Wednesday, December 19, 2007

When to Move to 4 Hour Schedule


Aaahhh. The four hour schedule. Any mom who has been there knows how wonderful it is. Any mom who hasn't can only dream, but she is sure it is lovely. There are many wonderful things about a 4 hour schedule, especially if you are breastfeeding. BUT don't rush into it. Wait until your baby is ready for it. The book says that "many a mother" is anxious to move to a 4 hour schedule (for good reason!), but there is no need to rush it. So how do you know if your baby is ready?

  1. My first answer to that is, you will just know when your baby is ready. With both of my kids, they moved to 4 hours themselves, I didn't move them. I had to let them, but that is a different post.
  2. Item 2. Baby should be STTN (sleeping through the night). By STTN I mean 12 hours with no feedings. The book, however, says 9-10 hours before moving to a 3.5 hour schedule. Watch your child and do what you think is best.
  3. Item 3. Your baby will likely be taking 5 feedings a day between 7 AM and 7 PM (or 7:30-7:30, depending on your waketime) before you are ready for the 4 hour schedule. 4 hours means 4 feedings. You want to be sure your baby is physically ready. That is why I say don't push. Some women need to do 5 feedings if they are BF (breastfeeding). Watch yourself.
  4. Your baby is always asleep when it is time to eat. This is the biggest sign. Items 2 and 3 are taken care of, and now you watch for item 4. By always I mean most of the time. Some babies (like my Brayden) will be able to have longer wake times and therefore will sleep later. Others (like my Kaitlyn) will have the same waketime length, but just sleep longer for naps. I just wouldn't move to a four hour schedule if the child wasn't sleeping well. If you are entertaining them before mealtime on a 3 hour schedule, imagine what it will be like if you extend it to four hours.
  5. Baby isn't that hungry for each meal eating every three hours. They don't show interest in it.
Let's say your baby can go longer in the morning but not all day, what do you do? I say this is a sign that 4 hours is coming soon. Until then, let baby go 3.5 hours in the morning, then do 3 hours the rest of the day. You can do a combination 3-3.5 or even 3-4 hour schedule.
Don't feel pressured to move to a 4 hour schedule. Don't measure your success by it. Kaitlyn didn't move to 4 hours until she was almost 7 months old, and Brayden was older. They may have gone sooner with pushing, but I let them set the pace and we all were peaceful, happy and relaxed. Don't thrown one more thing into the mix to stress you and and cause you frustration.
See more 4 hour schedule thoughts posted January 24, 2008: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/4-hour-schedule-more-thoughts.html
Poll Results of Poll Conducted on this blog:
What Age Did LO Move to 4 Hour Schedule (approximate)?
Results:
  • 3 Months: 1 Vote
  • 4 Months: 5 Votes
  • 5 Months: 1 Vote
  • 6 Months: 5 Votes
  • 7 Months: 0 Votes
  • 8 Months/Older: 3 Votes
Total of 16 Votes.
Reader Questions:
  • Amber said...
    Hey, I love this post [
    It's Dynamic : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/its-dynamic.html] it describes parenting so well! It is always changing and of course that is what makes it so hard.Quick question: I would like to ~try~ to see if my daughter (3 1/2 months) is ready for a 3 1/2 hour schedule. The problem is that she is still having only 1 hour - 1hour 15min at the most of waketime. She would then be sleeping for 2 1/2 hours. Is that alright? Or should I not move the schedule until she can stay awake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours?Thanks~January 9, 2008 6:49 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    2.5 hour is fine. If she is sleeping and you have to wake her for feedings, then you know she can go longer. Keep in mind that you can do a combo schedule. If she can go 3.5 hours in the morning but only 3 the rest of the day, that is fine! It is moving in the right direction.
    January 9, 2008 7:12 AM
  • susie said...
    I am new to this website. I love BWise & I just love this very helpful website. I wish I new about this months ago. I have a 6 month old daughter and we've been doing Bwise since birth. She has been sleeping thru the night since 6 weeks. She is a great sleeper at night, but not so much a good napper. She is on a 4 hour schedule. She "takes" 3 2 hour naps a day. She lays down for a nap really well, usually no crying. However, every nap since birth it seems like, she wakes up after 30 minutes and struggles falling back to sleep. Any suggestions?*Do you think I started the 4 hour routine too early?
    February 18, 2008 12:02 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    I am glad you found us! I personally don't move to the 4 hour schedule until baby can sleep through to the next nap. It throws everything way off otherwise. She might not move her schedule back. I would continue to see if you can figure out the napping thing. See the "Naps: Troubleshooting" post http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/naps-troubleshooting.html. Some babies just seem to click one day. Let me know if I can answer any questions! I would recommend looking at the blog index http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/index.html and then the Naps section. I would read the many posts on nap issues. Good luck!
    February 18, 2008 1:42 PM
  • Fortibus Marketing of Charleston, L.L.C said...
    I typically have to wake up my son for all of his naps except for his first morning nap and his last nap he tends to wake up early most of the time and I have to go in a calm him to sleep, or he usually settles himself to sleep for the last nap. What does that mean for him? He doesn't seem to be able to stay up longer then 1.5 hours, so does that mean that we should have him sleep for 2 hours and then still stay up for only 1.5 hours?
    February 26, 2008 7:40 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    My daughter stays up for various lengths depending on the time of day, but one time is 1 hour 45 minutes. She then sleeps for two hours fifteen minutes. That is fine.You can try extending certain feedings. Not a feeding he wakes up for, but one he is always asleep for at feeding time. See how that one goes. Good luck!
    February 26, 2008 9:35 PM
  • susie said...
    I have a 7 month old daughter. I work as a nurse so she is in daycare 2x/week. We have been doing BW since birth. My daughter has went straight to sleep and slept through the night since 6 weeks old. However, for thew last couple of days, she cries at bedtime and for every nap. I have been trying to move her to a 4 hour schedule for a few weeks now. I am just so frustrated b/c I feel it is so hard hearing her cry. My husband has been working really late nights and my family doesn't support BW at all!!! So, I feel lonely. I do believe it works. I love the whole concept of BW. I see great results in BW children. However, her naps have NEVER been solid 1.5 - 2 hours. I have tried adjusting her wake times. I feel like I have tried it all!!! She is the one that you cannot interfere with at all during naps. So not only am I letting her cry at naps, but also during waketimes b/c she hates alone time...HELP!!!March 13, 2008 3:00 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Susie,So was she fine for naps and night before you started trying the 4 hour schedule? If so, I would move back to that and see how it goes. You will make life a lot easier on yourself if you aren't trying force yet another thing. I personally wouldn't move to a four hour schedule until I had to get the baby up from naps, like Babywise says. However, there are moms who have tried it before naps were long enough and found baby slept well once the 4 hour schedule has been established.I would stick with the 3 hour (or remember you can do a combo 3-3.5 or even 3-4 hour schedule) since crying seems to have gotten worse.Also, watch for those normal disruptions like teething and sickness. If she suddenly starts crying after not having done so for so long, my guess is there is a good reason for it. Good luck, and please ask if you have further questions.
    March 14, 2008 10:02 AM
  • Kelly said...
    Hi. I don't know if you remember me but I posted about my twins that were 5 weeks early (their ped does NOT adjust age...weird!). You suggested waiting until 12 weeks adjusted until doing anything. They turned 12 weeks on a Friday and Saturday one slept 6-6:30 and the other 6-4-6:30. YAY! However, now my one that woke at 4 is back to waking at 11 and 4 and taking 4 ounces at each feeding. Oh wait...they have moved to a 4-3-4 hour schedule. Here is their schedule now645 wake/eat815-11 nap11 eat1215 nap2 wake/eat3 nap415 wake545 bedtime routine6 last bottle...bed
    Both of my girls have moved themselves to this schedule (before they were 7,10,1,4,7). I wish they didn't to be able to get the one to STTN (more feeds) but I am not going to wake them from their nap just to get more food in them. Because I have two I don't really want to mess with their daytime schedule (ie have one on one schedule and the other on another). I think right now the "waker" may be teething and not eating as much during the day causing her to wake at night....is that possible? Thankfully the "waker" does not wake my other one. Do you have any suggestions?
    June 10, 2008 9:23 PM
    Kelly said...
    Oh, forgot to add they are almost 15 weeks adjusted now, almost 5 months unadjusted.
    June 10, 2008 9:24 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Yes, it is common for a teether to not eat as much as usual. You are also about at 4 months with the adjusted age. See these posts:4 month Sleep Problems : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/05/4-month-sleep-problems.html
    5-8 Month Sleep Disruptions : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/05/6-month-sleep-disruptions.html
    June 11, 2008 11:02 AM
  • Abby's Mom said...
    I have a 6 month old who is still on a 3 hour schedule, sometimes only 2.5. She still eats 6 times per day because she continues to wake between 5am and 6am and will not back to sleep unless I feed her. I then wake her at 8am to start her day. She has never been a good napper and I think I have finally accepted that she never will be because I have tried everything. Her naps are usually about an hour, sometimes only 45 minutes. With this in mind, do you think she will ever move to a four hour schedule? Her optimal wake time is about 1.5 hours. If she doesn't ever take longer naps, does that mean she will just always be on a 3 hour schedule? Is there harm in feeding her every 3 hours still as she gets older? She started solids about a month ago and eats them 3x a day at 8am, 11am and 5pm. She will usually only eat about 1.5-2 T at each meal.
    June 17, 2008 2:08 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    No, at the least her waketime will lengthen so she will be able to make it longer. My daugther was still on a 3 hour schedule at 6 months also, so don't worry. It also takes time for them to get good enough at solids that they take in enough. Things will improve :)
    June 17, 2008 10:51 PM

