As I mentioned in my post on Ellie’s 1-4 Month Schedule, I am a Baby Wise mom. That does not mean that I think it is the only way to do things or that other ways are wrong, but the Baby Wise method for creating a baby schedule and fostering self-soothing to teach babies to sleep is what saved our sanity throughout Ellie’s first year. It wasn’t always easy to implement and we certainly didn’t follow all of the Baby Wise principals perfectly, but the general eat-wake-sleep pattern for a baby schedule and the elimination of sleep props helped to turn our terrible sleeper into a somewhat predictable napper and nighttime slumberer. She even slept eleven hours through the night by four months old! (A fact that we never would have believed when it took an hour of rocking her after each feeding overnight to get her back to sleep in the first several weeks.)
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Note: If Babywise is NOT your thing but you’re realizing that you need help getting your baby to sleep you can get a free sleep assessment here from infant and child sleep consultant Dana Obleman.
Months 4-6 were rough ones with Ellie’s baby schedule as it was somewhat in transition for quite some time. Looking back, I think I would have waited longer to try to switch her to the 4 hour routine since I think she still needed the more frequent feedings and had trouble taking the longer naps until a few months later. I also had milk supply issues that further complicated things, leading her to wake early from naps due to hunger and then throwing off feeding times in her baby schedule when I had to feed her more frequently to accommodate. She also refused a bottle from the 4 month mark on, so supplementing her feedings to be sure she was full and could sleep was essentially not possible.
Between all of the feeding issues, the attempt to transition to a 4 hour routine, and the holidays over these couple of months, Ellie’s baby schedule was quite scattered for some time. However, we did our best to follow the general baby schedule guidelines in the Baby Wise book and to keep her routine in place to help her sleep at night.
Below is the baby schedule we tried to keep from 4-6 months of age:
7:30am – wake
7:30-8am – nurse (Ellie started to take upwards of 45 min to nurse around this age – so sometimes this consumed most of her awake time!)
8-9am – awake time
9-11:15am – nap (and yes, I held it to the quarter hour interval! I found that letting her sleep any longer than 11:15 disrupted her later naps – even if it was only 15 min more.)
11:30-12pm – nurse
12-1pm – awake time
1-3:30pm – nap
3:30-4pm – nurse & eat (we introduced a single serving of solids at this feeding starting at 4 months. I would nurse and then offer a stage 1 veggie or fruit puree.)
4-5pm – awake time
5-5:30pm – short nap (sometimes this nap went a little bit longer)
5:30-7:30 – awake time
7:30 – nurse & bedtime
(10:30pm – pump)
I continued to pump each night at 10:30 after she was in bed to try to keep my milk supply up and build my freezer supply. However, this is something I would change if we have another child. I found later that the milk supply I was able to build from this pumping didn’t contribute much after I weaned Ellie around 7 months and keeping it in my routine prevented me from being able to get several hours of extra sleep since I could never go to bed any earlier than 11pm. In hindsight, using a little bit more formula after weaning and to supplement if my milk supply couldn’t keep up, and therefore getting the extra sleep, would have been far better for me than trying to maintain this pumping each night.
Months 4-6 were probably the roughest months for maintaining and transitioning Ellie’s baby schedule in the whole first year. However, it was also at four months (ironically the first day we introduced solids) that she slept through the night for the first time. So while the nap battle between she and I remained taxing, finally getting good nighttime sleep made it much easier to handle!
After six months Ellie’s baby schedule became MUCH easier to maintain and keep consistent. You can read the details of that schedule here.
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