How to Schedule a Newborn

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I used this routine with all of my children and it was a lifesaver!

 

It gets them on a great schedule, sleeping through the night earlier, and just overall, helps them to be very content. I don’t think any kid likes being in charge…Deep down inside they want someone to set the boundaries for them so they don’t feel out of control of themselves (which is what happens when  a child is left to his own).

 

So even from the time of infancy, a good schedule can begin to develop good boundaries in our children and a strong sense of Mommy and Daddy being in charge—not in a controlling sort of way, just in a protective way.

 

Studies show that children who are allowed to “call the shots” as an infant for when they want to eat (i.e. every time the baby cries you feed him) develop into children who are more demanding and expect their own way.

 

We have seen this play out in our children, in the opposite way. Each of our kids has developed a strong sense of time, schedules, boundaries, responsibility, the ability to delay gratification, and most importantly, we have developed strong relationships with them.

 

It may sound funny that a “schedule” could accomplish all of this, but if you are in doubt, try it for yourself.

 

I never got so rigid that I wasn’t aware of the babies ever-changing needs (like growth spurts or family interruptions). Life happens and you need to flex.

 

But this schedule will truly make you feel like a real person again…a lot faster than letting the baby decide what he or she is going to do!  Hope it helps you get your sanity back!

 


 

 

In the Hospital

Feed baby every three hours around the clock (approximately 15 minutes per side if nursing).  Do not be concerned with awake or nap times, simply feed the baby and put them back to bed (with lots of snuggles and kisses in between).

 

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First Two Weeks

 

6:30am: Feed/Nurse

**Back to bed by 7:30am

*Nap until next feeding

 

9:30am: Feed/Nurse

**Back to bed by 10:30am

*Nap until next feeding

 

12:30pm: Feed/Nurse

**Back to bed by 1:30pm

*Nap until next feeding

 

3:30pm: Feed/Nurse

**Back to bed by 4:30pm

*Nap until next feeding

 

6:30pm: Feed/Nurse

**Back to bed by 7:30pm

*Nap until next feeding

 

9:30pm: Feed/Nurse

**To bed after feeding

*Night expectation: Expect one night time feeding that you stretch out to eventually meet 1st morning feeding.

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By Four Weeks (through 11 Weeks)

 

6:30am: Feed/Nurse

**Back to bed by 7:30am-8:00am

*Nap until next feeding

 

10:30am: Feed/Nurse

**Back to bed by 11:30am-12:00 noon

*Nap until next feeding

 

2:30pm: Feed/Nurse

**Back to bed by 4:00pm

*Nap until next feeding

 

6:30pm: Feed/Nurse

*Extended awake time to help solidify nighttime hours

 

10:30pm: Feed/Nurse

**To bed by after feeding

*Baby may be sleeping until 1st morning feeding or very close. Keep this routine until solids are started between 12-16 weeks.

 

[one_half last=”no”]

Twelve To Sixteen Weeks

 

6:30am: Feed/Nurse

**Back to bed by 8:00am

*Nap until next feeding

 

10:30am: Feed/Nurse

*Introduction to solids

*Back to bed by 12:00 noon

*Nap until next feeding

 

2:30pm: Feed/Nurse

*Introduction to solids

*Keep this a short nap to insure no disruption to bed time

 

6:30pm: Feed/Nurse

*Introduction to solids

 

7:30pm: Bedtime for night

 

Sixteen to Twenty Weeks

 

7:30am Breakfast

*Nurse

*Solids

 

9:30am-11:30am: Nap

 

12:30pm: Lunch

*Nurse

*Solids

 

2:00pm-4:00pm: Nap

 

5:30pm: Dinner

*Nurse

*Solids

 

7:30pm: Bedtime

(If bedtime is later, you can offer optional liquid feeding at that time)

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Points to Remember

 

1.  Adjust your routine to meet the needs of your lifestyle, situations, and other children.

 

2.  Keep in mind that your routine needs to be consistent, simple, and progressive.

 

3.  Day time feedings should span between 3 and 4 hours.

 

4.  Night time feedings should be progressively stretched to meet 1st morning feeding.

 

5.  If nursing, begin with 15 minutes per side.  In a few weeks when your milk has come in good, you can drop bak to approximately 10 minutes per side.

