Welcome to Educated, Common Sense Parenting! This is my parenting education/commentary blog. Start here and read About This Blog.

I believe too many parents today have let their children rule their households. Their children dictate their daily lives, demand every ounce of their attention and do not show any respect for their parents. This needs to change. The only way to do this is if parents start letting good old common sense start dictating their parenting practices and stop letting their children run the show. You're the parent. Act like one.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Parents Who Put Their Babies on a Schedule (it's OK, you can come out of the closet!)

When I made the decision to put Will on a schedule/routine/whatever you want to call it, at around 3 weeks I of course read On Becoming Babywise. However, I found there weren't many resources on the internet to support parents who have their babies on a schedule. In fact, I found a lot more Babywise "hate" websites than anything helpful or supportive.

Attachment Parenting is all the rave now, in case you've been under a rock for the past 8 years. Cater to your baby's every need--feed them on demand, rock them to sleep, let a newborn sleep with you and nurse all night, breastfeed until they're 3--and they'll grow up to be strong, secure individuals. At the expense of sounding like a grandfather, I would have to say "kids these days" are being raised to be self-centered spoiled brats who demand the attention of their "nurturing" parents who are all frantically tearing through the house hopelessly trying to find the phone number to call Joe Frost, the Supernanny. These parents wonder why their kids are out of control terrors who don't listen, aren't mannered and demand every iota of their strength and attention. As the song goes, "let's start at the very beginning..."

You bring your precious bundle of joy home--the happiest day of your life. A beautiful, healthy child. Little do you know, the decisions you choose to make right now could possibly affect how your child will behave 5, 10 or 15 years from now. I'm crazy, you say?? If you decide to adopt the trendy, "attachment parenting" philosophy and attend to every single squeak that comes out of your precious little one's mouth--feed her around the clock, sleep with her and God forbid, don't let her CRY...let her get sooooo attached to you that.....when Baby #2 comes that child's life will be thrown so out of whack, your precious little angel will turn into Supernanny material. When Baby #2 comes, you cannot physically attend to the every need of your first child. That child must all of a sudden learn to be independent. And is it really fair to ask a toddler to learn independence when all you've doing for the past few years is train her that you are her one and only means of security? No wonder the poor kid goes nuts when the new baby comes home--you've taught her that you will respond to her every need. You simply can't do that with other kids in the house. Not to mention, if you want to keep yourself from paying exorbitant amounts to your local shrink.

Okay, so what is the alternative? Let them cry themselves to independence? Teach a 3-day-old baby it's your way or the highway? Never hold or cuddle your baby? Feed them only when the clock says it's time? Of course not. Anyone who has read Babywise, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer or have put their baby on a routine knows the key is structure, but with flexibility...and of course compassion! Moms who put their babies on a routine and do not demand-feed, do not love their babies any less or cuddle them any less! Moms who do not demand-feed bond with their babies just as much as demand-fed babies.

It is a proven fact that young children and babies respond to structure. Without structure, kids can get anxious and unruly if they don't know what is going to happen next. I understand this not only as a mom of a 3 year old, but as an elementary school teacher! Kids need structure. They respond to structure. And it's never too early to start. There are many benefits to putting your baby on a flexible routine. A flexible routine:

1) is the first step in establishing healthy sleep patterns. It also ensures your baby gets the sleep he needs--healthy sleep habits, happy child.

2) forces you to learn how to "read" your baby's cues--every cry is not a hunger cry! Once you establish a routine, you become much more cognizant of what your baby is trying to tell you--instead of always assuming they are hungry or need to be cuddled.

3) allows babies to organize their days and nights and promotes nighttime sleep. AKA: sleeping through the night!

4) ensures parents can get the rest THEY need. Show me a parent who is waking up 2, 3, 4 times a night with their 12 month old baby and I'll show you a parent who is fatigued, frustrated and simply does not have the mental stamina to perform well either at home or at work.

5) is a Godsend when Baby #2, 3, 4, etc. come around! Personally, I love knowing that around 1:00pm Baby Will is down for his afternoon nap and Brooke and I have time to bake cookies or read stories. Brooke also appreciates knowing that Will eats about every 3 hours and that is MY special time with her baby brother. She also knows that when Will is down for his nap, that is HER special time with Mom.

6) Last but not least, a flexible routine promotes CONFIDENCE in parents. And a confident parent, is a happy parent.


  1. I catered to every single sigh that came from Jillian (because, as I read -- this is what you're supposed to do AND what I wanted to do) for the first three months and then transitioned into a more structured routine. My way worked too -- she naps on schedule, has a routine bedtime and sleeps through the night. I think all parents will find the happy medium. I agree in letting the baby "cry it out" but we don't let Jillian go for more than 10 minutes. That usually means something is wrong and we're always right -- still hungry, wet diaper, etc.

    The more I am reading your blog I am beginning to find that we agree on some things but disagree on others. Wow, parenting sure is a personal, sensitive and touchy subject and all moms have something to say about it, too. ;-)

  2. I catered to every need with Brooke too! You do that with your first, of course!! Wait until #2 :-) My life was SOOOO much easier the first 3 months with Will vs. Brookey. I haven't had one Mommy meltdown yet!! I have the 10 minute rule too! Exactly--i set the timer for 10 min and if he's still crying I know something is wrong. He hardly ever makes it past the 4 min mark! I would have never done cry it out with Brooke! I was too much of a wimp!!

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  4. I agree wholeheartedly! As a former teacher I know how valuable structure is for kids! I lacked it in my first year as a teacher and my students and I all suffered from it. When I discovered I was pregnant I knew I wanted structure for my child from the start. I always had a basic routine when I nannied, it kept me sane and the kids happy, so of course I did the same with my own son.

    You would probably like the book Nanny Wisdom, it also advocated flexible routines and structure to a child's day.