Thursday, January 16, 2014

BFBN: babywise eating and sleeping patterns (the first 6 months)

Today is Babywise Network day, so I'm over at A Mother Far From Home writing about how to involve your toddler in music.  Obviously, at that age, they're not doing anything too serious in the realm of music education.  But I do think there are things we can be doing with our toddlers that will help foster a love and appreciation for music.  Go check it out!

Elaine is sharing here about some really helpful Babywise information for baby's first 6 months.  I was not only excited to read this post, but I'm also really glad to have it here on my own blog for reference.  I hope you all enjoy!

When I started implementing Babywise with my oldest daughter who is now four and a half, a big-picture overview of what I could expect my baby to do as a “Babywise Baby” would have been tremendously helpful to me as I was trying to figure it all out in those beginning days.

In this post I will take you on the journey of my second daughter’s first six months of life. You will be able to see how her eating and sleeping patterns organized, stabilized and fell into a very predictable routine by the time she was around 3-4 months old.

A word of caution, though, before we begin: Keep in mind that every baby is different and your baby’s schedule probably won’t look exactly like Sweet Pea’s. Every baby has their own individual eating/sleeping needs. 

However, this post WILL give you a good idea about how you can expect eating and sleeping patterns to develop over the first 6 months of your baby’s life. For example, all Babywise babies go from 8-12 feeds in the newborn stage down to 4 feeds once they are on the 4-hour schedule. And all Babywise babies go from taking 4 naps to just one nap at around 15-18 months old. The process to get there is going to look different for each baby. Some babies may drop their naps and feeds later than other babies.
All Babywise moms are working towards the same goal though: to develop healthy, stable and consistent eating and sleeping patterns from infancy in their children.

This was Sweet Pea’s eating and sleeping journey her first 6 months of life. Use this as a REFERENCE (not a rule book) when trying to establish your own baby’s eating and sleeping schedule.

0-4 weeks

8am-eat, 11am-eat, 2pm-eat, 5pm-eat, 8pm-eat, 11pm-eat, 2-4am-she would wake to eat, 5-8am-she would wake to eat.

Her feedings were every 3hrs up until 11pm. After the 11pm feed, I let her wake on her own to eat. She ate 8 times in 24 hrs.

Her waketimes were less than an hour. After 8pm, waketime was optional. If she wanted to be awake, I let her, but if she was ready to sleep I let her go on to sleep without having any waketime.

{What can we learn from weeks 0-4?}

The first two weeks you simply want to work on establishing full feeds and beginning the cycle of eating, being awake for most likely less than an hour and then sleeping until it’s time to eat again. Establishing a feeding schedule is important too. Since my baby was in the NICU for 9 days after her birth, she pretty much came home on a schedule and I just continued on with feedings every 3 hours. Of course, if she was hungry before that 3 hour mark, I fed her. I think it goes without saying that this phase is very tiring! But, this phase truly can only be a season if you put forth some effort to create healthy eating and sleeping habits in your young infant.

4-8 weeks

8am-eat, 11am-eat, 2pm-eat, 5pm-eat, 8pm-eat, 11pm-eat, 2:30am-5:30am-she would wake to eat, 7-8am-woke to eat.  So she had 7 feeds per 24 hours. To establish her morning wake time of 8am, if she woke earlier than that I would hold her off on eating with the paci. Establishing this morning wake time is critical in stabilizing metabolism and getting her on a consistent eating and sleeping schedule. (If she was not content with her paci from 7-8am, I would, of course, feed her before 8am.)

Her feedings were still every 3 hours up to 11pm. By 4 weeks she was only waking once in the middle of the night to eat. At 8 weeks she was doing a 5-6 hour stretch in the night.

Her waketimes were 1 hour.

{What can we learn from weeks 4-8?}

She had dropped a middle of the night feed by now! That 2am(ish) feed is the first to drop, which gives everyone a tiny bit more of nighttime sleep. I also started working very hard to establish the Morning Waketime, which is the time your baby’s day begins with their first morning feeding. It took commitment to that 8am time and consistently feeding her at 8am on the dot for several weeks before she started consistently waking to eat at 8am.

Why do we want to establish that Morning Waketime? Because waking at the same time every day and eating at the same time every day helps baby’s metabolism and eating patterns to stabilize and organize. This in turn helps sleeping patterns to stabilize and organize because eating and sleeping patterns are directly related.

One more thing to notice from these weeks: Her waketimes were very short. Keeping a baby up longer WILL NOT make them sleep longer. In fact, it will only make them sleep worse because a baby that has been up too long will get overtired and a baby that is overtired cannot sleep well. Read this for more information about optimal wake times.

