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Back to Baby's Schedule

No matter how much you try to give your baby a regular eat-play-sleep sort of day, it's inevitable that something's going to throw your routine out of whack sometimes. That can mean tears and tougher bedtimes, but interruptions aren't the end of the world, says Jeanne Clifford, M.D., a pediatrician in Medford, MA. To handle a change:

Stick to what you can. If you know in advance that the day will be different from most  -- you had to schedule a doctor visit during afternoon naptime, say  -- preserve whatever normal patterns you can. Feed your baby his favorite foods at the regular times or read his favorite books while you snuggle in the customary chair. Then, despite the difference in one part of his day, the rest of it will still seem familiar.

Break out the lovey. Are you on a long car trip, or are there extra people in the house? Make sure your baby's preferred teddy or blanket is nearby; even if he's not attached to something specific, a familiar toy or something that smells like you will be comforting.

Make a new place feel like home. If your baby's used to sleeping with a nightlight, bring one along to Grandma's. Does he like a few crackers after his bottle? Pack some in your suitcase: Little things matter to little people.