Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Year of Babywise Schedules

This post has been updated since the original post date to contain more accurate information about what the book suggests. If doing Babywise for your family, I always recommend you read the book yourself - it's worth your time!

I was recently reviewing On Becoming Babywise in anticipation of having a newborn again. I remember the first time reading this book feeling so overwhelmed - so much good information, but how was I going to remember it all?! Turns out the days passed slower than I thought they would, and I was able to return to the book many times for ideas, guidance, and reminders as Drew worked his way from 5 naps a day and round-the-clock feedings every 3 hours down to one mega-nap and regular meals with adults over the course of 15 months. I have to say, it's so much more relaxing to read this book once you've been through it with one child already!

(Photo Credit: Stacy Ruth Photography)
I decided to make myself a cheat sheet of the ranges the average Babywise baby is likely to make nap and feeding merges when following an eat, play, sleep routine. I then went back to my Drew Notebook and looked at the weeks he merged naps and feedings and added those notes in. It was interesting for me to see where Drew fell on the spectrum: he made some merges early, some on time, and some delayed - so all across the board. As you will see below we were always one merge ahead of the book; we started off at only 8 feedings in 24 hours (instead of 9) and went from there. That was partly me being a novice at Babywise, and partly because we were making the schedule work for us and that meant deviating from the book a bit.

I'm sharing my notes here on the blog because I know Babywise moms are always curious how the merges are happening for other babies. I plan to come back and update with what worked for baby Mary as the weeks go by. If you have questions, leave them in the comment section and I'll try to answer in a timely fashion and hopefully be of some help!

PS - if you're bringing home a baby soon, check out this post: Bringing Baby Home: Goals for the First Four Months

Drew: born summer 2013
Mary: born summer 2015
Evan: born winter 2016

{ weeks 1 – 2 }
Book suggests:
6 naps
9 feedings every 2.5-3 hours (no longer than 4 hours apart at night)        

Drew did this:
By the end of week 1, Drew’s schedule was:
7 eat
8:00 – 10 nap
10 eat
11:00 – 1 nap
1 eat
2:00 – 4 nap
4 eat
5:00 – 7 nap
7 eat
8 – 10p bed
10 eat and right back to sleep
middle of the night feedings at 1a, 4a       

Mary did this:
Right away. By the time we left the hospital Mary was on a 3 hour feeding schedule. This was mostly out of necessity; she was not waking to eat on her own so we began waking her every 3 hours to eat. Same schedule as Drew above.

Side note: My kids always took one less "nap" than the book suggested because I don't consider the period of sleep after the 7pm-hour feeding a "nap". You never drop that period of sleep, whereas all actual naps eventually get dropped at some point. I consider baby down for the night after the 7pm-hour feeding.

(moved Mary to her own room at 1w5d)

Evan did this:
Day 2 or 3. Evan is my sleepiest baby so far, so it was hard to get him to wake enough to eat at the hospital. Once we got home, I got better at waking him to eat and he moved to a standard 3 hour feeding schedule. He basically eats and passes back out. Fortunately he's a fast and efficient eater, taking 3.5-4 ounces per feeding (I've taken him to my local breastfeeding support group where I can weigh him, feed him, and then weigh him to see how many ounces of milk he's transferring in a feeding session). The first few days home he had some rough nights, waking to eat and cry for several hours both nights. Day 4 I started napping him in his crib, which he had no issue with. So that night we let him sleep in his crib, and he only woke to eat twice. Jackpot! Once I learned how many ounces he was taking at a standard feeding, we stopped waking to feed him at night after the 10pm feed (but still setting an alarm for 5 hours with the intent of waking him if that much time passed between feedings). The first few nights of that he woke twice to feed, which is perfectly normal. The last 3 nights, though, he's only woken up to feed once around 2-3am. Two weeks old is early to merge the middle of the night feeding, so I checked with his pediatrician. She said because of his awesome weight gain thus far and how much milk he takes at a feeding, that letting him wake naturally to eat at night is perfectly fine at this point. So his current schedule is:

7 eat
7:45 – 10 nap
10 eat
10:45 – 1 nap
1 eat
1:45 – 4 nap
4 eat
4:45 – 7 nap
7 eat
7:45 – 10p bed
10 eat and right back to sleep
middle of the night feeding between 2-3am

Because he's a 3rd child, I am not as strict with his schedule (because I simply can't be!). We adhere to the 30 minute window with him: 15 minutes before or 15 minutes after the 3 hour mark is the window we try to stay within.

Update: we're in week 3 now and he has unmerged his middle of the night feedings. I'm thinking the merge before was a result of his sleepiness. I still think he could do with only one feeding at night, but I'm not interested in forcing him back into that. I think he'll naturally merge the two middle of the night feedings in the next few weeks. For the most part, he feeds and goes right back down to sleep. I know this merge is largely dependent on me making sure he gets full feeds during his daytime feedings, which is of course a challenge because he's a sleepy newborn, and I have two other kids demanding my attention so I can't fully focus on the full feedings.

(moved Evan to his crib at 4 days old)


{ weeks 3-5 }     
Book suggests:
Merge two middle of the night feedings
6 naps
8 feedings every 2.5-3 hours

Drew did this:
By 4 weeks old

Schedule:
7 eat
8:00 – 10 nap
10 eat
11:00 – 1 nap
1 eat
2:00 – 4 nap
4 eat
5:00 – 7 nap
7 eat
8 – 10p bed
10 eat and right back to sleep
middle of the night feedings at 3/3:30am    

(We moved Drew to his nursery at 3 weeks old)

Mary did this:
At 3.5 weeks old. Drew took longer to do this merge and he went back and forth for a few nights. Mary merged these feedings on her own one night and never looked back.

Schedule:
7 eat
8:00 – 10 nap
10 eat
11:00 – 1 nap
1 eat
2:00 – 4p nap
4 eat
5:30 – 7 nap
7 eat
8 nurse to sleep*
11 eat and right back to sleep
middle of the night feeding between 3-4am

*Mary has a fierce witching hour which is why we cluster fed and nursed to sleep. Often times she will sleep poorly for the 5:30 - 7pm nap in which case I'll feed her at 7pm only and put her right to bed, and then do a feed closer to 10:30. She always has some crying to do at night so we try to follow her lead in the evening and give her what she needs to help get her down for the night. It's a moving target most nights!

Evan did this:
Just past 5 weeks old. He was 5 weeks old 3 days ago, and as of today (so 5w3d) I am confident that he has merged his two middle of the night feedings down to one. Of my three kids he has taken the longest to do this merge, and I blame his reflux. He has trouble taking truly full feedings because it upsets his tummy so much. I've got him on reflux meds and I have cut dairy out of my diet (fellow cheese lovers, I know you feel me on how much I must love my child to cut dairy out!). I've been working with a lactation consultant at my favorite breastfeeding support group to do some feed-and-weighs to find out how much he's taking at a feeding, as well as how much he's spitting up. He's gaining well, feeding well enough, and his pain seems to have lessened (but definitely not gone away) with the changes we have made. That being said, he was genuinely hungry in the middle of the night and required two feedings up until this point. Two things stand out to me about this merge for him: 1) my first two kids tended to do their longest stretch of the night directly after the 10-11pm feeding, but when Evan first started doing only one feeding it was earlier in the night and then he'd do his long stretch after that. Now his one feeding is more centered between 3 and 4am. 2) At the 10-11pm feeding he only takes one side and then I pump the other before I go to bed. When I first started doing that I would only get 2 ounces, which was consistent with his eating habits at the feed-and-weighs. The last week, I've been getting 3 ounces when I pump the remaining side. Evan typically only eats one side per feeding, so that lets me know he's taking more ounces per feeding than he was previously. So that gave my confidence that he really was ready to merge the two feedings because he is taking more ounces at all other feedings. Okay - enough commentary!

His new schedule is:
7 eat
8:00 – 10 nap (often has trouble with this nap, not sure why)
10 eat
11:00 – 1 nap (great nap)
1 eat
2:00 – 4p nap (great nap)
4 eat
5:30 – 7 nap (often has trouble with this nap)
7 eat
11 eat and right back to sleep
middle of the night feeding between 3-4am

{ weeks 7- 10 }
Book suggests:
Drop the middle of the night feeding
6 naps
7 feedings     

Drew did this:
Around 8 weeks old he moved his middle of the night feeding to be an early morning feeding around 5:30am (and then back to sleep until 7am). At 11 weeks old he dropped that early morning feeding which meant he was sleeping through the night from 8pm to 7am (with a late evening feeding at 10:30pm which he slept through).

Schedule:
7 eat
8:00 – 10 nap
10 eat
11:00 – 1 nap
1 eat
2:00 – 4 nap
4 eat
5:00 – 7 nap
7 eat
8 – 10p bed
10 eat and right back to sleep (he usually didn't even wake for this feeding and eventually it became a dream feed)
middle of the night feedings at 5:30am until he dropped it (we started offering the paci first before feeding and eventually he stopped needing to eat at this time)  

Mary did this:
Just shy of 8 weeks old.

Schedule:
7 eat
8:00 – 10 nap
10 eat
11:00 – 1 nap
1 eat
2:00 – 4 nap
4 eat
5:30 – 6:30 nap
7 eat
8 nurse to sleep*
11 eat and right back to sleep

Since dropping the MOTN feeding, she still sometimes wakes between 5-6am, and my husband goes in and offers her the paci. Most mornings that's enough for her and she goes back to sleep until 7am. If she continues to fuss, I'll go in and feed her one side, put her back to sleep, and then feed her again at 7am (the other side). On those mornings she is usually hungry before 10am, so I do a 9:30a feeding and then continue on with every 3 hours for the rest of the day - and I just try to add 5-10 minutes to each cycle to get us back on track by 7pm that evening.

Update at 9 weeks: Mary is 12 pounds so her pediatrician said I no longer need to offer a MOTN feeding, even if she wakes early in the 5-6am hour. We stick with the paci routine for those early morning wakings.

A note about the nap times: she does not always sleep for 2 hours during the naps. That's just when her naps are scheduled for. Like all babies, some days she takes great naps and other days we fight the 45 minute intruder all day long!

Evan did this:
Just past 8 weeks old, I noticed Evan wasn't exactly hungry for his 7am feeding. I took that to mean he was getting the final ounces he needed for the day during his middle of the night feeding, and thus didn't need his morning feed. At his 2 month check-up the ped said he was at 12lbs and steady on his growth curve, so I could stop the middle of the night feeding if he would tolerate that. So that night we gave it a try! I did the late night feeding at 11pm, and then he woke around 1 and again around 4 and both times we let him fuss and resettle (something he's really good at, bless his heart!) and both times he went back to sleep until morning. If he was a binky kid, I would have had Kyle offer him the binky at those two wakings. But for Evan, leaving him to settle himself is clearly what he prefers. For the middle of the night feed, it would take him nursing one full side to fall back asleep; I couldn't pull him off sooner for risk of waking him back up. My hunch told me that maybe he needed 1-2 of those ounces, but probably not the 3-4 he was taking in total (hence why he wasn't eating well for the morning feed). So to recoup those 1-2 he may have actually needed I made sure to have him linger at the boob for the rest of the feedings that following day to make sure he was recouping any ounces he truly needed that he may have not gotten overnight. The next few nights he woke and fussed between 3-4 and went back to sleep. It's been a week and a half of no middle of the night feedings and he still usually wakes once at some point to fuss, but it's usually in the early morning and we think it may be my son being too loud when he goes to the bathroom.

Schedule after dropping the MOTN feeding at 8.5 weeks old:
7 eat
8:00 – 10 nap 
10 eat
11:00 – 1 nap
1 eat
2:00 – 4p nap 
4 eat
5:00 – 7 nap
7 eat
8 - bedtime
11 eat and right back to sleep

At 9.5 weeks old we pushed his wake time out 5-10 minutes, and back the late night feeding up by 15 minutes. My goal is to back that feeding up by 15 minutes every week until it's at 10pm, and then leave it at that time until we drop it.
7 eat
8:05 – 10 nap 
10 eat
11:05 – 1 nap
1 eat
2:10 – 4p nap 
4 eat
5:10 – 7 nap
7 eat
8 - bedtime
10:45 eat and right back to sleep

{ weeks 12 – 15 }             
Book suggests:
Drop the late evening feed
5 naps
6 feedings          

Drew did this:
Around 16 weeks he dropped the 10:30p feed

Schedule:
7am eat
8:30 – 10 nap
10am eat
11:30 – 1 nap
1pm eat
2:30 – 4pm nap
4pm eat
5:30 – 7 nap
7pm eat
sleep 8pm-7am

Mary did this:
At 10 weeks old, Mary didn't seem ready to eat at the 3 hour mark so I moved her to the 3.5 hour mark (usually for babies 16-24 weeks). It worked great, so here is our new schedule at 12 weeks old:
7 eat
8:15 – 10:30 nap
10:30 eat
11:45 – 2 nap
2 eat
3:30 – 5 nap
5 eat
cat nap between 6-7
7p eat
7:30 sleep
10:30 late evening feed (eat and right back to sleep)

I didn't cut out any feedings from the previous 3 hour schedule, I just moved them around to fit her needs better. I imagine we'll be on this schedule for several months but without the late evening feed at some point within the next month or so. As she is able, I'll extend her wake times before each nap. She does not always sleep for the full duration I have listed.