93 comments:

Deb said...

My 3 1/2 month old is STTN and is usually on a 3 hr schedule during the day (6x b/w 7am - 10pm). He has been taking longer naps in the afternoon. Should I always wake him so he doesn't go more than 4 hours or can I let him sleep?

Jeanne said...

On transitioning to a longer schedule, you mention that you will know that the baby is ready when he sleep through his feeding. I need some clarification on that. My DS is 4 months and I just started implementing BW 4 weeks ago. He is on a 3-3.5 block, depending on the day and time of day. (I'm still really flexible with the time since I am still trying to figure his patterns.) DS will sleep through his next feeding (even on 3.5) if I don't wake him, but I know he's not ready for a full 3.5 or 4 hr because he can only stay up for 1.5 hrs max on average. Plus, he doesn't STTN yet (I dreamfeed him at 11 and he wakes around 3:30-4 to eat.) Since he IS sleeping through some of his feedings AND waking up before some, does that mean I still need work on trying to figure out his schedule? For example, if he is sleeping through his feeding, does that mean he went down for his nap too late? And conversely, if he is waking up too early, does that mean I put him down too early, or too late and he is overstimulated?

Thank you in advance for your insight!

Plowmanators said...

Deb, during the day I wouldn't let him go more than 4 hours.

Plowmanators said...

Jeanne,

You don't want to move to a 4 hour schedule until he is sleeping through the night. But you can move to 4 hours with him being awake for 1.5 hours--he would just then take a 2.5 hour nap.

Sleeping through the feeding isn't a problem--just be sure to wake him up when it is time to eat.

Waking early usually means they went down too late.

Kim said...

Hi there,

I have a 7 month old boy who has been STTN since about 8 weeks old. He does amazing at night but I am struggling with his naps. He was on a 3 hour schedule for a long time. With one hour waketime and 2 hour naps. It seemed like he could go a bit longer for waketimes and was waking early from his naps so I decided to do 1 1/2 waketime & 1 1/2 naptime (still keeping the 7,10,1,4,7 schedule). He started eating very little at certain feeding.. at one feeding it would be 7 oz then the next it would be 2 oz. I thought this was a good indicator that I could move him to a 4 hour schedule (7,11,3,7). It seemed like the signs were there. It has been 4 days on the 4 hour schedule and it has been horrible. He has started to bawl when I put him down for naps. He never used to cry when I would put him down.. now he will cry for up to an hour. He seems to not be content during waketime. Could he be crying because we are doing too many stimulating things during his now 2 hour waketime? I know he is teething, could that be it? Do you think I should go back to a 3 hour schedule? Should I try a 3 1/2 hour schedule? Or does it just take time for baby to adjust to the 4 hour schedule? Any advice you can give me would be great. I have read all the posts on 4 hour schedules. Thank you for all your hard work at making this site amazing for all of us Moms!

Plowmanators said...

Kim,

Thanks for your thanks :)

It shouldn't take time to adjust to a four hour schedule if he is ready for it.

Teething could definitely be a reason for him not eating well at some feedings.

I would guess that he is up too long. I would take him back to 1.5 hour waketime. See how naps go then. You can do 3.5 hour schedule if he will then nap 2 hours. You can even let him sleep up to 2.5 hours if he will and have a four hour schedule.

When you add to his waketime, don't add 30 minutes at a time. I like to add literally only 5 minutes at a time. I wouldn't do more than 10.

Remember you can do a combo schedule. Some feeds can be 4 hours apart while others are only 3 hours apart. That is not a problem at all.

You can also see the blog label "teething" to get ideas for soothing the teething pain. Good luck!

Jennifer said...

Hi Valerie. I have a 2 yr old and a 7 week old. I started BW with my 2 yr old when she was 4 weeks old and she just fell into a 3 hr routine naturally. No problems. I started BW with my 7 wk old from birth and we still haven't established a consistent schedule. In the beginning I attributed it to the difficulty I was having keeping her awake for waketime. But even now at 7 weeks she is still a sleeper. I have to wake her for every feeding throughout the day, except maybe for her first morning feeding. I've tried doing a combo schedule with everything between 2.5 to 3.5 hours, but I'm still having to wake her up. I think she would easily do a 4 hour schedule and be happy eating every 4 hours, but I have a few concerns. One is that she doesn't stay awake for more than 1 hr to sometimes 1.5 hours. Secondly, she is not sleeping through the night yet and still gets up once to eat in the middle of the night. I worry that moving to the 4 hour schedule now would mean she sleeps too much during the day and prolong us being able to get her to sleep through the night. Do you have any suggestions? It's killing me to have to continue waking her up all day, especially when it makes her very cranky afterwards.

Plowmanators said...

Jennifer, I personally would definitely not move to four hours at 7 weeks old.

I would continue to wake her when it is time to eat. I think many moms out there would die to have your current problem :)

See this post also:

Optimal Waketime Lengths : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/07/optimal-waketime-lengths.html

and

Adding Waketime to Your Newborn's Day : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/11/adding-waketime-to-your-newborns-day.html

Drews*Mama said...

