Tuesday, March 8, 2016

* Disclosure: I am not a doctor, I am not a professional, I am not saying if you do this you are guaranteed to have a sleeping baby and I'm not saying if you don't like schedules that you are a bad parent. I also know that this does not work for babies who have any kinds of issues. I am sharing things that have helped me and many people I know. People seem to get very sensitive about these kinds of posts/subjects so if you don't agree with my parenting methods... that is totally fine! ;) But seriously, we are all just doing the best we can to survive so let's all support each other!


Let me just start by saying how much better of a parent I am when I get sleep. I have more patience, I am more alert and I am happier. Those few examples are among many many reasons of why we started Charly on a schedule when she was 2 weeks old. Yes, I have gotten A LOT of crap for putting her on a schedule early. I was told that she was going to have trust issues when she gets older, that she isn't going to be as smart... and those are just a few RIDICULOUS things I have been told. My pediatrician told me he wished more parents would put their babies on schedules. He said she is developing quick and he believes its due to her great awake and sleep times. Babies have no idea what is going on and have to be taught. Just like kids are taught to potty train and teenagers are taught to drive. Babies need to be taught as well. There are a lot of parents out there that are so against schedules, and that is totally fine. There are so many ways to parent so I say do what makes you happy and works best for your family. I will say... if you are beyond tired, stressed, and your baby wakes up every 2 hours at night, isn't it worth a try for your sanity and happiness as well as your babies?

Being a new Mom I had no idea what I was going to do, what kind of a baby I was going to have etc.. What I did know is that I am a scheduled person and I love having a schedule so I knew this is something that I wanted my baby to have as well. After doing lots of research, asking questions, talking to my doctor and pediatrician, I went with the Baby Wise Schedule. I didn't read the entire book, but mostly the scheduling parts, and I created a schedule similar to the books that worked for me and Saunder (husband).

Charly is now 11 weeks old and is sleeping 11 hours a night. Yes, 11 HOURS!! Before 10 weeks she was sleeping 6-8 hours a night. I get about 6 hours of sleep at night because I just can't get to bed that early when I always have so much to get done. But, 6 hours for me is much much better than 2!

In Baby Wise it talks about how important sleep hours are for babies. This is when their brain develops among other things. Not only is the longer sleeping hours great, but when they are awake, they are actually awake and alert and not half asleep which is also great for development.  This is when they observe, learn to move and grab and develop their brain! When we put her down for her naps and at bed time she is still awake but fussy and ready for her nap.  You are not supposed to rock the baby to sleep or  feed them to sleep. The baby should learn to self soothe so that he/she is not dependent on something to fall asleep. This has made life easy for when we have to go out of town or we are out and about during nap time. She doesn't need a certain something to fall asleep, she just falls asleep herself.

The basics of the baby wise schedule goes like this: sleep, eat, and awake time. At two weeks she ate every 2.5 hours and then we let her sleep 6 hours at night. We had the same schedule and same times set for her to eat, sleep and be awake every day for a few weeks. Naps should be around an hour and a half but no less than an hour. Baby Wise talks about anything less than an hour not being a good quality nap and its not beneficial. So that is the goal! Awake time will depend on how long baby takes to eat. Sometimes my baby eats for 45 minutes and sometimes 30. We keep her naps very consistent at an hour and a half though and that is what she likes and responds to.

Here is a sample of our schedule from week 2-8. 

4:30 am Eat
5:00 - 5:45 Awake Time
5:45 - 7:00 Sleep In Her Own Bed

7:00 am Eat
7:30 - 8:15 Awake Time
8:15 - 9:30 Sleep In Her Own Bed

9:30 am Eat
10:00 - 10:45 Awake Time
10:45 - 12:00 Sleep In Her Own Bed

12:00 pm Eat
12:30 - 1:15 Awake Time
1:15 - 2:30 Sleep In Her Own Bed

2:30 pm Eat
3:00 - 3:45 Awake Time
3:45 - 5:00 Sleep In Her Own Bed

5:00 pm Eat
5:30 - 6:15 Awake Time
6:15 - 7:30 Sleep In Her Own Bed

7:30 pm Eat
7:30 - 8:15 Awake Time
8:15 - 9:30 Sleep In Her Own Bed

9:30 pm Eat
10:00 - 11:15 Awake Time
***11:15 - 4:30 Sleep In Her Own Bed (5-6 hours of sleep)

Obviously this does not happen on the dot so if you do a schedule, do not expect everything to happen on time and don't get stressed if the schedule gets messed up. There were times when we got off schedule or she was going through a growth spurt and needed to eat more often. You obviously do not want to deny your baby food, so you adjust. For example, if Charly were to only sleep 30 minutes and then wake up hungry I would feed her and then have longer awake time and let her sleep a little longer as well and then start back at the next time. If I got off schedule I adjusted and then resumed back to the schedule again as soon as I could. 

This took her a couple days to get the hang of. As soon as she got the hang of it she was a much happier baby and is soooo alert when she is awake. I get comments all the time about how good of a baby she is, how chill she is when she is awake, etc... She started smiling around week 4 and rolling over from her tummy as well as holding her head up. I am not a doctor or scientist, but her having great sleeping periods, as well as having alert awake times where she is looking around, strengthening her muscles and being very alert, I am pretty convinced that her schedule has helped with her development. And the doctor said so as well.