9-12 weeks

8am-eat, 11/11:30am-eat, 2/2:30pm-eat, 5/5:30pm-eat, 8/8:30pm-eat, 11/11:30pm eat, 4am(ish)-weeks 9, 10, 12. There was no 4am feed during week 11!

I started letting Sweet Pea go to 3.5 hours between feeds if she wanted. I should NOT have done this because she wasn’t sleeping through the night yet! So, at 12 weeks I went back to a 3 hour feeding schedule with her. She was still taking 7 feeds per 24 hours.

Her waketimes were right at 1 hour.

Bedtime was established during this time! Sweet Pea was usually in bed, asleep, between 8:30-9pm.

{What can we learn from 9-12 weeks?}

If your baby is not sleeping through the night (from dreamfeed to morning waketime) do not extend their feeding times past the 3 hour mark. Baby needs to get her calories during the day and the only way to do this is to feed her every 3 hours (or less) so that she will have the ability to start organizing her nighttime sleep to be nice, long stretches.

3 months old (This is what Sweet Pea did the month she was 3 months old.)

8am-eat, 9-11am-nap, 11am-eat, 12-2pm-nap, 2pm-eat, 3-5pm nap, 5/5:30pm-eat, 6-7/7:30pm-nap, 7:45pm-bath, 8:15pm-eat, 8:30pm-bed, 11:30pm-eat, 4am-wake for paci.

Feeds were back to every 3 hours. After 12 weeks she stopped waking at 4am, but then at 14 weeks she started waking at 4am again. I figured out that Sweet Pea was not waking hungry at 4am, but not ready to let her cry-it-out, I just gave her the paci every morning around 4am for a while.

Her waketimes were right at 1 hour.

{What can we learn from month 3?}

Notice this is the first time I included her nap schedule along with her feeding schedule. This is because before 3 months of age, her napping schedule wasn’t very consistent. There is something magical about a baby turning 3 months old. The work you’ve put in to help her eating and sleeping patterns stabilize, begins to pay off as her eating and sleeping patterns really do begin to get more predictable and consistent.

4 months old (This is what Sweet Pea did the month she was 4 months old.)

8am-eat, 9-11am-nap, 11am-eat, 12-2pm-nap, 2pm-eat, 3-5pm-nap, 5pm-eat, 6-7:30pm-nap, 7:45pm-bath, 8pm-eat, 8:30pm-bedtime, 11:30pm-eat.

Feeds were every 3 hours. She ate 6 times in 24 hours.

Her waketimes were 1 hour.

Notice how her last nap was shorter than the other three. The last nap tends to be the shortest.

{What can we learn from month 4?}

My daughter was on a pretty stable schedule by 3 months and it continued in the 4th month. She was eating every 3 hours, awake for one hour and sleeping 2 hours for naps. Except the last nap. That 4th nap tends to be shorter than the rest and this is the only cycle in the day that varied away from the normal eat-play-sleep cycle. Instead she would eat-play-sleep-play-eat-bedtime.

**There were two schedules the month she was five months old, due to her waketimes FINALLY increasing!**

5 months old (This is what Sweet Pea did the month she was 5-5.5 months old.)

8am-eat, 9:15-11:30am-nap, 11:30am-eat, 12:45-3pm-nap, 3pm-eat, 4:15-6:30pm-nap, 7pm-eat, 8pm-bath, 8:30pm-bedtime, 11:30pm-eat.

Her feeding schedule went to 3.5-4 hours stretches this month because she was sleeping from her last feed at 11:30pm to 8am! She had 5 feeds in 24 hours.

Her waketime was 1 hour 15 mins to 2 hours. When she started not going to sleep right away for naps or waking early from naps, I knew it was time to increase her wake time.

She dropped a feeding and a nap during this time period. Dropping feeds and naps doesn’t mean they start eating less and sleeping less. They start eating more ounces at other feeds to make up for that “dropped” feed and the sleep is rearranged into another nap. (i.e.. If the 4th nap is dropped, one of the other naps or all other naps will slightly increase in length.)

5 months old (This is what Sweet Pea did the month she was 5.5 to 6 months old.)

8am-eat, 9:30-11:30am-nap, 11:30am-eat, 1:00-3:30pm-nap, 3:30pm-eat, 5-6:30pm-nap, 7:30pm-eat, 8pm-bath, 8:30pm-bedtime, 11:30pm-eat.

Feedings stayed the same at 3.5 hours to 4 hours apart. She still had 5 feeds per 24 hours.