Hello Val! Thank you so much for answering my other questions! You are so awesome that you are able to do all of this with a newborn! I know that you probably would rather be sleeping, but I REALLY appreciate it! :)
My son is now almost 11 weeks, and I would really like to transition him to a 3.5 hour schedule. (Do you think he is old enough for that, yet?) I have just started this week trying out a combo 3-3.5 hour schedule. The approximate feeding times are 7:30, 11, 2:30, 5:30, 8:30 and 10:30 or 11:00. I am trying this b/c 1- I am hoping it will make a difference in his daily evening fussy time and 2- My husband and I are on staff as youth pastors at our church and it is getting harder and harder for me to leave so many services to feed him. I am hoping Drew will be able to move to a complete 3.5 hour schedule soon, but I am a little hesitant b/c I know that BW really suggests not going more than 9 hours bet feedings at night if you are BF. (I'm not sure how long the book suggests doing it this way.) Since a 3.5 hour schedule leaves room for only 5 feedings and 10 hours at night, do you think it is safe for me to move to this at this point? I think that I have always had plenty of milk, but I am nervous that I will start to lose it if I make any changes too early. My goal is to BF for about 9 months. Thanks again for the help!

Drews*Mama said...

Just wanted to add to my comment...something I just thought of:
When I do go completely to a 3.5 hour schedule starting at 7:30, that will put him going to bed at 6:00 and his DF around 9:30. I was just wondering if I would need to change the times on this schedule before moving to a 4 hour schedule b/c, once I get rid of the DF, I don't really want him going to bed at 7:30. That is so early and doesn't seem like it would work with our schedule throughout the week. Most of the time, we're not even home yet by that time in the evenings. What do you suggest? Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

He is definitely old enough to have a combo schedule. He is also old enough to go to five feedings, but that is if he is ready.

See this post for outline of ages baby can do things:

Babywise Milestones: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/babywise-milestones.html

I am not really sure what you are asking with the changing schedule when you move to 4 hours (tired brain?). See the bedtime posts...but honestly most people who do BW have a bedtime of about 7-8 PM. You can try for a later bedtime, but be sure your LO can handle it.

SMondrach said...

My daughter is just over 3 months and will generally sleep right up to the next feeding, allowing for a 3.5-4 hour schedule. However, this schedule is rather new for us. On a 3-3.5hour schedule, in the recent past, we were feeding her in the evening by 7:30, then bath & bed by 8:30. I got the DF to 9:30. Should I work on dropping this DF, leaving 7:30 as the final feeding, on that 3-3.5 hour type schedule before we jump to 4 hours? We did a 4 hour schedule all day today...and she is a mess tonight!

Jenn said...

Hi, my son is 13 weeks today. He has done so well on Babywise. He started STTN at exactly 7 weeks, and about 3 weeks later dropped his DF with no problem. He was on a 5x a day, every 3 hour schedule from 7:30-7:30. Over the last week he has gradually begun to eat less at each feeding, and has spaced himself out to sometimes 3 1/2 hours. My question is, at 13 weeks could he be ready to move to 4 hours and 3 naps? He is usually up for an 1.5 at one time. It seems that in the morning he needs to go about 3 hours in between feedings, but between the last morning and early afternoon feedings he has been going 4 hours. But then is he can't adjust to a four hour feeding at night we are back to a dreamfeed again. I am afraid that if we try to move him to 4 feedings it will mess everything up!! HELP!! And congrats on your newest little one. We also used Babywise on my now 3 1/2 year old, and sometimes I have to grin on the inside when friends tell me they just can't get their kids to go to bed at night.

Plowmanators said...

smodrach,

yes, work on dropping the dreamfeed first :)

Plowmanators said...

Jenn,

I am sorry this is not a timely response. My guess is that by now he is either ready or you have tried it.

Most babies can eat closer together in evening--especially if they are breastfed. So if he needs to go 3-4-then 3 or even 2.5 to get the last feedings in, that is fine.

You can always try it and see how it goes :)

120 said...

Hi, I have a 3 week old baby girl who is eating only formula (3 to 3.5 ounces per feeding). She doesn't sleep through the night yet and wakes every 3 to 4 hours for those feedings. She also sleeps very well during her naps. I have been trying the 3 hour schedule with her since birth but I have to continuously wake her for feedings. I was wondering if I should let her go longer since she's on formula or just wake her as I have been or maybe do a combo 3 to 4 hour schedule to suit her sleep habits better? When I wake her during the day she is so groggy and struggles to have 40 minutes of wake time and seems to want to go right back to sleep. Thanks so much! This is a great site!

Novi said...

Hi..
I hope I post to the right place here...I have been in confusion for the whole week regarding schedule and STTN.

when you say that kaitlyn was on 3 hourly schedule until she was 6 months old, did you feed her with the same amount of milk from month to month? I wonder if I should increase my baby milk intake, but also afraid he would not finish it. I have tried giving him a 1/2oz extra, and he would only finish it if i extend the schedule feeding to 3.5hourly. but when i moved to 3.5hourly or 4 hourly, his sleep pattern changed too..he didn't STTN, so I moved back to 3 hourly. so far it's been 2 days since I moved back the schedule, but why does he still awake around 2 am? (not exactly awake, his eyes are still closed but he was shaking his head and seems to be agitated)

Plowmanators said...

120, I would stick to the 3 hour schedule. You can do a combo up to 3.5, but then you will need to have some 2.5 intervals so baby will get the number of feedings in per day. It sounds like she was having day/night confusion still, which is common. Typically babies get over this around 6 weeks, which is where you should be by now.

Plowmanators said...

Novi,

I don't know how much milk Kaitlyn ate at a time because I breastfeed. I am sure she ate more as she got older. If you go to kellymom.com, there is a calculator to help you figure out how many ounces baby should be getting based on age and weight.

As for the night, all babies wake several times in the night. They just need to be able to fall back asleep on their own. Also, after you change something it can often take more than a couple of days to get back on track.

Kelly Ford said...

Hey! I'm sure you get tired of everyone posting their schedules and asking for you to help us figure it all out, but thats what you get for being brillant :-) Anyhoo...
My little girl (14.5 weeks) has been sttn since 11 weeks (well, 8 hours at 8 weeks, but we dropped the df at 11 weeks...). It seems that she pretty much is set on sleeping 10.5hours at night. I prefer her to sleep till 7am so i can get ready for work (3 days a week) so i really dont let her go to bed till 8:30. Right now we're doing a combo 3-3.5 schedule but i think she might be able to do a combo 3.5-4. The issue is that she will do 4 hours in the a.m. (long naps get us to 4 hours with her 1.5hr waketime) but she doesnt nap as well in the afternoons. I dont know if thost short afternoon naps are a reason to NOT move to a 4 hour or if by condensing down to 3naps a day w/ the 4 hour schedule we would remedy that issue. Right now she does the following:
7am eat
8:30 nap and sleeps till
10:45 eat
12:15 nap and we wake her at
2 eat
3:30 nap

this is where it gets hairy. She only naps sometimes for 30 min, sometimes an hour. regardless, she gets moved to the swing to finish and then
5pm eat
6:30 put in swing for catnap
7pm wake and play, bath, ready for bed
8pm eat, read book, sing, prayers,
8:30 bed

1st of all... she is NOT hungry for some of her bottles. She leaves an ounce or more from each afternoon bottle. So do you think moving to a 4 hour will rememdy her hunger issue and her napping in the afternoon? I think it should look like

7am eat
8:30nap
11am eat
12:30 nap
3pm eat
4:30-6ish nap
wake and play,
7pm eat
ready for bed
8-8:30pm bed

yes, i'm worried about her waking a little early, but i'm thinking that w/ a 4 hour and more waketime she may sleep a wee bit longer at night? if not, she plays when she wakes so its not a super big deal.

