January 16, 2018 Motherhood Owen’s Schedule at 9 Weeks Old In some areas of life, I’m laid back. I don’t care where we go to dinner, what movie we watch or what we cook for dinner, but in other areas, I’m more particular. I’ve found that I easily get stressed out when I don’t know what to expect during my day. I thrive off of being productive and getting stuff done, and if I don’t at least have a general plan for my day when I wake up, nothing gets done and I go to bed feeling like I wasted my day. Now, I don’t plan out every second of my day, but I do love a good routine—it keeps my stress levels low! When I’m feeling stress free and calm, life is good! So, onto Owen’s schedule… After the first few weeks of sporadic feedings and no sleep, I knew that something had to change, otherwise I was going to be living in a constant of stress and exhaustion, not knowing when I’d be able to get a break or a little rest. So, two weeks after Owen was born, we started implementing a schedule based off the book, Babywise. I’d read it after two friends recommended it. They both said that their babies were sleeping through the night by 12 weeks and a year later, they were still great sleepers. Since Rob and I both cherish our sleep, I was instantly sold! It was also important for me to get him on some sort of schedule or routine so that I knew when I’d have time to do things like laundry, work, vacuuming, or to take a shower! The book breaks it down week by week and even gives you sample schedules. It also explains why the feed-wake-sleep cycle (vs. wake-feed-sleep) is so important. Essentially, a well-rested baby eats better, plays better and tires themselves out so that they nap well. I know that baby schedules are a little controversial and definitely not right for everyone, but it’s worked wonders for us. So, if you’re like me and like routine, then you might try out a schedule for your baby! The key is being consistent—every.single.day. It takes a few days to get your baby used to the schedule, but within 3-5 days, Owen was eating, playing and napping better with less fussiness. During the holidays, we got a little too loose with the schedule and pretty soon Owen was screaming at nap time, falling asleep in the middle of playtime and waking up in the night again. Now, we’re back on track and everyone is happier. Here’s Owen’s current schedule at 9 weeks old. Baby Schedule at 7-10 Weeks 7:00am — Wake Up, Feed & Diaper Change 7:30-8:00 — Playtime 8:00-8:15 — Down for a nap 9:30am — Feed & Diaper Change 10:00-10:30 — Playtime 10:30-11:00 — Down for a nap 12:30pm — Feed & Diaper Change 1:00-1:30 — Playtime 1:30-2:00 — Down for a nap 3:30pm — Feed & Diaper Change 4:00-4:30 — Playtime 4:30-5:00 — Down for a nap 6:00pm — Feed & Diaper Change 6:30-7:00 — Playtime 7:30 — Down for a catnap (he often just dozes off and on, but doesn’t really take a real nap) 8:30pm — Feed & Diaper Change, only if needed 9:00pm — Down for the evening (whenever he’s done eating) 11:00pm — Dream Feed & Diaper Change, only if needed then back to bed 3:00-5:00am — We’re still working on dropping this middle of the night feed! For a few weeks, Owen had dropped it, but he lost a little weight while he was sick and I think he’s making up for it as he woke up every night last week to eat at this time. It’s usually a short feed and I’ve mastered breastfeeding without turning the lights on so he goes right back to sleep. No matter when he takes this feed, I always wake him up at 7am (unless he makes it to 6:30am, then we’ll just start our day a little earlier!). At 9 weeks, we can usually expect 5-7 hour stretches from Owen at night. Last week varied quite a bit, but I hope we continue to get longer stretches in the next few weeks! Thankfully, he goes right back to sleep after eating in the night so we’re still getting a total of about 7-8 hours of sleep throughout the whole night. Feeding Right now, Owen is only getting breast milk either straight from the source or in a bottle. He eats more efficiently from a bottle, so I tend to pump more and breastfeed less–I also find that it gives me a bit more freedom to get out of the house because I’m not super comfortable breastfeeding in public. In a bottle, he gets 3-5oz. per feeding, though usually he eats 4oz. per feeding. He tends to be hungrier at his 12:30 and 3:30 feed, but surprisingly sometimes isn’t as hungry first thing in the morning! Playtime So, what do you do with a newborn? The first few weeks he was home, I felt guilty that I wasn’t doing much with him, but the reality is that newborns sleep a lot. Now that he’s 9 weeks old, he is definitely awake a lot more and more alert when he is awake. After he eats, I keep him upright for 10-20 minutes either on my chest or upright on my legs facing me. Thankfully Owen hasn’t experienced any reflux, but occasionally he will overeat and throw up. I find that making sure he’s been burped well and then keeping him upright for a while greatly reduces the chance of him throwing up everything he just ate. Next, we do 5-10 minutes of tummy time. He’s getting so much better at it and loves holding his head high and looking towards the window. Eventually, he gets tired of it and starts fussing so I’ll put him back on my lap and either read him a book, sing to him or just talk to him. I like to have “conversations” with him and give him a chance to respond with a swing of the arm or a smile or a little noise—it’s the sweetest and my favorite time with him! When he starts to get bored of that, I’ll put him in his BabyBjorn bouncer and let him have some alone time to explore the room on his own. This is when I can get little things done—dishes in the dishwasher, tidy up the living room, etc. I try to get him in his crib for his nap before he gets fussy—he usually starts looking a little tired and yawns or rubs his eyes and face with his hands. If I wait until he starts getting fussy, he has a harder time falling asleep and doesn’t nap as well. Nap Time I learned from some friends that the key to getting a baby to nap well is to put them in their crib while they are drowsy, but not asleep. I always put him in his Love to Dream Swaddle Up, try to give him his pacifier (sometimes he’s too tired to take it), tuck him in, tell him I’ll see him soon and then turn on the sound machine and close the door. Occasionally he’ll cry for a few minutes, but we’re trying to teach him to self-soothe and usually he’s asleep within 5-10 minutes of light crying/fussing. If he really starts screaming, I’ll check to see if he needs a diaper change or has some gas stuck in his belly and that usually does the trick. If he’s still crying after 10 minutes, we go back in and stick his pacifier back in his mouth and then leave. Rarely does that not work! Random Things I know, I know—people say not to wake a sleeping baby, but if Owen is still asleep at the end of his nap, I do wake him up. Usually he’s been asleep for 1.5-2 hours and I like to give him the chance to eat at least every three hours. Typically he perks right up and guzzles down his bottle, so I don’t feel too bad! I’ve also learned that keeping the wake time and bedtime the same is really key to establishing a good routine throughout the day. Over the holidays and during the week Owen was sick, we were waking up at a different time everyday and Owen was turning into a monster at nap time. I’d put him down and he would scream and finally fall asleep and stay asleep, but then 30 minutes later, it would be time to eat again. I knew he wasn’t getting adequate sleep and that’s likely why he was turning into such a crazy monster, so I committed to making that morning wake up time the same everyday. I’m not a morning person, so waking up at 7am, especially on the weekends is tough! During the day, his feed times might vary 15-30 minutes early if he wakes up early from his nap and won’t go back to sleep. Usually the time screw up fixes itself with the next feed-wake-sleep cycle and we’re back on track! What I like about Babywise, was that you use a mix of observation and the clock to decide when to feed your baby. If he’s hungry and screaming, I don’t make him wait to eat, but I do try to figure out why he woke up early—maybe he didn’t eat enough or get enough quality playtime to tire him out. Lastly, use your judgement! You know your baby better than anyone, so if something in that schedule isn’t working, adjust it to make it work best for you and your baby! Did you/would you put your baby on a schedule? What methods worked best for getting your baby to sleep through the night? BTW, our favorite baby products, and what you actually need in your hospital bag.