As of this week, Jack is 8 weeks old! I still can’t believe it’s been two months! We started getting him on a better schedule around 4-5 weeks (honestly, I’ve already forgotten), and it has majorly paid off. I know scheduling and sleep training isn’t for everyone, but with a toddler and working from home, having some sort of routine, even if it’s not perfect, is essential for keeping us all sane.
Having him go down at the same time every night has helped give us longer stretches, about 6-7 hours at night, and also gives us a little alone time which is always nice!
Our schedule is loosely based off the book “Moms on Call” and tweaked for what works best for our lives and also Jack’s natural rhythms. For example, he tends to eat with more frequency in the evening and that’s okay with me because it means he sleeps until 4 or 5am!
This is by no means is what will work for everyone, but I’ve gotten so many questions about it, so I wanted to share! If anything it’s a good place to start and then tweak to your baby’s needs!
Our goal is to have him sleeping through the night by 12 weeks, and this is a great foundation for getting there.
Baby Schedule 4 to 8 Weeks Old
I have to remind you that while this schedule looks great, it’s never perfect in real life. Sometimes he wakes early from naps, eats twice between naps or stays up a little longer because we had errands to run! It’s not about being perfect, but just generally getting your baby in a little bit more of a rhythm so you can have a more predictable, calmer day.
Wake up, feed and diaper change. Typically Jack doesn’t eat for long in the morning, maybe 4-7 minutes. We go downstairs and he hangs out in his bouncer while we get breakfast ready for us and Owen. Sometimes Jack will fall asleep, sometimes he just looks around.
Feed. Since he doesn’t eat much at that first feed, he’s usually hungry soon after. This feed really kicks off our “routine” for the day. After he eats, we do some tummy time and play time which is basically just trying to keep him up til his next nap. It’s gotten SO much easier to keep him up after feeds thank goodness!
Down for a nap. For this nap and the next, I really try to make sure he’s swaddled, in his crib with the sound machine on. Doesn’t always happen, but most days it does. This is also when I get the majority of work done!
Feed, Playtime, Diaper change. I aim to keep him up for an hour before he goes down again.
Nap. This nap coincides with Owen’s which is soooo helpful to have 2 hours of sleep and quiet time in the house when Owen is home, it’s a lovely break!
Feed, Playtime, Diaper change
Nap. This one is always hit or miss for us. It usually happens in his bouncer or in the Dock-a-Tot downstairs. Sometimes it’s in the stroller while we go for a walk, and sometimes it’s in his crib! What I’ve learned is the second kid is a lot more adaptable simply because they have to be.
Feed. According to “Moms on Call” this is one of those times where you want to feed him at this time no matter when they ate last. It helps get things on track for good nighttime sleep. I fully admit that sometimes I mess this one up! But, we still get good night time stretches even when it’s 30 minutes earlier or later.
We typically eat dinner around 6:30, so he hangs in his bouncer next to the table while we eat! Sometime within here he’ll get a diaper change and do some tummy time if it works.
Feed. This is where our personal schedule differs from “Moms on Call”. Typically this time is when he’d have a short cat nap or get ready for bath time, but without fail, he’s hungry at this time every single night—even if he’s eaten at 6pm! He usually doses off after this feed and then wakes up hungry again around 8:35pm.
Feed. For his last feed of the day, he gets a bottle from Rob so I get a break. It’s also nice for me to know that he’s had a big bottle before bed! He typically drinks 3.5-4oz of breastmilk. I pump before we go to bed around 9:45pm.
Diaper change, get in pajamas, swaddle, song and bed! We don’t have a big long fancy bedtime routine right now. He doesn’t get a bath every night, and when he does get a bath, it’s when it fits into our schedule.
One thing I’ve made a point to do at night is not give him a pacifier. I will give him a pacifier at naps if he’s being fussy, but not at night. I just want him to get used to falling asleep without it so we don’t train him to expect us to run in and put it back in his mouth when it falls out at night. So far, it’s been a non-issue. He doesn’t cry, just falls asleep!
Feed. He’s still waking up for one middle of the night feeding, and I wait for him to wake me up. We had a growth spurt hit around 6-7 weeks and there were several nights where he woke up twice, but for the most part we can expect a 7-9 hour stretch of sleep from him which is heavenly! These past few nights, he’s actually slept until 6am—getting close to sleeping through the night!
Baby Sleep Tips
Get an Ollie Swaddle
This Ollie swaddle is 100% worth it! Not only does it swaddle them really tight, but it actually grows with them, so you won’t have to keep buying bigger ones. That balances out the cost right there. As soon as I swaddle Jack in this, his whole body just relaxes and he quickly falls asleep.