A note about the late evening feed/"dream feed": the book explains that the late evening (10 -11 pm feeding) becomes a true "dream feed" when baby is otherwise sleeping through the night with no middle of the night feedings and mom only offers a feeding between 10-11pm to keep her milk supply up. Somewhere after 10-ish weeks it becomes time to consider if baby needs the late evening feed. I think this much depends on how many ounces they are getting during the day; babies 0-6 months needs an average of 25 ounces within 24 hour period so doing the math on how many ounces they get for all other feedings will help you know if they truly need that 10-11pm feeding or not. If you are EBF, you can take your baby to a breastfeeding support group where they have you weight baby, feed, and then weight again to determine how much baby takes in one feeding. Or if baby is a good bottle drinker you can feed baby by bottle to get a ballpark how much they take per feeding. If you have questions on the late evening/dream feed - leave them below and I'm happy to try and help answer! If baby is still taking a middle of the night feeding, defienitely don't drop the 10-11pm feeding.

Evan did this:
At 14 weeks old, we dropped the late evening feeding (sometimes referred to as the "dream feed"). He started waking for the feed, and he also wasn't super hungry for the 7am feeding - so those two things combined prompted me to try dropping it. The first night we heard him making noise around 5-6am, but then he went back to sleep. The next night, same thing. The third night, no noise! Meanwhile, my preschooler was up all.night.long. because he recently learned about "being scared" and now he's claiming he's scared of this, that, and all the things. So my while my toddler and infant are sleeping soundly through the night, my oldest kept appearing at my face all night long. I can't win, haha. #momlyfe

Evan's schedule at 14 weeks (we stayed at this schedule for two weeks before moving to a 3.5 hour schedule - see the next merge for that):
7a eat
8:15 - 10 nap
10 eat
11:15 - 1
1 eat
2:15 - 4 nap
4 eat
5:15 - 6:15 nap*
7 eat
7:30 bed

*we wake him up early from this nap and do the final schedule in reverse so that his waketime goes from 6:15 - 7:30, and he eats at 7. I do this simply because my other two go to bed at 7:30 and I want all the kids in bed at that time. I don't get much of a break during the day with nap schedule, so nighttime is my only time to do emails, budgeting, research, showering, clean-up, etc. An alternative would be to let him nap until 7, feed him at 7, and then put him to bed at 8:15 and that would work just fine, too.

{ weeks 16-24 }
Book suggests:
3 naps (plus optional cat nap)
5 feedings          

Drew did this:
Around 17 weeks

Schedule:
7a eat
8:30 – 10:30 nap
10:30 eat
12:30 – 2 nap
2 eat
4p – 5:30 nap
5:30 eat
7 eat
sleep 8pm-7am

(sometime between 3 and 4 months I stopped swaddled Drew)

Mary did this:
At 13 weeks we dropped the 4th nap

Schedule:
7 eat
8:15 – 10:30 nap
10:30 eat
11:45 – 2 nap
2 eat
3:30 – 5:30 nap
5:30 eat
7p eat
7:30 sleep
10:30 dream feed

At 16 weeks I dropped the dream feed because she started waking up for it. Schedule stayed the same.

(At 17.5 weeks I stopped swaddling her for sleep)

Now at 19 weeks her wake times have extended. Schedule is:
7 eat
8:30 – 10:30 nap
10:30 eat
12:15 – 2 nap
2 eat
4 – 5:15 nap
5:15 eat
7:15 eat
7:45 sleep

Evan did this:
16 weeks - schedule is:
7 eat (breastfeed)
8:15 - 10:30 nap
10:30 eat (breastfeed)
12 - 2 nap
2 eat (breastfeed)
3:30 - 5:15 nap
5:15 eat (breastfeed)
7 eat (4-6oz bottle)
7:30 - 7 sleep

I find I don't have enough supply to feed him at 5 and again at 7 - maybe I do, but I just feel better doing a bottle at the 7pm feeding, knowing he's getting a full feeding before bed. My best guess is he's taking 5-6 ounces per feed at the first 3 feedings, and then more like 4-5 ounces at the 5pm feed, and then I offer him 6 ounces of pumped milk (I pump every night before going to bed) and he takes about 5 ounces most nights. I will say this schedule took some work to settle into. If he bombs his 3rd nap I'll feed him at 4:30 and then put him down at the 90 minute mark from when he started crying during the failed nap (so if he starts crying at 4:15 and never recovers I'll feed him at 4:30 and then put him down at 5:45). I'll then cap the 4th nap at 45 minutes, wake him feed, him at 7 and put down at 7:30. A few afternoons a week we go to the YMCA and he isn't great about sleeping there (boy likes his dark, quite room for sleeping!) so we often go rogue in the late afternoon for his schedule and I just do my best to hit that last feeding right at 7pm to stay consistent. Lastly - 4 month sleep regression is happening right now: he's spending more time awake fussing during naps, and 2 nights in a row he needed a middle of the night feeding between 2-4am, which is fine. He's back to sleeping through now, for now, and naps are a little better today so I think we're coming out of it. It's really unfortunate that the 4MSR hits right when most babies need to move to a 3.5 hour schedule, and need to work on dropping the swaddle...it's just a lot at once!

(At 19 weeks we dropped the swaddle. This is the longest I've ever swaddled a baby, but he just seemed to like it...or so I thought. I tried doing a loose swaddle and then also tried doing one arm out and he hated both. So one day we just did no swaddle, and he was fine. Since we dropped the swaddle, he has sleep through the night without a peep. When he was still swaddled he would wake 1-3 times to fuss a bit, and while he didn't need us to come in it would still wake us up and we would check on him on the monitor. He doesn't take a paci, so he is self soothing with his hands and it's great).

{ weeks 24-40 }
Books suggest:
2 naps and a catnap
5 feedings

[or/eventually]

2 naps, 5 feedings

Drew did this:
Somewhere around 25ish weeks we moved to 2 naps and a catnap

Schedule:
7 eat
8:30 – 10:30 nap
10:30 eat
12:30 – 2 nap
2 eat
4p – 4:45 cat nap
5:30 eat
7 eat
sleep 8pm-7am

Mary did this:
At 20 weeks Mary moved to 2 naps and a cat nap. 

Schedule:
7 eat
8:45 – 10:45 nap
10:45 eat
12:30 – 2:30 nap
2:30 eat
4:30 - 5:15 cat nap
5:15 eat
7 eat
sleep 8pm-7am

At 22-24 weeks, Mary moved to a 4-hour schedule (with catnap) and we started solids.

Schedule:
7 breastfeed + solids
9-11 nap
11 breastfeed + solids
1-3 nap
3 breastfeed
4:45 - 5:15 cat nap
6:15 solids
7pm bottle
sleep 7:30pm - 7am

Mary "sleeps through the night" in that she only wakes for her paci 1-2 times a night. Once the paci is back in her mouth she's back out. It's a sleep prop we created/allowed because of all the things for her to want (nursing, being rocked, etc) the paci really is the least difficult to manage. And we can take it away when she's older (unlike a thumb!). My husband does paci-duty in the middle of the night because he is able to magically fall back asleep within 2 second of laying down. 

At 30 weeks old, this is Mary's schedule:
7 nurse* (solids at 7:30am)
8:30 – 10:30 nap
10:45 bottle (solids at 11:30)
12:30 – 3 nap
3 bottle
5;30 1/2 bottle + small solids
6:30 1/2 bottle
sleep 7pm-7am

You'll notice from the previous merge that Mary actually shortened her wake time before her first nap. That makes the end of her day a little tricky as she is barely making it from 3-7pm The double feeding at 5:30 and 6:30 is helping. I will continue to tweak her 2-nap schedule to be a move to a more traditional looking 2-nap schedule over the coming weeks, and part of that will involve slowly moving her bedtime back to 7:30, more solids during dinner, and only one evening bottle.

*I'm in the process of weaning, and we are down to breastfeeding in the morning and then I pump at night.

Evan did this:
At 20 weeks we moved to a four hour schedule in the morning, with 2 naps + catnap and 5 feedings.

7 eat (breastfeed)
8:45 - 11 nap
11 eat (breastfeed)
12:45 - 3 nap
3 eat (breastfeed)
4:45 - 5:30 cat nap
5:30 eat (breastfeed one side only, or sometimes we skip this feeding and offer oatmeal instead)
7 eat (6oz bottle)
7:30 - 7 sleep

{ weeks 46-52 }
Book suggest:
2 naps
5 feedings          

Drew did this:
He did this transition really early, around 34 weeks

Schedule:
7 eat
9-11 nap
11 eat
1:30 - 3:30 nap
4p eat
7p eat
sleep 8pm-7am

By this time the first three feedings were bottle and solids, the final feeding was just a bottle. Eventually his morning nap was purposely reduced to 45 minutes so as to preserve his afternoon nap (which would soon become his only nap)      

Mary did this:
At 32 weeks, Mary is now on this schedule:
7 bottle + solids
9-11 nap
11 bottle + solids
1-3 nap
3 bottle
5:45 solids
6:45 bottle
sleep 7pm-7am

At 36 weeks I started capping the morning nap, because she started waking earlier from afternoon nap:
7 bottle + solids
9-10:30 nap
11 bottle + solids
1-3 nap
3 bottle
5:45 solids
6:45 bottle
sleep 7pm-7am

At 39 weeks, Mary has regressed a little because she was sick earlier in the month with an infection and is now playing catch up! Her stomach must have shrunk while she was sick, because her bottle ounces decreased per feeding during the day, and resulted in her temporarily needing a bottle at night again. To remedy that, we added another bottle feeding into her evening routine. I think she's also going through a growth spurt because she's taking 30 ounces (plus some solids!) of milk a day. Yikes, girl! Her current post-sickness schedule is:
7 bottle (8oz) + solids
9:15-10:45 nap
11 bottle (6oz) + solids
1:15-3:15 nap
3:15 bottle (6 oz)
5 bottle (5oz)
5:45 solids
6:45 bottle (5oz)
sleep 7pm-7am

At 42 weeks old, schedule is now:
7 bottle (6oz) + solids
9:15-10:30 nap
11 bottle (6oz) + solids
1:15-3:15 nap
3:30 bottle (6 oz)
5:45 solids
7:00 bottle (6oz)
sleep 7:30pm-7am

At 47 weeks old, schedule is now:
7 bottle (6oz) + bf
9:15-10:30 nap
11 bottle (6oz) + lunch
1:30-3:30/4 nap
3:30/4 bottle (6 oz)
6:15 dinner
7:00 bottle (6oz)
sleep 7:30pm-7am

{ 52+ weeks }    
Book suggests:
1 nap (usually by 18 months)
3 meals a day    

Drew did this:
At 13 months he transitioned to one nap (which is early accordingly to BW) and regular meal times (plus a post-nap snack) with no more bottles (he transitioned to sippy cups at the same time we transitioned to whole milk)

Schedule:
7 eat
11 eat
12:00 - 3:00 nap
3 snack
6 dinner
7pm -7am sleep

Side note: at this age we started using the Ok to Wake Clock to combat early wakings from naps and in the morning. I can't recommend this clock enough! Introduce it early and it will save you much trouble with training your child not to cry needlessly when they wake early from sleep.    

