Thursday, August 16, 2012

schedule transitions for sleeping through the night


In Babywise, the majority of the information on sleeping through the night is discussed in Chapters 6 and 7.  However, I could've used an entire book about this one thing. 

I'm going to explain step by step exactly how sleeping through the night happened for us.  This may or may not work for you, but hopefully it will help those of you who need some sort of an outline for the whole process.

First, the eat/wake/sleep pattern needs to be in place.  Routine first makes a schedule happen later.

Weeks 1-4, feed when your baby indicates.  Don't stress out about a strict schedule, but do aim for every 2.5-3 hours.  If your baby is sleeping and it would make him go past the 3 hour mark, wake your baby to feed.  Once you get to the night time, continue operating like this.  From what I read and was told, you don't want your baby sleeping more than 4-5 hours at a time those first 4 weeks.   At this age, Duke never went longer than that on his own.  He had no problem letting me know when he wanted to eat at night. :) 

After week 4 things can change a bit.  Let your baby go longer at night and implement a consistent waketime.  During the day, continue your normal feeding pattern until your desired bedtime.  At that point, just see what your baby does.  But no matter when he eats during the night, wake him up at the same time each morning for his first feeding.

This is where some confusion can set in, so I'd like to address it.  You want to be realistic.  Your baby is not going to be sleeping 10-12 hours straight with no feedings for a few months.  So don't put him to bed at your desired 10-12 hour sleep time.  If you want your baby to sleep 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., that's great.  But I wouldn't suggest operating like that in the beginning.  (Again, this is what worked for us.  It may not work for you.)

Here's what I suggest:  Start with your morning feeding, whatever it is, and work backwards.  Remember, you want consecutive hours of sleep.  Our first morning feeding was 8:00 a.m.  Thinking realistically, the first long stretch your baby does will probably be 5-6 hours.  (This may be around 5-6 weeks.)  I want that stretch to be during the night, when I'm sleeping.  For example, I'd rather my baby sleep from 2:00 a.m.-8:00 a.m. than 10:00 p.m.-4:00 a.m.  (Now, this doesn't mean you're staying up until 2:00 a.m.  Just keep reading.)

In order to get to this point,  keep your 3 hour feeding schedule during the day until maybe 11:00 p.m.  Then, see what he does.  Here's an example of what may happen at first during an average 24 hour period:

8:00 a.m.  Feed
11:00 a.m.  Feed
2:00 p.m.  Feed
5:00 p.m.  Feed
8:00 p.m.  Feed
11:00 p.m.  Feed
3:00 a.m.  Feed (he probably wakes you)
7:00 a.m.  Feed (he probably wakes you)
8:00 a.m.  Wake him and feed

Yes, that 7:00 a.m. feeding backed up to the 8:00 a.m. feeding will drive you nuts.  But within days, he will probably realize he doesn't need the 7:00 a.m.  So after awhile, he may do this:

8:00 a.m.  Feed
11:00 a.m.  Feed
2:00 p.m.  Feed
5:00 p.m.  Feed
8:00 p.m.  Feed
11:00 p.m.  Feed
3:30 a.m.  Feed (he probably wakes you)
8:00 a.m.  Wake him and feed

You're getting there.  You've got a late night feeding and a middle-of-the-night feeding.  Your next goal is to get rid of the 3:00 a.m. feeding.  But that would leave you with feeding at 11:00 p.m. and then 8:00 p.m..  That's 9 hours between feedings and probably not a realistic goal.  Remember, baby may only be 6-7 weeks at this point.

What I did was cram in another feeding that would make it 2 hours between feedings in the evening.  And that's totally fine.  (Babywise, Pages 115-116)  Don't worry about the "cluster feeding" debate.  We had to do a phase of cluster feeding (6:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m.) with Duke later on because of his spitting up.  It was totally not a big deal to move it back to a normal evening schedule when he was ready.   So you may try this:

8:00 a.m.  Feed
11:00 a.m.  Feed
2:00 p.m.  Feed
5:00 p.m.  Feed
8:00 p.m.  Feed
10:00 p.m.  Feed
12:00 a.m.  Feed
8:00 a.m.  Wake him and feed

The first few times you try it, he still may wake in the night to eat.  That's fine, but soon enough, he'll catch on.  Sleeping after the 12:00 a.m. feeding to the 8:00 a.m. feeding is definitely feasible.  Your baby will most likely achieve this around weeks 7-9.  (Babywise, Pages 114, 132)  And this way, you're still getting 7 feeding periods in your day.  So, work on perfecting that schedule.  Watch your baby's cues.  Was he really ready to go 8 hours at night between feedings?  Is he still gaining weight well?  

Once you notice he's doing well with that amount and you can tell he's ready to drop that 12:00 a.m. feeding, start moving the 12:00 a.m. backwards - 11:50 p.m., 11:45 p.m., etc.  (This may be around 2-3 months.)  Get it to where it's too close to the 10:00 p.m. to keep doing it.  Then, drop it!  In response to that, you may want to move the 10:00 p.m. a bit later too.  Aim for this:

8:00 a.m.  Feed
11:00 a.m.  Feed
2:00 p.m.  Feed
5:00 p.m.  Feed
8:00 p.m.  Feed
11:00 p.m.  Feed
8:00 a.m.  Wake him and feed

If he nurses for 30 minutes and you put him down, that gives him about 8.5 hours of sleep.  My next suggestion would be to stick with 6 feedings for awhile.  You don't want to drop to 5 feedings too early, even though you really want to.  (And, in my case, you certainly don't want to if your baby has severe acid reflux.)  Make sure your baby is ready for that.  So, if you stick with 6 feedings, but you want to increase sleep time, move your schedule around.  Try this:

8:00 a.m.  Feed
11:00 a.m.  Feed
2:00 p.m.  Feed
5:00 p.m.  Feed
8:00 p.m.  Feed
10:30 p.m.  Feed
8:00 a.m.  Wake him and feed

Remember, there's nothing wrong with making those last 2 feedings closer together.  (Babywise, Pages 115-116)

Think your baby is ready for more sleep?  Definitely make sure these things are happening:
1.  You're having to wake him up every morning at 8:00 a.m. (or whatever your morning waketime is) consistently for weeks.
2.  Naps are going well.
3.  Baby is gaining weight appropriately.

