One of the many decisions new parents must make is how to approach sleep. To follow a schedule, or follow the baby? Some babies don’t give their parents any choice, but I knew early on I wanted to try to follow a schedule. After all, I thrive on routine, as do most people and children. I hoped Charlotte would follow suit.
Choosing the Schedule
There are so many options out there, but they all follow the same basic pattern: eat-play-sleep, or eat-sleep-play. For the record, eat-play-sleep makes way more sense to me, since Charlotte usually woke up hungry before we even started a schedule. Luckily, my brother and sister-in-law had used Moms on Call with a lot of success, so that’s the method we chose. I was relieved it spelled everything out for me, and it actually had a daily schedule for each age. The best part of this was knowing Charlotte would be getting enough sleep to avoid being overtired.
Putting It into Action
Obviously, a newborn has no schedule. You feed a newborn on demand, and they sleep a lot. (And yet, never enough?) We started off with the pattern of eat-play-sleep a few weeks in and slowly shifted her onto the schedule MOC recommended. We found it was really important to have Charlotte in her own room, in her crib, swaddled. And we slept a heck of a lot better that way, too! MOC helps phase out the middle of the night feedings, but I’m convinced breastfed babies need those more, as did Charlotte while she was breastfeeding. One thing that helped keep her asleep longer at night was giving her a bottle of pumped milk before bed. We knew she was getting plenty of milk to fill her up!
Adjusting the Schedule for Us
Of course, there have been days where the schedule goes out the window. We simply switch back into it once we’re able to, and try to keep bedtime as consistent as possible. Since everyone’s different, we’ve found that Charlotte needs to take full naps when MOC mentions “cat naps” (which is fine with me). We weren’t ready to switch to the 4 month schedule right when Charlotte turned 4 months, as we had just moved and were going on a long road trip, so we waited until she was about five and a half months.
Charlotte is a well-rested, happy baby! She only becomes overtired when her naps are out of whack — or you know, Daylight Saving Time begins. She sleeps 11 hours straight at night, which is amazing. We can skip a nap here and there for convenience and get back on track later. I’m so glad we chose to follow this schedule.
Choosing how your baby sleeps is such a personal decision, and a schedule doesn’t work for every parent or every baby. But if you ask me, it’s worth a shot!