Mary did this:
At 14 months-ish. The transition from 2 to 1 nap is the hardest, in my opinion. Both my kids have needed to do both for a while before finally switching over. I ease them in by doing only 1 nap maybe two days a week, and then slowly increase the amount of days they only get one nap. This was easier with only one child because I could switch his schedule back and forth with no real repercussions. But with two kids, I really like their afternoon naps to be at the same time and I struggled to really come up with a good way to go back and forth between 2 and 1 naps for Mary while still keeping a schedule that was consistent enough for Drew. So - Mary kind of got ushered into 1 nap faster than Drew did. I replaced her morning nap with learning independant playtime in her crib. The first week of that went horrible and she'd cry the whole time and then need a nap from all the crying - so it totally backfired. But I knew we had to move forward so we took a break over the weekend and tried again fresh the next week. The second time around I gave her all of her comfort items for sleep (lovie, paci, bear). And that worked! She did IP for the full hour (while Drew did his IP in the living room). And the great thing is, because she has all her sleep gear (aka sleep cues) she will actually lay down and fall asleep if she needs do (in the middle of all her toys, with the lights and music on - praise the Lord for the power of sleep cues, haha!). So many mornings she actually gets a 20 minute catnap during IP, and then totally makes it to her afternoon nap (which lines up with Drew's quiet time).

Schedule:
7:15 eat
8-9 IP in her crib (Drew does IP in living room now as they share a bedroom and can't both do IP in the bedroom together)
9-10 table time with learning toys while I do table time with Drew (we're doing a light homeschool preschool this year)
10-11:30 - free play or outing)
11:30 eat
1 - 3:30 nap (Drew does quiet time in downstairs guest room from 1 - 3)
3:30 snack
6 dinner
7pm -7am sleep

A note about sippy and whole milk transition that happens around this time: girl hated both. It was a long slow transition. We worked on the transition to whole milk first, because I really wanted her off the formula (and I was out of frozen breastmilk). Princess wanted it always heated up, and mixed with almond milk for the longest time (maybe the chalky texture reminded her of formula?). After we worked our way to cold cow's milk, then we ditched the pre-bed bottle (by weaning her down to 1oz before bed) and said goodbye to bottles. For maybe 2 weeks she barely drank any milk at all because she didn't like the sippy cup, but now she's mostly got the hang of it and her milk intake is back up to a sufficient level.

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75 comments:

  1. hi, my LO is bf on a 3 hour schedule (he's 17 weeks but was born two weeks early).
    Here is our typical EWS schedule: still playing around with wake times.. The early morning wake time has been consistent.

    E 7:30am
    S 8:30am (for ~1-2 hours usually - this is just now becoming more consistent)
    E 10:30am
    S (waketime ~80 minutes, sleeps for 1-2 hours)
    E 1:30pm
    S (waketime ~80 minutes, sleeps for ~30-45 minutes - still playing around with this wake time)
    E 4:00ish
    S (this nap/catnap is hit or miss)
    E 6:00ish
    Bedtime routine; he's usually getting cranky/tired by 7ish
    E 7-7:30ish (husband gives him a bottle of expressed milk); I pump after this
    S usually by 7:30-8pm
    Then I pump before bed.

    I chose 7:30am to wake for the day 1)because his bedtime is around 7:30 and 2) so I can bf him before I leave for work. I'd be okay with 7am though.

    He goes to sleep around 745 or 8 each night.. He's started to wake up around 930 or 10pm and I just give him a paci and he goes back to sleep (I've tried to let him just fuss). Then he's waking around 5 or 6am wanting to eat.. Then of course not hungry for the 730 wake/feeding, but makes it ok to the 1030. Do u think I should wake to feed one more time after he goes to bed around 730 like the BW 11-16 week schedule? Or try a dream feed? The dream feed seemed to wake him more when I've done it in the past...

    Thank you for your help!

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    1. Hi there! The early morning wakings are really tough to figure out. Your LO is right on the cusp of being ready to drop the DF, so this may be just a little dicey for a few more weeks. I would suggest purposefully limiting the 5-6am feeding by feeding only one side and then putting him back to bed. I read once that if they take the full feeding at 5-6am and then take ANOTHER full feeding at their DWT then of course offer them both feedings. It's when they stop eating well at the DWT feeding (as in your case) that you know he's getting enough calories within 24 hours, you just want to help him rearrange when he's getting them. So doing a small feeding at the 5-6am feeding and slowly offering less and less time at the boob (maybe over the course of a week), and he will start taking those ounces somewhere else in the day. After another week, I would suggest offering the paci at the 5-6am wake up instead.

      Your first priority is, of course, making sure he's fed: if he's taking nice, full feeding at his other nursing sessions and his bedtime bottle is close to 4 ounces then I would be confident that he's getting enough ounces over the course of 24 hours (should be roughly - on average - 25 ounces within 24 hours). Your second priority is making sure he's rested: in this case, helping him get over that 5-6am wake up so he can continue to clock nice, restorative, growth-hormone promoting, sleep.

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  2. This was SO helpful for me. Thank you! We are one month tomorrow. My LO is trying to drop one of the motn feedings. However, for example, she woke up last night around 2am indicating she was going to go for two middle of the night feedings (shes been going back and forth for about 1.5 weeks between one and two motn feedings). My husband suggested soothing her and seeing if she would go back to sleep. I picked her up to sway her and within seconds she was out again, so I laid her back down. Then I woke her at 3am for one motn feeding. Thoughts on this? I feel like if she were truly hungry, she wouldn't have settled so quickly. Or should I not be even trying to soothe her?

    Also, regarding the 3-5 week schedule. It says feed at 7 and then again at 8? Was this to help with witching hour? When did you bathe? I was thinking if I could bathe her after 7pm feeding, the nurse to sleep at 8pm (for her cluster feed) that it would work for now. However, will that create bad habits? I don't want her at six months of age to feel like she has to be nursed to sleep at 8pm after her bath. I would want the bath to be her nighttime ritual and be able to lay her down and go to sleep on her own after that. Thoughts?

    First time mom. Clearly. :)

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    1. Hi! Glad this was helpful. I remember 4-6 weeks old is always the age that I'M ready for baby to start figuring out their sleep, but BABY usually isn't ready yet - corny as it is, "hang in there" ;-)

      In my opinion, opting to soothe her first was perfect. She's shown you before that she can handle just one middle of the night feeding, so it's okay to respond to her crying at that hour by seeing if what she needs is help getting back to sleep (as opposed to a feeding). You're right - had she wanted to eat right then, she would have let you know :-)

      At her age - definitely soothe her. Part of the benefit of Babywise is that it helps you discern what your child needs when they cry or fuss; not all cries signal a need for feeding - sometimes baby needs to be burped, or help falling back asleep, etc. But just because they don't need to be fed doesn't mean their crying is for nothing, it just means they need something else from you. Responding to their cries with what they need will not turn your child into a bad sleeper; it will give them confidence that mom and dad are there to discern and meet their needs when they arise. As she gets older (3 months+), you can delay a few minutes before going in there and give her some time to work on self-soothing.

      And yes on the witching hour - my son never had that so this was new to me. I would nurse my daughter at 7, bath after that, and then nurse to sleep at 8pm. There is a difference between nursing directly before bedtime, and nursing TO sleep. We only did the nursing TO sleep to deal with her witching hour. Once we got through that, we switched back to nursing directly before bedtime. Most babies will do a nursing session or bedtime bottle directly before bed until close to their 1st birthday.

      In your situation, when you're done cluster feeding, I would plan on giving her a bath, THEN her bedtime feeding and then put down to sleep. The reason being there is you may eventually find a situation where you aren't giving baths every night, or you've having a date night and the babysitter isn't giving her a bath, or your on vacation - whatever - and the bath before bed doesn't happen. You don't want the bath to be her bedtime cue, you want her bedtime cue to be snuggly jammies and a nice warm feeding in a dimly light room just before bed. Like I said, most babies will do a nursing session or bedtime bottle directly before bed until close to their 1st birthday.

      Anything you do right now will not create long term bad habits. You may develop bad habits, but they are easily breakable. It's until they are toddler and have voices and opinions and steel trap memories that you'll really have trouble breaking habits. Hell hath no furry like a toddler who can't find one of the 62 stuffed animals he requires in his bed to go to sleep at night.

      Hope all of this helps! You're instincts are right on and you're doing great! Your daughter is lucky to have you as her momma :)

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  3. On the days when you little one takes only 45 minute naps, do you move up the next nap time to compensate, or just allow them more awake time and keep the next nap at the originally scheduled time? Just trying to figure out how this would work during a day with short naps. Thank you!

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    1. Generally, I would move up the next nap to compensate. If baby is old enough where wake times can be a little less strict (like my 9 month old now), I would try to stretch the awake time to go as long as baby can handle to get close to originally scheduled nap time. But bottom line - if baby is tired, she's getting a nap :-)

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  4. Hello! My son is 10 was old and only BF. Since day 1 he's been on a 2-3 hr feeding schedule. He rarely goes 3 hrs during the day due to his resistance to naps or at least long ones and will then become very fussy so I feed him. Any suggestions on that? My biggest question is how do you merge a night time feeding. Currently, he goes down around 8:30 and every night wakes up around midnight, 3am, and 6 am to feed. He usually takes each side 8-10 min, but he's clearly tired. I would love to get on a schedule of just waking up to eat 2x like midnight and 4am and wake up for the day around 7 or 8. I've tried just offering A paci at 3am but he cries again 10-20 min later. Any suggestions would be great!! Thank you so much!

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    1. First off - you are doing the right thing by feeding him when you can tell he is fussy/hungry. I know that may seem obvious, but it's worth saying because one of the main goals/benefits of BW is being able to know what your child needs without having to guess (most of the time). If it's been 2.5 hours since last feed and he's awake and fussy, clear he's hungry. If he's fed and been awake for 60 minutes and fussy, clearly he's tired. So good job, momma :)

      Have you tried a dream feed between 10 and 11pm?

      To my understanding, feedings during the first 6 months are a numbers game. Baby needs roughly, on average 25 ounces of milk within a 24 hour period. If baby is taking 3 ounces a feeding, baby needs 8 feedings within 24 hours. If baby is only taking 2 ounces per feeding, baby needs closer to 12 feedings. Some feedings will be bigger than others.

      When BFing, it's hard to know exactly how many ounces baby is getting. My kids have always taken bottles early on, and I have a good milk output with the pump, so between the two I am able to get a good idea of how much milk I can put out in a feeding and see how much milk they take from a bottle. Without having that info, you just have to be extra diligent to make sure baby is taking a full feeding at the breast. Two ways to feel confident a baby has had a full feeding is if the feeding is over because they've pulled off (and not because they've fallen asleep) and they appear happy and content after the feeding (after you gets those burps out and a clean diaper on them!).

      All of that to say, if you are confident baby is getting full feedings but not taking in more than 2.5 ounecs per feeding on average, then it could be that baby just simply needs those middle of the night feedings. As baby's stomach grows, he'll take in more ounces per feeding and thus require less feedings. He'll still get ~25 ounces within a 24 hour period, but it will be less feedings with more ounces per feeding during the day (and eventually no feedings at night!). Hope that makes sense.

      If you haven't tried a dream feed yet, I'd try that next. The hope being that after the DF baby would do his biggest stretch of sleep and get to 4am for the next feeding, and then the first morning feeding after that.

      Keep trying to the paci at the feeding you're trying to eliminate; one of these times he will be okay with that instead of a feeding, but you'll never know unless you keep trying.

      I hope something in this answer is helpful!

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  5. Hello, thank you for the response! We did try a dream feed with BF and bottle but I'm come to figure out that when he is asleep he wont open his mouth unless I try to wake up him. I think we will just continue with our routine of putting him down around 8:30 and then feeding when he wakes up around midnight. So is it okay to just feed 1 breast if he falls asleep during the night feeding that I'm trying to eliminate. I always push for full feedings so he will go a full 3 hours until the next one. I've tried this once and he woke up 1.5 hours later so I assumed it was because he was hungry and didn't get a full feeding. I've always struggled with knowing when he gets a full feeding because he pulls off a lot throughout the feeding so I never know when he is truly done. I continue to time the feedings and try to push for at least 10 minutes on each side. He is also a nap fighter and rarely goes down for a full 1.5 hr. Is there anything you suggest for nap fighters:)? He sleeps in his rock and play now, we try the crib but he doesn't last long. Is this a sleep prop that we should be concerned with? Lastly, we try to put him down drowsy and sometimes it works but most the time he wakes up shortly after. Do you suggest picking him back up rocking again and putting down drowsy? or just try to calm him down while still in the rock and play? Sorry for all the questions! It's nice to talk to someone with the same "goals" in mind and who likes the routine/schedule. Thank you!!!

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    1. I would say yes on just the one side if he falls asleep while eating in the middle of the night.

      Keep going with what you are doing for the feedings. It wont be a perfect "full feeding" every time, but keep attempting full feedings.