If those are true for you, that's probably a good sign he's ready for more night sleep.  Try moving the 10:30 p.m. feeding earlier.  Move by 5-10 minute increments.  Try doing that last feeding at 10:00 p.m. instead of 10:30 p.m.

(P.S.  I explain here why I chose the schedule I did in the beginning.)  

So, from there it's pretty much under control.  All you're doing is adding more hours into your baby's night sleep as he shows that he's ready.   

Once your baby is ready for 5 feedings, drop that 6th feeding the same way that you dropped the 7th.  Just don't rush it.  In Duke's case, he wasn't ready for 5 feedings until 6 months.  It's easy to remember:  6 feedings until 6 months.

Whew!  That was quite a post.  It took me forever to write and it probably took you forever to read.  But if it helps someone, it was worth it.  And, as usual, feel free to ask questions about any of it.  Getting your baby to sleep through the night is one of the most glorious things ever!

{EDIT:  My second child, Nova, transitioned into a full night of sleep in a totally different way than my son.  If you're interested in reading about how she started sleeping through the night, read this post.}

91 comments:

  1. This is so helpful! I'm relieved to read the first 4 weeks doesn't require that much thinking...

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  2. On the off chance that you're still reading this - I came across your blog when I was googling for some babywise advice and I've got a question related to scheduling. For context, my little girl is 12 weeks old and has been (mostly) sleeping through the night for a few weeks now. I finally realized I was probably expecting a bit too much out of her nightime hours so we're trying to cut that back and get some more consistent naps. Anyway, in you sample schedules above, did you put you son to bed for the night after the 8pm feeding (say around 9/9:30) then just wake him up to feed at 11pm? What I'm struggling with is how many straight hours of sleep my daughter is getting because we put her down after her evening feed (for us that's around 6 so she goes to bed close to 7:30/8) and I wake her to eat at 10:30 but she never really wakes up before she goes right back to bed. We're struggling with nap length which I think may be because she's getting SO much sleep at night but I'm not sure how to adjust our schedule to fix it!

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    1. That's a good question and I had to look back on older posts to remember what I did! Here's our 11-week-old schedule if this helps any: http://www.mydevising.com/2012/01/11-week-schedule.html It looks like after that 8ish feeding, Duke did go down for a bit before I woke him up again for the last one of the night.

      I always counted his "night sleep" by his consecutive hours of sleep. So at 11 weeks, he was sleeping 8-9 consecutive hours at night.

      It seems like your schedule looks pretty great. Do you think there are maybe some other factors that could be influencing her napping?

      Hope some of this can help!

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  3. Hi. Thanks for the post. When you switched from 8 to 7 and then 7 to 6 feedings, how did you alter how much he ate at each feeding? I am moving my baby's feeding schedule every 2 hours to every 2.5 then to every 3. I am not sure how much to give her since she is 13 lbs and how much she can handle. I have been trying to find examples although I know every baby is different. I am more or less just looking for an example. Thanks!

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    1. Hey! Unfortunately, I don't really have a good record of how much my son was eating during all of these transitions, mostly because I was breastfeeding. I would say that maybe you could just be aware of the daily amount of ounces that she typically gets and just try to maintain that as the spacing between your feedings changes. Sorry I'm not of more help! Hope you find what works for you! :)

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  4. I'm so glad I found your schedule. Everything else I've read sounds far too rigid for my comfort level (I'm quite a "crunchy" momma lol) so this gradual and transitional schedule makes me feel better about guiding him to let me get more sleep instead of the current every 2 hours we are currently on.

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  5. Hi! Thank you for the detailed info! Very helpful! So my son is 9 weeks and I just started him on reflux med. I pray it helps! Anyway my question is w the cluster feeding at 6pm 8pm and 10pm... What's going on w napping during this time? My current feed times are 7:30am, 10:30, 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:00pm, 2:00 he wakes me

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  6. Sorry... It cut me off and he wakes me for one more feeding at about 5

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    1. Hello! Oh, I do hope the meds work, too! Reflux is awful. :/ With the 6-8-10 kind of cluster feed, I think I would've done a catnap in between the 6 and the 8 (maybe like 30-45 minutes). Then I'd keep him up between the 8 and 10. Hope that helps! :)

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    2. Hi - I am very similar to Melinda. My son is 9 weeks and I want to start him on baby wise. He's been eating on a 3 hours schedule (7, 10, 1, 4, 7 (bedtime), 11). He wakes me at 2am and 5am. I want him to drop one of these feeds.

      In order to merge the 2 night feeds, should I add cluster feeds at 4, 6, 8(bedtime) then 10:30? If I do this and he drops one of the feeds, when do I stop cluster feeding.

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    3. Hey! Okay, my first question - is the 11 p.m. feeding a dreamfeed? Are you waking him up or is he waking you up? I found with my second child that a feeding that late totally messed up her sleep cycle. So this is what I'm wondering for you - maybe try 7, 10, 1, 4, 7, 9, and then bedtime. Then see when he wakes? Maybe he'll only wake once in the night. You may have to try it a few nights before knowing for sure if it will work for him. But hopefully you're on the road to more sleep! Let me know how it goes or what ends up working for you!

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  7. Hi Claire - Thanks for posting this! I have a related question, but my son is older (6.5 months). His pediatrician said it's time to cut out his night time feeding. He suggested doing it cold-turkey, but that's not working! My son has 8-10 oz in that feeding, so that's like a full meal for him. His feeding schedule is just off. He refuses the bottle until around noon. Then he gets most of his calories in the afternoon, evening, and at night. He's capable of going a long time without eating, it's just at the wrong time of the day. So we're thinking we'll try moving the night time feeding earlier and earlier until its around his bed time (and hopefully that'll move the rest of his feeding schedule ealier, too). I read your suggestion to move a night time feeding by 5-10 minutes at a time. How long do you think we should keep a feeding at a certain time before adjusting it again? Any advice would be fantastic!

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  8. I think your idea about moving that feeding up until it's closer to bedtime is a great idea! Honestly, since it's a MOTN feeding (if I'm understanding you right), I think you could move it up in 5-10 minute increments each night.

    Another thing you may want to try is decreasing the oz. in that feeding. He's used to feeling full and you'll have to train him to know that at night, that's just not going to be the case. You could move the feeding AND decrease the ounces ... or you could try only decreasing the ounces. Whatever you feel fits you best.

    What time does this MOTN feeding typically occur?

