Newborn Schedule Week 1 & Week 2
With our first daughter we didn’t discover using a baby wise schedule until we were fed up with her not being able to sleep without being held until 3 weeks of age. It was then that we started to implement a babywise newborn schedule and some of the other sleep training principles from the book. I quickly regretted that we hadn’t started implementing some of the structure and tips even earlier – they made that much difference in her happiness and sleep!
With the birth of our second daughter just 15 days ago, we are fresh in the newborn trenches! We learned the value of following a babywise schedule with our oldest daughter, so you better believe that this time we were babywise sleep schedule advocates from the start! We immediately sought to build a routine with our second daughter after bringing her home from the hospital.
Contrary as it may sound, our babywise newborn schedule really wasn’t much of a schedule. I am ALL ABOUT following a tight baby wise schedule and sleep training to encourage happy healthy behavior and habits from babies. However, I also feel that a baby less than two weeks old isn’t quite ready for a rigid schedule and many sleep training techniques. (This is just my opinion!)
We did start some sleep training methods with our second daughter as soon as she turned two weeks old. However, our newborn schedule week 1 and week 2 was basically about pure survival and recovery. In the first two weeks we rocked her to sleep and coddled her to help ease her into this world. We also felt it was important in the first two weeks to do whatever it took to simply get US sleep. Therefore, if we got more sleep by rocking her and having her sleep in an infant seat, it was worth it for my initial recovery and the adjustment period of bringing her home!
All of that said, below is the babywise sleep schedule and feeding routine that we followed to ease our new little daughter into babywise methods in the first few weeks of life.
I know not everyone is a fan of babywise or of following a babywise schedule, and that’s ok! Every family and their needs are different. For us following the principles of the book are what kept us sane with our first daughter and have already been dramatically improving our sleep with our second daughter.
My toddler has very healthy sleep habits and generally happy awake time and I believe a large piece of that is because of the routine sleep she gets as a result of our babywise training. It’s not for everyone and I don’t write this assuming that it is. I simply desire to share what worked for us in case it helps any other parents out there who are taking a similar approach!
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(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.)
Our Babywise Sleep Schedule For The First Two Weeks:
7am – wake & nurse
We started with an 8am wake time but decided since Brooke seemed to continue growing hungry around 7am and it coordinated better with my toddler to nurse before she woke, we ended up adjusting the wake time to 7am. For this feeding we unswaddled before she ate but waited to change her diaper until after she nursed to help wake her up for a very short wake time before her nap. This helped to teach her the difference between day and night.
7:30-7:45am wake time
We kept wake times VERY short to avoid an overtired newborn.
From birth-2 weeks on the babywise newborn sleep schedule and feeding routine we used an infant seat for naps. It kept her a little bit more upright and cradled which seemed to facilitate easier sleep. We kept her downstairs with us for naps throughout the day. Once we began sleep training at 2 weeks old we transitioned naps to her crib.
Sometimes nursing took 20 minutes. Other times it took 45 minutes. Nursing times are included in wake time with a babywise schedule, so if she nursed linger we tried not to give wake much wake time and if she nursed shorter we tried to give a little more.
10:30-10:45am wake time
With our oldest it was difficult to get her sleepy at all. With Brooke we had the opposite problem. It was very difficult a lot of the time to get Brooke to have any alert time. She was a very sleepy baby. To encourage her to learn the difference between night and day, however, we really tried to stimulate and wake her for at least a little bit after each daytime feed.
Again, for the first two weeks of her life we were not really trying to sleep train yet and we had Brooke nap downstairs in an infant seat. We also often rocked her a bit to get her to sleep before setting her down.
1:30-1:45pm wake time
If I didn’t note it above, we swaddled for all sleep times – nap and night. Swaddling made a huge difference in the sleep lengths of our first daughter and I believe it helped a ton with Brooke as well since she often fussed soon after being set down if we didn’t have her swaddled. My husband and I are terrible at swaddling just with blankets so we used these velcro swaddles made by SwaddleMe – they were a lifesaver with both of our girls!
4:30-4:45pm wake time
For bedtime and all overnight feedings, we did a diaper change and swaddled BEFORE feeding Brooke. This way she was calmed by he nursing and drowsy to be laid down as soon as she was done eating. This was also to help facilitate her learning the difference between night and day.
10:30-11pm nurse and sleep
Overnight we let Brooke sleep as long as she would go before nursing again so she would learn that night time is for uninterrupted sleep and daytime is for scheduled naps. Even though we let her dictate the time for this feeding, she initially woke most nights around 10:30-11pm.
3-4am nurse and sleep
Again, we let Brooke dictate when she was hungry to eat overnight but she fell into an early pattern of waking around 3-4am for another feeding.
7am wake and nurse
At 7am we woke her to nurse and start the day, even if she was still asleep. Doing so allows each day to remain on a consistent schedule and trains Brooke that “day” begins at 7am. It was amazing with our first daughter how through her whole first year her body clock continued to wake her at her morning wake time – even once she was sleeping through the night!
This is the general framework of the babywise newborn sleep schedule and feeding routine that we followed from the time we got home from the hospital through 2 weeks old with our daughter. We followed it with a lot of flexibility knowing that our sweet little girl was just figuring out how to eat, sleep, and live outside of the womb!
There were some nights where she ate every two hours in the evening because she was fussy and seemed hungry. There were some days where she stayed awake much longer than the above times because we were visiting family or friends and she wouldn’t settle. There were some days where feeding times got shifted due to doctor’s appointments or errands we were running.
We did not rigidly stick to the above times, but generally tried to follow them to get our daughter onto a routine to help differentiate her days and nights.
Starting at 2 weeks we made a commitment to stay home for a couple of weeks and really work on sleep training and establishing a more rigid schedule with Brooke. You can read more details about that in my post on her 2-5 week old schedule here.
