Reaping the rewards
The good news is that "schedule" can mean different things to different families, and everyone agrees that there's no best way to set one up. The bad news is that there's no best way to set one up. So you may have to try a few things to see what's ideal for you and your baby.
"Our routines don't always work. But when they do work, they are priceless ways to maintain order in our home," says Donna Maria Coles Johnson, a Charlotte, North Carolina, mother of two.
For Mimi Thomas, the benefit of a schedule is no more whining. "The girls are just less fussy. Now things are more organized and calmer," she says.
There are some less obvious benefits, too. Establishing a daily routine with Mali helped me feel less frazzled, so I became better able to pay attention to her needs. I felt more empowered as a parent, and it also helped my husband and me to communicate better about her care: He "owns" parts of the schedule (dinner and bathtime) and can ease right into the routine when he gets home.
On days when our routine flows fluidly from one activity to the next, we all move together like one cozy unit. Mali's more content; I'm more relaxed. And that makes Daddy happy. Routine has been very good for all of us.