4 Tips for Fitting Fun Into Your Baby's Schedule
By Natalie Fitzgerald
“We want to get our baby into a good routine but we don’t want to be a slave to our schedule!” As a sleep consultant, I get this a lot. Your schedule doesn’t have to be limiting! Let your schedule serve you, and not the other way around. Having a schedule can actually provide a lot of flexibility once your baby gets into the rhythm. Here are a few tips if you’re trying to work a schedule into your baby’s day without feeling like you’re housebound 24/7.
SCHEDULE ACTIVITIES BETWEEN NAPS Depending on how many naps a day your baby needs, try to schedule activities and play dates during the time you know your baby will be rested, awake, and happy. For younger infants ages 0- 12 weeks who might take 4-5 naps per day, they will also sleep almost anywhere so take advantage of it and get out with your baby as often as you want or can!
NAPS ON THE GO
Let your baby take a nap on the go! As long as your baby doesn’t rely on the motion to fall asleep, naps on the go can be lifesaving for those mamas who need to get out of the house, or those of us with toddlers (who also need to get out of the house!). For those babies who need a little less stimulation to fall asleep, cover up the carseat or stroller and bring a portable white noise machine, like the Rohm.
You don’t need to be home for every nap and bedtime. If you have plans to be at a friend’s house, try to mimic the sleep environment by setting up a portable crib and sound machine in a dark room, and walk your baby through your nap routine the same way you would at home.
If you do end up skipping a nap entirely (we do this occasionally with family events, beach days, or special trips), always put your baby down for bed early if you can! Since they will miss an entire block of sleep that day, putting your baby down for bed up to 45 minutes earlier than usual can help them catch up on some zzzzs.
Natalie Fitzgerald is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Postpartum Doula. Natalie’s approach to sleep training is tailored to each family she works with, meeting them exactly where they are and developing a customized plan to help them reach their sleep goals, based on their unique baby’s needs and their parenting style. Natalie walks alongside families during the time they need the most support, encouraging parents and helping them find a rhythm that works best with their baby and lifestyle. Natalie is also a member of the Postpartum Health Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders. She lives in San Diego with her family, including her three little ones: Connor (6yrs), Kate (3.5yrs), and Makenna (1yr).