And how do you have a combo schedule and still get the baby to bed ontime? just let the last feedings be closer together???

Ok, i've rambled enough. thoughts???

Kelly Ford said...

Ok, Valerie. Sorry about that long previous post. you dont have to reply. I tried 4 hours and it was a bust. Partially b/c she wont sleep as long in the afternoons as she will in the a.m. and partially b/c the flippin 45 min intruder WILL NOT LEAVE! She's at least now getting herself back to sleep after waking, although sometimes it takes 30 min (she wakes crying but stops after a few seconds and then takes a while and goes back to sleep). Wierd thing, she previous to the intruder would wake up happy! And since she wakes crying! Any thoughts on that? So we're doing a 4 in the morning and 3 hour the rest of the day. On the yahoo group they suggested shortening her day, too, so she's in bed by 8pm now and she does seem to be sleeping till 7am again. Funny how that works :-)

heather said...

My daughter is 4 and a half months old. She is currently on a 3.5 hour schedule. She feeds at 8am (when she gets up), 11:30, 3, 6:30 and a dream feed at 10pm. Her wake time is anywhere from 1.5-2 hours taking cues from her and then she naps until her next feeding. I generally wake her for her feedings, so I think she is ready to move to 4 hour feedings. I haven't dropped the 10pm dream feed yet, because I'm afraid that she won't sleep till 8am if I don't. I have no idea how much she is eating at 10pm because I breast feed and my daughter is a sloooooow eater and would nurse for an hour if I let her (lactation consultant has told me to take her off once her sucking slows and the pauses get longer than the sucking time).
I was considering moving to a 4 hour and lose the dream feed at the same time. Feed at 8, 12, 4, and 8 and then let her have her wake time and then bed by 9:30/10. I considered putting her to bed after her 8pm feed- but then that would mean she really would have been sleeping from 6pm-8am with a feed at 8pm and that doesn't seem right. Should I be feeding her at 4pm and keeping her awake right till her 8pm feed and then putting her to sleep? 4 hours awake also doesn't make sense to me. I had wanted to keep her wake up and bed times at 8 to keep things consistent. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Kelly Ford said...

heather...join the babywise group on yahoo... its excellent. they all (including valerie) said that its normal for the baby to have a short last nap of the day. So she would have her normal waketime, take a 30-45 min nap (whatever you find that works) and then wake her and play or whatnot, eat and bed. I hope this is the same advice valerie will give :-)

heather said...

Thanks Kelly- so what would that look like for her schedule? I thought that she always needed to follow eat-wake-sleep, but that would mean at 4 she would eat- short nap- then play till her next feed at 8- then bed till hopefully 8am?

At this point- should I be moving her to the 4 hour schedule and drop the 10pm feed? We have been giving her a bottle (still breast milk) at 10pm for the past couple of nights to see how much she is eating- and she's taking a full feed- 7-9oz. or maybe move to the four hour but after her 8pm feed- give her another one at 10:30 or 11pm? Before I go to bed? Or is that too close to her 8pm feed?

OR- should I just stay where I'm at?

OR something else entirely?

Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

Kelly Ford, I am sorry, it looks like you are one of those people who I don't get notified of your comments!

Waking crying at this age is hard to say. Most don't start waking happy consistently until 5 months old about. At that age, it could be just her only way of saying "I'm up!"

Plowmanators said...

Heather, I would strongly advise against doing both things at the same time. I would drop the dreamfeed, give it a few days, and then do the four hour schedule. Ideally, you would give 2 weeks between the two, but often times, baby is ready for both at the same time. It is just better to do one at atime so you can more easily troubleshoot should problems arise.

I also would advise against doing waketime after the 8 PM feeding. She will take a short third nap.

heather said...

Thanks! If I don't do both at the same time- then her last feed is at 6:30pm. I can't imagine she will make it from 6:30pm-8am. So how do I keep the 3.5 hour schedule without a dream feed? Feed her again at 8pm- even though it's only an hour and half after her last feed?

Can you give me an example of what the schedule should look like with dropping the dream feed- and then what it should look like after I have dropped the dream feed and move to the 4 hour schedule. I like our 8am wake up in the morning.

Thank you for your help!

Danielle said...

My 14 week old son has proven that he can go 4 hours between meals. He has been on a three hour schedule for a long time now, I think he was a little over a month. He is not interesting at all in eating at 3 hours and usually not at 3.5 hours either so I have been thinking about going to a 4 hour schedule. BUT he does not have naps down. I tried the four hour schedule today and not going so well at all. He always wakes up before the 4 hour mark. So I am wondering if I should keep trying or go back to his previous schedule a little longer. It's just that he has proven he can sleep 11 hours several times but lately has been waking up again in the night and he will eat a good meal (or sometimes go back to sleep and wake up 30min before 7am waketime) and I feel that it is because he is not eating well during the day anymore because he can go longer between meals. any suggestions?

Plowmanators said...

Heather,

I think for now, feeding her again at 8 PM might be the best answer. You could also try moving the 6:30 feeding up to 6 PM.

I am pretty much in your same situation :) McKenna wakes at 8 AM and she is really ready for a four hour schedule. I, too, like an 8 AM waketime :) But I also prefer a 7:30 bedtime, so we might move back to 7:30.

Anyway, I would just try to have your last two feedings 2 hours apart for now. Move your DF back by 5 minutes or 10-15 minutes until you reach a time you don't want to move it back anymore (for me, this will be about 9:45). Then just drop it. Try to give her a week or two on that schedule before moving to a four hour schedule, but if she is really ready, don't fight it too much. With Kaitlyn, I ended up moving to a four hour schedule 2 days after dropping the DF because she was that ready. I can see that happening with McKenna, too. Good luck!

heather said...

Thanks- I ended up doing both at the same time- just sorta happened but it worked great. No problems- slept through the night and got up at normal time. Except the last 2 nights:
My 5.5 month old baby girl (Makena) moved to a 4 hour schedule 6 days ago.
8am feed
10am nap
12pm feed
2pm nap
4pm feed
6pm nap
7pm- wake her up, bath, playtime etc.
8pm feed and bed

The first 4 days were great, very little issue keeping her up the during wake time, and staying asleep during naps times. Yesterday though, she was very angry when we woke her up. She wouldn't even stop crying in the bath, even though it's her favorite thing to do. Then today, same problem. We are just walking her around the house (the only thing that stops her from crying) and then end up feeding her at 7:45pm.

Suggestions?

Plowmanators said...

Danielle, it is a tricky situation. I personally would stick with the 3-3.5 hour cycle until he can nap successfully. You can wait up to 30 minutes after he wakes before feeding him (see post Eat, Wake, Sleep cycle).

That is also an age range when they seem to not nurse a lot. It is strange and lasts only a week or two usually. He also might just be faster.

Plowmanators said...

Heather, this is the risk of doing more than one thing at a time. You aren't sure what is causing the problem...or at least not sure where to start troubleshooting.

If she is acting hungrier, then it can either be a growth spurt or be that she wasn't ready to drop both feedings at the same time. I would add one back in to see if that fixes it.

If she is just tired, I wouldn't push a longer waketime yet. My McKenna is taking 2.5-3 hour naps because she can't stay up longer than one hour in the morning. It isn't causing any problems. Your baby might be getting overly tired over the course of a few days.

