Easy "Eat, Play, Sleep" Schedule
Is your baby always crying and NEVER sleeping day or night?
Three AM internet searches for quick and easy information when I was sleep deprived with a newborn waking every 2 hours at night and NOT napping AT ALL during the day prompted this post.
Lengthy books and posts detailing research and author background is typically what I found in those desperate searches. I knew there was information I NEEDED hidden somewhere!
The Baby Wise book was recommended to me before my pregnancy but I never read it and you don't need to either! BUT that is the method that worked for me.
AND if you're reading this and feeling overwhelmed or like your newborn has to be different than all the others because this is just so hard, -hard like 'why has no one ever told me it would be this hard' -I was you, I am you, and I am telling you to at least give this a try.
Here is all you need to know:
- Start whenever, but at least start by (or at) 12 weeks.
- The goal is to only feed every 3 hours.
- Follow "Eat, Play, Sleep" at each feed. When baby wakes, Eat: feed baby, Play: keep baby awake, Sleep: baby naps.
- Every 3 hour window between feeds should look like this: Eat ~30-60 min, Play ~30-60 min, Sleep ~60-120 min.
- After eat and play, baby will show tired cues (fussiness, rubbing eyes, yawning, etc.) -this is nap time. Wait for those cues as your indicator for nap time.
- Follow the same routine at each nap. Our routine is: swaddle, rock, paci and sound machine.
- Pick any day and start from the first feed until the last (for me the last feed was always ~8pm).
- Do not worry about play time durations during the first few weeks -just focus on feeding every 3 hours.
- At night skip Play, simply Eat & Sleep.
- Until 4 weeks, let baby eat/sleep as desired during nights.
- At 6-8 weeks, baby will gradually and naturally drop night feeds. Do NOT wake for nighttime feedings!
- As nighttime feeds drop, increase first and last feed amount (ounces)/duration.
- At 12 weeks, baby should be sleeping (at least) 7-8 hours uninterrupted at night.
- Always follow pediatrician guidance for feed amounts based on age/sleep, etc.
- To determine a specific schedule -wake and feed baby every day at the exact same time.
- If baby wakes before 3 hour mark occupy/soothe baby without feeding until the 3 hour mark.
- Remember the goal is to feed every 3 hours but if baby is eating sooner than that apply Eat, Play, Sleep to whatever feeding window your baby has (i.e.: 2-2.5 hours, etc.). Continue to work toward the 3 hour goal.
- As baby grows feed times will stretch, day naps will decrease in amount (i.e.: from 7 naps to 4, etc.) and nighttime sleep will increase. Continue to apply Eat, Play, Sleep between these feeds/meals with longer Play times.
For more details or to find feed schedules and other resources visit Official Baby Wise website here.