Before I get to the system we're currently using to schedule our little one's sleep, let me give a quick review of his sleeping patterns from the start.
For the first week of life, little Kenzo was zonked out big time! I got yelled at by the nurse our first and only night in the hospital for letting him go 5 hours without feeding. Whoops! I haven't slept in 50+ hours and just pushed an 8 pound baby out of my hoohah - sorry if I wasn't exactly watching the clock. And it seems he was just as tired as I was! The whole first week I had to wake him up to feed, every 2.5 hours (4 hours at night - had to set my alarm clock!) as advised by the nurses. This was hard to do cuz he was so darn sleepy. Tricks included stripping him down to his diapers and tickling his feet and ears, but he still managed to pass out mid feed almost every time. I was worried maybe he wasn't drinking enough and the doc at his 4 day checkup freaked us out because he had lost 10% of his body weight, which is NORMAL by the way, but had us come back 2 days later for a weigh... by which time he'd already gained back the 10%! He would continue on this dramatic weight gain trajectory for the next couple of months! I'm very thankful I didn't panic and start supplementing with formula, because that could have decreased my milk supply and led us down a slippery slope of losing my milk supply completely.
Anyway, back from that tangent - After the first week, he got adjusted to my 2.5 hour schedule and I no longer was the one waking him up but vice versa. Every 2.5 hours around the clock. And this is including feeding, burping, and bouncing (not rocking - we only have a birth/exercise ball, not a rocking chair) him back to sleep. So, by the time he's back in bed we only slept about 1-1.5 hours. This went on until about the 5th week. EXHAUSTING!!!
After we were done hosting both sets of grandparents, yes in our tiny one bedroom apartment!, he was almost 7 weeks old and I decided it was time to figure out a better schedule that we could both thrive on. At that time, I was just letting him pass out whenever, but it was usually in your arms or on your lap, and the second you tried to transfer him to the crib he would wake up crying. He was also quite fussy - looking back on it he was just overly tired, poor guy!! My sister had given me a book/theory that had worked well for her: "On Becoming Babywise" by Gary Ezzo and Robert Buckman. From what I've seen on the baby blogs and forums, this theory is a bit controversial, some say leading to dehydration and other issues, but I think those issues only arise when you are too strict with the schedule, whereas they repeatedly remind you that you need to be flexible as growth spurts and other times will require changes in the schedule.
The basic theory of Babywise is that the baby should be on a "eat, play, sleep" schedule, with that exact order being key. They recommend it from birth, so I wasn't sure how it would work starting from 7 weeks but they explain in the book how to adjust the schedule as the baby gets older so I just started with the suggested schedule for a 2 month old. It seemed counter intuitive to me since Kenzo is usually in a milk coma after feeding and seems the perfect time to put him down, but I decided to give it a go anyway. They do say you should put the baby down drowsy but not asleep, so they can learn how to self sooth and put themselves to sleep. I can't bare to start this part of the plan yet, I think he's too young for that. Maybe around 4 months we'll give the whole "cry it out" thing a go.
With this Babywise schedule, we basically give him a 12-hour day period and 12-hour night period. During the day time, we stick to a 3 hour cycle: 1.5 hours for eating and then playing, and 1.5 hour nap, and repeat. During the 12 hour night period, there is no "play" time. If he wakes up and seems hungry, I feed him. But quite often it's something else, like he needs a burp, needs spit-up wiped off his face, or just can't go back to sleep by himself, so I bounce him and put him back to bed.
He adjusted to the day time schedule pretty much immediately. I couldn't believe how his fussiness disappeared and he was just so much happier, as was I! I know he had been getting enough food all along, but definitely had been sleep deprived. His night time sleeping got better progressively from this point as well, though that could be a coincidence as he's getting older and more mature, but who knows. Right away he started having longer and longer periods of night time sleep. Now at 10 weeks he sleeps between 6-8 hours straight (technically "sleeping through the night", though for me 9-10 hours would be more like it!!), wakes up for a feed, and then from there doesn't do as well - only 1-3 hours at a time, with lots of grunts and groans, until the "day" period starts.
Here's our typical day:
10 AM - wake and feed
10:30 - 11:30 AM - awake time
11:30 AM - 1 PM - nap time
1 PM - wake and feed
1:30 - 3 PM - awake time
3 - 4:30 PM - nap time
4:30 PM - wake and feed
4:30 - 6 PM - awake time
6 - 7:30 PM - nap time
7:30 PM - wake and feed
7:30 - 9:45 PM - awake time (daddy time!)
9:45 PM - final feed
10 PM - bed time
5 AM - feed
7 AM - feed
8:30 AM - feed
All in all Kenzo gets about 8 feeds and 14-15 hours of sleep. His awake time is spent on the play mat, in the bouncy chair, tummy time, playing with mommy or daddy, listening to music or his Japanese books on CD, taking a bath, etc. When I need to run an errand or take a walk, I do that during his
So, Babywise really changed our lives! I get about 8-9 cumulative hours of sleep during his nighttime period, and no longer feel exhausted or have to nap during the day. Kenzo rarely fusses anymore, but I'm much more capable of realizing and solving the problem when there is one, whereas before the schedule I would have just shoved my boob at him guessing that he was hungry. #Momfail haha! Just so you know, I am not affiliated with the book or the authors, just found that it worked for me and it may be worth a try for some of you out there struggling with your little ones. I know there are TONS of books and different theories out there, and some will work better for you than others. So keep on reading and giving them a try til you find the right one for you and your family!! If you do want to give this one a try, it's super cheap on Amazon:
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!