One of the things you are told early on in babies life, is that they need a routine so get a sleep schedule sorted straight away!
There are articles stating babies and children need a schedule, and others that say it doesn’t matter at a young age. So, as with every parenting decision, it is hard to tell what is the best thing to do.
Here is why my family doesn’t follow a schedule/routine.
As a breastfeeding mum you follow babies lead entirely. In their early months they often cluster feed and you can find yourself with a baby attached for hours and hours at a time. As baby Tali got older (he is now 14 months) I continued with following his lead. Now he eats three meals (and many snacks), however I still follow his lead. There is no set time for his breakfast, lunch or dinner, and I find this works really well as he eats when hungry.
Whilst I am more than happy to change my life for bubba, and have done in so many ways without complaint (Goodbye evening social life). One way I didn’t want to change my life was to be restricted in our day-to-day activities. From the very beginning we have continued our days plans without worrying that we need to work around a nap schedule. This means that bubs can literally sleep anywhere, and has done! If he is getting overwhelmed with our plans, I can always take him to a quiet place and let him breastfeed, this helps us reconnect and for him to have an island of calm.
Mr. Tali hates to be cooped up in the house, so we often will pop out for a bit of fresh air, and then will end up being out for the whole day. Baby Tali has been living this lifestyle since birth, and is more than happy to go on an adventure with us. We always make sure he has time to run around and as many cuddles as he wants!
There is more than enough time to introduce a schedule when needed, i.e. when school approaches. Until then bubba doesn’t need to be restricted by time, he is free to learn and explore. If he wishes to have a lie in, he is more than welcome to! If he has a later nap, which means we wont be going to sleep for the evening until 10.30, pm, that’s OK. I don’t want him hindered by something that means nothing to him – the clock.
I just find it more fun to parent this way. Yes there are days when the little one has decided he doesn’t want to nap for 7+ hours because he is having too much fun, yet he is super grouchy about it. That doesn’t matter, I know he will nap when we stop, and he can nap for as long as he needs. There are always hard days regardless, so it’s nice to take them in my stride and try to not get overwhelmed – of course there are days when I am super overwhelmed, I’m only human.
What do your schedules look like?
At what age did you introduce one?