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On Eat, Play, Sleep…

If you’ve worried about whether your newborn needs to be on a schedule, you’ve probably come across the most commonly recommended schedule: the infamous ‘eat, play, sleep’, or EASY (eat, awake time, sleep, you time) routine. This typically fits best if you already have an easygoing (no pun intended!) baby, who likely would have fallen into the groove of a schedule on their own.

The ‘eat, play, sleep’ routine seems pretty innocuous, and you might have even given it a try. You are the expert on what will be the right fit for you and your family, so if it’s working for you, that’s great! But for many parents, especially those with sensitive babies, attempting to put an infant on a schedule simply does not work.

Before jumping into ‘eat, play, sleep’, here are some things to consider:

💤 Temperament: If your baby tends to need more support to sleep, or are generally a bit fussier, attempting a schedule too soon may create added stress for your baby

💤 Feeding on Demand: Scheduling feeds for young babies can interrupt the breastfeeding relationship and impact milk supply. Until around 6-8 weeks of age, milk supply is hormonally driven. Once supply is driven by demand, be sure to feed whenever your baby seems hungry, regardless of the time on the clock

💤 Biological norms: The main goal of this routine is to ‘teach’ your baby not to fall asleep eating. However, nursing to sleep is not a bad habit, and if it’s working to get more sleep for everyone, it’s not something you need to change

💤 Sleep Progressions: In the midst of a progression, parents should help their babies to get sleep by any means necessary, in an effort to avoid heading into bedtime with an overtired baby. A rigid schedule like EASY doesn’t allow the flexibility to follow your child’s cues.

💤 Parental Mental Health: For some, being on a rigid schedule is helpful. For others, it creates unnecessary stress and unreasonable expectations that don’t allow you the flexibility to enjoy your time with your baby. There are ɴᴏ hard and fast rules when it comes to babies or children, so do what feels best for your family.

👉🏼 Have you tried ‘eat, play, sleep’? Did it work for you?

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