I really dislike baby schedules. I have always been of the “don’t let a baby keep you from doing things” camp and up until our daughter was a year old, we never let nap times and bed times rule our planning. From birth, Everly was accustomed to sleeping in her car seat, stroller, in our arms… wherever.
It was great for us as we could still go to late dinners, socialize with friends, travel, etc – because we just brought her along wherever we went. I can’t count how many nights she slept soundly in her carseat in the middle of a dinner table with food plates being passed around her. When she hit a year old, she became less and less able to fall asleep anywhere. Nap time became a real challenge and getting her down at night was taking an hour and half or more. She was cranky and irritable and in return, so were we. It was then that we realized that we had to set some routines and schedules in place for her. Suddenly we were locked into 1pm naptimes and 7:30pm bedtimes. Any outings or plans had to take place before or after those times. Giving up our scheduling freedom was well worth it to benefit our daughter.
Now that we have Arlo to consider too, I’m starting to reconsider my “no schedules” way of parenting an infant.
So far, I’ve followed the same “take him along” mentality. While I do like the flexibility to bring him wherever I go during the day and put him to bed when I go myself, I can’t help but think of how much having a schedule has helped our daughter flourish. Even with his ability to sleep anywhere, perhaps a schedule could benefit our son just as much?
I’ve not even begun to research the different methodologies like but I am really curious to hear from other parents who do follow a set schedule with their young infants. Have you found that your infant naps easier and is happier with a strict schedule? How does your baby react when their schedule is thrown off (such as with traveling)? I’d appreciate some real world perspectives from others on how having a schedule or not has worked for their family.