What is scheduled parenting and why is there such an uproar about it?
Scheduled parenting is exactly what it sounds like, parenting your children, including infants, by the clock, rather than by instinct alone. It is structured, planned, and predictable………and also, it’s not.
Let me explain.
Scheduled parenting simply means working your baby into your life, rather than the other way around.
In these days of living far away from family, with jobs and pediatrician appointments and postpartum depression ever looming on the horizon, it is a rare privilege indeed to lie-in with your baby for the recommended 40 days while being lovingly cared for by friends and family.
Scheduled parenting often gets a bad rap in the attachment parenting and crunchy mom groups, but it’s a misunderstanding that can leave parents feeling guilty, and at their Whits’ end.
Scheduled parenting looks different for every age and stage of life.
It is simply figuring out what you want your days to look like, and working your baby’s needs into the day.
If you know that when you go back to work in 6 weeks that you will need to get up at 5AM to get to work, then you will either need to arrange care at your home for your little one, or plan for baby to wake for a feeding at 6, so that you can be out the door by 6:30. Because babies must eat every 2.5 to 3 hours, you know that baby will need to eat again between 8:30 and 9, and you begin to set that in motion as early as you can; so that everyone is on the same schedule when the time comes. Knowing that your 6 week old baby, developmentally will only be awake for 45 minutes to 1.5 hours between feedings, you plan your meals to best work with your baby’s needs, and also give yourself time to eat. It also means keeping that schedule on the weekends, because babies’ needs don’t change just because you’re off work. Don’t worry though, you’ll all be taking a morning snooze again by 7:30.
Scheduled parenting often looks like creating good sleep hygiene from day one and babies sleeping through the night by 4 months.
Scheduled parenting DOES NOT look like letting your baby cry because the clock says it’s not time to eat, or leaving your baby in a swing because it’s not “cuddle time”. It is an attunement between baby and parent. It is knowing yourself and what you need to be the best parent you can, while learning your baby’s cues and adjusting the schedule to benefit the entire family. It is learning, it is growing, and it can be done whether you plan to breastfeed, bottle feed, exclusively pump or combination feed.
Scheduled parenting is the modern family’s best friend. It teaches patience and time management. It sets expectations, and promotes excellent sleep habits. It encourages proper nutrition and limits late night snacking.
The baby might even learn a thing or two as well! 😉