Re: Should my baby nap on a schedule, or just whenever he seems tired?
The answer to this question depends on the age of baby.
Before four months of age, baby needs an extraordinary amount of sleep. Some babies can only stay awake for an hour at a time. However, if you are a"schedule person," you can start to keep a sleep log of when baby is sleeping and awake. After a week or so, look back on the logs to see if he has some consistent sleep patterns that you can try to encourage from day to day.
Once baby reaches four months, he is neurologically capable of differentiating between his nights and days. At this point he can benefit from a more predictable, established sleep schedule. Plus, by this age babies are exercising their little bodies more and need several naps to help them get through their active days.
We personally feel having a napping schedule is beneficial because it takes the guess work out of parenting. You don't have to worry that baby is getting too much sleep during the day or that you'll be escorting a cranky, overtired child to a playdate. Parents who initially dislike schedules tell us that once they give them a try, they actually find set times liberating. Even fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants parents quickly realize the value of guaranteed down time each day to eat lunch, catch up on e-mail or take a much needed shower.