With our first daughter we didn’t discover babywise 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 schedule and some of the sleep training principles from the book. By then we were already on the late side to think about a babywise newborn sleep schedule or feeding routine.
With the birth of our second daughter just 15 days ago, we are fresh in the newborn trenches! We learned the value of following babywise methods with our oldest daughter (you can read more about our schedule with her and how it helped her sleep through the night here), so you better believe that this time we were babywise conscious from the start! We immediately sought to build a babywise newborn sleep schedule with our second daughter, Brooke.
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Contrary as it may sound, our babywise newborn sleep schedule really wasn’t a very tight schedule. I am ALL ABOUT following a tight babywise 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 sleep training our second daughter as soon as she turned two weeks old. However, before then 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 newborn 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 there 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 parent’s out there who are taking a similar approach!)
(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.)
Babywise newborn sleep schedule and feeding routine:
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. There will be posts to come on that in the near future!
You can read about later strategies and babywise schedules that we followed below:
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