View Full Version : How to get new baby on a schedule?

10-28-2003, 06:55 PM
My baby is 3 1/2 weeks old and I was wondering how and when to try to get her on a schedule? If anyone can help I would appreciate it.

10-30-2003, 12:11 PM
I personally think that 3 1/2 weeks is too early to try and get her on a schedule. I had all intentions of trying to get DS on some type of a flexible schedule before he was born, but I ended up taking things from him and really learned how to read his cues. I found that once I could distinguish his tired cries from his sleepy ones, things were much easier. I also kept a journal and wrote down when he was eating and sleeping. A pattern did start to emerge and I found that it helped me know what he wanted at certain times. You might try that. One thing I have learned is that DS will do things when he's ready (sleep thought the night, sleep in his crib, etc.) This has helped me not stress over things I think he "ought" to be doing, because I know it will happen eventually. Hope that makes sense.
Good Luck,

11-01-2003, 06:32 PM
I will try that. Thanks for your help.

11-04-2003, 11:17 AM
I agree with Anabelle. I read many books before DD was born, I even took notes! I was very prepared to schedule her and our lives. I was going to do things right. The only thing that helped from all those books and notes was learning my baby's cues. I started really paying attention to DD's cries and sleep patterns, kept a journal and then found out she was pretty much on her own schedule. That helped me plan my day. Of course her schedule would change as it does now, but somewhere there seems to be a pattern. Remember also that growth spurts change a baby's schedule, may eat more often, wake up more during the night, but after the spurt the schedule usually goes back to normal.

11-10-2003, 02:11 PM
Hi there, (warning: long answer to your question!)

I very very respectfully disagree with the above posters...my daughter started on a schedule at exactly 3 and a half weeks and within three days she was responding very well. She is now eight weeks old and regularly sleeps between 5 to 7 hours per night. It isn't easy to hear your very precious little baby crying and it sometimes can make you frustrated,but I will pass along the basics that worked for me...

I have her on a four hour feeding schedule during the day, which she readily has fallen in with....she automatically wakes up from sleep at four hour intervals to eat and most often goes right back to sleep afterwards...this is also when I change her diaper...
People may disagree with this also...but I do not allow "snacking" on a regular basis...mealtime is for eating and I do not want her to confuse mealtime and playtime...I nurse her on one side, and tickle her head, or remove part of her clothing to keep her awake if I notice her falling asleep. (cold hands work too!)...if I notice that she's just kind of hanging out looking around, but not eating at the moment, I will lay her down...that always lets me know if she's hungry, because she will start to cry then, and then resume eating on the other side.

My schedule is usually like this...6 am (ish) feeding, then 10 am, 2 pm, and 6 pm....then a 10 pm feeding in a dark quiet place...where I then put her down and let her sleep as long as she can. Sometimes she will wake up and whimper a little bit in the middle of the night, but I have been experiementing with trying to hold her off with a pacifier as long as possible...she usually makes it anywhere to 3:30 to 5:00 with this method...I do not freak out if those times aren't exact...just that she eats in four hour intervals...and like I said, that happened quickly after starting to do this...within just a couple of days it worked for us.

The best part of this schedule is that I know when something isn't quite right with her...she will want to eat more/less and her sleep is a bit disrupted. This has allowed me to know her well and to communicate easily with the pediatrician as well.

It's not easy, and it takes a full committment to be successful. One other thing...I also do not pick her up every single time she cries. This is the most controversial part of this...there are definitely parents that do not like this, but it works for my daughter so far. (Obviously, I cannot say absolutely do not do this...I break the rules occaisionally), but for the most part, I pat her back, comfort her verbally and if I am going to be nearby, sometimes turning her onto her tummy helps too.
I have found the main source of her crying is usually just overstimulation/overtiredness, and she is just learning how to comfort herself.

Also, since tummy trouble is common in little ones, I have found a terrific homeopathic remedy called Tum Ease made by Eclectic Kids...it's made from dill, ginger, and fennel and I give hr 1/4 teaspoon befor every other feeding and it seems to take the edge off her gas/tummy discomfort.