Waketime increased again by 15 mins. Her waketimes were from 1.5 hours to 2 hours.

{What can we learn from month 5?}

Her waketimes FINALLY began to increase during month five, which means her feeding schedule slowly extended as well. Sweet Pea’s waketimes were always on the very low end. She did not require a lot of awake time before she needed another nap. A baby’s wake time increases often during these first 6 months so you have to pay attention to when she may need a little more waketime. When my daughter would wake early from a nap (and be happy) or take a little while to fall asleep for a nap, I would increase her wake time by 15 minutes and she would go back to normal naps. You will find as a baby gets older, her wake times will be longer and longer and she won’t be so sensitive to laying down at just the right window of time. Under 6 months, it’s pretty important to get baby down in time if you want her to get a good nap!

6 months old (This is what Sweet Pea did the month she was 6 months old.)

8am-eat, 9:30-11:30am, 11:45am-eat, 12pm-solids, 1:30-3:45pm-nap, 3:45pm-eat, 5:30-6pm-nap, 7:15pm-eat/bath, 8pm-bedtime, 11:30pm-eat.

Feedings were 3.5 to 4 hours apart. She had 5 feeds per 24 hours. However, at 6.5 months old, she dropped her 11:30pm feeding which means she started sleeping from 8pm to 8am with no wake ups/feeds.

Waketimes were: 1st- 1.5 hours, 2nd & 3rd- 1.75 hours, 4th- 2 hours.

{What can we learn from month 6?}

When baby gets to 6 months old that is another huge milestone! I felt like once we reached 6 months things really leveled out and we were on a very good, predictable schedule that allowed me to know when the baby needed to eat and sleep so that I could plan activities for my 2.5 year old daughter around the baby’s needs. By this stage my daughter’s afternoon naps overlapped, giving me some much-needed down time every afternoon while everyone was asleep. This pattern continues on today as my daughters are both napping at least 2 hours every day at the same time.


You can see how Sweet Pea’s feeding schedule is gradually extending a little more each month. (i.e. In month 5 she was eating at 11:30am and in month 6 she was eating at 11:45am.) Because her feeding schedule was extending, her nap schedule automatically extended too. Which means by 6 months old her 3rd nap was just 30 minutes long, which is totally fine! (She didn’t drop the 3rd nap until she was 8 months old.)

In 6 months, Sweet Pea went from 8 feedings in a 24 hour period to 5 feedings in a 24 hour period. And then by 6.5 months she had 4 feeds per 24 hours which means she was officially sleeping through the night from 8pm to 8am at 6.5 months old.

Her waketimes started at just under an hour (45 mins) and increased to 1.5-2 hours by 6 months.
She went from taking 4 naps per day (and really, as a newborn they nap more, but those naps are so inconsistent that I didn’t track them. I only wrote down her naps in her schedule once they became more consistent around 3 months old.) to taking 3 naps per day. And the 3rd nap was just a little 30 minute “cat nap”.

A lot of hard work on my part paid off by 6 months and is still paying off today as my girls are 4.5 and almost 2.5 years old!

Elaine blogs at Faithfully Infertile.


  1. Great information. Thank you. My little guy is 7 months and REALLY struggles with naps 3-30 min naps a day. And sleeps about 19.5 hrs at night with one MOTN feeding. Do you remember the wake tines at 7 months?

    1. My guess on 7 month waketimes would be somewhere in the range of 1.5 hours-2 hours. You can look at my 6 month and 8 month schedules under "monthly schedules" if you'd like!

  2. My little one is just over 5.5 months old and exclusively breast fed and feed on demand. Her wake time is approx. 2hours and I find she is always hungry at the 1hour wake time. She sleeps in her crib for naps and bedtime in our room with black out curtains and continuous white noise (oscillating fan). Although, I find that the light still seeps in a little bit depending on the time of day. Also, I put her to nap and bed by nursing but drowsy so she knows she is in her crib.

    This is the schedule that we've been sticking with...
    6:30-7am wake up, nurse, play or go for a walk
    9-9:30am nurse, nap (typical nap is 1- 2hours)
    12-1pm nurse, nap (typical nap is 1- 2hours)
    3-4pm nurse, nap (typical nap is 45mins-1.5hours)
    (start bedtime routine 30-45min prior (book, bath, massage / lotions...)
    6-6:30pm Asleep at this time

    The issue:
    1) My little one was waking at approx 10:30pm, 1:30am and sometimes 4am which she is nursed for all 2-3 times. Is she really hungry? Why do I feel like I am feeding her all the time? Maybe she is a small more frequent eater or perhaps I only produce for smaller feeds...?
    2) the past week, she shows all signs of her typical tiredness for the third nap, yet when I put her down she protests, fights, screams and won't sleep and then stays awake until bedtime. This is where things are becoming wonky as I realize how tired she is so I try to put her down earlier and a few times she falls asleep instantly and other times like tonight she protests. I don't know what to do?

