Post-conciliar liturgists, catechists, and pastors in many places have struggled with the ideal order for Confirmation and Eucharist after Baptism. Pope Benedict, in Sacramentum Caritatis addresses the issue briefly in section 18 before handing off to the bishops:
There is a clear variation between, on the one hand, the ecclesial customs of the East and the practice of the West regarding the initiation of adults, and, on the other hand, the procedure adopted for children. Yet these variations are not properly of the dogmatic order, but are pastoral in character. Concretely, it needs to be seen which practice better enables the faithful to put the sacrament of the Eucharist at the center, as the goal of the whole process of initiation. In close collaboration with the competent offices of the Roman Curia, Bishops’ Conferences should examine the effectiveness of current approaches to Christian initiation, so that the faithful can be helped both to mature through the formation received in our communities and to give their lives an authentically eucharistic direction, so that they can offer a reason for the hope within them in a way suited to our times (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).
It may not be entirely true that the Western variation is entirely pastoral at its root. Confirmation and Eucharist were delayed for the arrival of the bishop, sometimes for many years. A cynic might contend that the desire for episcopal oversight, rather than the pastoral need of the laity was foremost in this development.
However one interprets the Western separation of Confirmation from Baptism, (what is really operative here) one can certainly say that the early and frequent reception of Communion promoted by Pope Pius X was a pastoral inspiration. And it has left us with the dilemma of a displaced Confirmation. Does it work?
The pope seems to suggest that forming an “authentically eucharistic direction” should be the prime consideration. Ideally, the US bishops would arrive at a broad consensus approach for the nation, possibly with some leeway for pastoral judgment. It may yet come our way, a reunification of Confirmation with Baptism. But I suspect not before at least a decade or two has passed.