Moore’s BRAC-based program works wonderfully if you have a schedule that permits it, or if your child attends a daycare that’s open to that kind of personalization. Following baby’s natural BRAC is a way of letting her establish a schedule that you can work with, rather than the other way around. “This is not a program of putting the baby ‘on a schedule,’” Moore emphasizes. “Rather, the approach is to learn to follow your baby’s inner schedule, your baby’s own internal sleep and wake rhythms.”
If your day-to-day is more rigid, or if your daycare has specific nap times they must adhere to, you will find more success in setting baby’s schedule for her. Teressa DeDominicis, mother to Amelia in Fredericksburg, Virginia, knew her family would operate more smoothly with baby on a regular schedule, particularly when DeDominicis returned to work after six weeks of maternity leave. “I talked to my daycare provider about their infant room schedule,” says DeDominicis, “so I could make the transition as seamless as possible, and that worked really well.” Depending on the needs of the family, a workable schedule may be set by the parents, the daycare or the baby herself, and then shared with the other members of your baby care squad.
What works for you as a mother?
“I kept all of my babies on schedules,” says Kasey Tross, a mother of four in Chesterfield, Virginia. “The best part about it was knowing what they needed when they cried. Based on where we were in our schedule, I knew if they were hungry, tired or had an upset tummy.”
Personally, I feel most confident as a mother when I understand why baby is crying, so that I am able to meet his needs. Even when I completely ignore the clock, I stick to a pattern of wake-eat-play-sleep during the day, and wake-eat-sleep at night (until the wake-eat part shrinks and disappears, leaving only wonderful sleep!). Adhering to the pattern lets me know that if my son is fussing, even though he’s eaten recently, it’s because he now needs to sleep. Whatever the length of each nap, baby will expect to eat right when he wakes up.
Following a schedule—or at least a pattern—can help both parents (along with other regular or occasional caregivers) know what to expect. DeDominicis says of her baby’s schedule, “It helps manage expectations with your significant other about what is needed when.” If baby always goes down for a nap at 10 a.m., then there’s no need for debate when he seems irritated at 9:55 a.m.