    What are your thoughts?

    1. Thanks for your comment and questions. I'll just throw out my thoughts in random order and maybe something somewhere will help!
      1. I'm wondering about the nursing before naps. Even though she isn't fully asleep like you said, I'm wondering if that's having an affect on her sleeping. Maybe she thinks she needs to eat to fall asleep so if she wakes in the night, she assumes she needs food? If she was used to falling asleep on her own without nursing, I wonder if she would learn to self-soothe back to sleep in the night.
      2. Not sure what your waketimes are before your naps, but it could be that they need to be shortened in order to get a bit longer naps.
      3. My son was still taking an occasional 4th nap at 5.5 months, so I doubt she's ready to drop that 3rd nap. My guess is that she's overtired by the time she gets to the 3rd nap. Could you try putting her down earlier for her 3rd nap to see if that helps?
      4. Not sure what your feelings are on crying it out or if you've tried it. If you have, does letting her cry a bit seem to help at all? Will she ever eventually settle down into sleep?

      Here's my son's 6 mo schedule if you'd like to take a look and compare:

      I'd love to hear what you think or if you notice any fixes or changes!

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    4. Hello,
      Thank you so much for your feedback.

      My instincts tell me to reduce her wake time and change her feeding schedule... I just need some guidance how to implement these changes.

      1, 2 & 3) I agree with you. I don't want to nurse her before she sleeps, I simply don't know how to change her feeding schedule. When she was younger I always fed her right before she would sleep and would easily move her to her bassinet than crib. I looked over your 6month schedule and agree with the wake time of 1.5 which I will lessen her current wake time as this is probably the culprit. Your schedule states night sleep of 8 hours, since approx 2 weeks old she was sleeping 11-12hour stretches at night with 4 wakings then reduced to 3 than now 2 and sometimes 3. I truly feel that her night wakings are more so habitual than being hungry. I tried to introduce the eat-play-sleep method to her. I would offer her a nursing 15-20mins after waking, she wouldn't take anything at first as she was still full I suppose. Now, she is hungry 1 hour after waking and then hungry before she sleeps. This is where I am confused.

      How do I add solids to her diet and change times of her feeding schedule?

      3) I've tried the go in and pat her, rub her, shhh, hold a hand etc and slowly move out of the room, she just continued to cry unless I held her. So I am fine with the CIO method if in the end results are that everyone is happy and healthy which has been the case so far. She sometimes CIO for a nap or bed for max. 3-15mins. It's her 3rd nap that she'll keep on going on and on... and before you know it it will mess up her nap time and down for the night time so I go in to pick her up as she smiles and wants to play like she didn't skip a beat. Again this is where I get confused since she's a good sleeper taking 1.5-2 hour naps. Perhaps in total (night sleep and naps) she is getting too much sleep?

    5. Maybe you could gradually transition her to an eat/wake/sleep routine. So if she normally eats an hour after waking, scoot it up to 50 minutes ... and then keep scooting from there. Or - you could just offer a nursing session right when she wakes and if she doesn't take it, she doesn't take it. Let her play, then put her down for a nap. If she's crazy and hungry (which I assume she would be if she didn't eat), get her up and feed her ... and start the cycle from there. Feed her, give her play time, and then put her down. So it may mess your normal schedule up for a few days, but I think it could work! I do think there is such value in that routine! :)

      I'd maybe wait until you got her schedule situated before adding solids - but if you can't wait, then just put your solids immediately after you nurse. Not everyone does it like that, but that's how I did it with my son and it seemed to work really well.

      I doubt she's getting too much sleep. I'd say that adjusting waketime before that nap would be my first thing to look at. It's possible that waketime before that nap will be different than waketimes before the 1st and 2nd naps. Maybe it needs to be 10-15 minutes longer. Have you tried that?

    6. I too see great value in the eat, play, sleep routine. I will first try mucking my schedule for a little while and see if she will take on the new, eat, play, sleep routine that way. If that doesn't seem to do the trick I will gradually scoot her feeding time up over the next 1-2 weeks.

      I've been putting her down after wake time at 1.5 for her first and 2nd nap, 1.75 for the 3rd and 2hours for bedtime. This seems to bee working with a little fussing and crying bt not as much. So I will tweak over the next week and hopefully have settled into things there after.