      At 10 weeks old, I personally say yes on the rock n play until he is taking nice long naps. See my post on "Bringing Baby Home: Goals for the First Four Months" (on the side bar under popular posts). I would not be concerned with a RnP as a sleep prop right now. You need to know he is capable of sleeping long stretches before you attempt to crib train him. If he sleeps well in the RnP, let him sleep there. For the putting down drowsy, do that every time and don't worry if it doesn't work every time. It's not a magic trick, it's the repetition that eventually lends it to be successful. If you put him down and he wakes back up again, I would first give him several minutes to settle himself. Do that first every time no matter what. Then go in and WITHOUT talking to him, shhh him and pat/rub his tummy. If he settles, leave your hand on his tummy until he's asleep, and then duck out. If that doesn't work, then yes rock till drowsy again and try the whole thing again. If it gets down to be 1 hour before next feeding, I would then let him sleep in my arms just to get a good sleep in before next feeding. The success comes from the repetition of putting down drowsy, giving a minute to settle on his own, doing the shhhh pat, etc. Do those steps at every nap, even if it doesn't "work" that nap. Eventually it will slowly start to work over time, but baby has to learn what those associations mean by exposure to them.

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  6. Your blog helped me a lot. My daughter has been pretty much following the same schedule as Mary. She is 30 weeks now and seems to be transitioning to a 2 nap schedule. My question is about the 5:45 feeding. I used to BF or bottle feed her at this time but the time is now getting too close to bedtime. So we switched to giving solids as well. Did you just up the number of oz for all the other day bottles or did it stay the same because she was eating solids

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    1. Hi Pam - yes, I did up the ounces offered. But as I'm sure you know at this point, you can't "make" a baby drink more ounces :-) So I would offer a 6 ounce bottle at all feedings, and if she wouldn't drink all of it, that's her choice. Expect the first 1-2 days after dropping a feeding to be a bit of a challenge as baby's stomach and metabolism naturally figures out it needs to take more ounces per feeding. If after 48 hours baby is having trouble with the new feeding schedule, I usually consider that a sign for me to re-assess what baby needs when. In the evenings, I tend to do a "whatever works!" approach - on occasion, Mary needs a bottle closer to 6pm because she's just too fussy. I'll give her one right then, and then make another 2-3 ounce bottle for the regular 6:45 feeding.

      "Under 1, food is just for fun" - so if her ounces decrease as a result of solid food, I try to be careful to keep an eye on that. I do expect milk ounces to decrease as she gets continually closer to 1, but if at 8 months she's down to 16 ounces a day because she's eating a high volume of solids, I would talk that over with her pediatrician. Hope all that is helpful! :)

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  7. Did you have any issues with giving her solids at 5:45 and then at 6:45 she wouldn't finish her bottle because she's full? Thus, waking up a couple hours later being hungry? My LO is now 7.5 months. Her afternoon bottle is at 3 then usually we give solids around 5 and depending on the wake up of her last nap she goes down between 6:30-7:30. However now that she's eating more oz of solids at 5 sometimes at 6:30 she won't finish her bottle because she's prob full and then she wakes up at midnight because she's hungry but before she would finish her 7 oz bottle and STTN. Any suggestions? Move up the solids to 4? Or will they eventually get use to it?

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    1. I have to give the caveat that I would ask her pediatrician about this, because I really would (and do) ask my kid's pediatrician about solid food vs. formula/milk intake as they start to approach 12 months old. Starting at 12 months old, the shift switches to be solid food that makes up the bulk of baby's diet and milk takes a lesser role. That's why after 12 months old Babywise says to transition to 3 offerings of milk a day with breakfast, lunch, and dinner - just like adult feeding schedules. At 7 months old, my instinct would tell me that baby should still be getting the bulk of their calories from milk, so in your scenario I would actually decrease solids offered at 5pm so that baby would drink her entire bottle at 6:30. The reason I say to check with your ped is because there is a general range of ounces they will say baby needs within 24 hours, but where you baby lands on the range may depend on her overall weight gain since birth. My second baby is in the 90th percentile, so her ped is not worried about me pushing milk (or solids, for that matter) into her. Hope that helps!

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  8. I have a question specifically about the weeks 12-15, but I guess it applies to all feeding schedules. When you are feeding in the evening before bed, would you do the 7pm feeding and then feed baby again at 8pm before bed? Just wondering because I noticed that age is meant to have 6 feedings but I only counted 5 in the schedule. Right now I'm feeding him at 7pm when he wakes up from his last nap and then at 8pm before bed. I don't nurse him to sleep but I'm nervous that if I don't feed him right before he goes down that he'll stop sleeping through the night and start waking up early. Would you suggest doing the 7pm feeding and then only doing a DF around 10:30?
    First time mom here; exclusively breastfeeding and nervous about backtracking as it seems we just recovered from our last backtrack when he had a cold.

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    1. If your baby is taking full feedings (pulling off when satisfied, not falling asleep as a way to end the feeding, etc) then I personally wouldn't fret about doing one less feeding per 24 hours than BW sample schedules. As you can see above, my son always did one less feeding and my daughter often did too. If what you are doing right now is working (the 7pm feed and 8pm top off) - keep doing it! I say this lightly, but soon enough his needs will change again and you'll be rearranging feedings before you know it. So if it's working now, don't stir the pot. Your goal right now is for baby to get nice full feedings, and get nice long naps and big chunks of sleep overnight. Sounds like that's happening! Great work!

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    2. Just re-reading my reply and it sounded confusing. If you want to drop the 8pm feeding (or merge with 7 to be a 7:30pm feeding), don't let the reason you don't do that be because the book says you need a certain amount of feedings. Those are sample schedules and not every baby needs the amount of feedings listed. If you want to have one less than the book says, and you think that will work fine for baby, do it! Conversely, if what you are doing is working, don't change it!

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  9. Hello and thank you for this post. My LO is 12 weeks old and i have been trying to follow the 3 hr eat play sleep cycle but it just does not work for me. This is mostly because i have a 2 year old and 4 year old to care for as well and however well i begin the day, when push comes to shove, i just give in and let the day run its course. My question for today is how do i get started and stick to it? Also, what do i do when she takes short naps e.g. if i feed her at 10 then she sleeps at 11 and wakes up at 11.30, what should i then do to keep to the schedule?

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    1. It sounds like you kind of answered your own question...you said you've tried the eat, play, sleep cycle but it doesn't work for you (because of the older kids). So if you've already determined it doesn't work, then I don't know that I have any good advice for getting started or sticking to it? I'm sorry I can't be more helpful! I think the best advice I would maybe offer is to figure out what does work, and then stick to that. I've seen successful families that do eat, sleep, play and they just make sure not to feed the baby TO sleep (but feed the baby shortly before sleep). It can work. I obviously suggest trying to figure out how to make eat, play, sleep work. When we brought baby home, I wrote out some samples schedules ahead of time to see where my major collisions points would be and decided those would be times during the day when my toddler would watch a show or get to do a learning game on the ipad. It was a short phase of life as baby quickly moved through the feeding merges and was down to 4 feeds a day before I could hardly blink! Maybe try sitting down and mapping out an ideal schedule for all the kids, and then aim to hit that every day. Spoiler: you'll NEVER have a perfect day, but at least you'll have something to anchor your efforts around, something you know you're working toward every day. As far as the short naps, at 12 weeks old I would do WHATEVER I could to get baby back to sleep, including wearing baby on me in a sling for the rest of nap time. I would attempt to delay feeding until closer to normal feed time, especially if baby goes back to sleep at all. If baby wont go back to sleep, I would try to cut the difference in half and feed at say 12:15 and then put baby down for nap to avoid her getting overtired. And then let her sleep as long as she wants in attempt to make it to 4pm and slowly get back on schedule. Again, having an ideal schedule will help you know what you are working back toward. You will never have a perfect day, that's not the point of the ideal schedule. It's just to anchor your efforts so you know which direction you are moving in. Hope something in there is helpful!

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    2. Thank you Stephanie. I will take it a day at a time and tweak as i go.

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  10. We started BW with our 4 week old twins 4 days ago. We're shooting for a 7:30-7:30 schedule. We wake them up from their last nap at 7 do bedtime (bath, feed, down) by 8pm. They nap just fine throughout the day but this is where we start having issues. This is also one of the only times their in their cribs so I'm sure that's part of it. For the most part, they make it 2-3 hours and wake between 10-11pm. We feed them here and put them back down. They will NOT sleep at this point. They are up from 11:30-2 almost every night. They've been feeding off and on so I'm wondering if it's a growth spurt but even after being fed they fight sleep. We put them in the swings, in our arms, basically anything and they just won't have it. They're not crying (until we put them down) just wide awake. Have you had experience with this? I know it's still early in both their training and their lives and they'll take some time to adjust but we're at a bit of a loss. Their wake time is anywhere from 40-45 mins typically.

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    1. That IS normal, and part of their internal sleep clock being backward. Things you can do:
      1) Keep room dark for sleep always (and I mean DARK - black out shades dark) so that they associate dark with sleep
      2) During the day, make a fuss about opening the curtains for wake times in between naps and making it very clear wake time is BRIGHT and LIVELY and FUN!
      3) Nighttime feedings need to happen with as much darkness as possible (maybe just some light creeping in from the hallway and nothing more). No talking. No eye contact (not trying to be harsh, just saying don't lead them on to think it's wake time).
      4) Be patient. It will fix itself but not overnight. It's not a magic trick. It's a slow process of them switching their days with their nights. It's super normal and maddening. Yes, I've experienced that with both babies and it's perhaps the very worst part of having a newborn.

      Wake time sounds perfect. Don't let this part of their sleep behavior discourage you about their sleep in general. It's so so normal and a great opportunity for you guys to put som of the steps above in place to set the stage for an even better chance at sleep training them down the road.

      I always wanted twins, bless you mama!

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  11. Thank you so much. It's so nice to be reassured that were not the only ones! Patience truly is a virtue isn't it?! Thank you again. This blog has been so helpful.

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  12. I had a question about the first merge. So if you feed at 10pm then again 3:30am isn't that 5.5 hours of no eating for anewborn and isn't the rule 4 hours? How does that work and is that safe for baby?

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    1. 4 hours is the "rule" until they reach 5 weeks, and then you can add an hour for each week (so 5 weeks old can go 5 hours). I believe I read that in BW, so your pediatrician may tell you something different. The other factor to consider: according to the KellyMom website (breastfeeding resource website) babies 0-6 months need (on average) 25 ounces within a 24 hour period. If baby takes 3 ounces per feeding, that's 8-9 feedings within 24 hours. As baby can take more ounces per feeding, then you can remove one feeding. By the time they are 6 months old, they are still getting the same amount of milk as when they were a newborn, but they take it in over less feedings because they can handle much more per feeding. When both Drew and Mary were 5 weeks old, I was taking them to a breastfeeding support group where I could weight them, feed them, and then weigh them again to find out exactly how much milk they transferred in a breastfeeding session. Both my kids were taking 3-4 ounces per feeding by 5 weeks, so I felt confident they knew how to transfer milk well and I had a good idea of how long it took them to take a full feeding. All that being consider, at 5 weeks old, I was comfortable feeding at 10pm and then letting them sleep until they woke naturally for their next feeding in the middle of the night because I knew they were taking full feeds (3-4 ounces) at all other feedings during the day.
      Great question and I hope the information above/my perspective is helpful!

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    2. Also - I'm looking back at Mary's schedule for 3-5 weeks and noticing I did cluster feeding with her (how quickly I forget!) because she did take a little less per feeding than Drew (Drew was a tank!). So I would sneak in another feeding in the evening before putting to bed and then her last "day" feeding was at 11pm and then next feeding would fall between 3-4am. If it was at 3am, that really was only 4 hours from last feed. By the time she reached 5 weeks, she was making it from 11pm to 4am which is 5 hours and accurate for being 5 weeks old. I felt more confident with Mary's schedule because she was my second; it's possible that I should have been offering my son one addition feeding somewhere in there when he was 3-5 weeks old but he was gaining weight perfectly and sleeping well at night so I had no reason under the sun to think he needed another feeding. So to answer your question on "is it safe" (in regard to anything, not just feeding schedules!) - some of that answer comes from your intuition, some comes from your pediatrician's recommendation (or other trusted medical professional or resource), and some comes from watching your child: what are they telling you?

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  13. This blows my mind, all the napping your little ones did! Mine have never been good nappers. I'm obsessive about wake time and following their cues (if any) and my 7 week old still sleeps 5-30 minutes. Man. So jealous!

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    1. 7 weeks old is probably too soon to declare a "bad napper" :) The time frames listed above for naps were the desired nap times. I can confidently say that for both kids, we never had a "perfect" day until they got to the 2 naps a day phase. Up until that point there was always one nap that was totally botched. For your 7wo, I would focus on getting him/her to nap longer whatever the cost (carrier, rocking chair, swing, etc); learning *how* to sleep longer needs to come first before learning *where* to sleep. Hope that helps!

