Newborn Daily Schedule Week 2 Through Week 5
Keeping our little ones on a baby schedule has been essential to my family’s sanity. Yes, I do try to start with a newborn schedule even from birth – though I follow it with a lot of flexibility in the first several weeks. (You can read my sample newborn schedule for birth through 2 weeks here.) It helps me know how to plan my day, it helps me be sure to keep the bellies of the little ones full and happy, and most importantly – it helps everyone to get longer and better quality sleep! We discovered the importance of keeping a newborn schedule (along with additional sleep training exercises – read more about those here) when our oldest daughter was 3 weeks old.
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We didn’t have our oldest daughter on any kind of newborn schedule at 3 weeks old and she was a NIGHTMARE to handle every night. She screamed when we laid her down to sleep and had to be rocked and consoled for about an hour after each feeding before we could sneak in a half hour or so of sleep before the next feeding. It was after 3 weeks of this routine that we threw up our hands and I followed the advice of many friends and coworkers. We pulled out the babywise book.
If you’re not familiar with babywise, it’s a book that outlines many techniques to manage young babies – including a baby schedule routine to help babies regulate their days and nights and learn to self-soothe for good sleep. You can purchase and read more about the Babywise book here.
After just 3 days of following babywise principles and implementing a newborn schedule based on the book, our 3 week old terrible sleeper suddenly became a relatively good one! We could set her down for bed without much fussing and she began to sleep longer stretches at night. I was convinced of the importance of the baby schedule and the role that it plays in keeping a baby happy and sleeping and eating well.
If your baby is less than 2 weeks old you can read about the newborn schedule foundations that we set with our second daughter from birth through 2 weeks in my post about her babywise newborn feeding schedule and sleep routine.
(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.)
Below is the newborn schedule that we kept our second daughter on from 2 to 5 weeks of age. With this schedule and some of the additional sleep training tips here, our breastfed second daughter slept through the night for 7-8 hours straight by 5 weeks old.
In general, our daughter nursed for 30 minutes most feedings, had wake times of approximately 15 minutes following each feeding and napped for 2 hours and 15 minutes in 3-hour cycles.
(Note: sleeping 7-8 hours straight without a feeding was approved by our daughter’s doctor based on her consistent weight gain and weight at the time. Be sure to check with your pediatrician to determine the stretches of sleep that your little one is ready for.)
2-5 Week Sample Newborn Schedule:
7am – wake and nurse
7:30 – 7:45am – wake time (usually just long enough for a diaper change). Since my husband didn’t need to leave for work until after 8 I also took advantage of him being home to help with our daughter after this feeding while I pumped for freezer storage. (You can read my tips for pumping and storing breastmilk here.)
7:45 – 10am – nap
10am – nurse
10:30 -10:45am – wake time
10:45 – 1pm – nap
1pm – nurse
1:30-1:45 – wake time
1:45 – 4pm – nap
4pm – nurse
4:30 – 4:45 – wake time
4:45 – 6pm – nap
6pm – nurse
6:30 – 6:45 – wake time
6:45 – 8pm – nap
8pm – nurse
8:30 – 8:45 – wake time
8:45 – 10:30pm – nap
10:30pm – nurse and straight to bed. (We did a diaper change before this feeding so she was ready to swaddle and lay right down for bed after eating.)
3:30-4am – night feeding. (For this feeding I did not change her diaper unless absolutely necessary, kept her swaddled, kept the lights very low, and simply fed her and laid her back down. After 10:30pm we let her sleep until she woke for this feeding. Most nights in her newborn schedule from 2-5 weeks it fell around 3:30-4am, but at about 5 weeks old she did her first 7 hour stretch of sleep and began to wake closer to 5:30-6am instead.)
7am – wake and nurse. (No matter when her overnight/early morning feedings were, I kept to a 7am wake time and feeding so that the day always began at the same time for a consistent routine.)
The above sample newborn schedule was our basic routine for weeks 2-5 of my daughter’s life. However, as with anything regarding a child, it did require some flexibility. There were days when she just wouldn’t settle for naps and I had to hold her to sleep so she wouldn’t become excessively over-tired. There were days when we were away from home and she couldn’t be put down for her naps. There were days when she seemed to hit a growth spurt and needed to eat more frequently. I accommodated each of those things when they happened.
For me, a newborn schedule is a basic structure that I aim to follow each day. It keeps the baby expecting a standard routine and helps them to anticipate sleeping and eating times. It also helps them learn to self-soothe for their sleep. However, for me, the baby schedule is not do or die and there are times when flexibility is needed. I won’t let my baby go hungry waiting for her next scheduled feeding time. If my baby has been crying too long going down for a nap, I will console her and help her to sleep. It is more important that she doesn’t get overtired than that every single nap happens in the crib.
It is not easy for us to keep to a newborn schedule in the early months when our babies are fighting sleep, but the benefits pay off exponentially! Ever since our oldest daughter hit about 6 months of age she has been a dream napper and has slept through the night for 12 hours consistently. She rarely puts up a fuss about her sleeping and is generally happy when she is awake. I credit these things in part to the consistent schedules she followed and some of our early sleep training actions. (Again you can read my 7 Tips To Get Your Baby Sleeping Through The Night here.)
If your little one is close to 2-5 weeks of age then I hope the details of our newborn schedule for this age range is helpful to you. You can of course find more details about setting up a schedule for your little one by reading On Becoming Babywise. (This is what has guided us in building our daughters’ schedules!)
If you’re looking for more sample baby schedules you can read more about the schedules we kept for both of our daughters here:
You can also read more sample baby schedules and advice for babies months 1-12 from Baby Center here.