Having a schedule is not always easy. Yes, it makes for a happier baby and momma, but sometimes its hard! Sometimes I just want to sit on the couch and sleep with my baby (which I totally did all the time anyways) or not wake her up so I could take a nap etc... but besides the perks I have already discussed, leaving the house is much easier when we have a schedule. I know if I have an appointment that day when I need to feed her and get her down for a nap.

She is now 11 weeks old and the schedule has changed a little bit. She now eats every 3 hours during the day, and instead of waking her up in the morning, I let her sleep! We have tried a few things and tested different ways of doing her schedule and this one has been the most successful and moved her from 5-8 hours of sleep to 11 hours of sleep! **Let me add in that if she wakes up hungry at night we ALWAYS FEED HER. We are not going to let her cry and starve. Her sleeping through the night is all her doing. She has worked her way to her sleep schedule over night due to her 3 hour schedule during the day!

We now put her to bed around 8:30-9:00pm. Before she goes to bed, her Daddy feeds her a 4oz-6oz breastmilk bottle. He burps her, and then puts her to bed (no awake time). At this time we let her sleep until she wakes up. She normally (a week-two weeks ago) will wake up around 5am which is 8 hours of sleep. If it's still early I will go in and get her, change her diaper, feed her, and then put her back to bed. At this early morning feeding I don't do awake time either, I don't talk to her, and I keep the lights off so she knows its still night. This has helped her learn night and day. During the day its obviously light and we do lots of reading, talking, and playing! After I put her to bed she sleeps another 2.5-3 hours. Once she wakes up this is when our day and our 3 hour schedule officially starts.  Starting a little bit ago, she nows sleeps from 8:30-9:00pm to 7:00-8:00am and then we begin our three hour schedule when she wakes up.

She transitioned from sleeping 8 to 11 hours around 10/10.5 weeks old. I let her do this herself. I let her sleep at night as long as she wants and I knew when she was ready to make that 8 to 11 hour jump that she would. Baby wise doesn't have you do it this way, but like I said I kind of switched a few things around to fit us and Charly. I liked transitioning better because there was no way I could force her to sleep 11 hours and not wake up at 5am for that feeding.

So if she wakes up for the day around 8am, our three hour schedule starts at 8am. So she will eat at 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 8pm and then to bed! The reason we have Saunder feed her at the last feeding before bed is because she sleeps so much better that way. If I feed her it seems like she wakes up after 4-5 hours. The bottle seems to give her a lot of food quicker, she doesn't have to work as hard, and it seriously just knocks her out! I'm assuming she now knows that when she gets her bottle that she is about to go down to sleep for the night.

When you first start a schedule it is going to be a little hard. This doesn't mean it's necessarily not for you, but you have to practice and baby has to get used to the schedule. It is not going to magically happen in one night. At the beginning of the schedule we had to let Charly cry it out (which is what the book says to do). No we did not let her cry for hours and no she does not need a therapist now (insert rolling eyes emoticon). 

I now know my baby and her cries so if she is crying because she is fussy and sleepy, I let her cry. It usually never lasts more than 5 minutes, she is just fighting sleep. If she is crying because she is hungry or needs her diaper changed, that is a whole different story and that gets taken care of right away! If she is fussy crying and it lasts more than a couple minutes I will go check on her and sing something or put on some white noise etc.. The crying only lasted about 3 days. Now, I let her have awake time and I know its nap time when she starts getting fussy and whining. I don't even have to look at the clock anymore because she is so used to her three hour schedule that she gets tired right when it's time to go to sleep and she seriously wakes up almost on the dot of when its time to eat again! It's so crazy! These babies really do learn their schedules!

Something that has also helped us was putting her in her own crib starting week 2. This helped her have her own space, sleep better and longer, and get into her schedule quickly. I am not against co-sleeping or any other methods, but when she was in our room we woke up to every sound, she didn't sleep through the night and it was a mess. Also if you are worried about leaving your newborn in their crib alone I HIGHLY suggest getting an Owlet Monitor. I wrote a blog post about it a month ago HERE, and I also have a $25 off coupon you can redeem HERE. This gives us peace of mind that we can leave her in her own crib and she will be just fine!

For feedings, reminders, and to track when she is eating I use an app called Baby Feed. I believe I had to pay for it, but I track all her feedings and it reminds me when its time for her to eat again and helps me plan out my day!

Also in the photos above, she sleeps in her DockATot in her crib or in some of the pics a mat because we were out of town. This was not meant for night sleeping, but we use it for night sleeping because she hates being swaddled and this still keeps her snug without having to be swaddled. Because we have her Owlet on her, we have chosen to let her sleep and take naps in this. We also have to put something on the right side of her head to prop her head straight because she is not allowed to sleep on that side (its causing a flat head and ear issues).

To sum things up:
1. Get on a schedule
2. Keep day and night schedule routines separate and different
3. Be consistent, plan on spending 3-7 days getting the hang of the schedule
4. Crying it out is okay - get to know your baby's cries
5. Be patient :)

I decided to share this with you because of how much of an impact it has made on our lives and because I see Moms asking all the time. There is no reason anyone should have to be tired and miserable if they don't have to be. Since starting this schedule our baby has been so happy, so awake and alert during awake time, and she is learning and developing so quickly! I get cuddles all day when I am feeding her as well as during awake time when we play, read books and she sits and talks to me. So, don't worry about that! Plenty of cuddles and baby time going on! 

I hope this makes sense and sorry If I was all over the place. I may have left out little details and certain things we did so feel free to ask questions below or shoot me an email (theredclosetdiary (at) if I missed anything!!


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