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  14. I would LOVE to pick your brain regarding my little 4 week old and a night time routine!!!!!!! It's been really rough with lack of sleep and I could use some guidance :)

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    1. Hi! Check out my post The Importance of a Sleep Routine? That may be helpful! http://www.givingitgrace.com/2015/07/the-importance-of-sleep-routine.html

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  15. My baby will be 8 weeks tomorrow but was born 2.5 weeks early. Our schedule for eating has been every 3 hours- 6:30, 9:30, 12:30, 3:30, 6:30 put down for bed after, wake at 930 and let him sleep until he wakes which has been around 2 am. Most mornings he wakes up around 5 am and I feed him and then wake him at his normal wake time of 630 and offer him a couple ounces. There have been a couple mornings where he has slept thru the 5 am feeding straight to 6:30. I reread baby wise the other day and realized I was missing a feeding per the book around mid night. The last 2 nights I have woken the baby up an additional time around 12:30 to feed in an attempt to get back on the books schedule and hope baby will sleep from midnight to 630 but no such luck. Baby got up around 4 am and then we got up at 630 so instead of only getting up once or twice at night (around 2, sometime at 5) I have been getting up a solid twice (1230 & 4). What do you recommend I do?

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    1. Hi Christy - you may have noticed above that my son (first child) always did one less feedng than the book recommended; he took really full feedings so he was getting all the ounces he needed. My daughter (2nd child) didn't take as big of feedings and stayed more on course with what the book suggested. So don't feel that your baby has to "go by the book" - those schedules are suggestions, not magic formulas ;-)

      As for what to do, with the information you gave I would stick to the original feed offerings. Feed at 9:30 (maybe even 10/10:30pm just to work on spacing those feedings out to last through the night) and then let him sleep until he wakes again to eat for any middle of the night feedings. Some babies will just drop the early morning feed (like yours does sometimes), others need more help pushing the 2-4am feeding out before dropping the early morning feed (that would look like offering a paci or some other comfort object upon first cry just to see if maybe it's not hunger quite yet, and then feeding upon next cry when you're more certain they are awake and hungry). Yet still some babies will drop the 2-4am feeding and hang on to the early morning feeding for a bit before finally sleeping from the evening feed until desired wake time.

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  16. Hello! My LO is 9 weeks and is currently on a 2.5 hour schedule with wake times being an hour and naps 1.5 hours. (She rarely sleeps the whole time) her designated wake time is 7 am and we do a dream feed at 10 pm. She still is waking at 3:30 am to eat though and I'm wondering what I can do to eliminate that. She's 12 lbs and gets 4-5 ounces at each feed. She gets 6 feedings in during the day (not including the 10 pm feed). Just wondering if she's starting to wake by habit. We aren't doing cry it out and she's still currently in our room.

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    1. Hi Emily - a few thoughts: she's still within the range that babies drop the MOTN feeding, and could easily go another 1-2 weeks of needing it before dropping it. To see if she's starting to wake by habit, you could delay the MOTN and offer a comfort measure instead (for my kids, it's a paci). You would want to try that for 2-3 nights to give her body a chance to get those missed ounces from other feedings - or she may not need that feeding at all and adapt just fine. If nothing else, you could start to push that feeding toward morning (delay by 10 minutes one night, another 10 the next, etc). As it gets closer to the DWT she will likely then just drop it on her own (or with a little nudge) and wait until first feed of the day.

      Some other considerations (not related to your question, but just per BW): BW says to move baby to their own room by 4 weeks. I can't remember the rational for that, but if you were waiting for reason to do so or just hadn't thought to do it yet, go ahead!
      Another thought - she is probably ready for a few 3 hours stretches between some feeds. You want to always be working in the direction of extending time between feeds as baby's tummy will allow. As their tummy grows and can handle more, they continue to drop night feedings because they are getting all the ounces they need during the day. Longer time between feedings will prompt her to take more ounces at each feeding, up to what her tummy can comfortably hold (a baby will not overeat like an adult would).
      Her ounces per feed and weight sound great.
      PS - sorry for the delay in responding, we just brought another newborn home ourselves :)

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  17. Thank you for this blog post. I wish I would have kept better track of my first sons schedule! We did BW with him and it worked wonderfully and he is still an excellent sleeper at 6 years old! We now have a 4 month old son and of course are doing BW. Our issue with this child is reflux. We had him sleep in a rock n play for the first 4 months because of reflux. But now the reflux is well managed with medicine. He is following BW well but I want to move him to the crib. I started having him take naps in the crib and that worked fine. So now we are trying overnights but he is waking every hour wanting me to put the pacifier in. (We used a paci to help with reflux as well) it has been a week and we are still waking every hour. Any idea on what we could do. He's getting a bit long for the rock n play!

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    1. We had to play the paci game with my daughter until around 6 months old. My son was less attached to it (used it to fall asleep but didn't need it if he woke in the middle of sleep), but my daughter needed it in her mouth if she woke up. It was a sleep-prop-gone-bad situation. We could have done CIO to get rid of the paci, but she slept so well otherwise that we opted to just re-insert it when she needed it. Around 6 months old she was able to do it herself, and since then she's been a fabulous sleeper. So I say you have a few options:
      1) Keep moving forward with crib training and re-inserting the pacifier (if baby is swaddled you'll want to consider removing the swaddle soon because baby may start to roll over during sleep anytime now)
      2) CIO to break the paci habit (but still use paci to fall asleep, just dont reinsert)
      3) CIO to break the paci habit and ditch the paci all together

      If he's taking naps in the crib okay, so I say stay the course. The paci is an awesome sleep association if you can make it to the age they can reinsert themselves. My daughter is now 18 months and as long as she has the paci she'll sleep anywhere (like a bright room with music on and toys out - if she's got her paci, boom she's out). My son was similar, paci = sleep.
      As for crib sleep in general, if baby isn't rolling yet you can elevate one end of the crib. You can also stick a rolled up towel in the shape of the letter U and stick it under the crib sheet. Place baby snugly inside the U for sleep and it sort of mimics the snugness of a Rock 'n Play.

      Hope something in there is helpful :-)

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    2. Thank you for the quick response! We are trying the towels under the crib sheet tonight. I don't want to jinx myself but the first two hours have gone smoothly. He's on his back with the paci in and the towel is helping to "prop" the paci in just like it did in the rock n play. Hopefully this mama sleeps good tonight!! Thanks again for the advice!

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  18. Thank you for this really helpful post! A couple questions for you: My LO is 7 weeks and just started sleeping about six hour chunks. She will not open her mouth for a dream feed, so I've kind of been cluster feeding her until about 9:30pm-10:00pm, and she's been sleeping until about 4:00am. Here are my questions: 1) She's wide awake and 4:00, and I'm having a lot of trouble getting her back to sleep, as she seems ready to be awake for the day. We are trying to transition from a 7:00am to a 6:00am schedule before I go back to work in 4 weeks, but when she wakes at 4:00, she's not even ready to go back to sleep at 5:30, which messes with the 6:00 wake up time. So, I'm looking for advice on what to do about her "middle of the night" feeding and how I might go about adjusting her to a 6:00am schedule. Is it necessary to start transitioning her to a 6am schedule now, or can I continue with 7am and adjust closer to when I return to work? Also, is a dream feed totally necessary? Thanks in advance!

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    1. Hi Kendra - my second child had that problem of being wide awake after the middle of the night feeding. What fixed it was time (sorry!) AND being committed to helping her straighten out her days and nights. Day time feedings are light ons, talking, noise, etc and bedtime feedings are dark, quiet, and boring. If you've been changing her diaper at the 4am feeding, you could consider skipping that (once she's STTN the night she wont be getting a diaper change at that time anyway). Regarding the 4am feeding being too close to the 6 am feeding...I feel ya on that, too. My first child would do that (wake to eat at 6am when DWT was 7). Two ideas on that: wake her earlier than 4am, until she's good at going right back to sleep, so that way you at least have some more time between the feeding and DWT. Another option is to get her back down at 5:30ish and then wake her at 6:15 or 6:30 to eat, thus moving her first feeding of the day closer to when you want it. I do think you should work on that DWT NOW to you can get these kinks ironed out before returning back to work. That being said, she'll likely change her overnight habits and behaviors before you go back to work - so don't get too attached to anything (or too frustrated with anything) because it will change frequently until baby is consistently STTN.

      Sorry if my thoughts aren't more organized! My 4.5 week old is still rocking two MOTN feedings so my brain is a little fried :)

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  19. I have a 12 week old who is usually eating anywhere from 6:00-7:00 am... then on a 3 hour eat, play, sleep routine. She has about a 1.5 wake time... naps are anywhere from 45min-2 hours. I really try and go on her wake time though until the start of the next nap, because she will get overtired if it's anywhere beyond 1.5 hours.

    Up until after the feed at 3:30 PM things are good... after that, she takes a small cat nap starting at around 5:00 (mainly 30min long)... sooo.. here is where I get CONFUSED!!!
    If she wakes up at 5:30 what should my feedings look like from here?? when should my bedtime be??
    1.5 hours after 5:30 would mean back to sleep by 7:00.. should that be her bedtime? Then do a dream feed at 10:00??

    She is inconsistent on night wakings... she will sometimes go 8 hours and do 10-6:00... other times she will wake after 6 hours and want to eat at 3/4 in the morning.

    she is eating 4oz pretty consistently at every feed.

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    1. She's actually doing really great (good work mom!). The evening short nap in the late afternoon is very common, and there isn't really a wrong way to handle it. Some will delay feeding and try to keep baby on schedule, others will use that short nap to schedule in an extra feed (so feed at 3:30, again at 5:30 and then put baby down for the night at 6 - for example). At 12 weeks old, you are working toward being able to drop the 10-11pm feed, but if baby is still waking to eat in the middle of the night I would consider keeping the 10-11pm feed until baby is no longer waking at night to eat. Personally, I would rather feed baby at 10-11pm instead of wake up in the middle of the night.

      The sample schedule in the BW book on page 98 would work well for you!
      Feed at 3:30, short nap
      Feed at 5:30, short nap
      Feed at 8:30, down for the night

      I would do dream feed at 11pm until baby drops MOTN feedings. Then I'd work on eliminating dream feed next.

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    2. Aw, thank you Stephanie!! I really appreciate hearing that. Being a first time Mommy is tough stuff!!!

      I think that sounds good regarding adding an extra feeding after waking from the short nap and then having 8:30 be more of a bed time.

      When do you normally see the middle of the night feed go away?

      Also, when should we start giving more awake time and less naps during the day??

      Thank you so much!

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    3. You're welcome! If you haven't picked up a copy of the book, do so! Pages 89-103 offer sample schedules from 1 - 52 weeks old. These samples include information about each schedule and age range. The sample schedule shown for weeks 7-10 is the first schedule to show no middle no the night feed; that sample schedule shows a late evening feed around 10-11pm and then no feed again until morning. Does that mean that all babies in their 7th week can go all night without eating? Definitely not. It just means the 7th week is the earliest one might see a baby go from 11pm to 7am without needing to eat. There are many, many factors that influence when a baby can go 8 hours without eating, including tummy size (how many ounces they take at other feedings), weight, weight gain, number of feedings offered through the day, how well baby sleeps (might not wake from hunger but if wakes for some other reason may realize he's hungry), etc. Reading the book will give you a better indication of how to navigate this with your baby. Also, joining some of the Babywise Facebook groups is helpful too!

      For wake time, again - the book has great information on this. Of course it's never an "easy" answer, which is why I keep referencing the book. At 12 weeks, I would expect 1.5 hours of awake time, give or take. Shortest wake time will be the morning one, and they may increase in minutes as the day goes on. So morning may only be an hour, whereas afternoon may be 1.5 hours.

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  20. Hi Stephanie, I love your blog - its been so helpful to see practical applications of Babywise! Right now our son is 15 weeks and I'm trying to figure out what the next step is and how I should be looking to move his schedule. Right now he's currently doing the following

    7:30 eat
    8:30-10:30 nap
    10:30 eat
    12-1:30 nap
    1:30 eat
    3-4:30 nap
    4:30 eat
    6-7:30 nap
    7:30 eat
    8:30-9 bedtime
    11 dreamfeed (bottle feeding of expressed milk with dad)

    Sometimes he'll wake up at 5:30-5:45am and I'll give him half time on each breast and then wake him up for his regular feeding at 7:30, other times he'll sleep straight through to 7-7:15 and so I'll start his routine a little earlier that day. I just started giving him bottles of expressed milk during the day and he's taking anywhere from 4 - 4.5 oz from bottles.

