I often get asked by my expecting friends how we put Aiden on a schedule. As mentioned before, we loosely follow the Babywise method where baby follows a feed, wake, sleep cycle every two and a half to three hours.
This cycle has been great for our family because it helps Aiden feel secure and happy, and it helps us to actually be able to plan our day and have some kind of expectations.Usually he eats for about 30 minutes and then stays awake for another hour to hour and a half before he gets tired and needs a nap. He will sleep for 30 minutes to an hour and then be ready for his next feeding.
When Aiden was about four weeks old we started our schedule. The most import thing to keeping a baby on a schedule is a consistent wake time. This wake time must be followed everyday, there is only a 15 minute window on either end for wiggle room. I would wake Aiden up at 6:30am with him everyday. It did not take long until I no longer had to wake him up because he would wake up on his own (give or take 15 minutes on either end sometimes). The rest of his day was in the 2.5-3 hour cycles and varied slightly each day/week.
At this point he was still waking up for at least one, and usually two, feedings per night (every 3 hours). It worked best when he would wake around 2-3am and then again around 4-5am. Occasionally he would wake up later than that, and I usually rocked him back to sleep then he would wake up right on schedule at 6:30. It was definitely tough sometimes when he didn’t wake himself up to go in and wake him up, especially when sleep is such a precious commodity, but I wanted a happy baby and I knew sticking to his schedule would make him happy!
As I prepared to go back to work at 9 weeks, I slowly started moving his wake time up by 15 minutes. By the time I went back to work, his wake time was 5:45am. He adjusted well to this new schedule. He also started to go to bed earlier, but he did not have a set bed time. It was really whenever the six feedings were complete. He usually only woke up once during the night around 3-4am.
At around 12 weeks he dropped his late night feeding completely and started sleeping through the night. This was expected per Babywise. His wake time has stayed consistent, but his bedtime fluctuated between 6-8pm.
Now, at 16 weeks, we are working on a consistent bed time routine, which I will share with you soon! We start the “going to bed routine” between 6:30-7pm after his last feeding. Around 16 weeks, Babywise has the baby drop another feeding. I have noticed that Aiden’s wake time has increased in between feedings which means it is harder to fit 6 feedings between his consistent wake and sleep times. Aiden still usually fits 6 feedings in, but sometimes he will only have 5 and still sleeps through the night. When he does have 6 it is because the last two are only two hours apart and the last feeding is not as long.
Aiden turns 4 months next week so we will see if he has any sleep regression issues!