Friday, January 15, 2010

How to stick to a schedule when you're a busy Mom

Lately, I've gotten several emails about putting your babies on a schedule like Brayden is. I thought it might be best if I answered you in a post in case anyone else was interested. I'm by no means an expert - this is just what worked for us and for Brayden. All babies are different and what works for B is just what works for B.

I'm a stay at home mom.

I actually think I am busier now than when I worked full time. I am constantly on the go. Which can be hard with a little one.

Early on, I realized that Brayden needed a schedule. A good, structured schedule that he could rely on and always know what to expect. As he gets older, the schedule does change but I change it gradually.

Here is what a typical day looks like for us:

8am - 8:30am. Brayden wakes up. I get him, feed him, and he plays while I get ready.
Noon - Bottle time followed by a 2 - 3 hour nap.
2pm - Snack time (I might add that snack time is Buster, our dogs, favorite time of the day).
4pm - Bottle
5:30pm - Dinner for B (and Chris and me).
8-8:40 - Bath time (every other day), followed by a bottle and bed.

You might remember when Brayden refused to take naps. He might catch 15 min's here or there, but never a good nap. My mom really helped me to figure out that A.) it was important that he napped and B.) he needed for it to become part of his daily routine. About that time is when I really concentrated on making a sticking to a schedule for him.

Everyday at nap time he gets his bottle and then I give him this plush bear. He's learned to associate his bear with nap time since that is the only time he gets it. I also utilize his mobile for nap times only. He knows that when he gets Mr. Bear and I turn the mobile on, it's time for his nap.

But what about the days when I am out during nap time?

The first thing I figured out was that I needed to make sure Brayden understood what to expect each day - meaning, we utilized this schedule for a week or two before I took him anywhere during nap time. Almost always, he will either take him nap while we are out OR whenever we get home, even if it is a few hours late.

At 3 months, Brayden started sleeping through the night, and even though all babies are different, I really think the schedule helped with this too. We would bathe him, take him upstairs and turn his light all the way down and feed him. It was totally quite and only the soft light was on. Then we'd burp him, and lay him down. After just a few days, he really figured it out. When we did have to get up to feed him, we always did the same thing, and so he knew what to expect.

I hope this answered your questions! Feel free to email me or comment if I missed something you were wanting to know!


Leah said...

We are the same way with a schedule for Perri and boy, has it payed off. And the funny part is, we have friends who always were rude to us about having Perri on a schedule and having to be home for her naptime (she used to lose it if it was nap time and we were out but now she's fine and just naps whenever we get home if we are out). But who has the happiest, best sleeper? Us. Their child is constantly fussy and his sleeping is hit or miss. The reason is he is drug around all day with no consistent schedule and no idea what will happen in his day. So thank you for blogging on the need for this!! Some babies may do perfectly fine without a schedule but we quickly learned that was not the case with Perri!

~Mrs. Guru~ said...

Awe, sounds like you have it down!

Laura Craig said...

Schedule is really key! We have kept all of our kids (I say that like I have a ton... only 3 (: ) on schedule since the first few weeks. And it has worked great for us for the last 6 years! We never have issues at bed time since the kids expect it. Of course the schedule changes as they get older. But, we always have a schedule. Alot of our friends used to get on us because we worked around the kids schedul. ( We were called old and boring at quite a young age!! haha!) But, a lot of people without kids don't understand. Keeping our kids on a schedule has been the best thing we have done.

Mary said...

what an awesome schedule...riley's was like this when he was a baby he is all jumbled up! ha! he does still nap though!

Hattie said...

I believe in schedules. I have 4 boys and we follow just a basic schedule (routine). But then again I have 4 boys so nothing is really set in stone and it's always changing. The baby always takes two naps, but not always at the same time everyday and bedtime routine for all the boys is always the same except on weekends! It might not be the best schedule out there, but it works for this momma!

Jennifer said...

We keep Brody on a schedule as well! Schedules are my soapbox! Ha! I just know how important routines are for children from teaching. They thrive in a routine. It does take a lot of discipline and sacrifice on the part of the parents but it's worth it to have a happy, well rested baby.

It has worked so well for us. Brody still takes a 2 hour morning nap and a 2-3 hour afternoon nap and sleeps 12 hours at night. The boy loves his sleep!

rae said...

You are such a good mom!

The 'Ssippi Scoop said...

Bailey is so not a sleeper and sleeping is my hobby. We have some fits over the sleep thing and that is one reason why she just sleeps with me b/c we both seem to sleep better. I know, I know! No preaching please. I have always wondered how you got him to sleep for that long at night. She does take a really good afternoon nap and short morning nap, but she goes to bed about 7 or so, so by 6 or 7 in the morning she is up. I have tried to keep her up later in hopes that she would sleep a bit later, but it just seems to make for a restless night b/c then she is off schedule. I think the one thing you mentioned that I hadn't thought of that was probably very important was the fact you stayed at home for 2 weeks or so, NOT FUN, and really got his schedule down before you introduced things such as going out and about during the day. And I also wanted to say that people who think stay at home mom's have it made need to think again. Now that Bailey is fine from surgery this past May, I will be returning to work on the 24th. Not looking forward to it, but sort of I am because staying at home is much harder work! haha!

Betsy McK said...

We have 3 boys and I read and somewhat followed Baby Wise when my first was born. Meaning we fed him at pretty much the same time everyday and followed the same pattern and times for sleep. We were not Natzi's about the whole cry it out method, but did let them learn to self soothe by the time they were 6 months. Schedules are a must in my opinion and that's the way we roll around here!!!!

Rebecca said...

I completely agree that routines help. I have a 2 year old that has been on a schedule situation like this since he was very little also. Not super strict but very routine. I am finding out how much it has greatly helped him. He is an awesome sleeper and very flexible even when traveling because we just use the same routine he has known. Adding a new baby in the mix this year the routine has made my 2 year old still feel like things are normal. My 8 month old has also been able to very easily get into a routine of sleeping also.

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