Our Newborn 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 daily 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.
We didn’t have our oldest daughter on any kind of newborn daily 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 schedule routine to help babies regulate their days and nights and learn to self-soothe for good sleep.
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.
(This post contains affiliate links which means if you purchase a product through one of my links I earn a commission on your purchase – at no additional charge to you! Read my full disclosure here.)
You can purchase and read more about the Babywise book here.
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 our 2 week old to 5 week old schedule for our newborn. 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 Old Sample Newborn Daily 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 daily 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 daily schedule in the early months when 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 daily 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:
Sample Newborn Schedule (Birth-2 Weeks) – Baby #2
Sample 2 Month Schedule (Weeks 6-10) – Baby #2
Sample 3 Month Schedule – Baby #2
1-4 Month Sample Baby Schedule – Baby #1
4-6 Month Sample Baby Schedule – Baby #1
6-12 Month Sample Baby Schedule – Baby #1
I noticed on this schedule there are 2 additional feedings in the evening between the 7 and 10:30 feedings, compared to your newborn schedule. Why is this?
That’s a great question! To be honest, my memory is a bit rusty as I wrote this right during the stage with a newborn that was now over a year ago, but I believe I added the extra feeding to try to cluster feed her before bed. My supply was often lower in the evening and she was typically fussier so I think it was just my attempt to fill her belly well before bed for the night. The first two weeks were more about getting in a general rhythm and then at 2 weeks we started trying to set a more structured schedule so it may have also just been an adjustment due to evaluating the schedule a little bit more closely.
Are you just setting the baby down and they fall asleep,? Id love to get my 5 week old on a schedule, some tips on how you got those naps to happen would be so appreciated.
At this age they definitely didn’t just fall asleep easily. I did let them cry each time for a short period of time so that they would gradually learn that I wasn’t going to rock or feed them to sleep every time. If they didn’t settle after that period I would console and help them so they would still get the nap, but consistently giving them that period to cry overtime allowed them to learn to eventually settle themselves.
How do you handle visitors with this routine? When people want to come see the baby, should I invite them during the baby’s wake time? I fear that this will lead to the baby being rocked to sleep instead of me putting him down to fall asleep on his own
This was EXTREMELY tough for me. I a lot of people didn’t understand when I wanted to put the baby down to sleep. With our second baby we tried to go visit others as much as possible in the first two weeks when we weren’t really trying to follow a schedule yet and that helped a lot. Otherwise, we just learned to try as much as possible to time visits with people at times when I could feed her and maybe stretch her awake time a little bit after that to have her awake. Occasionally it’s also worth it to just have them be held for a nap for the sake of people wanting to love on them. I struggled a lot with how to manage this – I think it probably works differently for every family.
This is very helpful. I have a 2 week old and last night she was fussy for hours so I’m hoping this schedule works for us. However, I’m curious to know where the bath fits in. What time did you normally bath her?
I hope getting into some routine is helping you! We actually didn’t really “schedule” bath time in to a certain spot each day. At this stage we just bathed her during one of the brief wake times that she had (so like right after a feeding) whenever it worked best for us to try to do.
Do you typically swaddle your babies for bedtime every night or do you find that they sleep better without being swaddled at the newborn age? Also, when our baby is drowsy and we are putting her to bed for her long stretch of sleep time, she tends to wake back up even with a pacifier in her mouth. We’re not big fans of the pacifier either but will use it if very necessary. In terms of putting her to sleep “drowsy” we don’t pick her back up immediately if she’s still awake because she’s still too young to “cry it out”. Is there a general time limit in which we should wait to pick her back up to try again?
These are great questions! We DEFINITELY swaddled at the newborn stage. With our first daughter she woke all the time if we didn’t. Once we got her firmly into a swaddle it made a huge difference in her ability to sleep longer stretches! We swaddled both girls basically from birth until they started being able to roll over and it would have become a safety hazard. At the newborn stage I generally didn’t give it too long for them to cry if they were waking out of sleep. If I was just setting them down for the first time I would give it a bit, but when my newborns woke from sleeping they generally couldn’t calm themselves back down to resettle. Sometimes they were hungry and needed to be fed earlier. Sometimes they just needed help and I would give them my finger (instead of a pacifier) and try to help soothe them to sleep until the next feeding (overnight we let them wake at will to feed so if they woke and it wasn’t right after a feeding I just fed them and put them back down). As they got a bit older I gradually started to give them time to try to resettle after they woke, but again at this age I didn’t give it much. It wasn’t until after about 4 months old I would say that they both began to be able to resettle if they woke mid-nap.
Thank you so much for this! I do have a question though. We put our baby down at 845 after his bath and ready for bed. He didn’t fall asleep until 915. Do I start the hour and 45 min of sleep at 915 or go ahead and wake him at 1030? The same for all other naps and sleeps through the day.
What we did is still wake them at the next feeding time. Our girls often took awhile to settle for sleeps at the beginning and if we then extended the nap times it would cause each day to fluctuate on a different schedule and each day to end up with a different bedtime, feedings, etc. I tried to be really consistent with when they were put down and when they ate (aside from growth spurts, sickness, etc.) so that their sleep got into a solid rhythm. Keeping an eat, wake, sleep cycle is the most important thing for their sleep so I don’t think it would be detrimental to extend the naps but you would just have to pay close attention to still trying to get enough feedings into the day so that they don’t start to want more feedings at night. We chose to wake them at each feeding time even if they had taken awhile to settle and it hadn’t been a full nap.