Jenn said...

I have a sort of predicament with this four hour schedule and would love your insight!

My son is 8 weeks old tomorrow and he's already eating 5oz of formula at a time, and going 4 hours between feedings. We have been unable to do any sort of sleep training with him so far because of his reflux issues, but they seem to be under control with the meds/formula combo we have going now. So, I know it's time to start training him.

Right now we are on more of a routine than a schedule because he doesn't really nap well for me during the day. He will either fall asleep right after eating and sleep 3 hours, or stay awake and fuss until I have to rock him to sleep because he is so panicky nothing else will calm him. Then he will sleep fitfully of and on until the next feeding.

Our evenings have been much more routine than the days. We try to feed between 7-8 (depending on the last feeding) and he goes straight to bed. He is able to put himself to sleep at this point, and we wake him for a dreamfeed around 10-11. Then we let him sleep til he wakes around 2-3, and again between 6-7, where we begin our morning. He does amazing at night, almost never having trouble getting back to sleep by himself.

Ok, after all that, I guess my question is, what do I do about this 4 hour schedule thing? He obviously isn't old enough to stay awake for 2 hours and then sleep for 2 hours. Do I just ride it out with random naps during the day until he's old enough to do a normal eat/wake/sleep schedule or is there another option? I can't feed him less food more often because he is not satisfied with less, even at 3 hours between feedings, and the doc said he is gaining weight too fast. I know, relfux baby gaining weight too fast...funny!

And of course the question is, when will he sleep through the night if we are doing a 4 hour schedule already! Anyway, any insight you have into this situation would be very helpful and appreciated. Thanks!

DoodleBug81 said...

Hi Valerie, I have a question for you!

My son is 10 weeks old, and he is doing great on Babywise! He is sleeping at least 7 hours at night consistently (from 11:00 to 5:30), and STTN the rest of the time (from 11:00 to 7:30 or so).

We're on a combo 2.5-3.5 schedule, but not consistent yet, since morning wake-time is varying day to day. I'm starting to have to wake him to eat, even at 3.5 hours between feedings.

My question is this: Should I be letting him go 3.5 hours between feedings during the day, or should I keep waking him at 3 hours until he is STTN consistently? His waketime is about 1 hour, including feeding time, and this means a 2 1/2 hour nap if he goes 3.5 hours between feedings. Is that bad? We're getting 6 feedings in during the day, and if he wakes at 5:30AM, that's a 7th feeding.

Thanks!!

sangimagnano said...

Thank you for all of your help. My 4.5 week old has been on a four hour feeding schedule since coming home from the hospital. Of course, there are times when he wakes up earlier and I feed after 3 or 3.5 hours. I would like to start BW, but am wondering if I need to bring him down to a 3 hour feeding schedule. Thanks again!

Plowmanators said...

Jenn,

You can do a 2.5 hour nap if he will. In your situation, just do your best considering the circumstances. Would he do a 3.5 hour schedule?

It might take him longer to STTN with the four hour schedule coming sooner, but he will get there. It is a special circumstance.

Plowmanators said...

Doodlebug81,

He can do a 3.5 hour schedule before STTN so long as he doesn't drop a day feeding by doing so. You can vary from 2.5-3.5. He can also take up to a 2.5 hour nap if needed.

Plowmanators said...

sangimagnano,

You probably should go back to a 2.5-3.5 hour routine. The reason for that is so you get all of the feedings in the day so your baby doesn't need it at night.

Whitney said...

I need a little advice and welcome any opinions! My baby is 16 weeks old. He has been on a very consistent 3 hour schedule and has been STTN (last feeding at 9:30 pm) for about a month now. However, it's only been the past couple of weeks that he's been making it until about 6:00 or 6:30. My ideal waketime would be 7:00. For now, I've been able to hold him off until eating at 6:30 or 7:00 to try and get that going. Since he was about 6-8 weeks old he has woken up from every nap 45 minutes into it. I realized quickly it was not a hunger problem but a sleep cycle issue. He has just recently started to go back to sleep during at least one nap a day and sometimes two. When he does that however, it ends up putting him at about 4 hours between feedings. He can easily stay awake 2 hours at a time so I thought he might be ready for a 3.5/4 hour schedule. He seemed more ready for this than for dropping the dreamfeed since he still sometimes wakes up as early as 5:30 am. I've tried the 3.5/4 hour schedule the past two days (we went from 6 to 5 feedings with a dreamfeed at 9:30) but he is waking up at about 4 am. I don't feed him and he will go back to sleep eventually but it is very restless. Will this go away as he gets used to the new schedule or is this a sign that he isn't ready? Would this also indicate it is too soon to drop the dreamfeed? I feel like I was "forcing" the 3 hour schedule and he wasn't ready to eat. I would love any suggestions or ideas!!

Plowmanators said...

Whitney, I would take it as a sign he isn't quite ready for it.

See also the post "early morning feedings before waketime"

Lonica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lonica said...

Hello! Thanks for your blog, I just love to read your advice!

My daughter is currently 15 weeks old and I'm wondering how best to transition her away from a 3 hour schedule, as she is no longer interested in eating every three hours. She has been sleeping 8-9 hours at night from about 7-8 weeks old, and just last week seemed to wean herself from the dream feeding and slept for 11.5 hours (although I think she might be willing to go back if it was her 5th feeding of the day). During the day she shows no interest in eating every three hours so I'm trying to figure out a new schedule to adjust her to.

I've read on your blog about when a baby is ready for a four-hour schedule. I can say that she definitely sleeps through the night, doesn't act hungry, and can take long naps and will sleep through the three-hour mark. The napping is a bit tricky, though. After struggling with three weeks of 45 min. napping, I've found that she sleeps best when she is warm (as in almost sweaty) and in semi-darkness. If both of these issues are taken care of she can easily take a two or two-and-half hour nap; if not, I find myself with an awake baby after only 45 or 60 minutes. When she wakes early, it makes it difficult to have a 3.5-4 hour schedule--not because she is hungry, but because she can't stay awake that long. That's the other issue, she doesn't have very long awake time--about 70-75 minutes is about max before she starts giving me sleep signs. I could push it longer, but I'd really be pushing.

Additionally, she has a harder time sleeping for longer periods of time in the evening, and I think that if I was to make a shorter distance between feedings, the evening would be the time to do it. I don't know how willing she would be to eat much sooner than 2.5 hours, though.

She wakes and eats every morning at about 8:30. I would like for her to go to bed at 8:00 at night or if her last feeding was at 8:00 that would be alright too. I wouldn't mind if she woke earlier in the day (say at 7:30 am), but I would prefer not to put her to bed much past 8:00 or 8:30. Any ideas on what a sample schedule might be for me? How could I get 4 or 5 feedings in between 8:30 am and 8:00 pm with a little girl who isn't interested in eating much earlier than every 3.5 hours, doesn't stay awake for very long before needing bed, and sometimes only sleeps 45-60 minutes (especially in the evening hours)? I feel like our life is a routine right now, but not much of a schedule and I would love to know what to count on more often. We left her with a baby-sitter yesterday and it was a bit of a mess because she isn't too "scheduled" right now...

Any thoughts are welcome! :0)

Kristin said...

