Why use a schedule?
Let me just throw this out there, I suck at reading sleepy cues. Is she tired? Is she hungry? Is she just bored? Maybe it’s because I don’t think my daughter ever had “typical” sleepy cues, or I just always missed them. Maybe it’s because I fed her to sleep (not a good sleep association) so I never could tell if she was actually hungry or just tired. If she cried my go to was to feed and hope she fell asleep, she’d sleep for a short time and that was it. Then the guessing game would start all over again. Life was hard!
Enter sleep schedules! I purchased some sleep schedules online and let me tell you that’s when our (and I say our because lets be honest: when she didn’t sleep we didn’t either) sleep started to take a turn for the better. I LOVE schedules and highly recommend them.
Why you ask?
Because schedules take out the guessing game; you know what is happening next in your schedule, as does your child, so you can appropriately soothe them. Once on a schedule you can also easily identify other causes for crying. These might be reflux, sickness, tongue ties, etc. Prior to getting my daughter to follow a schedule we were always guessing at what was causing the crying. I feel like I went through 7 different possibilities before coming to a solution, and looking back half of the time the “solution” probably wasn’t even the REAL solution. Just the band-aide for the time being.
Age-appropriate schedules make your days predictable so you can plan around nap/feeding times and be best prepared when you are out and about. Let me tell you, it is so much easier to plan outings, whether it be appointments, walks, visiting family, with a happy child when you are on a schedule. My favorite time for outings? During their “play time”. I have found the best schedules follow an eat play sleep sequence so we did many of our outings during play. This sequence also ensures your child is eating when they are fully awake and will then take a full feed, rather than a snack before falling asleep, which helps with ideal nap and nighttime sleep.
Notice in the above paragraph I used the term “age-appropriate”? Please do not put your child on any old schedule. At each age children have different sleep needs and therefore need an age appropriate schedule to follow. Where do you find one of those? Winter Slumber of course! 🙂 Which leads me to my next question…
Why use Winter Slumber’s Schedules?
Here at Winter Slumber I have already done all of the hard work for you and have taken into account all age-appropriate information when it comes to a child’s needs. My schedules ensure appropriate wake windows and meet the criteria for appropriate average hours of night sleep, typical # of naps, nap length limits, maximum day sleep, and average hours of total sleep needed for a happy healthy child at their particular age.
Not everyone’s days look the same. Some of us start our days at 5:30am and others at 8am. The great thing about my schedule is you can use your start time and adjust everything accordingly. So if my schedule has a start time of 7am but you start your day at 7:30 then bump everything back by a half hour. I couple my age-appropriate sleep schedules with my sleep chart so you can make any further adjustments while still making sure the needs for your baby’s sleep requirements are being met. This will aide in good sleep and healthy babies! Ultimately leading to a well-rested family.
When should we start on a schedule?
The short answer to that is about 3 months. At this age you can start working towards getting used to a schedule while remaining very flexible. Within a few weeks you should see some patterns starting to fall into place and a schedule becomes fairly easy to follow. I remember being so lost in those first few months and once I had a schedule in hand I felt more in control. She didn’t follow the schedule to a T but it was helpful in figuring out what those sleepy cues were or the why behind her cries.
Winter Slumber’s age-appropriate schedules are made for ages 9 weeks to 3 years.
One last thing….
Just because you are using a schedule does not mean you are tied to your house. In fact as mentioned earlier, it makes planning outings easier! I do encourage afternoon naps to be at home so the environment is most conducive to a long nap. But other naps can be in the car, a stroller, or even on grandma! 🙂
I highly recommend using an age-appropriate schedule with your child. When in use your child ends up being well-fed, well-rested, and in turn so much happier! Which means we as the parents are too!
You can find Winter Slumber’s Age-Appropriate Schedules and Sleep Chart on the Services page.