      I did introduce solids to her and its been 3 nights of her only waking once for the night. I've been giving her solids at dinner time 5pm (this is the usual time she would be nursing) than walk around for a while in our backyard garden and start bedtime routine, bath, lotion and massage, nursed (for a top up) and put into bed awake but tired. She's in beed just before 6:30 and asleep by then.

      Should I try dream feeding? Perhaps wait until everything else has been worked out?
      Or would dream feeding cause other upsets?

      I will let you know how everything proceeds in a couple of weeks. I greatly appreciate all of your suggestions.
      THANK YOU!!!

    7. All of that sounds great!

      As for the dreamfeed, I know it works for some, but for most (and for us) it's actually hindered night sleep. I think at this point you're good with what you're doing. :)

      You'll have to let me know how everything goes after a couple days/weeks and if you're seeing any differences!!

  3. Here's an update:
    my LO is now 6months and 1 week old. She was born 8lbs 6oz and is now a healthy 18.6oz and 27" in length. It took a week of CIO, but I can now get her to go down with out my boob as a sleep association. She sometimes still cries, but its reduced to 5-15mins, most times 7mins. I have a feeling that her cio when put down will eventual fade as well. She now is only waking once (sometimes twice) for MONF.

    1) Sleeping Schedule:
    I try my best but at times I seem to deviate from the schedule. I'd like to have a strict routine schedule (within in reason with a 15min give or take rule of thumb). I try to keep to the schedule but I feel that I am not being consistent enough. I plan on being more parent led approach now that she is getting older and will stick to a schedule, in the past its been baby led... Meaning if she woke at 6am I would adjust her nap times to suit her and sometimes have a slightly longer nap so she ALWAYS goes to bed at 6:30pm.

    1. When sticking to a consistent schedule, how often can one deviate that won't put baby off track?
    2. Is 11-12hours of night sleep too much? If so how to I implement change?
    3. As she gets older how do I adjust her wake times? And at what age?
    4. If she sleeps past the scheduled nap time, should I let her sleep? why or why not?

    2) Feeding Schedule: I am still struggling with this and have no success yet…
    I only recently started her on solids at dinner time before that I exclusively breastfeed. Therefore I feed on demand which was 10min feeds. Now that she is getting older I am trying to change her feeding schedule / routine (eat, play, sleep). So I tried offering her BM right when she wakes and go from there and now its like she want to snack all the time, 5-6mins feeds approximately every 2-3hours.

    1. How do I change her feeding schedule?
    2. Perhaps the new 5-6 min feed, every 2-3hours has to do with her only 1-2 MONF?
    3. Is a total of 6-8feeds in a 24 hour period plus 1 solid feeding at dinner on track?
    4. When should I try to feed her solids for breakfast and lunch?
    5. Will she want as much BM when eating solids? perhaps out of comfort more so than being hungry?

    1. Thank you for all of your past comments and suggestions and Thanks in advance for your next reply.

  4. Thanks for the update!

    Sleeping Schedule
    - Having a consistent bedtime is great. However, I would say that having a consistent morning waketime is pretty important as well. With my first, that was the key to all sleeping/schedule success. :) With my second, it's taken more time to get there. She's actually done better with a consistent bedtime (like you're doing) and then gradually moving to a consistent morning waketime. For example, I'll basically start the day anywhere from 7-8. (Babywise suggests staying within 30 minutes though, so I'll eventually get there.) This means that if she eats at 6, then I wake her and feed her again at 8. That's what creates a more predictable schedule. But, if what you're doing is working (just adjusting waketimes/naps around when she wakes in the morning), then that's great! But if you're wanting to land on a consistent start to your day, then feeding at the same time every morning will be helpful.
    - This is a great question, but there isn't really a solid answer I can give. You'll really just have to see what she can handle. If you notice that you're off schedule a few days out of the week and her sleep/naps/behavior is crazy, then you know you've pushed it. Some babies can handle a lot of change and some babies can only handle a little. I'd say that you should stick to your schedule as often as you possibly can.
    - 11-12 hours of sleep at night is perfect! An uninterrupted 11-12 hours at night is the goal. :)
    - This is another thing that will just require you to be observant of how she's acting. If you feel she can handle more waketime, try it one day. If naps are awful, then you'll know she's not ready. Also, as feedings continue to spread, waketimes will change. It's a pretty gradual process.
    - This is one of the important keys of Babywise - you do what you need to do in order to stay on schedule. It not only helps you plan your day, but it helps your baby know what to expect. So yes, if it's time for another feeding, then I'd wake her. Of course, give or take 15-30 minutes won't hurt anything. But you probably wouldn't want her to sleep an extra hour or anything. It's the schedule that helps organize the day/night sleep and what gives you the great, long stretches at night. :)

