When I was pregnant with my daughter, my mom gave me a book she used to read when she was pregnant with me. She used the book as a guide to raising me. Although, it was an old book and many things had changed by the time I had Belle I wanted to use most of the techniques in the book to raise her. And I’m so glad I did that. One of the main things was putting your newborn on a sleep schedule.
Luckily, a French mom from Belle’s school (and we know that French moms know a thing or two) told me about a book by Tracy Hogg that she used to raise her daughter. From what she said to me the book seemed a lot like the book I used for Belle. So I ended up getting it and using it with Liam.
With Belle, I put her on a sleep schedule as soon as we came back from the hospital. Liam, on the other hand, started when he was about a week and a half old.
You can start at any time but the later you start, the harder it is for your baby to get adjusted and used to the schedule.
I believe that babies on a schedule are calmer and more peaceful.
HOW DOES A SLEEP SCHEDULE WORK?
I would wake up Liam at the same time every day. Right after that, I will feed him, burp him, change his diaper and then let him “play.”
When Liam was just born, he would go to sleep right after I change his diaper. Now when he is a bit older, he will stay awake and play in his playmat. During his activity time, I would watch for cues, which tell me he is ready to go to sleep. These cues can be yawning or making little crying sounds. When that time comes, I will move him from his playmat to his bed, so he knows it’s time to go to sleep.
+ Tracy Hogg advises that it is better to teach your baby, to fall asleep on its own, which means you don’t rock your baby to sleep and you don’t let him fall asleep in your hands. Instead, once he is sleepy, move him to the bed and wait for him to fall asleep on its own.
+ If he is fussy, pick him up, calm him down and in the moment he is calm put him down again. Do the pickup/put down technique as many times as needed until he is calm and asleep.
Liam feeds every 3 hours, and he doesn’t wake up during the evening anymore. His last feeding (he is three months old now) is at 9.30, and then he sleeps until 6-6:30 in the morning. He loves being on a schedule because he knows what’s next on the agenda.
IS IT EASY?
NO! Putting a baby on a schedule is not always easy. It takes time.
I remember days when my alarm will go off in the morning. I will look at Liam, and he would be sleeping peacefully. Knowing that he was up all night, I just didn’t want to wake him up. Instead, I wanted to turn off my alarm and go back to sleep too. Because that would give me some time to rest as well. But you have to stick with your schedule no matter how difficult it is in the beginning.
A sleep schedule doesn’t mean that if my baby wakes up 15min earlier and he is hungry, I have to make him wait. Instead I will feed him and adjust the routine with the next feeding.
WHY A SLEEP SCHEDULE IS A MUST FOR MY BABY?
- I understand what my child needs and why he is crying.
- Babies don’t like surprises, that’s why they thrive on schedules.
- When my baby sleeps at the same time every day, I can plan my life.
- I have a structured routine for my baby, and he knows what to expect.
LIAM’S SLEEP SCHEDULE (0-3 months)
6:30 – wake up + eat
7:15 – activity
7:45 – sleep
9:30 – eat
10:15 – activity
10:45 – sleep
12:30 – eat
1:15 – activity
1:45 – sleep
3:30 – eat
4:15 – activity
4:45 – sleep
6:30 – eat
7:15 – activity/bath time
7:45 – nap
9:30 – eat
During the last feeding, I don’t wake him up. I don’t change his diaper unless it is nessecary. And I don’t talk to him.
During his 1st month, he had 8 feedings total. He will eat at 9:30 pm, then 12 am and 3 am.
During his 2nd month he stopped waking up at 3 am, and towards the end of the 2nd month, he wasn’t waking up at 12 am anymore.
These hours worked for me, but you can start your baby’s day at 6 or 7, whatever works for you. It is a loose schedule that you can shape and adapt to work with you and your baby.
Liam is going to be four months old soon, and I plan to change his schedule from every 3 hours to every 4 hours. Since he is a bit older, he should be able to go on for longer periods of time.
Have you tried a sleep schedule for your baby? Let me know what you think in the comments below.