Setting Schedules in Your Baby's Life

I would love to say that I am the perfect mom and everything about my life is organized but I'm not. I'm going to be realistic now. Let's see - I am in the middle of preparing to move so I have boxes in various tastes of packing all over my house. I have a playpen in my living room for my son to sleep in because he doesn't fit in the nursery. Part of my couch has become a changing table and every time I pick up the living room (which is a hundred times a day) it seems like my toddler brings more toys into it!

But the one thing I like to stay organized with at all times are schedules. We have a set lunch time, nap time, bath time, and bedtime. These are all necessities in my life and without them I could not function. A schedule will allow your children to be happier and healthier.

I started our schedule with my daughter when she was 4 weeks old. The daytime schedule was hard to do because infants schedules change a lot during the times of their growth. I do let my infants determine their daytime schedule and I try to follow their schedule.

Bedtime is a different story however. I started at 8:00 pm every night with giving my daughter a bath. We would put lotion on her and get her dressed in pajamas. I would carry her into the nursery, turn off all the lights except a small nightlight, and then I would nurse her and rock her. At first this process took a long time - 1 1/2 to 2 hours. By 3 months old, she went to bed at 8:00 (we moved her bath time up) and has ever since.

I will not say setting a schedule is easy - it never has been and never will be. Consistency is the key when establishing a schedule with your child. Never give up because it doesn't work the first few nights! Research has shown that the first 3 days of doing anything in a baby's life will be difficult but after the 3rd day, a baby begins to adjust and work on your time line. Make sure that the first 3 nights of setting your schedule that you will be home so that you can be consistent. Never start something that you know that you can not accomplish at that time. It will only confuse and frustrate you and your baby!

Are you a mom that has an established schedule with your child? What are your hints to setting that schedule?