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    1. Thanks so much for your response, Claire! Yea, decreasing the ounces is something we debated, too. That totally makes sense about him needing to realize that he just won't be full at night. Maybe we should try a combination of both. The middle of the night feeding was pretty inconsistent (but usually between midnight and 3 AM), so this week we've started feeding him before he typically gets hungry - at 11 PM. That's actually been going really well. We've been a little afraid to switch that time since he's now sleeping from 11 PM until morning. But we don't want him to become too reliant on that time, either, so we should probably scoot it up soon. So I think we start moving it 5-10 minutes each night like you're suggesting and see how that goes. :)

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    2. That all sounds great! I'd love to know how it ends up working after awhile!

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  9. Hi there! This system sounds great - my wuestion is I am currently feeding them at 7:30 and then doing a "dream feed" at 10:30 and then they wake to eat around 3-3:30ish, if I move to this 7:30, 9:30, 11:30 schedule would thr 9:30 and 11:30 both be dream feeds or do you completely wake them up for those two feedings? Thanks!!!

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    1. You could have them awake for the 9:30 and then do bedtime so that the 11:30 is the dreamfeed. Or you could do them both as dreamfeeds. You may just have to see which they respond to better. Depending on how old they are, maybe they wouldn't need the 11:30 and they'd just wake up once in the night. Not sure on age though. Let me know what you figure out! :)

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  10. Hey lady! So much fun that your blog came up when I was searching Google today. I knew you did Babywise...I should have just searched your blog in the first place! Anyway, my question is this: Sam is 11 weeks old and is on a very similar schedule to the one you mentioned. He eats at 8 AM, 11 AM, 2, 5, 8 and a "dream feed" at 11. He is consistently waking at 5 AM for another feeding. So he is getting 6 solid hours of sleep at night. I would like to start working towards weaning him from the 5 AM feeding and have him go from 11P-8A but not quite sure how to go about it. So do you think I should nurse for a shorter about of time at 5AM? Or should I cluster another feeding in the evening? I don't want to do too much CIO to stretch the 5 AM feeding because he and AG share a room (and I DON'T want her up at 5! Side note here, we just got her one of those "okay to wake clocks" that turns green when she can get out if bed...total life-saver for a Babywise mom of two whose kids share a room, haha!) Anyway, any tips for me? I SO appreciate what you have already shared on this post though. It helped me to feel like we are on the right track, when I was feeling a bit discouraged that he woke up at 5 on the dot AGAIN. So thank you, my friend!! Since you showed up so quickly on Google I know you're helping a lot of other sleep deprived mamas!

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    1. (So sorry I'm just now replying! I thought I had replied, but now I'm not seeing it!) Haha I love that it came up! I think gradually nursing for a shorter time at the 5AM feeding is a great idea. Cluster feeding may also really help - maybe in the evening, you could try a 5-7-9 or 5-7:30-10:00? Something like that. You may already be past all of this so I could be of no help at all! But I'd love to know what you figure(d) out! :)

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  11. Hi Claire! I have been reading your blog for about three years and knew I wanted to do babywise once I became a mommy- you make it look so simple! Fast forward to now and I have an 8 week old! I was wondering your opinion on our night sleep if you don't mind. He was sleeping great from weeks 4-6 but then hit that growth spurt and then thanksgiving happened. We are still recovering but he's been up three times a night lately! We go to bed after his 8pm feeding and he used to wake up between 1-2 then again at 3-4 then I woke him up at 7:30 as our desired wake time. Anyway- since he's been waking up more I did a dream feed last night at 10:30 and he woke up at 3 and then 6:30. Would you recommend I wake him up again around midnight? He has only been going 4.5 hours at a time straight right now for some reason. He was going almost 6 hours until the growth spurt! :( mama needs sleep! Thank you and I love your blog!

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    1. Thank you for reading! And I definitely think Babywise helps simplify so much with babies, BUT there is still nothing simple about having babies. Those early weeks are just crazy! Things definitely get simpler as babies get older so there's hope in that!

      If I were you, I'd just pick what you prefer as far as dream feed goes. If you do it for several more days and he seems to respond to it well and gradually adds hours to his night sleep, then stay with it! If it seems that he's waking more or sooner, then go back to your last feed being at 8 p.m. But I definitely wouldn't wake him up at midnight. That may interrupt his sleep and make things even crazier. I'd really love to know how it's going, so keep me updated!

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    2. thank you for getting back to me! How many days do you normally try something before you try to start cutting back again? I think I need a manual on how to do this, haha! Hoping tonight goes better!

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    3. I'd say if you try the DF for like 3-4 days and his waking is still close to 3-4 hours, then maybe go back to the 8pm feeding being the last one. The back and forth is so hard with babies - getting better at sleep then getting worse at sleep ... and on and on! But I'm sure longer stretches are around the corner for you!

      Have you noticed any improvement the past couple nights? Have you been doing the DF or not?

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  12. Ok so I did the DF but he woke up at 3pm and then 6:30. The 3pm was good but I was super annoyed by the 6:30 since its so close to the start of the day. I went back to 8pm and that went well but still waking twice. Around 1 and then 5:30. I think I'll go back to the DF for a few days and see how that goes because he had a 7 hour stretch this weekend! Id love for that to be more like 12-7! Thanks for your advice!

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    1. Wow, sounds like doing an 8pm feeding works great for him! If you find that the DF just isn't working for him, he just may not be a DF baby. :/ As much as I fought it with my 2nd, she just wasn't. 8-1-5:30 is pretty good, so just know that if you need to stick with that schedule, that's great, too! Keep me posted!

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  13. DF definitely just didn't work for him! He was up every 3 hours after it but when I went back to the 8pm feeding he slept 6.5 hour stretch then another 4.5. Last night was a 7.5 hour and 4.5 hour! Definitely not complaining! Do you think he'll naturally drop the middle of the night feeding?

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    1. That's so great! Yeah, he's definitely not a DF baby! That schedule is great!

      He may or may not drop that MOTN feeding on his own. Nova was 11.5 weeks and I knew (because of several factors) that she didn't need that MOTN feeding anymore, so we let her cry. She fussed for 5ish minutes and went back to sleep. Next night, fussed around 1-2 minutes. And from that point on, no MOTN feeding! So, I had to give her a little nudge and convince her that she really could make it all night without eating! I think some babies will do it on their own, but some have to be convinced. :) Just think - in a few weeks, you'll be getting 11-12 hours of peace, quiet, and a sleeping babe!