I have been having a similar issue to Lonica, in that I have a four month old who I just started transitioning from a 3 hour schedule to a 4 today. So far it's gone great, but I'm wondering about the third nap. The schedule he's on right now is:
7:30am - wake/feed
9:30am - sleep
11:30am - wake/feed
1:30pm - sleep
3:30pm - wake/feed
7:30pm - bedtime
I tried to squeeze a short nap in from 5pm - 6pm, but he wasn't interested. Is he too young to only have two 2hr naps?

As well, I understand that 'plowmaker' has many emails to respond to, so if someone else reading this has gone through something simliar, or has any ideas, I'd be interested!
Thanks

Kristin said...

Sorry, that should have said 'Plowmanator'!!

Plowmanators said...

Lonica,

It is really hard to do a 4 hour schedule with a short nap.

You can have a schedule that is 3.5 to 4 hours. You can get her up when she wakes early, play for a bit, then put her back down to see if she will finish out the nap. Also see the posts "waking early from naps/won't fall asleep for naps", "waketime when they wake early" and "waketime when baby wakes early".

If you move to a four hour schedule before she is consistently able to sleep until 4 hours, just mentally prepare yourself to sometimes have to do 3 or 3.5 hour intervals.

It is totally normal for evening naps to be shorter. You can have her up for 30 minutes before feeding if needed (see "eat/wake/sleep cycle" post).

You can't really plan on more than 12 hours of sleep in the night, so if you want her in bed by 8, plan on having her wake up around 8 AM. Some will sleep more, but most will not.

So if you did:

8
11:30
3:00
6:00
7:45

That might cram the last two too close together. If you want 5 day feedings, you are going to have to take it to three hours or do four hours with a dreamfeed.

Most babies will do longer intervals in the morning hours and shorter in the evening, so you could do

8
11:30
2:30
5:00
7:45

Good luck!

Plowmanators said...

Kristin, he is a bit young to go down to two naps. For most, the earliest would be 6 months old. Try the nap at 5:30 or 6:00. Even just a 30 minute nap would be fine.

Kristin said...

We've been working on the 4hr schedule since my last entry and it's going very well. I've started him on oatmeal cereal to help with the wake up from his third nap when I don't BF to tide him over. The third nap has been going pretty good, and like you say, sometimes it's only half an hour or so, but he's waking up happy, so no complaints from me!!! I've been getting a lot of great feedback on the yahoo site which has been SOOO helpful as well!
Thanks
Kristin

Bo and Arlies Mom said...

Hi Valerie!

Well, I've written you before during those difficult first weeks when you think you'll never live...and apparently, I survived. ha-ha But as always, new children, new challenges. I have a now 2 1/2 year old daughter Arlie, and Bo just turned 5 months right after Christmas.

I stopped breastfeeding Bo around 4 months due to supply issues...it just became such a struggle, and a battle I couldn't fight anymore. So now we're strictly formula feeding. Bo is on a 3.5 hour schedule, eating 5 times a day, about 7 oz. per feed. His waketime is still around 1 hour, and he sleeps between 2 - 2.5 hrs. each nap. Schedule is roughly:

9am - wake and feed
10am - nap
12:30 - wake and feed
1:30 - nap
4pm - wake and feed
5pm - nap
7:30 - wake and feed THEN BEDTIME
11pm - Dreamfeed

I always have to wake him for the dreamfeed...always. But I have hesitated dropping it because he has been waking during the night for about a month now, usually around 5 - 5:30am every morning. I do not feed him. I have let him CIO but not consistently because he often just will not stop, and ends up waking up toddler sister right next door. If I change his diaper, and/or resituate him in bed he'll usually settle back down. I'm just honestly growing weary of this every morning, because I often can't go back to sleep. Otherwise he sleeps pretty well, but don't think he's ready to drop the dreamfeed yet with this crying still happening in the early morning hours.
(#1) What's your honest opinion here? and
(#2)If I do, which method I should use for dropping it?

Wondering about the 4-hour schedule change because I also have to wake him from each nap to eat...every nap, every day. (Except in the morning he's almost always awake when I go in...I am just ususally busy dealing with the 2 yr. old [who generally wakes around 8:30am] and her breakfast until I can feed him at 9am...and he seems to be content to babble and coo in his bed until I can get to him...).

He is also now only interested in about 6 of the former 7 oz. feedings (when he used to ball for more even after 7!
(#3) Was that a growth spurt you think??)

There has a been a time or two, just based on my busy schedule, that I have left him asleep until the four-hour mark because I needed to - and he did fine, and still needed to be woken up to eat.

(#4) Does this mean he is ready?? I know you suggest the dreamfeed being dropped first, but do think he seems more ready for the 4 hr. change since I always have to wake him??

I thought about trying feed schedule of 8a/12p/4p/8p/ and then keeping the dreamfeed for a while at 11 or 11:30pm. I would just have to start getting him up before Arlie instead of leaving him awake in his room until I've dealt with her.

(#5) And if I do this schedule change first, then how long would I wait, or what do I look for to be able to then drop the dreamfeed later on??

(#6) Also, do I then increase his waketime?? He still seems so sleepy and ready to nap after an hour of waketime, but is a 2.5 - 3hr. nap too long??

I know I have lots of questions here, but they all relate to each other, and I hope you can sort them out and tell me what you think in each instance. Thank you again, and may God continue to bless you and this gift of helps He has bestowed upon you.

Blessings, Erin (Bo and Arlie's Mom)

Plowmanators said...

Glad to hear it Kristin!

Kalika Girl said...

Hi! First of all I'd like to say that I really enjoy your blog and all the tips you share with us new moms. VERY helpful! =)

My baby girl is 20 weeks old and is already on a 4 hour schedule (since 13 weeks). Was that too soon?

I have done BW since day 1 and have been very successful so far!! I have also read both of the Baby Whisperer books. I haven't introduced solids at this point yet (only breast milk) and right now Nicole feeds 4 times a day, plus the DF.

You said that we should only move to the 4 hour schedule once the baby is STTN (12 hours with no feeding). So my question is: does the DF count?? Nicole feeds at 7 am, 11 am, 3 pm, 6-6:30 pm and then there's the DF at 9:30-10 pm.

She actually sleeps from 7 pm to 7 am but has that DF in between, so I'm a little confused about what STTN really means and whether or not I should be feeding her at a shorter interval (although she seems to do fine with this schedule)!

Thanks for your help!!

Plowmanators said...

Bo and Arlies Mom,

1) Hard to say for sure. Brayden still ate at that time of night at that age, and did need it. But my girls didn't.

There is a chance the DF is disrupting his sleep. Some moms find dropping it fixes night issues.

I think it is fine to still have the DF if he needs it. No need to rush it.

I would see if you can figure out the reason for his waking. Is he hungry? Tired? Cold?

2)If you do drop it, I would take it slowly. I would move it back, then decrease the number of ouces.

3)possible :) He also might be ready for a four hour schedule.

4) I did go to 4 hours with McKenna before dropping the DF.

That DF time is pretty late. I would try it at 10 or 10:30. For McKenna, a DF time after 10:30 meant she woke earlier in the night.

5)still watch for the same signs for dropping the DF. I would wait at least 2 weeks...but I would do a month unless it was very obvious he needed it sooner.

6)not if he needs it. McKenna took longer naps.

Good luck!

Plowmanators said...

Kalika Girl, it was only too early if she let you know it was too early :) If she is fine with it, then it is fine.

The defininition of STTN varies based on age. For the newborn, it is 7-8 hours (according to BW). For the older baby, it would be from DF to morning waketime--meaning no night feedings. Then you drop the DF, so it would be from 7-7 with no feedings between.