    Feeding Schedule
    - It's quite possible that the snacking issue has to do with her 1-2 night MOTN feedings. She should be good with getting at least 10 (but maybe 12) hours of uninterrupted sleep at night at 6 months. (Of course, as long as she's gaining weight. :)) If you're getting in 5-6 feedings in the day, that should be good. I'd say if it's closer to 7-8, that may be why she's snacking more often.
    - For all solids, I always breastfed first and then offered them immediately after. That way, it's still a part of the feeding time and not a separate feeding time. So whenever her first feeding of the day is, nurse and then do solids right after. Same with the lunchtime feeding.
    - I assume all babies are different with this, but as long as you always offer the breast first, she'll take what she needs.

    I hope this helps!

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  6. Dear Claire, I have a question for you. I am wondering if you have ever seen this before: My EBF babywise baby had a major catch-up growth spurt at 4.5/5 months. I think this caused him to get stuck in chronic 45 minute naps and wanting to nurse 6 to 7 times a day, including a 10pm dreamfeed. He also started waking up at 6am. I finally figured out that he needed more calories and so I introduced solids. The effect was incredible. He suddenly went to a 4 hr schedule (2 hr awake, 2 hr nap) on his own. It was heavenly. But he was still waking at 6am, sometimes 5:45am ( our desired wake time is 7:30!)

    Then came the big change: upon turning 6 months the heavenly stage stopped---his morning nap suddenly dropped to 45 minutes and he acted starving again. I resisted it at first, but then I gave in and have adjusted the schedule so that he is eating much closer together but he only sleeps 45 min each nap except the 12-2pm (still 2 hrs). He now has"breakfast" nursing at 6:30am, solids at 7:15ish and "lunch" nursing at around 10am, solids at 10:30ish. His afternoon nursing is at 2:00pm, dinner nursing is at 5:00pm, solids at 5:30pm and bedtime nursing at 7:15, put in bed afterwards. Between the early waking at 6am and the short play times I'm loosing my mind. I don't know why its happening and I can't seem to change it. Do you think I should bring back a dreamfeed at 10? Or perhaps he needs more calories in the solids? Does he need another feeding during the day? He's a very happy, active baby--always moving and tries to scoot on his tummy, so maybe he's burning the calories too quickly? Thank you for any insight!!!

  7. Sara - I can see why you'd be losing your mind! When my kids have hit big changes like this, I always feel like I'm going nuts. :) Your schedule looks great and 5 feedings is pretty normal for that age, so I'm not necessarily thinking you'd need to add in another nursing (unless you feel your supply is going down for some reason). If you do add another feeding, I'd try to get it in the "day" as much as possible - adding the dreamfeed back in might just create more issues. Have you thought about waketimes at all? Does it seem like there may be an issue there - either with it being too short or too long?

    1. Yes- actually, I have been playing with wake times. During that heavenly period he was staying up for 2 hours and since then I've had a really hard time taking the waketime down to 1.5 hours. I have been trying it as best as I can--it seems that between the nursing and the solids almost a whole hour goes by and then there's not much time left for alone play or a stroller walk, etc.--which is so frustrating. Do you think if I cut back the waketime that would help him take longer naps?

  8. Thanks for your post. My son is 8.5 weeks and can eat every 3 hours, his wake time is 60-70 min, and his naps generally may be as short as 1 hour. I know you stated nap times were inconsistent till about 3 months(ish) so what did you do for that extra 30-45 minutes until it was time to feed again? This is confusing me and I am having trouble keeping the 3 hour schedule because of this. So obviously I am not able to just feed at (7 wake time), 10, 1, and 4. Because of not being able to hit these feeding times am I really messing him (his internal scheduling) up?? Your advice would be greatly appreciated!

    1. First, I will say that you do not need to worry about messing up his internal scheduling. If you're aiming for any kind of structure or routine, you are doing awesome! So cross that off your list of things to worry about! ;)

      Second, have you tried shortening his wake time to see if that helps his naps get longer? Even just 5 minutes sometimes does the trick!

      Third, are you certain that each feeding he receives is a full feeding? (Not sure if he's nursing or bottle-fed) If babies haven't learned to take full feedings, sometimes they'll snack, which makes for a shorter nap because they're hungry and ready to eat again.