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  14. Hi There!
    I had a question for you. My little is 10weeks and goes down around 8pm, We've tried to keep her up past this point but its practically impossible and very unpleasant for everyone! Currently she sleeps from 8pm till around 1:30am when she wakes to eat and then goes right back down. After that shes up about every two hours and I've been able to feed her just once in that stretch around 5am. After that she'll usually sleep till around 7:30am which is her morning wake time. I tried to add a dreamfeed between 10 and 11pm but it didn't extend her sleep any later so we took it away to give her that 5 and a half hour stretch. My question is, how can I help extend her sleep? Should I keep trying the dream feed, should I keep trying to help her stay up later, should I slowly take away the 5am feed or try to push back the 1:30am feed? I'm just unsure because some of the more typical babywise troubleshooting things haven't seemed to work on her. I would appreciate your advise! Thanks!

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    1. Okay, so I want to make sure I'm understanding right ... feedings are 8:00, 1:30, 5:00, 7:30.

      As for the dream feed, I wouldn't add it back in if it wasn't helping extend her sleep. Some babies respond well to it and some babies don't. So if sleep is better without it, then just don't do it. The 8 to 1:30 stretch is great, so I'd leave that how it is. :)

      Now for the others .... I definitely would say that she doesn't need the 5 a.m. feeding. In my opinion, that would be my next one to get rid of. If she would do 8, 1:30, 7:30 .. that would be awesome! Have you tried just letting her cry when she wakes at 5 a.m. to eat? If you're against CIO, that's totally fine. Just thought I'd ask. :)

      Another question - is she taking full feedings at the 1:30, 5:00, and 7:30 feeds?

      Is she getting in a decent amount of sleep during the day for naps?

      Let me know your thoughts on all of this!

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  15. This is my third baby do you'd think I would "get" it by now but I don't. :) My recently turned 4 month old is a great sleeper so far, she wakes around 7:30 and we feed every 3 hours so 10:30, 1:30, 4:30 and then around 7. She goes down well in her own crib for 3 naps but after the 7 night feeding she is either wide awake or will fall asleep then wake up screaming. We then bounce her back to sleep and I feed her again at 9 or 9:30 and she sttn. Any advice on getting her to sleep after the 7:09 feeding? Do we ler her CIO? Is she too young to drop the 9:30 feeding? Thank you

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    1. Hey, I guess what they say is true - every baby is different! I know that's true for my two! I do think it may still be too early to drop the 9/9:30 feed.. (At least it was for my kids - they kept 6 feedings until 5-6 months. But, of course, she could be different!)

      You may have already considered this, but do you think there's some kind of reflux issue going on? One of my best friends' baby did a similar thing - was fine for all other sleep, but would scream when going down for night sleep. She got him on Zantac and he was a different baby! My first had reflux too and Prevacid worked wonders! Just a thought.

      You could try some CIO if you want. I'd probably do something like let her cry a few minutes and then go in quietly (not picking her up or talking) to pat her and see if she'll calm down. Once she's calm, walk out .... and you may have to repeat the process several times, adding more and more time in between.

      Another idea - would it work to cluster feed that 6th feeding somehow? Maybe do something like 7:30, 10:30, 1:30, 4:30, 6:30, 8:30, then bedtime? Every baby responds differently to cluster feeding, but it could be worth a shot!

      Hope some of this helps!

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  16. Hi there!

    My little guy is 7 weeks and has his last feed at 8pm. He usually sleeps until 1-2am, wakes to nurse, then goes right back down until 4-5am. He nurses and goes back down until his morning wake time of 7. My question is, how do I slowly eliminate the 4-5am feed? We have tried a dream feed at 10-11pm, but it didn't extend his sleep, so we took it away to keep his long stretch.

    I should add that he is on a three-hour schedule, with the exception of the morning: 7, 11, 2, 5, 8. He has a shorter nap in the morning and three 2-hour naps after his 11am feed.

    Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!

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    1. Hi, Sally!

      When he wakes at 7, is he waking on his own or are you waking him at 7 to start the day?

      Also, is he just up longer after his feeding and that's why his next feeding isn't until 11, or is it because he's sleeping longer?

      Let me know, and we'll go from there!

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  19. Hi There

    I have really found your guidelines excellent and so far so good. Here is my rountine

    Feed 8am 11.30 14.30 17.30 a top up at 20.30 and bath at 22.00 followed by last bottle. He will move a bit at 4am so I just pop soother in a few times and he nods of. Was wondering how will I go about cutting back the time for earlier bed time. Also I have 2 wake him sometimes for his day feeds is that ok or should I leave him?? He is 6wks and weight is 12lb. Total oz 26 to 30 per day.

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    1. Hi! That sounds like a pretty great schedule. I would continue waking him during his daytime naps so that you can stay on schedule and get in all of his feedings. I didn't go down to 5 feedings a day until 5 months with my formula-fed baby (or until 6 months with my breastfed baby). So, I'd say that getting in 6 feedings a day at 6 weeks is still pretty important. If you do want to start scooting up bedtime, then I'd say you could try cramming those last couple feeds closer together. Maybe try doing 17:30, 20:00, bath, last bottle at 21:30. Then maybe 17:30, 19:30, bath, 21:00. And then continue on from there. However, if that makes him uninterested in feedings or if he's not hungry enough to eat that close together, then maybe it won't work. But it's worth a shot to try and move bedtime up!

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  20. Claire, you're routine seems absolutely ideal! I am a first time (and young) mom and am really having some trouble with getting this to work. My son is 8 weeks old and we started babywise around 4 weeks. Immediately he started doing very well with daytime naps, we only had to CIO maybe 2 or 3 times, and he was STTN for 5+ hrs. Recently, he's been waking at night every 2 hrs and frankly driving momma crazy! During the day we shoot for 1 hour of wake time + 2 hr nap between feedings but sometimes don't make it that long. He eats 3 oz per feeding and I can't seem to get him to eat any more at a time. Our schedule currently is:
    8 am- start our day, feed
    10:30/11 ish- feed
    1-2 ish- feed
    5 ish-feed
    7/8ish-feed
    10-10:30 dream feed
    12:30 am-wakes up crying so I feed
    2:30 am- wakes up crying so I feed
    4:30/5:30 am-wakes up crying so I feed
    7 am-sometimes
    8 am-start our day

    During the night he drinks 2-3 oz and is always acting hungry. I have no idea what to do but I am so exhausted. I would love some advice!!