I highly highly recommend this for everyone! Even if you think your baby likes to sleep with their hands up, this is better. With their hands up, they can wake themselves—it may take a few nights for them to adjust, but trust me—it’s worth it!
Wake Baby from Naps
I know, I know, you’ve probably heard to not wake a sleeping baby, but letting them nap too long throughout the day and not waking them to eat, might mean they end up being up more at night.
The goal is to get the majority of their calories in during the day so they don’t wake up as much at night. Promise me, it’s worth it for that night time sleep!
Put Baby Down Drowsy, Not Asleep
I learned this one early on, and some will disagree and that’s fine! But, it works great for teaching them how to put themselves to sleep. I always put Jack in his bed awake. He’s drowsy and showing sleepy cues (staring into the distance, yawning, rubbing eyes, etc.), but never asleep.
Because this is his normal, he rarely fusses when I put him down and if he does wake up during his nap or at night, usually can fall back asleep on his own.
Get a Dohm White Noise Machine
Between the sounds of the house and Owen randomly singing or screaming, this Dohm sound machine helps Jack fall and stay asleep. We got so used to having one in our room with Owen that we now sleep with one too!
Let Light In
For daytime naps, I leave the curtains open so he doesn’t get his days and nights confused. That will change eventually, but for now he falls and stays asleep just fine with the curtains open for naps, so we’re going with it!
I tried to answer most of your questions within this post, but had a few others I wanted to answer here:
How do you get him to eat at a specific time if he’s not hungry?
Thankfully Jack will usually ALWAYS eat, but he didn’t always eat in the earlier days. I’d just wait 30 to 45 minutes and try again. I do try to get him to eat regularly to keep my milk supply up.
My LO is almost 5 weeks and we are trying to follow a schedule too. Since we don’t bathe every night, what do you do during that time on the MOC schedule when it says bath?
Usually just play with him or hold him!
Could you talk about how you manage your breastfeeding/pumping schedule too? And if/how you plan on adapting it in the future?
I breastfeed him at every feed except for his last feed of the day. He gets a bottle of breastmilk then and I pump right before we go to bed. I plan on continuing this until it no longer works for us. I used to think breastfeed babies wouldn’t sleep as well, but so far that’s not been an issue!
Hi Blair! We were super scheduled and “sleep-train focused” with our first. Recently found out #2 is on the way! I’m already stressing about not being able to be as regimented and am so nervous the new baby won’t be a good sleeper lol. Any advice?
I think Baby 2 has been easier in general. You already know what you’re doing and for whatever reason, Jack just seems to be more easy going and will sleep most places! I think you’ll be okay!
How do you get them to sleep? Rocking, nursing, etc? Struggling with my almost 7 wo who won’t take any pacifier. Thanks in advance!
We do not rock or nurse to sleep, I always put him down drowsy so he gets used to putting himself to sleep, usually without a pacifier. If you’re struggling with this, I highly recommend Taking Cara Babies newborns course!
How do you keep baby on the schedule? Do you ever wake him up or try to hold off on feeding? I feel like our schedule is quite loose, not totally unpredictable but definitely not regimented.
It just starts happening naturally, but at first is far from perfect. YES, I always wake him to eat if it’s been 3-3.5 hours since his last feed. The reason for this is that I want him to get in his calories during the day so he sleeps longer at night! Ours is relatively loose, but I’d say within 15-30 minutes of the times above.
How do you manage your schedule with two children and giving them enough time? Plus, time for yourself!
I got a lot of variations of this question! Owen started daycare two weeks ago and it has made everything so much easier. It was a tough decision considering everything that’s happening in the world, but it was the best decision for our family.
Owen is happier and I’m happier. I’m able to give Jack more attention without feeling guilty that Owen is just sitting around (or destroying something!) and Owen gets to go to the playground, play with friends, do crafts, etc.
It was really hard before and I found myself at my at my breaking point by the end of everyday—sometimes I hit that point before 10am! It just wasn’t a sustainable situation for us, but everyone will have to make the decision for themselves.
How long does baby nap during the day on average? Does he wake up crying when hungry throughout the day?
I usually get 2 2-hr naps and a couple of cat naps, so around 5 hours a day. Lately his morning nap hasn’t been as long because he’s not a big eater in the morning. When babies nap well, they tend to sleep longer at night. So, yes, he does wake up crying and hungry sometimes! And, if you’re tired, nap when the baby is sleeping.
I still can’t believe Jack is already 8 weeks! Just when we get used to one schedule, things start shifting, haha! This is still working for us, so I’ll just tweak it as things change! I hope it was helpful, and if I didn’t answer one of your questions, let me know!