      If you can't seem to get longer naps no matter what you try, then don't feel bad following more of a EWSW pattern for a bit until you can figure it out.

      Hope some of this helps! Let me know!

    2. Thanks for replying! When I see the first (or second) yawn I get my son down at that point. I will try going 5 minutes shorter, or perhaps down after the first yawn. My son is nursing, and I am quite sure he gets a full feeding..he will eat about 12-14 minutes each side, each time we nurse. Thanks for your thoughts!

    3. That's great to look for yawn cues! Yeah, I'd love to know if you notice that 5 minutes makes a difference! Hope you're on your way to some longer naps! :)

    4. Hi! My baby is almost 5 weeks. I have a question about the 11pm feed. She goes to bed between 730-8 and I just let her sleep until she wakes and treat it as a middle of night feed. She usually gets up at midnight and then 330. My question is should I stop letting her wake up on her own and wake her up at 11 instead? Thanks for the feedback!

    5. Hi! That's a good question and, really, it's just based on your preference and what your baby does best with. That's a pretty good feeding schedule for 5 weeks so if you'd rather not mess with it, then just leave it as is! My daughter (2nd child) operated like that - no dream feed; just put her to bed and let her wake. Making her eat a dream feed was not successful at all and it interrupted her sleep. (more here: ) My son did have a dream feed because that's what he did best with. (more here: ) If you want to try waking her at 11 to feed to see if that will give you a longer stretch afterwards, you could! But it really is just up to you! :)

    6. Thanks so much! Just trying to get in the right routine early on! I have another question if you
      Don't mind!! I put her down drowsy and awake at nap times, but bedtime and middle of the night
      She usually wakes and nurses but falls back asleep on breast. I try to wake her a little but it's hard. Also she has reflux and is on Zantac. I have to always hold her up right for 30 min after a feed. She falls asleep on me. I just don't want to create bad sleep habits, but also know she needs to be upright. Any advice on babies with reflux and still
      Doing babywise!?

    7. Yes, reflux makes a lot of things trickier. :/ My first had awful reflux and I remember keeping him up after bedtime feeds to burp him really well. For MOTN feeds, it was different. I still focused on burping him well, but I didn't give him AS much time. (Still, it was more time than a non-reflux baby would need for a night feeding.) So, just follow her lead on that. If she doesn't seem like she can handle eating, burping, and going right back to sleep, then I think keeping her upright and holding her for 30 minutes (or however long) is completely fine for you to do. And because you're putting her down for naps while she's awake, she's still learning to fall asleep on her own. I don't think you will create bad habits that cannot be broken. :)

  9. Hi I have a question about waking early from naps. If baby wakes up an hour into a nap crying and I determine she needs to be fed - do I feed her and put her back to sleep, or feed her and keep her awake?

    Then after that feed do I adjust to a new 3 hour schedule from the time of that feed, or feed her again on the 3 hour mark of the original schedule.

    So for example she is supposed to nap from 8-10 but wakes up crying and hungry at 9. Do I feed her at 9 and again at 10, or adjust to a new cycle from 9-12.


    1. Hi! This is a common question and, unfortunately, I don't think there's a very straightforward answer. :/ But here are your options, in my opinion:

      Option 1: Feed and start new cycle starting at that waketime. So if she wakes at 9, you feed at 9 and start her waketime right then. Worst Case: This changes your normal schedule. Also, there's a possibility she won't be hungry, won't take a full feeding, and this will set up a kind of wonky "snacky" pattern for the rest of the day. Best Case: The cycle starts over and she flows perfectly with it. She takes great naps and doesn't continue waking early from other naps. Her schedule may even stretch back out and get back on schedule.

      Option 2: Get her up at 9, but try to hold her off a bit. Maybe it's 15 minutes, maybe it's 30, maybe it's until 10. Attempt to get back on schedule by keeping that feeding closer to the original feeding time (10). Worst Case: She's so exhausted from being awake that she wants to immediately go to sleep after eating, which affects your EWS pattern. Best Case: She's fine to wait, eats around normal time, and takes a great nap (whether it starts at the "new" waketime or the "original" waketime).

      Option 3: Like you said, feed at 9 and then feed again at 10. Worst Case: It creates a snacking pattern because she doesn't take a full feeding at 10. Best Case: She gets full at 10 and it gets her right back onto schedule.

      That may not be helpful, but I thought it might be beneficial for you to know that there are pros and cons to all of it. For me, I've only ever really done option 1 or 2. Don't feel like you have to pick the "right" thing. Different things work for different parents/babies, so you may have to just experiment and see what she responds to best. :) Also, her age plays a part too. For younger babies, I'd lean more towards option 1. For older babies, I'd lean towards option 2.

