I’ve had so many requests the last few months to share my findings about baby schedules and what worked for me, so here it is! I love writing about this because I felt that when I was expecting I had a hard time finding articles on this or straightforward solutions. Most of the stuff I found was on Baby Center and it was dated back to 2009. So I decided to do research the old school way by reading various books on schedules and what to do when this little bundle arrives. I chose to go with Tracy Hogg who wrote the Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. Granted after reading her book, I opted not to follow step by step because some of the things I did not agree with. A lot of it however made sense, at least for me. There are three different “baby schedules” you as a parent can go about. There is the baby led schedule and the parent led schedule, and then there is a combination of the two, which is what I chose.
You are probably asking yourself “How can you get a newborn to adjust to a schedule?” or “Isn’t is advised to start babies on schedule and routines at 4 months old?” To answer your first question, its not easy. Actually it’s very hard to get a newborn to adapt to a routine. It takes time, patience & diligence to keep at it even when you feel like giving up. When it comes to waiting the 4 months, I heard two different versions. From the Internet & forums it was wait until they are older, IE 4 months. From our own pediatrician she said and I quote “If you are able to and she participates why not, no harm in trying the sooner the better”.
We did just that. Avery was about 10 days old when we put her on a schedule. When I mean schedule at 10 days old, I mean we would do “bath” time at the same time, or wind down at night, turn off the lights in the room, make it dark and cozy. That way she knew that it was time to sleep and eventually she caught on. We still fed her when she would cry on demand for about the first 3 weeks, but would also look for her cues and let her be our guide. At around 4 weeks old she was fully on the EASY 3 hour schedule. Which looked somewhat like this, give or take you can never follow it to the minute:
7am- Wake, change, feed
8:30a- Nap time
10am – Eat
11:30- Nap time
4:30pm- Cat Nap
6:00pm (Cluster feed until she was 3mo)
7:00pm- Bath, story, milk
Baby is Asleep…
Between 10pm and 11pm (Dream Feed which I will cover in my next post)
She started sleeping in her own crib in her room at 6 weeks. Before that she was in our room in a bassinet.
This schedule went on until she was 4 months old. Then I moved it from a 3-hour rotation to 3.5-4 hours. So her current schedule is:
7am-8am- Wakes up, change, bottle
Depending how early she wakes up that day a nap around 8:30am or 9am-
Takes about 30 min nap
10:30a-11a Second breakfast she now eats solids which she started at 6 months, consists of cereal mixed with homemade fruit (peaches, apples or pears) +bottle
As of 7 months I’ve been giving her some juice in a Sippy cup throughout the day.
11a-11: 15a She goes down for her 2nd nap
Her sleep time depends on if it’s quiet in the house or if the dog howls at the sirens!
Wakes up & playtime, we usually take a walk etc.
2:30pm-3:00pm She eats again, solids +bottle
Then its time for her long afternoon nap. It’s usually between 1-2hrs. Depending how tired she is.
Wakes up more play time
6pm- Dinner solids plus bottle
6:15pm-6: 30pm She has a bath (every other day, babies their age don’t get too dirty)
6:30pm-7pm Low lights, rest of the bottle she didn’t finish, soft talking. and good night…. Asleep by no later than 7pm, not that she can keep her eyes open past that anyways!
10:30pm Dream Feed (More on that in my next post).
All that being said, I cannot tell you how many battles there were in my house day after day during nap times. That I think was the hardest part of the routine/schedule process. For naps we did the whole rock her put her in her crib whisper I love you and go… She would cry of course… So first we would go back 5 min later, give her a pacifier, calm her, leave. Then come back 10min later if she still cried, then 15 then 20 and so on. I have to say it was rare it ever went past 20 min. Guess what it was super hard hearing your baby cry, but it’s even harder when they are grumpy and lacking sleep, because trust me you will pay for it later! HaHa Most of you know once a baby reaches “THAT” point there is no coming back! You want to nip it in the bud before it gets there. And how do you know that it’s coming? A schedule. Structure. A routine.
I see moms all the time keeping their kids up past 10p/11p or even midnight thinking that their babies will sleep longer if they go to bed later. That is pure madness! The ending result is mom being exhausted, dealing with a fussy baby till midnight, and the baby still wakes up at 6 or 7a and guess what, so does the mom after getting 6-7 hours of sleep if that. Babies, especially at this age NEED sleep. To them and their growing bodies sleep and food is the most important. And actually they will start favoring sleep over food at some point in their development. By putting our children on a schedule & routine now, we help them succeed in the future in many ways from baby to teenager in their academic and personal life.
Ladies lets be honest, we moms never stop right? So when it comes to bedtime, I love that she goes to bed early and sleep until 7 or 8am the next day. She has since she was 8 weeks old. Why? Because then your significant other and you can have some “Couple” time (which doesn’t come easy these days right???) Watch a movie, talk, cuddle, cook whatever it is you want to do. Or guess what, you can have some YOU time. Yes remember it’s that time you take for you, do a mask, read, watch a chick flick… There is no better feeling than that after a long day of being mommy, there is no clock out card, it’s a 24/7…So ladies take that well deserved time for YOU and enjoy 🙂
As you can see I LOVE schedules & I love that I was able to stick with it even when at times it seemed that giving up and just letting our little bundle do whatever she wanted. It would have been the easiest thing to do for the time being at least. However I knew it would come back and bite us in the end, so I stuck with it.
I hope that this post about baby schedules was helpful for any mommies out there who are new at this, or even mommies with older babies. Remember it’s never too late to start them on a routine & the sooner you do it, the better the process for you and your bundle. If you have any questions as usual I am happy to hear from you. Tomorrow I will be posting details on “Dream Feeding” process & weaning. Thank you for stopping by & have a great day ladies!