    SO I guess my question is, what should I be doing next? Trying to put him to bed right after his 7:30pm feeding instead of letting him stay up until 8:30-9pm? Am I doing anything wrong from what you can tell? And then at what point should I be trying to drop a nap?

    Any insight is greatly appreciated!!



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    1. Hi! Thanks for the kind words. At 15 weeks, your next move will be to drop the dream feed. The book suggests some babies keep the dreamfeed until 24 weeks, but the book also mentions the dreamfeed at this point is for the mom's milk supply purposes and not because baby "needs" the feeding. If your doing expressed milk for the dreamfeed, then I'm guessing you're pumping at night before bed and thus you don't need the dreamfeed for your sake. Keep the DF until he stops waking at the 5:30 time for a feeding. Once he's consistently sleeping through until your DWT, then reduce the amount offered at the DF until it's done completely. If at any point he begins to wake for the DF, stop offering it. If you do go cold turkey with the DF, it's common for baby to wake early morning for a few days/weeks until they adjust their ounces intake during the day. Which brings me to another consideration: solid foods. You're approaching the 4 month mark (or there already? I can't remember how the weeks line up with the months), which is when some moms start solid foods. *Usually* the increase in calories during the day helps baby sleep through the night, if they aren't already. Lastly, you're also at the point where baby may be extended their cycles to be 3.5. hours. Usually that looks like 7:30, 11, 2:30, 5:30 and 7:30 with no nap between the 5pm and 7pm feeding (and then 10-11pm DF if still doing that).So still same amount of daytime feedings during the day but just spaced differently. Basically right now you're watching baby for what to do next. If he keeps making it through the night, drop the DF. If he starts waking for the DF, drop the DF. If he isn't hungry at the 3 hour mark, push him out to 3.5 hours. If you ped says green light to start solids and you're ready, start solids.

      Feel free to comment again if/when baby starts show signs of any of the above. Also, if you haven't yet read the book it's not too late! It's really helpful. The next book in the series is 5-12 months and is also really helpful! http://amzn.to/2l0SUub

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    2. Thanks so much for the quick response! So if we're able to drop the DF, should we expect his intake to increase during the remaining five feedings? Or will that happen once he switches to 3.5 hour cycles?

      We've read the book but I had read most of it before our son was born so it was a little overwhelming, now I mostly just reference their sample schedules chapter. I'll have to take another look at some of the other chapters now that I've started implementing it all! :)

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    3. Any time you drop a feeding, you can expect baby to take more at each remaining feeding. From 0-6 months babies don't actually increase their ounces much, they just consolidate their ounces as their tummies grow to be able to hold more at each feeding. So as a newborn does 3 ounces 9 times within 24 hours for total of 27 ounces, but a 6 month old will do 5 ounces 5 times within 24 hours for a total of 25 ounces. Those are examples but you see the idea hopefully. Hope that helps!

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    4. Hi! So after your help a couple months ago we switched to a 3.5 hour schedule and my 5 1/2 month old had been sleeping great. However a few nights ago, things changed drastically and now I'm trying to figure out whats next! His schedule for the past 7 weeks or so has been the following:
      7:15 eat
      9-10:45 nap
      10:45 eat
      12:15-2pm nap
      2pm eat
      4-5:15pm nap
      5:15pm eat
      7:15pm eat
      7:45pm bed
      11pm DF

      So far, I've been hesitant to drop the DF because he sometimes struggles getting through the 7:15pm feeding (I nurse him for that one so I'm not sure how much he exactly takes) and he's a tiny guy (5th percentile for weight), so I like knowing that he's getting as much food as possible. He also doesn't wake up for it at all and then sleeps through the night until his morning feeding, and I prefer nursing to pumping to keep my supply up :)

      So now, the change is that he suddenly decided a few days ago that he isn't interested in the 4pm nap. The first day he refused to go down at all and just laid in his crib for a full hour chatting with himself and making himself laugh. Then I fed him around 5:15pm and he ate ravenously and fell asleep while eating, so I gave him a cat nap from 5:30-6pm. But then when I tried feeding him at 7:15 he SCREAMED and cried which is totally new for us... and then when I tried actually putting him to bed he wailed like I have never heard him cry before. My husband thought it was an emergency because it was such a different cry for him. We took his temp - he was totally fine and actually started smiling when I picked him up. And then finally fell asleep in my arms - which he hasn't done since he was about 2 months. Last night, it was the same thing - refused the 4pm nap, ate well for the early evening feeding and then screamed bloody murder for the second feeding and bed. It seems like he's sending a pretty clear message that he's ready to drop his 3rd nap, which seems right on schedule with the merges Babywise describes... but I don't know what to do about his last feeding of the day since he is now acting like he is being tortured for it?? And I also don't know how to handle his new screaming at bedtime. We've been really diligent about always putting him in his crib awake, so this is the first experience we've had with him not being able to fall asleep on his own. Is he screaming for the final feeding because its part of his bedtime routine and he doesn't want to go to bed? Or has my reluctance to drop the DF started messing with things? OR is he just a baby and I'm totally overthinking it? :)

      Any insight you have would be greatly appreciated!! Sorry for such a long post!

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    5. This is a hard one.
      First, about the schedule: if you do drop that third nap, you'll want to extend his waketimes to move his second nap closer to the 2-4 time frame. He's probably close to being ready for a 2-3-4 schedule (2 hours wake time, nap, 3 hours wake time, nap, 4 hours wake time, bed). You may need to sneak a quick (like 15 minute) cat nap in there the first week, off and on. I think move to this schedule and then see if he's still doing the crying before bed. Sometimes babies cry before bed to "off-gas" steam from the day (sometimes I do this, too, haha!). I love that he's still sleeping through the night and the DF isn't affecting him. If it's not a problem and you like it for piece of mind, keep doing it. BW would say you don't extend daytime feedings until all night feedings are dropped (including DF), but I know other sleep training methods similar to BW suggest keeping the DF until upwards of 9 months! So really, I've come to learn, that if it's causing a problem you drop it and adjust. If it's not causing a problem, you leave it (and in your case, I'd leave it).
      I think this one of those classic scenarios where you're going to try moving his schedule around and at some point over the next few days or week he's just going to stop crying before bed and we wont really know if it's a schedule change or what. Sometimes kids just do things like this and by the time we get a handle on it they've moved on to something else odd.
      Good for you for knowing the difference between a fussy leave me be cry and a I'm really angry help me cry. That's exactly one of the benefits of BW!

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    6. Hi again! :) So we have been working on adjusting his schedule to drop the third nap, and for a couple days he did fine. AND he has stopped crying during his final feeding and bedtime, which is a relief! But now he has started refusing to go down for his first nap of the day. He'll either fall asleep quickly for it and then wake up after 30 minutes OR he will refuse to sleep for it at all. He doesn't get angry, he just won't sleep! And then he is overtired for the rest of the day and his naptimes are further derailed. Any ideas for why he might be fighting the first nap of the day so much? He is normally up for 2 hours when he first wakes up before we try putting him back down, should we try shortening the wake time?

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    7. Refusing to go down *usually* means a longer wake time is needed. However, falling asleep quickly for it and then waking usually means you waited too long. So the issue is timing. My first guess is always shorten wake time. It may work the first day, or you may need 2-3 days of it. If it doesn't work the first day, try one more time with an earlier set down before giving up. This could be seasonal - meaning its just a short season of needing a shorter wake time in the morning. Even if he's previously been doing 2 hours, if you recently dropped the third nap it could be leading to him needing a shorter wake time in the morning. Unlike ounces needed (which stay the same from 1-6 months old), sleep needs actually do decrease as they merge naps...but sometimes dropping a nap deceases it just a little too much so they make up for it at a different nap (like the morning nap gets longer).

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  21. Love this blog entry. I currently have 21 week old, and a 4.5 year old =) I have seem to forgotten this 'baby stage' completely and have referenced this page a lot, thank you for the post! My son is very lined up with your daughter Mary. He does 3 naps a day now (maybe once/twice max a week he needs 4) and has 5 feedings. Typically sleeps 7:30PM-7:30AM (I DO NOT take this for granted as this started at about 14 weeks). My question comes on naps. He typically sleeps for the first 37 minutes of his naps (literally 37 minutes each nap) then wakes up for about 30-50 mins, then falls back asleep for a range of another 40-1.5 hours. When he is up for those 40ish minutes I keep him in his crib, some days he is totally quiet and falls back to sleep, others he whines/cries for 10-30 minutes. I tend to always just let him fuss it out (w/out any intervention) b/c 90% of the times he falls back to sleep. I am working on the "keep him in his crib for the duration I eventually pray he will sleep for" method. Does this seem silly? Just looking for some mommy feedback :) Maybe my wake times are not long enough to produce a full solid 1+ nap? Right now in the morning his wake time is about an hour 25. Then moving to an hour and a half to an hour 45 minutes thruout the day. Again, he literally does this for 90% of his naps, everyday. I have seen a FEW naps that are 1.5-2 hrs straight over the past month, maybe 5. Thanks again for any feedback.

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad this was helpful for you. Your approach to nap time is perfect, in my opinion. You can certainly try adding 10 minutes of wake time, if he'll tolerate it. Otherwise, don't fret too much about the "broken" naps because he's learning an extremely important skill that will serve him well as he progresses through the sleep regressions coming ahead. At 21 weeks, this could easily be his 4 month sleep regression. The 4 month sleep regression is a real tough one for many babies, and it sounds like he's doing great! Good work, mom!

      One other thing you could try is the wake to sleep trick, but I wouldn't if I were you. I wouldn't for 2 reasons: 1) he doesn't appear to need any help from you going back to sleep to finish his nap, and 2) you have an older child and can't guarantee you'll be free at the 37 minute mark. For background info though, the wake to sleep method is a common trick to get through the 45 minute intruder (which I would call 37 minutes...close enough)...you basically go in at 36 minutes and gentle stir baby by patting his tummy (but out of his sight line, so like ducked down beneath his crib like a total crazy mom) as he gets *through* the 37 minute intruder, and then sneak out of the room. I did that with my first son because his 45 minute intruder was a nap ender. It worked, but again not really needed or an option in your situation.

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  22. Hi there

    Thanks you for your blog it has really given me something to reference. This is my 3rd child and there is a significant age gap between the last 2. My older children where babywise babies and both were sleeping through the night by 7 weeks.

    I have a 5 week old (5week 2days) and I'm struggling to get him to merge the two middle of night feeds, his schedule is

    7am wake feed
    8-930 nap
    930 wake/feed
    1030-12 nap
    12-feed
    1-3 nap
    3 wake/feed
    4-6 nap
    6 wake feed
    715-830 nap
    830 feed down for night
    1130 dream feed
    3- feed
    530/6 feed

    Sometimes it will be a 230 wake and then a 5am feed. He has also done a 330 feed and then a 630 feed (if this happens I get up with him and start the day)

    The first two naps of the day are by far the worst and usually only last 45mins-1hr.

    I just don't know how to extend that 230/3am feed so that he is only getting up once rather than at 530/6am as well. Sleeping through the night seems so far away.....yet my others had it down pat really early on. I know each baby is different. But I just don't know if I'm doing something wrong this time.

    Thank you

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    1. Hi! You're likely not doing anything wrong - as frustrating as that is to hear. Under 6 months old, it's just a numbers game with ounces. Babies 0-6 months need an *average* of 25 ounces within a 24 hour period. That's an average - some need more (and some need less). Your baby is currently taking 8-9 feedings within 24 hours, so that means he needs to get roughly 2.5-3 ounces per feeding to hit that average of 25 ounces. At 5 weeks old, a 3 ounce feeding is substantial - not all babies can handle 3 ounces per feeding at 5 weeks old. As baby grows, their tummy gets bigger and they can handle more ounces per feeding. As they take more ounces per feeding during the day, they need less ounces at night. Also, as they take more ounces during the day, they stay full longer and eventually push their feeding times out. By the time baby is 6 months old, they aren't taking any less ounces than when they were 5 weeks old, they are just taking 5-6 ounces per feeding and thus need less feedings overall. That might give you some perspective on why your first two slept through the night earlier; they likely could get the 25-ish ounces they needed during the day and evening feedings and thus didn't need the middle of the night feeding.

