I'm Afraid My Baby’s Schedule May Be Too Strict

To schedule or not to schedule: what is the best way to raise an adaptive baby

You know those people who WebMD self-diagnose? I’m the new parent who Googles absolutely everything to find out whether I’m doing everything right or if my child is progressing normally. I italicize normally because I don’t really believe there is any normal with babies and children—they are all unique—but I digress.

Anyway, I promised that I wouldn’t set expectations once my son was born. I didn’t want to assume that he would be a good sleeper or that breastfeeding would be simple. I just wanted to go with the flow. And that’s what I did. 

When I talk to friends and family with babies, we always end up discussing whether or not our babies are on any sort of eating or sleeping schedule. Moreover, when making play date plans, we always make sure to figure out what’s best for each baby’s schedule.

For the most part, I find my child to be the only one that has a rigid schedule—and I love it that way. We established a routine very early on and it’s helped me in planning our day. I have a thirty minute window for naps, which help when I need to get baby home to avoid the dreaded car snooze. I know hunger cues and they happen at the same time every day… and so on. 

Here’s what my days look like:

6:15-6:30am: Baby wakes 

6:45-7:00am: Bottle feed

7:00-8:00am: Watch the TODAY show, play, make coffee

8:00-8:30am: Breakfast

9:00-9:15am: Bottle Feed

9:15-10:30am: Nap (During this time I hop in the shower and get myself dressed for the day)

10:30-11:15am: Play, go for a walk, library time

11:15-11:30am: Snack

11:30-12:30pm: Play, head out for errands or scheduled plans with friends 

12:30-1:00pm: Lunch

1:00-2:00pm: Nap

2:00-2:15pm: Bottle Feed

2:15-4:00pm: Play/errands

4:00-4:30pm: Dinner 

4:30-6:00pm: Walk, play, errands

6:00-7:00pm: Bedtime routine (read, bath, bottle, bed)

Does it seem overwhelming? Well to me it is a work of art. It’s glorious! Until baby goes through a growth spurt, gets sick or decides he just wants to do something different. Then I get panicked and wonder if I’ve lost all control.

It’s times like those where I wish I were a little more fluid. My cousin was telling me that she was bringing her two-year-old to a New Year’s Eve party that she was going to and I sat there in awe. What’s great about her son is that he can fall asleep ANYWHERE. She can come to family events and not worry because they adapt to any situations.

On the other hand, I almost always leave in time to get my son home so we can do “bedtime” in our controlled environment. It’s times like those where I wonder if I am doing the right thing. 

After all, I do miss out on a lot. Most of my family events don’t really get going until after 6pm and going out to dinner with the little guy in tow? Forget about it—he gets incredibly fussy because he is so regimented.

We recently started allowing my son to stay up a little later and he seems to be a little more tolerant as he gets older. Over the holidays we took him to our family Christmas party and tried to get him to sleep at his normal time (we borrowed a playpen and everything). He slept until it was time to go but once I got him into his crib, he lost it and had the most restless night. I know it’s crazy, but I am terrified to stray from the norm again.

Is your child on a strict schedule or are you fluid with routines and plans? Let me know!

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