A Scheduled Approach to Sleep
The Premise of a Scheduled Approach
Scheduling one's baby usually means getting her into an eating/waking/sleeping routine. The idea is to help stabilize her hunger patterns, which helps to organize her sleep cycles (and get her to sleep at night as the rest of us do). During the first eight weeks, the baby is usually fed every two and a half to three hours, around the clock. During the next eight weeks, Mom will keep up the routine but gradually reduce the number of nighttime feedings (by letting the baby cry it out at certain times).
A baby's ability to last longer between feedings obviously helps in the process of learning to sleep through the night. So scheduled parents tend to work hard at making sure the baby has a full feeding at appointed mealtimes -- and they discourage her from "snacking" on breast or bottle whenever she likes. Sleep experts like Gary Ezzo (On Becoming Babywise, Parentwise Solutions), Gina Ford (The Contented Little Baby Book, Penguin) and Tracy Hogg (Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, Random House) have popularized the scheduling technique.
Scheduled Approach: A Success Story
Sarah and Giles Colwell followed Ford's book, and Sarah admits she endured some teasing at her mothers' group because of it. Frankly, she understood the skepticism. "Scheduling your baby is hard," she says. "Sometimes it goes against everything you think you should do as a parent." But six months later, when Joe was consistently sleeping from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., the mothers' group ribbings turned into pleas for advice.