You can also read about later strategies and the babywise schedule that we followed for each age below:
7 Tips To Get Your Baby Sleeping Through The Night
Newborn Schedule Sample: 2-5 Week Old Baby Sleep Routine
4-6 Month Baby Sleeping & Eating Schedule
6-12 Month Baby Sleeping & Eating Schedule
You mentioned that you’d change her diaper and swaddle her before nursing at night so she could go straight back to sleep – did you change her if she soiled her diaper during the feeding time? My newborn often poops right after we change him or some time after we are done nursing so I sometimes don’t know if I should change him or let him sleep.
What would you do if you feed your baby at 3am and she wakes up at 5:30?
Would you try to make her sleep again or feed her ?
And feed her again at 7?
I can keep the schedule, but I can’t keep my 3.5 week old sleeping for those times. How do you get a long nap every 45 minutes?
Which infant seat do you use?
If you mean for sleeping I’m afraid I probably won’t be very helpful as it was a seat that I purchased at a yard sale.. It was somewhat like a Rock N’ Play but not quite as deep. We only used it for a couple weeks until we transitioned her into her crib and then for some naps later on if she was super fussy, but we found it helpful since as a new newborn it’s hard to get them to sleep on a flat surface right away.
I thought (and I could just be naive) that newborns should be nursing at LEAST every 2 hours, and this has them every 3. Is that ok? I feel like from everything I’ve read, this doesn’t provide enough feeds (8-12/day). This only has 7 feeds in 24 hours.
Definitely do whatever your doctor recommends, but mine recommended 3 hour intervals unless they were clearly hungry sooner (which did often happen). Also, it was more than 7 feedings in a day due to overnight feedings that just happened as she woke. Hope that helps!
This has actually been going really well for us the last two weeks, but today it seems like the system broke down. He hasn’t gone down for a nap well and we’ve lost all track of the everything. I know he’s mostly just over tired at this point, but what do you do on days like this?
Yes it’s so hard if they are overtired or get too off track over a couple days! I always focused on just getting them to sleep however I could when they were extremely overtired. They often couldn’t settle on their own in that state so I would nurse them to sleep, rock them, or give them my finger to suck (since they didn’t take pacis) to try to help them catch up on sleep. Once they got some sleep restored again that way I would then try to get them back into more of a routine.
When do you do tummy time? We were told to get an hour a day in, in 15 min increments and also, to do them before feeds otherwise they’d spit up, but all these awake times are after feeds.
We probably did not meet the hour a day threshold, but we did do it after feedings during the wake times. There definitely was some spit up involved..
This was super helpful thank you! Did you find trouble with milk production going that long through the night without feeding? I keep reading that the best ways to keep your milk supply up is to feed feed feed! But I’m hoping that just means for the first week and then you can dial it back so you can sleep and become sane again lol
I did not have any trouble with my supply on this routine. I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but I was fine even once she was sleeping 8-9 hour stretches at night. I drank a lot of gatorade and made sure I was still getting the recommended number of feedings in – I just did them during the day so there could be longer stretches at night.
Again, I’m sure it’s vastly different for everyone, but for me it didn’t cause an issue.
We have a really hard time getting baby to sleep unless she’s fed right before. Any tips on how to get her to fall asleep without feeding immediately before?
We are big sleep trainers with our babies – but we did not implement any of that yet at this age! While this young we often rocked her to sleep and (I’m sure this is a more unique trick) we would have our daughter suck on our pinky. That often did the trick to help her fall asleep. She didn’t take a pacifier so that was our work-around haha!
Question: how did you do the naps after feeding? I’m trying this out today with my baby, and my issue is that she cries every time I lay her down. Did you just let them cry themselves to sleep, or did they just go down pretty easily for you?
There are a lot of strong opinions on letting babies cry to fall asleep. I fall on the side of monitored letting them cry. HOWEVER – we did not let her cry to fall asleep during these first two weeks. We swaddled her to help her sleep and then rocked her, let her suck our finger (she didn’t do well with pacis), etc. to get her to fall asleep at naps and bedtime/overnight. She also slept in her infant seat (not carseat – but like reclining seat) these first two weeks even overnight. We focused the first two weeks on just my recovery and getting sleep however we could with her, which meant helping her to fall asleep and having her sleep in the seat. After two weeks old we transitioned her to sleep in her crib and started giving her a bit of time to fuss before each sleep. If she couldn’t settle after a bit we would then still rock or help her suck our finger to sleep. It still helped to teach her to learn to settle over time.
There are a lot of opposing opinions on all of this. This is just what we did! It worked for us. Trust your mommy gut for your baby!!
When do you bathe a baby on this schedule?
That’s a great question – we aren’t ones that bathed every day and never seemed to really get our bath times on a routine. We just snuck them in to whichever wake time worked out best as she needed them.
I’ve noticed when I add up total sleep in 24 hour period it comes out to be around 21 hours vs the 16 to 18 they say most babies get. Is that right?!
There is absolutely a range and this schedule may not be one size fits all! However, this is the exact schedule that our second daughter followed. She was a sleepier baby than our first, but our first also could not handle being awake for any more than an hour at a time in her first several months. Also I’m not sure how you’ve calculated the 21 hours? Feeding is part of wake time, so at this age there is also significant wake time overnight with multiple feedings and diaper changes. Even so I would say that daughter #2 did fall on the higher end of the total sleep scale – she may have been closer to 19 hours a day especially in these first couple of weeks.
I noticed that wake time in total was 45 min. If the baby nurses that whole time do you put them back to sleep as soon as they finish eating!
Yes, in these first several weeks that’s exactly what I did when she had any long nursing sessions!