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    1. Hello! You are in the thick of it - I know you are exhausted! One day, you will sleep again .. I do promise that! My first question is this .. have you tried not doing the dreamfeed? So - do your last feed of the evening, put him to bed, and then let him wakes when he wakes? My daughter did a completely different transition with nighttime sleep (I blogged about it here: http://www.mydevising.com/2015/01/how-nova-slept-through-night.html ) so this way may be worth a try for you!

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  21. Hi Claire,

    We have a somewhat similar situation as Kali. We have a breastfed, 12lb, 10 week old son that just won't sleep for longer than 2.5 hours! Ahh!

    Here's our schedule:

    7/730 am wake/feed (he usually wakes us)
    10am wake/feed
    130/2pm feed
    5pm first half of the feed (split feed), bedtime routine and second half of the feed at around 630pm.

    This is where things get wonky. He'll usually only sleep for a short period at this point (maybe 45min) then wakes up screaming wanting to eat, or will be wide awake until 9-930pm, where he'll want another feed before he goes to sleep. On the very rare occasion he'll sleep until 10:30pm.

    Regardless of what happened earlier he'll usually wake up at 11:30pm/12:30 to feed, then 2:30/3am, 4:30/5am, and 6/630am. On a good night he'll only wake up at 3am and 5am (when I'm able to get a ful feed in at 3am). I am exhausted. Any help would be appreciated!

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  22. I should also mention that during the night wakings/feeds he barely eats for 5-10 minutes before going back into a deep sleep. It's literally impossible to wake him to try and get a full feed in (in the hopes of losing one of those wakings).

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    1. First of all, I will say that with both kids (but MOSTLY with my second), the sleep that fell anywhere around 7-10pm was really wonky. I felt it took my daughter a long time to settle in for night sleep. So, just know that some of that is normal.

      My first suggestion is to aim for an additional feeding during the "day hours." That means you may need to scoot things around. I'd do something like this: 7/730, 10, 1/130, 4, 7. Then bedtime. Also, I'm wondering if maybe dividing up that bedtime feeding is messing him up somehow. It may get him on a trend of snacking for the night since it's like 2 little snacks, which is causing him to only sleep 45 minutes and wake up hungry. So maybe try doing the entire bedtime feeding at one time. Let me know if anything helps/works!

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  23. Hi! I have been reading your blog since my baby was just a couple weeks old (he's 5 months now). I have two older kids, but my youngest is 10 yrs old, so I am basically starting over with baby!
    Anyway, at 5 months he usually goes to bed around 9-9:30 (sometimes later) but he's been waking at 1-2am (not to feed but just to be comforted) and then again at around 5:30 and he wants a bottle. He usually falls back to sleep then until around 8-8:30 but won't be interested in breakfast until around 9:30.
    He eats solids during the day (fruits and veggies) and formula.
    My main question is how on earth do I get him to stop waking at 1am? He's obviously not hungry, so how can I teach him to stay asleep at least until 5:30 when he actually wants to eat?
    Thanks for any input....sometimes it feels like we advance one step and then go back three!

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    1. Hi! As I read your comment, two things came to mind:

      1 - If you're comfortable, you could do some CIO when he wakes at 1-2 am since you know he's not hungry, but just wanting company.
      2 - It may be worth a shot to get his bedtime earlier. I know that sometimes with my kids, if I push their bedtimes, it makes their sleep kind of crazy, causing them to wake up randomly in the night. So maybe an earlier bedtime would help!

      Let me know what you think!

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    3. Thank you so much for responding!
      I actually did try CIO for two nights, but unfortunately it seems to have backfired as he ended up crying for a full hour (like hysterical) until I finally gave him a bottle...now, that 1:30 "comfort" waking has now turned into a "feed" waking since he won't be comforted unless I give him a bottle! At 6 months old, his schedule now goes something like this, bed around 9:30, then he wakes around 2-3am for a bottle and again at 6 for another bottle! (And I continue feeling that instead of advancing we are going backwards!)
      As for moving bedtime, I would actually love to be able to get him to bed earlier but our schedules just don't allow for anything earlier than 9. Ideally I would be able to put baby to bed around 9:30and have him sleep through until 8 ish...but so far it's wishful thinking!
      He naps great in the morning and early afternoon, and I've been avoiding any naps after 7 pm making his last nap around 5:30 or 6, but even that hasn't seemed to help much.
      I'm considering trying either a more strict bedtime or wake time since I have been pretty flexible with both, but I'm not sure which one to try first or whether to try both simultaneously?
      What would you recommend?
      Thanks again!

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    4. Ah, sorry it backfired. :( That's so hard to feel like you're going backwards.

      I know it's not the norm to have a 9:30-8 sleep for night, but I do think something like that is possible. So don't be discouraged!

      Glad his naps are good! I'm assuming he's down to 2 naps? I'm wondering if he would benefit by a 3rd nap - even if it's just a catnap. My kids didn't go down to 2 naps until 8-10 months, so maybe he's overtired which is causing the waking?

      I think you're right about getting a waketime or bedtime more strict. If you can't do both, I would at least do one. And it sounds like your bedtime is the time that can't be moved much, so I'd say that your goal would be to keep that the same. And maybe keep your morning waketime at least within the same 30-45 minutes. Does that sound doable with your schedule?

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    5. He usually still does three naps, an early one that can vary anywhere between 9:30-10:30 and if it's nice and quiet for him he sleeps 1.5-2 hrs! Then his second nap is anywhere between 1:30-2:30 (depending what time he woke) and is usually another 1.5 hrs. He seems to be tired again by 6-7 so that's when I let him have just a catnap (no more than 30-45 min) to be able to hold off until 9:30....but he has gotten really crazy with his night wakings, and he is drinking a lot of milk during the night. I tried increasing the amount of formula before bed (8oz instead of 6) but he still wakes "demanding" milk several times during the night. When he was younger he would take a pacifier and that would soothe him back to sleep, but he gave up his paci about a month ago (he's 6 months now) so, I'm thinking he's wanting milk as "soother" but I just don't know how to change that, how to get it to where he can soothe himself back to sleep without feeling the need for milk. I am pretty certain he doesn't actually need it for nutrition, just as a soothing resource, but I worry that drinking so much milk at night is making him less interested in eating breakfast.........sigh!

