Moms on Call Schedule Flexibility with a Newborn
Learn how a mom of 3 (including a newborn!) maximizes her family’s schedule flexibility by using routines that create space and freedom.
As a new mom of three, schedule flexibility is a necessity for our family. And that is one thing I have always loved about Moms on Call. (Long before I worked here!) The routines and schedules create freedom which affords us the flexibility needed to be on-the-go and say “yes” as much as possible. (Any fellow FOMO sufferers out there?!)
Now, this contradicts one of the big myths out there that we hear so often — that Moms on Call’s routines and schedules are “too strict”.
In this post, I want to debunk this myth. I will explain how routines and schedules can actually create freedom and space (versus limiting them). And this provides the foundation for having flexibility.
People, including babies, thrive on routine. Simply because routines and schedules create familiarity that helps us to feel in control and safe by knowing what’s going to happen and when. This structure and organization promotes health and wellness. It’s not just for “A-type people ” and should not be so constrictive that it creates stress. Routines and schedules should do the opposite and create freedom. Freedom to run errands, have lunch with a friend, take a shower and have a date night!
We all know that babies need to eat and sleep A LOT, like every 3 hours! And having these things happen at the same time every day makes life a whole lot easier (for us and the baby). That is one thing that my mother-in-law has always said she’s appreciated about watching our babies for us — she knows exactly what to expect!
Now, we do live in reality and in reality, things often don’t go as planned. We hit unexpected traffic, meetings run late and kids get sick. But having the foundational structure of a consistent routine provides the flexibility needed to accommodate these bumps in the road without missing a beat.
So, once we have the MOC routines and schedules in place, how do we maximize flexibility? Here are some of the things that have been working for us as we juggle three kids.
Make the schedule work for your family
In our Newborn Moments series on Instagram, I recently shared how I’ve adjusted Moms on Call’s Typical Day Schedules to work for our family. My goals were to minimize overlapping activities and to have everyone in bed with enough time leftover for my husband and I to have some time to ourselves each night!
To accomplish this, we shifted the 4-8 week schedule forward 1 hour. (Our first feed was between 5 and 6am and the bedtime feed was at 7:30pm). And we shifted the 8-16 week schedule back 30 minutes. (Our first feed was at 7:30am and the bedtime feed was at 7:30pm.) Check out the series on Instagram for more details!
Callie Dauler has also shared about how she adjusted her daughter, Ellie’s, schedule to accommodate her crazy work hours. She wakes up at 2am, gets home from work by 12pm and goes to bed by 7:15pm. To maximize her time with Ellie, she moved her bedtime up to 6:45pm. She then worked backwards from there to adjust the schedule.
Need help customizing your schedule? This is one of the many things that working with a certified Moms on Call consultant can help with!
Think outside of the box to manage time conflicts
I often find myself facing timing conflicts. For example, I need to be at daycare pickup at 5pm, but need to feed at 4:30pm. Impossible? Not so! These types of conflicts just require a little forward thinking and creativity. Using the example above, here are some options to accomplish the Olympic sport of back-to-back feeding and being somewhere on time.
- Get to daycare by 4:30pm, park and feed in the car.
- Feed early at home.
- Ask for help!
- I love this idea from a friend and fellow mom of 3. She recently started having a helper come for 2 hours each afternoon. The helper gives her newborn a bottle while she goes to get her older kids from school. This checks so many boxes. She gets out of the house (alone!), can run a few errands, gets to spend some time with her older kids and has an extra set of hands once they all get home to help get dinner ready.
Also, if you know you’ll be at another location for naptime or bedtime, bring a pack n play (or other approved sleep surface) and travel sound machine with you!
There are so many gadgets out there to support being on-the-go with a baby. Leaving to go anywhere can feel overwhelming at first, but like most things, the more you do it, the easier and smoother it gets! Check out my Amazon list for all of my favorite on-the-go items.
Use the “C” times when the day doesn’t go as planned
On the days when nothing goes as planned, utilize the 15 minute grace periods on either end of the feeding times and do your best to hit the “Crazy Day” times in the schedules.
I have been late for a scheduled feeding more times than I can count. And guess what? It’s okay! The beauty of a routine is that it’s all about creating consistency, not perfection. One off feeding or an entire off day will happen and that is okay! Just pick up the next feeding (or day) at the normal time and you’ll be good to go!
Don’t let short naps steal your joy
For us Rule Followers, deviations from the schedule can be hard to accept. Like a nap that is “supposed” to be an hour and a half that is only 45 minutes.
But don’t be so tied to what the schedule says that it steals your joy! Especially when your baby’s behavior is perfectly normal for their age.
Up until 5 months of age, it is perfectly normal for babies to nap for 30-45 minutes, fuss for 10-15 minutes and doze back off for 30 minutes or more. And some babies at this age still won’t doze back off, even after the 10-15 minutes of fussing. Unfortunately, we cannot “make” our baby sleep. We control what we can by providing the sleep environment and nap opportuity to give them the best chance at getting a good nap or two in each day. And the good news is, naps tend to get a lot better once they are unswaddled and rolling between 5-6 months of age. For more on short naps, check out this video, podcast episode and blog post.
Our goal at Moms on Call is always to provide you with simple, straightforward, reality-based information that you can use to embrace and enjoy the chaos of these first four years as much as possible. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast, follow us on social and sign up for our newsletter to get tips, tricks and answers to all of your parenting questions.