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I don’t regret scheduling my newborn down to the minute

Bethany Ramos is an editor, blogger, and chick lit author. Bethany works as Editor in Chief for Naturally Healthy Publications.

Scheduling my infant was the only way I could handle parenting

To the outside observer, I was "that" mom. The over-controlling, hyper-overbearing new mom who believed that her way was the best way and the only way for her baby.

It's not that I was against babysitting or outside caretakers. My husband and I actually relished the first time that his parents planned to babysit our new son for Valentine's Day when he was just 2 months old. When we dropped off our infant for a few hours, he came with an extensive and very detailed schedule:

6:30 a.m.: Wake up, change diaper, feed 4 to 6 ounces of breast milk

9 to 9:45 a.m.: Short nap in crib on his back with the lights out

10 a.m.: Feed 4 ounces of breast milk

11:30 a.m.: Feed 2 to 4 ounces of breast milk, put down for afternoon nap

2 p.m.: Wake up from nap

2 to 2:30 p.m.: Feed 4 ounces of breast milk

4 to 4:30 p.m.: Short nap in crib on his back with the lights out

5 to 5:30 p.m.: Feed 4 ounces of breast milk

6:30 p.m.: Feed 2 to 4 ounces of breast milk, start bath and bedtime routine

At the time, this type of moment-by-moment schedule seemed absolutely natural to me as an anxious parent. When I was in my third trimester, I came upon a parenting article that described two different methods of child rearing: Should we follow a schedule or just wing it?

I consider myself an outgoing and spontaneous person among friends, but because of my anxiety, my day-to-day life is pretty predictable. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would never be able to "wing it" when bringing a new human into the world. My husband is also a direction follower who viewed infancy as a complicated puzzle that we would work together to soon master.

That's when we bought the book. The New Contented Little Baby Book by a strict and experienced British nanny named Gina Ford became our parenting bible. The book covered every single detail of parenting that I always wanted to know but was too afraid to ask — like how to swaddle and when to start pumping breast milk to store up reserves.

The book also had a detailed, and I mean detailed, schedule for each stage in a baby's life, changing roughly every two weeks. My husband and I were committed to sleep training. We followed the schedules religiously. Ultimately, we got the results that we had hoped for: Both of our sons slept a solid 12 hours through the night at 6 months old.

Looking back on my neurosis, I'm torn. The critical devil on my shoulder reminds me how absurd I must have looked bringing around a printed schedule for my month-old baby everywhere I went. The kinder angel on my other shoulder reminds me: You were a new mom. Every new parent is nervous. Nobody gets it right the first time. You did what worked best for you.

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