      So - if I were you I would work *really hard* to make sure baby is getting a full feeding at all day and evening feedings. Keep baby awake at all costs and don't cut nursing short. If baby is on a bottle, you can actually tell exactly how many ounces baby is getting per feeding (nice little perk of bottle feeding!). If baby takes a paci, you could try offering a paci instead of the boob at either of those middle of the night feedings to hold baby out for an hour or so (either to push the first MOTN feeding out or to delay 2nd MOTN feeding until DWT). Your schedule looks great. My 10 weeks old took really poor first two naps of the day as well for quite a few weeks, but he just sorted that out on his own...so don't fret too long about that, baby's napping habits will undoubtedly change!

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  23. Hi Stephanie,

    I am so thankful to have found your blog; what a blessing. I've been stressing out about scheduling for a while now and am kind of at a loss. I knew I wanted to use Babywise from the get go with my LO, who's now 9 weeks, but I guess I just thought I'd wing it, and never bought the book. We fell into a 3 hour eat play sleep pattern of 7,10,1,4 - rinse and repeat (with the 1 am and 4 am feeds having a little wiggle room). Then after a few weeks I guess I thought I'd try to get rid of one MOTN feed, and eventually that became both feeds...and now somehow here we are at 9ish weeks (finally bought BW book and am more confused than ever!!) and we're on this weird schedule that's not quite working for us:

    6ish (though she starts fussing around 4:30 or so, sometimes she'll fall back to sleep and other times we have to pat her back to sleep...she may fuss again closer to 6)
    9/9:30
    12/12:30
    3/3:30
    5:30
    8:30 - bath, feed, bed by 9:15ish

    I don't know what I'm doing at this point, but I've really confused myself after reading the book and looking ahead and trying to figure out where she'll be in a few weeks. I also have no idea what to do with the schedule when she wakes early from naps! Basically, I'm a hot mess.

    Any help you can offer would be SO appreciated.

    Thanks so much,
    Jenny

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    1. Hi there! I think you're doing better than you think you are, but I know that feeling that you have an intentional plan helps with your confidence on days when things go wonky. Two aspects of this to address: schedule, and sleep habits. Schedule: you want to lock in the same time for first and last feed of the day. So even if the day goes way off, try to always have the first feed and last feed be at the same time each day. You listed time variances above; advice I was given once was to stick within a 30 minute window of desired feeding times. Thirty minutes should straddle your desired feed time, so 15 minutes before or 15 minutes late. For example, if baby wakes 20 minutes before feeding time, it's okay to end up feeding baby 15 minutes early. If baby has a bad nap but falls asleep 30 minutes before next feeding, let baby sleep an extra 15 minutes before feeding. Carry on with regular feeding times after that. At 9 weeks, in general, I'd stick to 3 hours between feedings (and not 3.5). In your situation, you can try sneaking in another feed at 11pm (aka "dream feed"). Don't wake baby, don't turn on any lights, don't unswaddle or change baby - just slip in, wake baby just enough to eat, feed baby (I just do one side), and put baby back to bed. The dreamfeed doesn't work for everyone, but it's certainly worth trying if baby is having trouble making it to the morning feed. As baby's tummy grows and can handle more ounces per feeding over the next few weeks, she'll be in a better place to drop the 11pm feeding. Babywise suggests dropping that feeding by 15 weeks. So you've got some time. I truly think that's her issue not being able to make it to 6am, she just needs one more feeding at night. Baby sleeping from 9:15 - 6am with a dreamfeed at 11pm is still considered STTN (the 11pm to 6am is even considered STTN).
      Sleep habits: if baby is still in your room, you may want to consider moving baby to her crib. At this point, your first goal is just baby sleeping at all, however she will sleep. If she's proven she can sleep, then you start working on a sleep routine so she associates certain actions, songs, etc with sleep (http://www.givingitgrace.com/2015/07/the-importance-of-sleep-routine.html). Your goal is to be putting baby down drowsy but awake. Look up The 4 S's (http://www.babywisemom.com/2009/04/sleep-training-four-ss.html) - I do this and it's worked to some degree with each kid (it's worked beautifully with my last baby, especially).
      That's a lot of info! If you're on Facebook, there are two wonderful Babywise groups: I Love Babywise, and Babywise Mamas. Join them and start asking questions - the women are so helpful!

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    2. Stephanie thank you for the quick feedback! We're literally trying a 10:00 feed right now (I'm pumping and husband is giving a bottle). Basically I pushed the 3:30 to 5:30 gap to 6:30 - though it ended up being 6:45, and so a 10:00 feed made sense. Maybe this will push her towards a 7, 10, 1, 4, 7, 10 schedule? To complicate matters I've been dealing with feeding/supply issues. LO doesn't latch well so to keep my supply up I've been pumping after each feed. Basically we've been doing breast, followed by bottle, and then I pump after. In the first few weeks my LO lost 12% of her birth weight, then started gaining, lost again, and gained again, all within the first 6 weeks. We bought a scale and have been tracking milk intake - she gets around 27-30 ounces a day. Problem is, she's been spitting up a ton, starting around 2 weeks, which we thought was reflux. Meds didn't seem to do much, and at our 2 month check in this Friday, the pediatrician said he no longer thought it was reflux, but instead overfeeding, stating that we needed to back down to 3-4oz. per feeding instead of 4-5oz. Today was the first day of limiting her feeding and she has spit up less, but after 6 feeds is only at 23oz instead of her usual 27-30. I guess I'm worried with so few ounces I'm going to end up having to put a MOTN feed back in - which I definitely don't want. Any ideas on this? Thanks again, I really do appreciate the help (and I joined the FB groups, too, so thank you for that suggestion!!!).

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    3. How did the 10pm feed go?
      A few thoughts:
      Regarding the latch - has she been checked for tongue tie? If you google pictures of it, you can check yourself. It's basically when the tissue under the tongue extends to the tip of the tongue. My first son had it but I didn't know to check for it, and I nursed with a nipple shield because of painful latch. My daughter didn't have it. My second son (who is 11 weeks old now) had a complete tongue tie and they snipped it in the hospital to allow him to nurse correctly. Let me know if you have more questions about this.
      Regarding total intake - SO glad you're talking with her ped about all of this. Smart mom! From my personal experience (I've taken all 3 of my babies to a breastfeeding support group and picked up a lot of knowledge along the way from that), 3-4 ounces per feeding at 9 weeks is plenty. Three seems to be about standard. And that makes sense - according to the Kellymom website (http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/pumping/milkcalc/), babies 0-6 months needs roughly 25 ounces of milk within a 24 hour period. An average 9-week old's stomach can handle about 3-4 ounces, on average. Twenty-five ounces divided by 3.5 ounces is 7 feedings. This is where your child's actual stomach size and actual desired ounces will come into play. My two boys took 4 ounces at that age (I would take them for weighed feeds at the breastfeeding support group, so just like what you are doing with your scale). So my boys were fine with 6 feedings within 24 hours of 4 ounces each. My daughter, however, needed an additional feeding at that age because she only took 3.5 ounces per feeding, on average. So I would do 7, 10, 1, 4, 7 and 8pm, and then dreamfeed.
      Regarding the spit up - weigh her again after she spits up to see how much she's spitting. My daughter had silent relux and the meds helper her. My son right now has regular relux, and the meds didn't help. Me being off dairy has helped completely. He still spits up after everything feeding through. I weighed him once after spitting up and despite it looking like a huge spit up, it was .3 ounces. So now when he spits up I'm not as worried.
      Allllll this to say: get her checked for tongue tie (or consider using a nipple shield - if she takes a bottle she should have no issue using a nipple shield on your breast), I agree with your ped that 3-4 ounces is plenty, keep that 10-11pm feed in there because she clearly needs it and that's appropriate for her age to have that feeding).

      If you want to chat more, send me an email: hello@givingitgrace.org :-)

      PS - obvious disclaimer: I'm not giving medical advice. Just a mix of personal experience and information I've learned from doing BW and breastfeeding for the last 3.5 years.

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    4. Oops - correct email (hello, mom brain!): hello@givingitgrace.com

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  24. Amanda StandridgeMarch 12, 2017 at 8:56 AM

    My question is a little less about the schedule itself, but about naps. My LO is 4w5d and we have been doing the EWS for a couple of weeks now, but she just doesn't nap well at all. We do have a few good days where she will nap very well until the wake after lunchtime. After that she will fight her sleep for sometimes 6+ hours (which I know is terrible for newborns.) I would like to think I try everything to get her down (I am sure I am missing a few options) but she will just not go down. This kid doesn't even like the swing. I feel like my last resort might be CIO. We have dabbled with it before, but I know that the main focus with CIO is consistency so I kind of backed off until I had a solid game plan. We have tried the bedtime routine and everything, but she won't truly settle for the night until around midnight and then after that she is great... I feed her and put her right back down. My question is do have experience with anything like this... ANYTHING is appreciated.

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    1. Hi Amanda - I do have experience with this to some degree. My first son was a chronic 45 minute napper (so, not a good napper) and my daughter had epic witching hour for weeks (so, fussy around evening/bedtime). Both of them needed what I considered to be longer than normal wake times, too.
      I'm going to post some links for nap related ideas:
      http://www.givingitgrace.com/2015/07/the-importance-of-sleep-routine.html
      http://www.givingitgrace.com/2015/11/bringing-baby-home-goals-for-first-four.html

      Both of those posts contain links to where I got my original information from (usually always from the Chronicles of a Babywise mom blog). I try not to go too link heavy because I know that can lead to a wild rabbit chase, but the links I included in those posts were so, so helpful for me.
      To summarize - you want to make sure you have a really good nap routine (quiet, dark, swaddled, sitting with baby *without* rocking, etc). Wake time at 5w is likely no more than 60 minutes. Baby should be getting full feeds (10-15 minutes at each breast).

      I like that she sleeps at night - that's proving that she *does* know how to sleep. So we want to work from that and continue to help her build that skill.

      Regarding CIO, I will tell you this: with my first, I did CIO at 6 weeks and it worked. That being said, I wouldn't - and didn't - do that again that early. In hindsight, he wasn't a good napper likely because I didn't know what I was doing with a good sleep routine. I do think I should have been more patient and worked harder to teach him how to sleep. With my second, I was much more deliberate with a good sleep routine. I also wasn't able to respond to her cries as quickly, and so she naturally got some experience working on self soothing early on. She also took a lot of naps in the swing, but was still learning how to sleep on her own away from me and was also still learning that the sleep routine means you go to sleep. We eventually had to do CIO with her at 6 months old to solve a binky issue. She's now my champion sleeper. With my third, he responded perfectly to the 4s sleep routine (see linked blog posts above) and I don't think he'll ever need CIO (but who knows, kids change!).

      So - maybe it's the "I've been around the block a few times now" perspective I have, but I wouldn't do CIO with her. You certainly can, and I know moms that have done it that young and it does work, but I would say it's not yet necessary. If she's your first and you've got the time to sit with her right now, do it. Still do a sleep routine, still put her down where you want her to be sleeping. If she sleeps, great. If not, attempt to resettle her (maybe sit with her again, or just pick her up at the side of the crib and help her settle and then put her back down). If it gets to be 60 minutes before next feeding time, pick her up and sit with her (or do whatever it takes!) to get her to sleep for the 45-60 minutes leading up to her next feeding. You want her rested for her feeding so she'll take a full feeding and thus have a fighting chance at a good nap the following cycle. A tired baby doesn't eat well and thus doesn't sleep well.

      One other thing: I promise this will change, and soon. Newborns go through so many transitions so quickly in the first 3 months. Reflux, witching hour, dairy sensitivity - all of those things tend to pop up in the first few weeks, they are learning how to eat and then also learning how to sleep - life is full of changes for them. As they get older (4+ months the changes to their schedule tends to really slow down). So, whatever her deal is this week will likely not be her deal in a few weeks from now. That's a good thing, sometimes! :)

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  25. Hi! I found this post while looking for the baby wise merge schedule. We followed BW with my daughter who is now three. By 12 weeks old she was sleeping 12 hours from 8:30 PM to 8:30 AM. It seemed to take very little effort and of course we thought it was our magical parenting :) Our son is now 10 weeks old and just starting to stretch his night feeding 5 to 6 hours, we got 7 hours one time. Unfortunately he's going from 6 or 7pm until midnightish and then up again every three hours to eat. Were your kiddos waking at 10 or 11 PM to eat or did you have to wake them up? We tried waking him up at 10 PM earlier on and it backfired with him just continuing to wake up every three hours thereafter but would be willing to try it again.