But you already went to a 4 hour, so since she is doing fine, just stick with that and have dropping the DF be your next step--once she is ready.

The American Dream? said...

I am so happy I found this blog! I have been implementing babywise with my baby girl since day 1. I had a lot of issues with breastfeeding so she is now completely on formula. She sleeps wonderfully at night and has slept through the night (6-8 hours) at 6 weeks and now (3 1/2 months) she is sleeping 10ish. My question is, she HATES napping. I can get her to nap during the day but never longer than 30-45 minutes and she's clearly tired. She fights sleep so bad during the day so by the end of the day she is extremely exhausted and is ready for bed by 6pm. 6pm is too early for us to have her in bed, as it doesn't work with our schedule. i've been slowly trying to keep her up a little later, as she's been waking and stirring in bed from 3-5am and sometimes not able to go back to sleep so 5am ends up being the first feeding.

She's on a combo 3.5/4 hr routine and it works great. She doesn't fuss at all really, just is visibly tired and will not nap. I have let her cry (going in and soothing by the crib) for up to 2.5 hours before and she just hates to sleep during the day! Not sure what to do. So the nap part of the routine is becoming obsolete.
Very frustrating. Any advice??

Thanks so much, Michelle

Plowmanators said...

Michelle,

There are a few areas for you to check out in the blog.

First, see "Naps--troubleshooting: Revised and updated"

See also the blog index under "sleep problems"

See also the label "CIO"

I also have to wonder if she has some sort of gas pain or reflux?

melissa said...

I also find your site so helpful. My littlest man is just one week past 6 months old. Here is his typical schedule:

6:30 B/F & Breakfast
9:00 Nap
10 B/F & Lunch
12:30 B/F (he falls asleep about 1:15)
3:30 B/F & Dinner
6:45 B/F
7:15 to Bed

The problem is that he is waking up several times during the night! Not to eat...just wakes up. I could probably count on my hands how many nights I've had a good nights' sleep.

The other problem is that he shares a room with is almost 2 year old brother. We've been sensitive to his crying, so that when he cries, he doesn't wake up his brother. I really want him to sleep on his own (CIO) but am not sure how to do that during the night or at naps.

In looking at my schedule for him, it seems like there should be an extra evening nap. Is he to old for that, though?

What would be a better schedule for us to follow/try out?

Plowmanators said...

Melissa,

He isn't too young for a third nap if he needs it. This nap will typically be only 30-60 minutes long.

For daytime, I would separate the two kids. Have one sleep in a pack and play in a closet or in your room or anywhere he can go. Daytime sharing for sleep rarely works out, and usually only with twins.

So far as night, I would first put a humidifier or some sort of white noise machine so they don't wake each other up with little noises.

If you can get his days worked out, his nights should follow. If they don't, you could separate the two at night for a week or two so you can do CIO at night. But if you can do it in the day, it will usually fix night without having to do CIO.

melissa said...

Thanks so much for your tips. Last week I did end up adding a third nap to his schedule, and it's going so much better! He's happier. He doesn't CIO during the daytime, and most of the time, not at night, either.

Last week he didn't wake up during the night; but this week he is. I think he's just B-O-Y and is H-U-N-G-R-Y! I'm going to go back to doing a dreamfeed for a little bit and see how that goes.

I'm glad for your blog - thanks so much for the helpful tips! Whenever I have a question, I look at your blog, then consider what we should do according to our situation (just tonight I looked up about the transition from a crib to a toddler bed or our two-year old!).

alicia said...

I have a 3 1/2 month old girl and have used the BW method since birth. Went great with my son (now 3) and so far pretty good with her. However, her one main "snag" is that she has always been a "wierd" eater to me, or at least compared to my son. She can eat 5/6 ozs at one feeding and then 3 at the next. She started sleeping through the night at about 8/9 wks and sleeps form 10pm to 6am. She is on a 3 hour schedule starting at 6am (which works great for getting me out the door, kids to daycare and me to work on time). We used to feed her at 10 and went 4 hours between (6pm - 10pm) for the last one as she is so sleepy that she doesn't always eat well or enough to really get her through the night. We usually can get 4-5 ozs in her and then is pretty ok. However, it is a struggle. She falls asleep every night at about 8pm. Is this her way of telling us we should be feeding her the last feeding then and then maybe she would be awake enough to eat and then sleep? Is it reasonable to expect her to sleep from 8pm to 6am? Also, how would we do the schedule then? I would like to move to every 4 hours but that would make the 8pm feeding wonky... so it would be 6am/10am/2pm/6pm and then 8pm so only two hours between that last one?? Please help me figure out how to get enough in her at night and move to 4 hour! Thanks!!

Plowmanators said...

Alicia,

I would choose one or the other to work on first. Do either dropping the 10 PM feed or moving to a 4 hour scheudle, but not both at the same time.

Allyson said...

Hey Val,
I first want to thank you for the hours you pour into this blog and the time you take to help all of us Babywise Parents. It is truly a ministry and you are a blessing!
Please forgive me if you have covered this already...I really did try to find my answer in another post before writing. Here's the situation: My son is 6 1/2 months and we've been doing BW since birth. He sleeps great at night( 11 1/2-12 hours), but lately his days have been all over the map. He was on a nearly perfect 3 hour schedule:
7:15- wake, 8 oz. plus cereal & fruit
8:20- nap
10:00- wake, 4oz. bottle
11:15- nap
1:00- wake,6 oz. bottle plus cereal & veggie
2:30- nap
4:15- wake, 4oz. bottle
6:30- 6oz. bottle plus dinner solids
7:30- bed
About a month ago, he stopped wanting his 10 am and 4ish pm bottles. He would nap the same, but when he woke, he just wasn't hungry. His liguid intake went way down, which worried me, so I tried a 4 hour schedule. The problem is that he still can't stay up for that long so appetite-wise the 4 hour schedule was perfect, but napping-wise not so much. He can't stay up long enough, but also won't sleep long enough to make it to the 4 hour mark. He actually doesn't mind waiting for his meals, but by the time he does eat, it's then time to go back down which I don't like. We tried a combo schedule which sort of works, but he is just not hungry before 4 hours...sometimes longer! He is the most laid back baby and doesn't seem a bit bothered by any of this. I, on the other hand, am totally stressed out! I know we won't do the eat/wake/sleep thing forever, but on the 4 hour schedule he does wake/eat/sleep. I'm just not sure that's okay, even though he is well established and nights aren't ever affected. Should I push him to stay awake longer? Or should I stick with the 3 hour combo schedule and just accept that he won't always eat? Thanks in advance for any wisdom you can offer!

Plowmanators said...

Allyson,

I wouldn't push him to stay awake. That will eventually backfire and he will stop sleeping well. Stick with what works and extend his waketime as he is ready.

You can feed him up to 30 minutes after waking. So if his sleep schedule puts him on a 3 hour schedule, I would wait 30 minutes, which will put you at 3.5 hours eating. This is a compromise between the two. Within a couple of months, he should be able to stay awake long enough to make the four hour work.

If you are adding milk to his cereal, be sure to count that in your daily ounces you are tracking. If you aren't, I suggest you do add milk :)

Allyson said...

Thanks for your help. I started feeding him 30 minutes after he would wake up and it worked for a few days, but now he's back to not wanting that bottle at all and it's now affecting his next nap. Instead of sleeping until one, he's getting up around 12-12:15 and he's starving!! It's no wonder because at that point it's been 5 hours since he's had anything. Help us, please:)

Plowmanators said...

have you talked to your pedi at all? It seems odd to me that he isn't hungry after 4 hours--at least hungry enough to eat something. McKenna wasn't a baby who was starving at 4 hours, but she still ate well.