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    6. Ok, so last night was a bit different....he refused his early evening nap, so by 8pm he was exhausted. He literally couldn't even keep his eyes open, so I just let him sleep. I thought it would be a catnap, but he didn't wake even when I slightly nudged him 30 min later, so I decided to just let him sleep! Anyway, to my surprise, even with this earlier bedtime, he still woke at 1:30 (not earlier as I thought he would) but he just took a bottle and fell right back to sleep. Then he woke again and 5:30 for another bottle and slept until 7:30....
      So, I guess this means that the 1:30 waking is definitely more habit than actual hunger (since last night showed that he is capable of going more hours without milk). And The million dollar question still remains how to get rid of that waking? Haha
      If he is comfortable with a 7:30 rather 8 wake time, I am actually comfortable with that...
      I will start by trying to implement 7:30 wake time and see how that goes.
      The good thing about earlier wake time is that he is actually ready to eat breakfast at around 8-8:30......

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    7. I do agree that drinking so much at night would make for a bad first meal of the day. That's how my 2nd baby was, and that's when I decided to do CIO for the night feeding we couldn't get rid of. I knew she didn't need it!

      Very interesting to know what he did with an earlier bedtime! When he cries at that 1:30 time, what does that look like for you? Do you immediately go in and feed? Do you let him cry for a while?

      What are your solid feedings like? My daughter was sleeping through the night just fine since 11 weeks and then around this age, she started having these weird wakings and weird sleep. As soon as I implemented more solids, she was fine. So I'm wondering if you should increase that at all??

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    8. Ok, so after that one wonderful night where we were able to get an early bedtime, we were forced back to a 9:30 bedtime. The past two nights have been interesting.....after bed at 9:30 he has actually been sleeping until 3-3:30, and that is when he wants more milk. I don't go to his room right away, but rather leave him for a few minutes to see if he'll settle but so far he's not settled without a bottle. He falls right back to sleep and sleeps till around 7, so that is actually not bad! Interestingly, though, he plays in his bed until I get him, and he is actually hungry when I give him breakfast(fruit and cereal) at around 8. So, that has been an improvement. I will continue to do the 7-7:30 wake time and see if we can't get a little routine going! ;)

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    9. Yes! That is definitely an improvement! Hopefully he will keep going on just once MOTN waking, and then that will even be gone soon! So glad he's hungrier for breakfast too - that definitely tells me that one MOTN feeding is enough for him and that he doesn't need more in the night. Keep me posted!

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    10. Ahhh wishful thinking! He decided it's much more fun to keep us guessing. Last night everything was as usual, bath around 8:30 bed at 9:15, but he woke at 12! I honestly don't know what caused that?? Hubby went to give him his bottle (I don't think he even looked at the clock and must've thought it was later).
      After that he woke again at 4 for yet another bottle!
      I'm hoping it was just a one night thing, but if he continues to wake that early I may have to give CIO another shot.....although I'm a little afraid to since it didn't work so great last time.

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    11. Ugh, that's rough. :( However, to encourage you, the back and forth progress still means progress! With both babies, I remember it feeling like a two steps forward, one step back with sleep at night. The fact that he did do one great night of one MOTN feeding is still a positive because it means he CAN do it! Yeah, CIO may be a good idea to try again. Also, have you limited or gradually decreased the amount of ounces he has for his night feedings?

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  24. Hi! My son is 11 weeks old and we are a little late on starting the babywise, he had bad gas/reflex issues when he was younger so it was harder to have it on a schedule. Right now he has 8 feeds a day, he wakes up everyday at 7 and then he eats about every 3 hours after that. At night I will have 3-4 hour stretches of sleep and I am looking to make them longer. I read about having his night feedings closer together so he can drop a dream feed, in order to do this should I wake him up? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you :)

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    1. Hi! So are you referring to cluster feeding? If so, then yes, I think it's worth a shot! So it would maybe look something like this: 7,10,1,4,7,9 . After that 9pm feeding, you'd put him to bed and then let him wake you. That way, he's for sure getting 6 feedings in during the "day." Of course, that schedule can be tweaked - it's just an idea. :) Hope that helps!

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  25. Hi Claire:
    I am glad I came across this blog. I also follow baby wise since the birth of my daughter. I am glad a I read this article because Im trying to transition my daughter to drop the middle of the night feeding.
    She is now almost 7 weeks and her schedule has been at 3 hr intervals always . her current schedule is 7:30am/10:30/1:30/4:30/7:30/1130pm and she wakes up only once in the middle of the night around 330am or 4am.
    sometimes we start our day at 7 or 8 . I think it will definitely be beneficial to set a definite wake up time. can you recommend something for me to drop that 330am feeding ?
    I also wanted to ask you about ways to put the baby to nap. I know baby wise states to put them down drowsy but not sleeping already . I really don't if I am doing this right . I usually rock her and put her down once she look drowsy or almost falling asleep. I don't if these is the best way but can you recommend something?

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  26. Hi Claire:
    I am glad I came across this blog. I also follow baby wise since the birth of my daughter. I am glad a I read this article because Im trying to transition my daughter to drop the middle of the night feeding.
    She is now almost 7 weeks and her schedule has been at 3 hr intervals always . her current schedule is 7:30am/10:30/1:30/4:30/7:30/1130pm and she wakes up only once in the middle of the night around 330am or 4am.
    sometimes we start our day at 7 or 8 . I think it will definitely be beneficial to set a definite wake up time. can you recommend something for me to drop that 330am feeding ?
    I also wanted to ask you about ways to put the baby to nap. I know baby wise states to put them down drowsy but not sleeping already . I really don't if I am doing this right . I usually rock her and put her down once she look drowsy or almost falling asleep. I don't if these is the best way but can you recommend something?

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    1. Hi! As far as putting down to sleep goes, I put my babies down wide awake. Probably in the first month or so, they were more in a drowsy state, but for the most part, always awake. It sounds like you're doing great! The main reason I think Babywise encourages that is so that you don't create a sleep prop - like rocking to sleep every time. So rocking and then putting down drowsy is just fine. :)

      As far as the MOTN feeding goes, it kind of depends on your baby and what she's ready for. How well she's gaining also plays into this. Your schedule sounds really great, so I wouldn't worry if you kept that MOTN feeding for a bit longer. Her body may need it. Maybe give it a few more weeks to see if it naturally goes away or not. And if not, then maybe you can try a few things to wean her from it. :)

      Hope this helps!

