I never talked about sleep more than when I first had a newborn. And with my third newborn, nothing has changed. These tiny little people befuddle us with their sleep: are they sleeping too much? not sleeping enough? sleeping all day, but up all night? My experiences with my first two kids helped create my Sleep Series, highlighting my sleep tips from birth through the preschool years. Since I’m now writing with a newborn, I’m taking things one step further – providing real-time updates, how I implement my tips, and when we hit bumps in the road. I will also be giving my baby feeding schedule, with updates as it changes.
Baby Feeding Schedule – One Month
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen my real-time updates on Baby M’s sleep and feeding habits. My first update covered our first 3 weeks.
As promised, here is our next real-time update, including our latest discovery (and sanity saver) – the Miracle Swaddle – and first baby feeding schedule.
One Month Feeding Schedule
While this is part of the sleep series, infant sleep is driven primarily by full feedings at consistent intervals. Frequent, partial feedings causes your baby to be in a constant state of digestion, plagued by gas, interrupting solid sleep. Infrequent daytime feedings leads to frequent waking at night to meet the daily caloric demands of a rapidly growing newborn. The key is to find the happy medium. ‘Schedule’ is too rigid a word – it is more creating a consistency and rhythm in your day that leads to a predictable routine. Focusing on full feedings and an Eat. Play.Sleep pattern from birth, naturally established a rhythm of daytime feedings at roughly every 3-3.5 hours, and three 4 hour stretches overnight by 2-4 weeks. With two other children in school and activities, the predictability of a routine is a necessity with a newborn. At one month, our routine looks something like this:
- 8 AM* – First feeding of the day
- 9 AM – Nap (preschool drop-off, toddler activities, errands)
- 11 AM – Second feeding
- 12:30 PM – Nap (preschool pick-up, nap/quiet time for all)
- 2/2:30 PM – Third feeding
- 3:30 PM – Nap
- 5:30 PM – Fourth feeding
- 6:30 PM – Cat nap in swing (dinner clean-up, bath and bed for girls)
- 7:30 PM – Bath (every other day)
- 7:45/8 PM* – Fifth feeding and bedtime
- 12:30/1 AM – Sixth feeding
- 4:30/5 AM – Seventh feeding
The key to setting the routine such that each day has a similar rhythm is having a designated first feeding time. For us, it’s 8 AM. I usually stay up after the 5 AM feeding, shower, get organized for the day, get my girls (4 and 2) up, dressed and eating at 7 AM. Feeding the baby at 8 AM, allows me to get everyone in the car to get my oldest to preschool by 9 AM.
In other words, it’s the time that works for our daily rhythm. Choose what works for you, just be consistent about it. If he wakes before the next feeding and is content, I wait to feed him. If he’s obviously hungry, I feed him and adjust accordingly. If he sleeps through his next feeding, I wake him at the 3.5 hour mark.
Preparing Baby for Sleep
Some of our naps are on the go. With the third child, there’s not much I can do about that – he has to go with the flow. For the naps at home, bedtime and overnight feedings, I follow three key things:
- Miracle swaddle (more on that below)
- White noise machine
The Miracle Swaddle
With the girls, I always swore my babies didn’t like being swaddled. Turns out, I just didn’t know how to swaddle well or use the right technique. This time, I’ve learned the Miracle Swaddle.
Need a little more explanation than the 15 second video?
- Aden & Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets – they are the only ones big enough to do it properly
- Any other flannel receiving blanket, including hospital issued variety, as pictured in video
Step 1 – Lay down swaddle blanket in a diamond. Fold down top corner, such that it is even with the middle corners.
Step 2 – Fold flannel receiving blanket in third, lengthwise. Lay folded flannel receiving blanket across folded corner, leaving about 2-3 inches of swaddle blanket above the top of it.
Step 3 – Lay baby in center of blankets. Isn’t he cute!?!
Step 4 – Use flannel receiving blanket to wrap baby’s arms down against their body. You want their arms to be palms down. Tuck any loose ends (untucked below) under their bottom.
Step 5 – Grab left corner of the swaddle blanket. Pull taught across baby’s shoulder and arm and tuck firmly under their right hip, as depicted below. Repeat with right corner.
Step 6 – Pull up bottom corner, and fold down so as not to cover baby’s face. Tuck right and left sides under baby’s arms.
4 1/2 Weeks and the 45 Minute Intruder
If I left off there, I would leave you with the wrong impression. From 2-4 weeks, I could just about set a clock by the little guy. The swaddle worked wonders for night time sleep. And then came 4 1/2 weeks – enter The Wonder Weeks. Babies go through their first big phase of mental development right around this time. Some may call it a ‘growth spurt’, though this first stage is more mental growth. They will become more alert, more aware of their surroundings, and stay awake for longer periods.
Baby M was no exception. The day I posted the swaddle video to IG, his routine went out the window. He ate every 2 hours for 2 days (but thankfully kept to his nighttime routine, though had trouble settling back to sleep after nighttime feedings). And his naps began to be interrupted by the 45 minute intruder. Baby sleep cycles are shorter than ours, and last about 45 minutes. As they become more alert, they often wake up after the first cycle, and have trouble settling themselves back to sleep. You can help them with offering a pacifier and re-swaddling (if necessary). It may not work every time, but avoid letting this become the norm for every nap, as they will become increasingly fatigued.
If I was a first time mom, I would have freaked. Just when you think you have it figured out, they throw you for a loop. But have no fear – after 48 hours of extra feedings and crankiness, this week, he is back to our routine above. You can learn more about The Wonder Weeks from the same-titled book. Or download the app (same name) and get a quick snapshot based on your baby’s due date as to when they will likely hit these developmental periods. Feed them more when they seem hungry more frequently, which usually is followed by a few days of more sleep, and a resume of your previous routine.
Want to see what’s to come for your little bundle of joy? Catch the full Sleep Series here, and the next schedule phase, which usually sets in around the 3 month mark. You can find all of these on our What to Expect and Babies boards on Pinterest.
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