Should You Put Your Baby on a Schedule?

We have a guest post from Heather Gaither from The Essential Infant Resource for Mothers. Check out her website, it has a lot of great tips for moms.

To schedule? Or to say the-heck-with-everything and shoot for “free spirit”. That is the question.

If you’re a label making, sock-organizing Martha Stewart Mum, the answer is obvious. If you’re a hemp-wearing, all-natural, cloth diapering Mama, the answer is obvious.

But what if you’re neither? What if you’re a Target-shopping, non-ironing, regular ‘ole mom? How do you know if putting your baby on a schedule is the right thing for you?

Ta da! Here I am, ready to list out the pros and count out the cons. By the end of this article, you’ll either be one step further from chaos, or one step closer to being guilt-free.

How do I know the pros? Because I’ve scheduled. How do I know the cons? Because I’ve scheduled. In fact, sometimes I’ve NOT scheduled – and for good reasons.

So there’ll be no teeny-tiny nuggets of truth buried under mountains of “shoulds” or “good intentions”. Only the honest facts. There are good reasons to schedule your baby, and there are equally good reasons NOT to. Your job will be determine which reasons fit your family best.

Why do people choose the schedule their babies? (Also known as…the PROS)

  1. A consistent schedule can help your infant sleep through the night at an earlier age. In my own family, those babies who were scheduled started sleeping 8 hours around the 6-8 week mark.
  2. A consistent schedule can help you understand your babies non-verbals, eliminating guess work. Is it 1:30 and he’s fussy? Isn’t that nap time?
  3. Not only can scheduling help your baby, but it will be heavenly to know that every afternoon at 1:00 YOU can get a nap in, and every morning at 10 is a safe time to get groceries.

Why do people choose NOT to schedule their babies? (Also known as…the CONS)

  1. It’s very difficult to keep a tight schedule for your baby if you are working outside the home or if you have older children involved in many activities.
  2. Highly-structured babies usually have a harder time being flexible. Forget napping in the car seat during dance lessons. Too much noise, too many distractions.
  3. Some mothers say that by not scheduling, they feel they are more in tune to deciphering their baby’s non-verbal cues, allowing them to understand needs away from the clock.

Consider this the Cliff’s Notes to baby scheduling. You can read the whole baby sleep schedule manifesto for more specifics on how to schedule or how to NOT schedule (and still have your sanity).

One Response to “Should You Put Your Baby on a Schedule?”

  1. Delia

    Everyone is different. My 2 babies didn’t have schedules. Yes, of course we had routines… but no schedule. My husband ‘s hours could vary by 2 hours everyday and it was more important to get family time in than to have my babies go to sleep at a certain time and then me wake them everyday when nap time was over. My babies slept from the time they were 10 days old and 11 days old. I only woke a sleeping baby if we have a commitment or had to go to work. They learned to sleep when they needed to sleep and vice-versa. Plus it gave my husband and I freedom to take our kids off with our friends when it was during a normal nap time. Our world was defined by the schedule either.
    I was scared to have a strict schedule due to three families I knew that had them… and when their children grew up they had sleep issues as adults and lack of flexibility. Not saying my way is correct… but mine each turned out to be Happy flexible young man and woman.


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