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  29. Hi Claire! I'm hoping you can help us out..my baby is 3 months old now and we're having trouble eliminating the 3-4am feeding. I tried the 8pm, 10pm, 12pm feeding schedule, but he still woke up at 4:30am...and we're concerned that he's eating too much. He drank 5 ounces at 8pm, 4 ounces at 10pm, and 3 ounces at 12pm. Am I doing something wrong or do I just need to keep this up for a few more nights until my baby catches on? We were feeding him at 8pm and 11pm...then just hoping he'll eventually grow out of the 3am feeding, but it wasn't working. And should I be keeping him up after the 8pm feeding or putting him down for his night time sleep and waking him up for his next scheduled feeding? I don't know what is best to do and which schedule is best to eliminate the 3-4am feedings. Please help!

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    1. Hi! When you feed at 11pm, are you waking him up or is he waking on his own? Also, what is your feeding schedule throughout the day?

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    2. Hi Claire,

      I am in the same boat as the comment you responded to above. My son is 3 months old and is eating 4 oz. on a 3-4 hour schedule. Typically he wakes around 6:30/7 and follows that schedule until around 7/7:30pm. He usually goes to sleep around 8 and then we do an 11pm feeding which is a dream feed. After the 11pm feeding, he typically wakes around 3:30/4 and eats. I would really like to drop the 3:30/4 feeding but don't know how. Thank you for any help you can offer me.

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    3. Hi Brooke! I answered a similar question in the comments below this one. Take a look at it and see if that maybe helps you!

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  30. My in-laws are watching the baby while we're at work so the baby has a very scattered schedule. However, today they have promised to start following the schedule with feedings at 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm..then I'll take over the the feedings at 8pm (still uncertain what's best to do after 8pm). They have issues with naps, but i told them to put him down for a nap 1-2 hours after feedings as advised in another book I read (feed, 1-2 hr wake time, nap). What do u recommend for naps? And do u suggest waking up a napping baby to get a scheduled feeding in? At this point, he falls asleep after the 8pm feeding. We try to keep him up a bit, but we end up waking him at 11pm for his feeding. He's not a fussy baby at all..we're just not sure of the best routine for our 3 month old, but we're desperate to start one and be consistent.

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    1. Hi, Lauren! I would say that for a 3 month old, typical waketime is closer to 1-1.5 hours. 2 hours may be causing over-tiredness (which would cause bad naps). So maybe try shortening the waketime to get better naps. And as for waking a sleeping baby, I say yes. I found that for our babies, it helped them develop a consistent routine and a dependable sleeping pattern throughout the day and at night. :)

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  31. At this point, my in laws give him full 5 ounce feedings every 3 hours..no consistent feeding times though. The naps with them are inconsistent and very few. When he does nap, they let him sleep past the 3 hour feeding mark. I'm thinking that may not be the best thing to do though.

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  32. Sorry for writing such long messages. Just an update...we started my baby on this feeding schedule at 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 8pm, 11pm (woke him up for that feeding). He woke up crying at 3:45am for another feeding and went right back down to sleep until 8am. What is the next step to eliminate the 3:45am feeding? Sorry again for being a pest!

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    1. You're not a pest at all! I hope the naps during the day are improving. :)

      That schedule looks great! And it sounds like he's doing awesome for his night sleep! Honestly, there's nothing wrong with what you've got going on (the 11pm feeding and then one more night feeding before he wakes in the morning). However, if you sense that he could do without one of those feedings (either the 11pm or 3:45 MOTN feeding), then you could try just putting him down after the 8pm feeding and seeing what he does. He may just wake for 1 feeding in the night, which would be great! Or, he may wake up naturally closer to 11pm since he's used to eating then. Either way, it's a good place to start to see what he'll do. I hope that helps!

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    2. Also - you may check out the link to the post about how my daughter transitioned to sleeping through the night. (It's at the end of this one.) We did a little CIO with that MOTN feeding around 11-12 weeks and within 2 days, she had the hang of it. So if you feel like you're at that point, that's also an option if you're comfortable with it. :)

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    3. Thanks!! He's actually sleeping 10pm-6am most days...he occasionally wakes up at 4am for a diaper change. So far, so good!

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  33. This is incredibly helpful! Thanks for a great post - really helps fill in some information missing from the book. I have one question for clarification - when you're talking about eliminating the night feeding above at around weeks 7 - 9, you say he might still wake to eat at night and that's fine, but soon he'll catch on. In this context, do you mean "that's fine, feed him?" or are you trying other comfort measures or letting him fuss in order to get him used to not eating then?

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    1. Hi! I'm so glad it's helpful!

      As for your question: For this baby I'm referencing in this post, he actually just naturally did the 8 hours when we made that schedule change and dropped that night feeding. (He is my by-the-book child!) So there wasn't really a transition to it. However, for my daughter, we decided to let her fuss around 11 weeks because we knew she didn't need that night feeding anymore. The first night, she cried for *maybe* 5 minutes and went back to sleep for the rest of the night. The second night, it was just a quick whimper/noise, and then right back to sleep. From then on, she was sleeping straight through. (The link to the post about her is at the bottom of this post if you want to read about her transition to sleeping through the night.) I hope that helps!

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  34. Hi there! I have a question about my 9 week old. We do bath and bedtime around 8pm and he goes down to sleep. For a little while he wasn't waking back up until 1am/2am for his next feed. But now has gone back to waking up at 12am and then after that he wakes up at 3am and then 6am. After the midnight and 3am feeds he goes right back to sleep but after the 6am one he is awake. Ideally I need him to push his wake up time to 7am or later as any earlier than that and I am way too exhausted. Any advice would be great. He is breastfed, sleeps in our room in a pack n play.

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    1. Hi! Two ideas come to mind.

      1 - You could try adding in a dreamfeed. (If you've already tried this and it doesn't work, then ignore! :)) So feed and put him down at 8pm, but then feed him around 10:30-11 to do a dream feed. There's a possibility he would sleep longer and wake less, but there's also a possibility he wouldn't. But it may be worth a shot to see if it extends his nights!

