I wrote this at 1:30 am while feeding Charlie Mac the other night. I wonder if this is going to turn into my new writing time for awhile?!
I have worked really hard with all the kids to get them on a schedule as soon as possible. Having predictable feed times and eventually predictable nap times is important to me. It helps me plan my day and ensure that everyone gets a full belly and the rest necessary to be functioning humans.
By no means is this article a “my way is the best way” proclamation. It’s simply what works best for us. I know plenty of moms with very different routines whose children are perfectly happy and well adjusted. If anyone would be interested in sharing what has worked for them, I’d love to post that!
When Fleet was born I didn’t have a clue where to get started. When do I feed him? How long will each feeding take? How often does he need to eat? When should he nap? I had a friend who followed the Babywise schedule and had the most amazing sleepers so I decided to start there. After reading the book, I felt pretty confident that these concepts would work well for us. Here is the basic rundown on Babywise. FYI – I am a lot more laid back with this schedule than I used to be. Grandparents, please accept my apologies for my first time mom self. Ha!
The goal is to get your baby into a predictable EAT-WAKE-SLEEP routine. Feed them at predictable times everyday, adjusting as they grow. Followed by a period of awake time that will lengthen in duration as they grow until they eventually reach just one or two naps per day. Then nap/sleep time. It’s important to do things in this order so that they are awake when they have a full belly. This is the very simplified version. I highly recommend the book for all the details.
It can be difficult to impossible to follow this routine with a newborn because they are so sleepy. I usually stick pretty closely to the EAT part of the routine and work on the rest of the routine once they get a little older, usually around 4 weeks old. Charlie Mas is already on a predictable EAT routine at 2 weeks old and we are starting to work on keeping him awake for a few minutes after each feeding.
Here is roughly what our days look like and will look like for awhile, as far as feeding goes:
EAT 7am-10am-1pm-4pm-7pm-10pm – I wake him up to eat at each of these times. Right now, he is a very slow eater. My slowest yet. 45min – 1 hour at each feed. This doesn’t leave much time for anything else, like sleeping. But I’m hoping that he will get faster as he is less sleepy. At night, I don’t wake him. Right now he is eating every 3-4 hours at night and I’m hoping for longer stretches any day now.
The advantages to this have been . . .
- I know when he needs to eat and can plan the day accordingly. It stresses me out to think of him getting hungry midway through a grocery trip.
- He gets full feeds at each feeding so there is no need to “snack” feed.
- He knows when his next meal is coming which builds trust and also helps his metabolism to get established. I’ve never known a baby or child who doesn’t like routine.
- I’ve had three really great sleepers and I know the schedule has been a big part of that.
It can be so tough in the beginning between the lack of sleep, worry over whether they are getting enough to eat, and general physical and emotional stress. All of this can be amplified if you have a colicky or sick baby. Having a game plan has helped me get through some of the tougher times. I’ve reread this book so many times, I practically have it memorized.
By the way, I always make exceptions for sick or hungry babies…I’m not that rigid.
Find the Babywise book here.
Feel free to message me or comment below if you have any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org