule, but as a first time mom, everyone around my life told me to feed on demand. Wish I'd known better :)
    Sounds like you're doing a good job!

  9. great post! We pretty much stayed on a schedule when I wasn't breastfeeding and it helped Noah sleep so much better!

  10. Thanks for the info. The only thing about schedules is I can never adhere to one LOL (Detroit Mom)

  11. While I do know friends that have had success with Babywise I also know those who have not. A good friend of mine "Babywised" both of her kids with different results--one slept through the night by 8 weeks, the other 8 months. My little one if 15 months old, we are still nursing happily and he does not always sleep through the night. I think it is important to take books like Babywise lightly--Gary Ezzo is not a doctor and some of the stuff he says about breastfeeding is ridiculous--such as feeding on demand will not allow the baby to get hindmilk.

    All babies are different and I do think there are things we can do to help our babies sleep but I think they all have different sleep needs. Some babies sleep through the night without any scheduling at all.