      2 - Another option is to just focus on the DWT (desired wake time). So if you want 7am to be his waketime, you could try feeding him at 7am no matter what. So even if he woke and you fed him at 6am, then put him back down since it is still "sleep time", and wake him back up to feed at 7am. We did this with my son and it worked like a charm. It taught his little body that he didn't need to wake at 7am to eat because I would feed him at 8am. Many times, when I would wake him back up at 8 to feed, he would hardly be interested, but that's okay! He eventually got the hang of it. With my daughter, this process didn't work, so if it doesn't work for your baby, that's totally fine! But I definitely think it's worth trying. :)

      Let me know how things go!

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  35. Hi! I so appreciate your posts and comments to readers! I have 2 very different kids as you seem to have had - first one STTN super early following Babywise pattern. This second one we can't figure out! We've tried increasing feedings, doing every 3 hours, just doing EAS on her rhythm, CIO, etc. She'll do 7-8 hours on occasion, but then goes back to 3 hours at night, and we can't figure out why. She is always happy and playful and rarely every cranky. Not sure what to do! Any ideas would be appreciated!

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    1. Hi! Well, you obviously know the things to try so I'm not sure if I'll come up with anything new, but maybe something will help! Have you been consistent with each new thing that you try? Have you focused on waketimes and getting those down as consistent as possible? Have you done different evening feed options - either a dreamfeed, or no dreamfeed and do an early bedtime, or cluster feed? Let me know if anything helps or if you've figured something out!

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  36. Hi! I would love your input on our 10 week old baby girl, Claire!

    Here is our feeding and overall schedule:
    7a - wake time
    10a
    1p
    4p
    7p - feed then bedtime
    10p - wake her up to feed
    3a - she mostly wakes us and sometimes makes it to 3a. We put her back to bed when she wakes up at 1:30, 2, etc....
    7a - we wake her up but she is usually restless or we have put her back to bed at 6, etc...

    I am questioning that she is even ready for an 8 hour stretch but would love to push her in that direction if at all possible since I'm going back to work and she'll being going to daycare on 2 weeks in which I'll lose control of her schedule. Should I give the cluster feeding, dream feed or any other technique over the other given her current pattern?

    I breastfeed her but she gets a bottle at her 10a and 3a feeding. Naps going pretty well most days.

    Thanks so much in advance for your advice!

    Edy

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    1. Hi, Edy!

      Okay, so if I'm reading your schedule correctly, you're saying after the dream feed, she usually just wakes one more time to eat before morning feed. And you're wanting to get a longer stretch in there. (and I don't blame you!)

      So, typically, my first idea that I suggest to people is to drop the dreamfeed. Depending on the baby, sometimes the dreamfeed can actually interrupt sleep, causing them to wake more in the night. My son did well with it, but my daughter didn't - so I've seen both sides to it. But maybe give it a shot. So feed her at 7 before bed and then let her wake you. Maybe she'll just wake once in the night which would give you and her bigger stretches.

      Let me know what you think and/or if you've found something that works!

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  37. I just found your blog and find it so helpful how you've broken everything down. I read the book while I was pregnant and now my LO will be 8 weeks this week and we just started implementing the first merge 3 days ago. So far she's done well, actually very similar to the first schedule you posted where a 7am feeding will back up to the 8am feeding. Last night (day 3) we were actually pretty successful with just the 3am MOTN feeding and then waking her up at 8am to feed this morning.

    My question is, since I got kind of a late start, how long do you think I need to be in this merge until I can try to get rid of the 3am MOTN feeding? She sleeps in her auto rock n' play and wakes up periodically through the night but usually giving her the pacifier soothes her in between the feedings. I realize 3 days isn't much but it's already a world of difference compared to last week when she would wake up every 2 hours and refused to sleep anywhere except for in bed in our arms, which we know is a definite no no.

    Thanks again for your helpful insight!

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    1. (Apologies for my belated response!)

      I'm sure by now you're in a different spot with things, but if you aren't or have more questions, feel free to comment again or send me an email!

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  38. My friend recommended this to me..great info! So my daughter just turned 8 weeks today and ideally, we'd like to end up on 7am wake up with 8pm bedtime.

    1) What do you recommend our schedule be?
    2) What if she doesn't take a full feeding at her scheduled time? Do you finish her feeding a bit later and sacrifice that she won't take her normal scheduled feeding dice she might be full? OR ditch that and just give her scheduled feeding?

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    1. Hey! So by now, I guess your daughter is around the 12 week mark. Here are a few options:

      7,10,1,4,7 (then bed),10(dreamfeed)
      7,10,1,4,7 (then bed),MOTN feed
      7,10,1,3:30,6,8 (then bed)

      At that age, I've found my kids still have all needed 6 feeds, so that's based on 6 feeds. And, depending on what you prefer, you can see what works for you/your baby. Some babies do well with dream feeds and some don't. Some babies are ready to cluster feed and make it all night long with no dream feed or MOTN feed and some aren't. But those would be my ideas as far as schedule goes for a 12ish week old!

      And usually if my kids don't take a full feed, I keep their normal waketime, do their normal nap, and try to keep things as usual. But if the pattern keeps going and I know it's not a growth spurt where they just want to eat more often, then I might adjust the waketime to see if that helps.

      Let me know if you have other questions!

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  39. Yes, I pretty much followed your schedule verbatim as it fit our lifestyle perfectly. We started at 7 weeks and she was sleeping through the night by 10 weeks. It worked out beautifully and she's a happy and healthy 18 week old now. I refer people to your blog all the time. The way you break it down is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much!

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    1. Oh I'm so glad she's sleeping and things are going well! And thank you for sending people to my blog. :) I think it's so helpful for us moms to get our babies' sleep figured out - makes us all happy campers!

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  40. Thanks Claire! Currently my daughter is 13 weeks old. Our schedule is roughly: 7am, 10, 1, 4pm, 6, 8pm plus 11:30pm (dreamfeed). Should we just drop the dreamfeed. What if she wakes up in middle of night?

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    1. Keeping the dreamfeed is fine if it's working for you all! But you can always try dropping it if you feel like she's ready! If you're nursing, it may affect your supply, so you'll just want to watch out for that. But I definitely think it's possible she could go from 8:30pm-7am. As for how to drop the dreamfeed, you can either gradually move the dreamfeed up to where it doesn't make sense to do it because it's too close to the bedtime feed. Or you can gradually decrease nursing time/ounces that you give. Or you can just drop it cold turkey. If she wakes in the middle of the night, you could let her CIO if you're comfortable with that. Or you can take that as a sign that she may not be ready. It may just take some troubleshooting to figure it out. Let me know how it goes!

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