Obviously, the method needs to work for you, and this isn't for everyone. However, I now know exactly when I can schedule MY life, since I know that I can be gone from 3-4 hour intervals and I know when she'll need to eat. I am around other parents who feed on demand/pick up and jostle babies and their lives are so much more chaotic--and they always comment on how "lucky" I am to have such a happy child...It's not luck, it's a lot of work, but for me, I cannot stress enough how pleasant it is to have this relationship with my baby...I truly do feel like I know her so well because I now know what to anticipate.

Good luck, and please email me if you have any more questions...I realize this is a very lenghty answer!

11-23-2003, 10:51 AM

I was just wondering what your pediatrician thinks about you keeping your little one on this schedule. I'm curious b/c my pediatrician made it very clear that we should feed on demand. Were you supported?

12-04-2003, 01:08 PM
is your baby bottlefed or breasfed ?

12-05-2003, 08:56 AM
He is bottlefed.

12-06-2003, 06:40 PM
Mine did too. Feed on demand. If you read Baby 411 this type of schedueling sounds a great deal like Baby Wise and this got an F because babies were failing to thrive. My son is breastfed and you can't span the feedings every 4 hours at that young of an age because the breast milk digests much faster than formula.

Mommy to Kieran, born 5/9/03

12-16-2003, 01:46 AM
Whether breastfed or bottlefed, puting a young infant on a schedule can be dangerous. Their tummys are very small and need to be fed often. While it may work for some infants, it isn't commonly encouraged until 3+ months. I suggest you ask your ped.

My DD fell into a nice schedule at about 4/5 months. I followed her lead and noticed the general times she was tired or hungry. It helped to have a routine (for example reading a book, shutting the curtains and then whispering good night before naps). DD likes the predictability of our routines throughout the day which makes the transitions much smoother.

Good luck and enjoy this special time - it goes by so very fast!!


12-18-2003, 04:32 AM
I really recommend "The No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley. It not only has suggestions for good sleeping habits, gently, but also has some great information for getting your expectations in line with what is reasonable at various ages. I know it's hard, but 3.5 weeks is really really early and their tummies are sooo tiny. I tried to only feed Ds every 3-4 hours at that age (rec'd bad advice) and it was much more angst than if I'd just nursed him everytime he wanted.

01-27-2004, 06:16 PM
I have a 5 week old. We've been successfully "scheduling" him for a week now. I wouldn't call it scheduling though, I think a better term is routine. It might be because he's a little older but he's taken to it very well. The routine also helped with his day/night reversal. I don't restrict feedings at all. I just make sure I wake him every 3 hours during the day if he hasn't woken himself up. If he wants to eat more frequently than every 3 hours that's great, I would never restrict how often he ate. If he demands it, he gets it! For the 1st 3-4 weeks I nursed him every 1.5 to 3 hours as recommended by my lactation consultant.

Making sure he's up at least every 3 hours (timed from the beginning of last feeding)gives us both a little more predictability. He was 3 weeks premature and is breastfed. He tends (like most early babies) to fall asleep at the breast. I encouraged him to eat by ticking his feet, rubbing his head or back, or even undressing him--by recommendation of my lactation consultant. He needs less encourangement now that he's a little older. Since I started making sure he eats at least every 3 hours during the day, he's been able to go for a 4-5 hour stretch at night--heaven!

Since DS runs errands with me, he could sleep for hours in a car seat. The car is so good at getting him to sleep, that he could stay asleep for longer than 3 hours. So I wake him. Everything I do is based on his schedule. I will make sure that I get home or to a place where I can feed him without a rush or too much stimuli.

I'm not sure about your 3 week old, you might give it a little more time. DS is gaining at least an ounce a day and we're both happier with a little predictability. As Baby 411 says, now that he's gaining weight well and is a little older I feel more comfortable letting him sleep as long as he wants after his last evening feed. This usually means a feed at midnight and he doesn't wake again until 4:30 or 5. After this early morning feed I'll still let him sleep as long as he wants. After his morning feed I start the 3 hour routine.

We love it.

02-09-2004, 08:39 PM
I started my baby on a 3 hour (from the beginning of one feeding to the next) at 4 weeks, and it's been going great. I Breastfeed and at her 8 week appt. she was in her 90th percentile, so she is thriving, to say the least!