 

6.  If bottle feeding, a non-dairy-based formula is highly recommended.

 

7.  While you are nursing or bottle feeding no extra fluids are necessary unless you offer water in-between feedings.

 

8.  Snacks or juice bottle are not recommended.  They interrupt digestive cycles, condition children to sweets, and ruin appetite for the next meal time.

 

9.  Remember–this is a sample routine.  Some parents will choose to progress a little faster or a little slower.

 

Adapted from Family Resource Network.

 

10 Comments

  • i had a baby and she would not wake up during the night is that ok

    addison 01.06.2011
    • From all I’ve seen and read you are supposed to do all you can to wake them up if they are between birth and 4-6 weeks. It helps to set their hunger metabolism right. I remember struggling with this with a couple of mine but had to work to get them awake. In the long run it seemed to work out. How old is your newborn? Does it seem to be affecting daytime sleep/eating habits? Every baby is different so if they are eating/sleeping fine during the day and sleeping all night, I might now worry about it. Mine all slept through the night by 9 weeks or so. But before that they had at least 1 night time feeding.

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  • How in the world did you ever leave your home with this schedule? I’m pregnant with my 7th and csn’t even begin to imagine pulling off this schedule and still keeping up with life’s demands.

    sarah 10.06.2014
    • Wow Sarah! 7 kids!! That’s amazing! Well, if you’ve had 7 you must have a great plan. This schedule worked so well for me because it DID allow me to know when I could schedule things and work phone calls or appointments in. And I just nursed when I was out. Having no plan or routine seemed to make it much harder to know when my kids would need to be fed. They all dropped the middle of the night feeding between 6-9 weeks so I think that helped me too – to know it was very temporary and that eventually, if I could get them on schedule or close to it, they’d start dropping feedings and give more freedom. I hope you find the routine that works best for you! Congrats to you with all your babies!!

      njadmin 16.06.2014
  • Mine started sleeping 6-7 hours at night at 2 wks. I asked her pediatrician if I should be waking her for feedings, and she told me to enjoy the peace and extra sleep & to consider myself lucky. I did have to get up to pump though.

    new mom 15.09.2014
    • That is awesome that yours slept early on! This is rare but I’m glad that gift happened for you. 🙂 There are definitely varied opinions on this, and at the heart, all kids are different. You as mom probably have a gut feeling about what’s best too for each child. Sounds like this worked well for you!

      Jenni Oates 14.10.2014
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  • Hi, new mom here.. hope you’re still there… How do you “stretch it out” so the baby can sort of fall on this schedule? Like what do you do if it’s only 2 hrs and he wants to feed again as he does now? What do you do to get him through 4 hrs til the next feed during the day for example? My baby seems determined to get his way all the time…

    Shara 22.02.2017
    • Hi Shara! I’m so sorry I missed this comment! So it’s hard, but I let them cry for a few minutes, go in and check them to make sure they were ok, then leave. I’d see if they stopped crying and if it worked. If they kept crying, I’d go in a couple minutes later, burp them, reswaddle them and rock for a second, then put them back down. Sometimes, they’d fall back asleep because typically they need more sleep in between than yours sounds like he/she is getting but they also have a hunger memory that will just wake them up until it’s retrained. You can do ths a few times and by then you’ve probably pushed them another 10-15 sometimes 30 minutes (if they are hysterical crying). If they get to the super worked up point, you know they are for real hungry or just angry and at that point you need to get them. I would try, even after getting them to let them stay awake for a few more minutes without feeding them to push them closer to the 3 hour mark (like a swing, carry them around, or some other thing to occupy them for a few). If they are happy and just a little fussy, let them go until the 3 hour mark before feeding. That is how I stretched them! I hope that helps. Some days it works great, and others not so much! But that’s the unpredictable life of motherhood, right? 🙂 But just do your best and know that you’re doing a loving thing as well by helping them get more much needed sleep and on a solid schedule

      adminoates 12.04.2017

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