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  26. Hi! I found this post while searching for the baby wise merge schedule. We did BW with my daughter who is now three years old and by 12 weeks old she was sleeping 12 hours, from 8:30 PM to 8:30 AM. It seemed to take little effort and of course we thought it was our magical parenting :) Our son is 10 weeks old and he is only now starting to give us a 5 or 6 hour stretch at night. The only problem is he is starting at 6 or 7 PM and going until around midnight and then waking up every three hours after that. Wondering if you had to wake your kiddos up at 10 or 11 PM or if they woke on their own? And any other suggestions to try and shift his feeding schedule? We did try waking him up to eat at 10 PM awhile back and it backfired with him just continuing to wake up every three hours thereafter. Also, what is this 45 minute intruder you speak of? My son wakes up halfway through his nap every. time. Thanks!!

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    1. Hi! I know what you mean about each kid responding differently to BW. My third has been a dream BW baby, but my first two took much more coaching even though I did basically the same things. So there is some element of "each baby is different" that really plays into how each baby does with BW.

      For the 10-11pm feeding, you don't want to actually wake them up - you just want to pick them up, feed them (still swaddled, no diaper change, no lights), burp them if needed, and then place them back in the crib and dart out. At 10 weeks, my babies were all asleep at 10-11pm and I would go in and do the dream feed at whichever time I chose. At first, I'd always do 11pm to give them a chance of them making it until 7am. Once they started making it to 7am consistently, then I'd slowly back the DF up to 10pm. After that, whatever time worked best for me for a few weeks, before dropping it all together.

      The key to them STTN the night is two fold: 1) getting enough ounces during the day (which comes from full feedings, not nipping and napping...scroll up to see some of my responses above as I've explained the amount of ounces needed per day concept above a few times) and 2) being able to fall asleep without being rocked or held by mom or dad. This is also the key to them making it through naps. All babies (and adults) go through sleep cycles...45 minutes is a common sleep cycle and thus you'll get a baby coming into a light state of sleep 45 minutes into a nap and then realizing they aren't being rocked or held (or whatever their situation was that originally got them to sleep) and cry because they "need" that thing to go back to sleep. So even babies that take 2 hour naps still have brief moments of being slightly or completely awake during their nap, but those babies known how to put themselves back to sleep without any intervention. It's a learned skill.
      This is what we do for sleep routine: http://www.givingitgrace.com/2015/07/the-importance-of-sleep-routine.html (and it's based on the info I got from here: http://www.babywisemom.com/2009/04/sleep-training-four-ss.html)

      If you can tell me more about his schedule (and if bottle feeding how many ounces he takes) I can maybe help with tweaking it :)

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  27. Thanks for your response! He is on roughly a 3-hour schedule during the day but it changes day by day right now based on when he wakes to eat in the am, how he naps and my milk supply. The last 24 hours or so he ate at
    7am, 10am, 1pm, 5pm, 8pm, 11:45pm, 3am, 6am. He typically has an hour or so of wake time (including feeding) before he naps until his next feeding. Yesterday was somewhat atypical as he had an incredibly restless day and wanted to be held all day. Usually he will go down for the first half of his nap and when he wakes be very fussy and restless (sleeping on and off) even while held until his next feeding. I was hoping he would eat at 4 and 7pm but because he stretched it out until 5 then he wanted that to be his last feeding. Instead of letting him go until 10 or 11 I fed him at 8 but he still woke up at 11:45 😫 The last week or so he will usually eat at 6 or 7pm, follow it with 1.5-2 hours of wake time and then go until 12 or 1am, 4am, 7am. I should add that since he was a few weeks old he has struggled with the 4:30-7am time frame, every morning without fail. This morning he woke up at 4:40, my husband rocked him but didn't get him back to sleep until after 5:30 and he woke again just shy of 6. He is breastfed but from what he takes from a bottle a few times a week, I think he eats about 3.5oz at feeds during the day. I struggle with my milk supply so sometimes when he is especially difficult to get back down during a nap, I worry he is hungry so I feed him early and that throws a wrench in the schedule.

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    1. The only real suggestion I have is to work on anchoring your first and last feed of the day (the 7am and the 7pm) and then aim to keep him on a 3 hour schedule (give or take 15 minutes) in between those times. The 3.5oz from a bottle sounds exactly right for his age, so I think we can safely assume he's eating 3-4 ounces from the breast during the day. So all this to say, I think you're in that phase of it where you just have to stick to it. Stick to the framework of eat, play, sleep, keep doing full feedings, keep doing a sleep routine the involves putting him down in his crib drowsy but awake, even if it "doesn't work" (meaning he wakes up half way through his nap and needs to be held for the rest of it)...just keep going with it. My first son has horrible 4-7am too - and we would basically delay a feeding once (offer paci or rocking instead) and if that didn't work then I'd feed (hubs would do the paci or rocking). Keep notes, and look for little wins (maybe one morning where he didn't need a 6am feed). If you do feed at 6am, do a small feeding and then put back to sleep right away - then wake and feed him again at 7:30. Then feed again at 10, and get back on schedule. If he takes a full feeding at 6am, and then again at 7:30 - you know he still needs both. If he eats poorly at 7:30, you can really work to get him to hold out on that 6am feeding and make it to 7am. Middle of the night feedings should be dark, no talking, no lights, no nothing. Morning feeding at 7am should be bright and happy and lights on!

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    2. Thanks for your suggestions! We started some sleep training during the day 2 days ago and it made a huge difference already after the first day. He did his usual five or so hour stretch and then followed it with another five hour stretch (instead of three) and for the first time in his 10 1/2 weeks slept through the 4 to 7am stretch without waking up! He was set to do the same thing this morning but my husband accidentally woke him at 6:30. Hoping for continued progress! Thank you!

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  28. Thank you for your blog and suggestions! Unfollowed babywise with my first two kiddos, and am trying my hardest with baby #3 (he is 7 weeks tomorrow).
    I have some questions for you:
    1. My other two followed babywise except for the going to bed around 8:00pm (when so young). This was always their awake time, would take small cat naps and then do a big feed at 10pm and then straight to bed. We slowly moved that 10pm feed back (essentially eliminating the dream feed) as they got older and were ready for bed around 8pm. My 7 week old too is awake during this time and doesn't want to go to bed/take a nap. My question is, how to get him to take a nap for this last cycle before 10pm, or should I just allow him to be awake and slowly move back the 10pm feed as he gets older/goes to bed earlier
    2. With having two other kids - how do you leave the house with also sticking to the babywise sleep schedule for Evan (ex: preschool pick ups, etc)
    3. My 7 week old also has reflux and I have to hold him upright after each feeding making it hard to keep him awake. He'll fall asleep and then I think that is affecting his napping. Any tips with a reflux baby on babywise would be great!

    Thank you SO much!

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    1. Hi Jenny! I saw your email, too, but I'm going to respond here so that others can see (as sometimes people read the comments and it answers the questions they have).
      1) Traditional BW (according to the book) actually allots for a wake time after the 7/8pm feeding - they suggest the exact setup you have with the cat nap (or full nap), feed at 10 and then put down for the night. At 7 weeks old, that's still appropriate. You can keep going with this, if it's working. With this late night nap, you'd work on dropping all middle of the night feedings first, and then you'd work on having last "day time" feeding be at 7/8pm and putting down for the night, doing sleepy feed (often know as a "dream feed" at 10/11pm) and then baby sleeps on through. Then you'd work on dropping dream feed next. If your babe is having trouble with the time of day, it can certainly be the witching hour and is very, very common. Basically, it means you aren't doing anything wrong with the schedule and this is just when baby kind of falls apart from the day (and is common when their are older sibs around, naturally causing baby to be more stimulated during the day than an only child would be). My middle had a witching hour and we would combat it by feeding her at 6pm and then again at 7pm (nurse to sleep at that time) and it would sometimes carry her through the witching hour. Other times, she was just up crying from 8-10pm and we just did our best to make her comfortable.

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    2. 2) With juggling schedules I do my best to prevent excessive schedule disruptions up front. We do 1 outing a day max, and I try to alternate evening outings with morning hours. The other thing I did was put a lot of energy into teaching Evan a sleep routine, so that he knew if he was swaddled and the lights were out that it meant sleep time. So he can be out and about, get home, be dropped in his crib and he'll take a nap. Same goes for the YMCA - if he's swaddled in the swing with some white noise on (even with the lights on) he knows to take a nap. This is a result of staying home for nearly 4 straight weeks (more or less) and do the sleep routine at every.single.nap and bedtime. It has paid off in spades! As for preschool drop-off, we'll be battling that in the fall and I'm going to either hire a babysitter for the morning drop off (and potentially then do an outing with my middle child while the babysitter is at home with sleeping baby) OR husband is going to rearrange work to be able to drop oldest off at preschool in the morning. By that time, Evan may also be old enough that his first nap isn't until just after we get back from drop off so I may be able to make it all work. I don't think it's crazy to hire help to protect your kids needs. If preschool is only a few days a week for your oldest, I would just take baby and then put down for nap when you get home (even if baby napped in the car). If it's every day, I'd figure out something else until baby doesn't need to nap right during drop off. Or I'd rearrange baby's schedule to accommodate drop off better. If there is literally no wiggle room, I'd just roll with it and use every other nap as a chance to sleep train and just wait for it to get better.

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    3. 3) Reflux. Ahh! A 2.5 hour schedule is good for baby with reflux. Keepd doing that. The thought there is that too much food at one time makes it worse, so more frequent feedings are better because they allow for less food at each feeding. Baby should be sleeping at an incline, too (either in swing, or in crib lifted up at one end with a towel rolled up under the top sheet in a U shape for his little booty to snug into so he doesn't slide down the bed with it being at an incline). I didn't have the ability to always hold Evan up right after a feeding, but a infant seat was enough to keep him upright after feedings. Fortunately (or unfortunately for me, haha) his reflux was cured by me going off dairy. I realized this at about 6 weeks old and by 8-9 weeks old he was SO much better! He's 4 months now and I just tested dairy again and while it's not as bad as before, he did get reflux again so I'm back off for now. One day!!

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  29. Hi there! Thank you for your response above! I love your blog! I have a few more questions...thank you for your time!

    We are working towards a 3 hr schedule (11 week old has reflux) and lately he's been eating at 7:30, 10:30, 1:30, 4:30, and then cluster feeding in the evening 6:30, 8:30, 10:00 and then to bed. He'll do cat naps in the evening inbeteeen cluster feeding. A few nights he's been able to go 10:30-6:30. But then some nights he's up at 4:00 or 5:00 screaming CRAZY. I try to let him self soothe but it gets so bad I'm afraid he'll wake the other kiddos up. If I do feed him I've found that he's not as hungry at 7:30 am feeding.

    So here's my questions:
    1. Should I offer a MON feed When he's up at 4 or 5 am or just let him cry it out (he won't take a paci)?
    2. In the evening when he's cat napping/cluster feeding should I try to get him to stay on the 3 hr schedule and take a longer evening nap?
    3. He is still pretty awake beten 9-10pm. When doing babywise in the past with my other two this was their longestbawake time. As they got older/more tired we slowly moved the 10 pm feeding back until esssebtially cutting it out/they were going to bed at 8:00. Im wondering if I should start moving this back for him? But am afraid he'll be up more in the middle of the night. Should I tackle loosing the 4/5 am feed first and then slowly move the evening back?

    The evenings just seem to throw me! I'm not sure if I should still be cluster feeding/tank him up for the long night or if I should work on putting him to bed earlier and then do a big 10:30 pm dream feed to make up for the cluster feeding.

    I hope this makes sense! Thank you!!

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    1. Hi! Thanks for the kind words. I think that most of your issues would be solved by putting baby to bed for the night between 7 and 8:30pm. The cluster feeding will soon pass. There are two options for the final cycle (eat, wake, sleep) of the day. Assuming the cluster feeding passes soon, you could feed at 4:30, nap, feed at 7:30, awake time, down for the night around 9. OR you could do the final cycle in reverse (this is a favorite of mine): feed at 4:30, short nap (45-60 mins), then awake time, then final daytime feeding and straight to bed.
      Regardless, you'll want to continue to offer a feed between 10 and 11pm until baby is no longer taking any middle of the night feeds.
      If baby has reflux, I'm more shy about doing CIO until the reflux has passed. But that's not to say you can't do it. If baby is sleeping well for naps and showing they have the ability to put themselves back to sleep but they are waking and crying hard at 4-5am, then I would treat as hunger issue and feed. However, if - like you've said - baby then doesn't take full feed for first feed of the day I would know that baby likely doesn't need the 4-5am feed and start decreasing the amount of food offered at that time. I'd also be working hard at sleep training during naps to better increase chance of baby putting themselves back to sleep at the 4-5am wake up. Hope that helps!

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