Websites, books, your baby's doctor, and other parents can all help as you figure out an appropriate schedule for your baby. But your child will be an important guide, and he'll tell you what he needs — if you learn to read his cues.
"When parents take the time to be with their baby, the information they receive gets sifted through their own experience. 'Instincts' come from learning about your baby's temperament and what works for him," says pediatrician Daniel Levy, president of the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland.
Mom Liana Scott says paying close attention to 9-month-old Keaton has helped her anticipate his needs, which makes life easier and more fun for both of them.
"Now I'm able to feed him before he's really hungry and put him to bed before he's overtired and fussy," says Scott.
Learning what your baby needs when takes time and patience. But you'll see patterns emerge over time. And if you log your baby's naps, feedings, playtime, and so on in a notebook or on the computer, you can use this record to come up with a timetable for doing things.