      Hope this helps! Let me know what you figure out!

  10. Thank you! If the baby wakes during the nap but is not hungry but just won't sleep what do you do? I usually do CIO for 15 mins, if that doesn't work I rock and soothe and if that doesn't work I move her to the swing. She usually just ends up being awake in her swing until the next feedung (which I bump up 30 mins) is this okay? I worry it is making her over tired because her next nap is usually not a good one. Should I be taking a different approach? Baby is 6 weeks.

    1. I think that approach is just fine. I do understand the overtired thing and that truly might be the case for the bad naps. However, it really is just trial and error to see what they will respond best to. Another thing you could try is feeding when she wakes early, and then feeding again right before she goes down for her nap. I've had some friends that have done this in weird phases where schedules have been crazy and sleep has been off. It may give her a full belly and help her sleep longer, which would hopefully scoot her back onto normal schedule. Keep me updated!

  11. Hi! I SO need your wisdom!
    This is our second baby, our first was by the book Babywise- so easy! However, our second little boy is the complete opposite. He just turned 3 months old and still is crazy at night!
    Our feeding schedule is
    Dream feed at 10:30.
    He takes all his naps just fine, sometimes wakes up gassy, and then I have to rock him back to sleep. He is a super gassy kid.

    Anyway, he sleeps heavy until the dreamfeed and then we do the dream feed and then he is up whining or grunting or crying like every hour after that! It's exhausting. I put his paci in most times but sometimes that helps sometimes it doesn't.
    We figured the dreamfeed just wasn't for him, maybe it's disrupting his sleep pattern so we skipped it cold turkey last night. It was terrible! He was up all night. I ended up just feeding him at 4 and he only ate like 3 ounces and went back to bed.

    He is ultra gassy. I'm even considering how to get him to sleep on his tummy?! I know the crazy risk that comes with that. I'm just desperate. Also, we didn't add in an extra feeding to replace the dreamfeed yesterday. Should we do 7 and 9:30 feedings? Or 6 and 8?

    We have tried everything I can think of:
    Dressing him warmer
    Dressing him cooler
    He wears a bigger diaper at night
    Sleeping on his left side, sleeping on his right side
    The swing
    EVERYTHING!! Haha!!
    Well we haven't done CIO yet. Should we try that? Just don't want him to wake big brother but if it will help I will do it!

    Thank you for helping all of us mommas! You are awesome!

    1. Hey! I totally understand baby #2 being so different!

      As for the gassiness, have you tried any kind of gas drops or gripe water?

      And I think you're right ... maybe the dreamfeed was interrupting him. But I do think it might be worth cramming an extra 1-2 feedings. That way, you have at least 6 feedings during the "day" before bedtime. So maybe a 7:30,10:30,1:30,4:30,6:30,8:30. Or it can be any kind of combination at the end .. maybe 4,6:30,9 ... whatever works for you to get in at least 6 before bed. That may help?? Worth a shot at least?

      If that doesn't work, you can always resort to some CIO. We did that with my daughter around 11 weeks and it helped so much! Whatever you're comfortable with!

      Hope you see some improvement! Let me know!

  12. Hi awesome post and I hope to achieve success via the babywise routine too! Started the eat wake sleep but have yet to drop the overnight feeds much though daytime she's at a more regular routine.she is 3monrhs old now and overnight she tend to wake at 2+am then 4+ close to 5.. N sometimes by 6+ close to 7 she's do I drop thr night feeds?also for 3hourly schedule since she's not dropped night feeds..if she sleeps beyond thr 3hr feed u wake the sleeping baby?

    1. Hi! As for your daytime routine, I would say that sticking to the 3 hour schedule always worked best for me. So if my babies slept past the 3 hour mark, I would wake them up to feed. I found that getting their daytime rhythm consistent helped their night sleep! Maybe try sticking with that for the daytime and see if that helps the nights at all. Let me know how it goes!

  13. Hi awesome post and I hope to achieve success via the babywise routine too! Started the eat wake sleep but have yet to drop the overnight feeds much though daytime she's at a more regular routine.she is 3monrhs old now and overnight she tend to wake at 2+am then 4+ close to 5.. N sometimes by 6+ close to 7 she's do I drop thr night feeds?also for 3hourly schedule since she's not dropped night feeds..if she sleeps beyond thr 3hr feed u wake the sleeping baby?

  14. Hi my daughter is six months old, she was a great sleeper. Until about four months started to cat nap, So I was thinking to use white noise machine for baby. What would you think??


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