If you are on a 4 hour schedule, then he shouldn't be waking early from a nap and it be 5 hours since he last ate. He should be eating at 7, napping at some point, then eating at 11, napping, eating at 3, possibly napping and then eating around 7 again. So if he is waking at 12:15 and it has been over 5 hours, something is off.

jencwu said...

Haven't used this site in a long time, but now onto baby #2 :) She is 12 weeks old, and is formula-fed. Over the last couple of weeks she has become really difficult to feed. I have to wake her from her naps for every single feeding, and she is happy to get up but isn't too interested in finishing her bottles. She was a late bloomer with STTN--only been doing it for a little over a week. I know you say to drop the dreamfeed before moving to a 3.5-4 hour schedule. But since she doesn't seem hungry after 3 hours, should I start extending her day now?

Plowmanators said...

You can definitely try it and hold on to the dreamfeed. I did that with my youngest because of a move, and it worked fine.

angitucker said...

I need your help. My child is 8 months old and sleeping through the night beautifully for 12-12.5 hours. He has been on a 3 hour schedule with 3 naps (and worked great with our existing schedule)but looks to be moving to a 4 hour schedule and 2 naps. But I'm not sure how best to work this into our daily routine. I have 2 older children in elementary school and we have chosen to take/pick up our children from school as we do not want them riding the bus. But the pick up time I'm afraid will fall smack in the middle of the now afternoon nap. And if I have to wake him - it will make it a longer stretch til bedtime. Do you have any suggestions? Here is what our schedule will look like roughly if he is in fact moving to 2 naps:
7:30-45am wakeup and bottle
8:30am take big kids to school
8:45am breakfast solids
9:30am 1st nap
11:30-45 bottle lunch to follow
1:30pm nap (will have to wake baby)
3:10 leave to pick up kids
3:30-45 bottle
5:30pm dinner
7pm bottle and bedtime

Just looking for some ideas to make this work. I don't know if I should suck it up and let the big kids ride the bus home for sake of the baby's nap. But we've always felt strongly against it. Or just hope the baby will "adjust". I don't want to be unfair to any of them. Your help would be appreciated! Thank you!

Hannah said...

Hi, I have a three month old daughter and she is sleeping from about 9pm to 8 pm. We are on a three hour schedule. She sleeps with lots of tossing and turning in the early hours of the morning. But when I wake her to eat in the morning she only eats one to two ounces and then is happy an hour later goes to sleep and wakes about two hours later or earlier. She may eat 4 to 5 ounces or wake up and not want to eat at all. It changes everyday. Some days she wakes from her naps on her own early and doesn't want to eat, just play, but she will cry in her crib for a long time...if I let her. Other days I wake her and she still does not want to eat. it takes me about 30 minutes for her to drink a bottle of 4 ounces. I know she should be hungry but she just wants to play with her bottle. Should I try to switch to a four hour schedule?

Plowmanators said...

Angitucker,

My first thing I would look into is to see if there is a neighbor you could take a monitor to a neighbor while you are picking baby up. It looks like you are close to the school, so you shouldn't be gone long. If you are the middle of the nap, then I wouldn't want to wake baby.

If that isn't possible, I would see if there is anyone who wants to carpool. My guess is no because they probably do the bus, but worth a shot.

I don't know what your community is like or bus is like, but if those first two didn't work, I would do the bus. It would only be for the rest of this school year--so a couple of months. But if there were real dangers on the bus (morally or physically), then I wouldn't do that.

Plowmanators said...

Oh, another idea, you might be able to find a middle school girl who would come sit at your house while you picked kids up. I know our middle school is out before the elementary, so that is an option I could do.

And for the carpool, you could offer to drive every day if they picked up every day.

Plowmanators said...

Hannah, I don't know that a four hour schedule would solve it since she isn't eating well even after sleeping all night.

One thing to know is that around 3 months old, most babies go through a time they don't eat much. Then they soon follow that with a big growth spurt :) It seems to line up with a wonder week (see wonder week blog label).

A-Lo said...

Hello Val,
My baby girl (22 weeks-started cereal 2 weeks ago) is definitely ready for a 4 hour schedule. She has been on a 3 and just was not eating a whole lot. She's currently eating 4x a day and sleeps 12 hours consistently overnight. My only problem is she will not stay awake longer than 1 hour or sleep longer than 2 hours in the morning.
EX:
7:30a Nurse
8:30a Nap
10:30a Wakes on her own/relax in swing
11:15 Feed
12:15 Nap
2:15p Wakes on her own/relax in sling
3:00p Feed
5:00p Nap
6:00p Bedtime routine, bath
6:30ish Nurse & bedtime

I've tried feeding her when she wakes, but she doesn't eat much. Lately when she wakes I will have her relax in her swing for 45 minutes or put her in my sling until 4 hours and then I feed. The only problem is by the time we're done eating she's already been awake for about 2 hours which means time for a nap. So the eat/wake/sleep cycle becomes wake/eat/sleep. What should we do? Thank you so much! Your blog/BW ministry is such a blessing especially being a SAHM-lots of cabin fever LOL

Scat6879 said...

My baby is 17 weeks, and started cereal this week. She sleeps very well and has been STTN solidly since 8 weeks our schedule is:
6am feed (1 side and back to sleep)
9am wake, nurse
10:15-10:30 nap
12 wake, nurse
1:15-1:30 nap
3pm wake, nurse
4:30 nap
6pm wake, nurse & 1T cereal
7:30 bed or *nap (depends where we are sometimes @ church)
9pm nurse- its a'dreamfeed' most nights

My question is should I move her to a 4 hour schedule I have been waking her up to feed for probably 1 month most days and most naps- my biggest concern is she weighed 8#3oz when she was born and at our appt Mon for her 4 month check up she weighs only 10#6oz. We had her thyroid & blood checked - she is perfectly healthy just extremely petite. Should I hold off moving to an extended schedule so she has as much food and she can during the day?

Plowmanators said...

A-Lo,

Try adding five minutes of wake time at a time and see if you can find a time that will either get her napping a bit longer or get her closer to feeding time through being awake longer.

Plowmanators said...

Scat, She might take in more at a time if she eats at longer intervals.

Has her growth been steady? If it has been a steady growth, I would try the four hour and see how she handles it. If shes sleeps well and is satisfied and continues to grow steadily, then she is good to go with the four hour.

Joanna Hendrix said...

Hello again!
I posted in comforting sick baby and now am posting here (whew, we have had a time and I am a mess)! Our girl will be 5 months on Oct 16. She is over her cold and feeling much better, thank goodness! I remember reading in one of your fabulous posts (disruptions maybe?) where you said something about how when kiddos get off schedule they can reset for the better. I think we are doing that. For awhile now I have been having to wake her out of a dead sleep to eat on our 3 hour schedule and sometimes she is not as hungry, I can tell. Also, some mornings she wakes at 6:15-6:30 but happy not crying. She will dose until 7 if I leave her alone. Our current days are:
7-nurse, oatmeal
8:15-10 nap
10- nurse
11:20 ish-1 nap
1-nurse, cereal
2:15-4 nap (been waking lately at 3-3:30 but very happy and has no problem waiting till 4 to eat)
4-nurse (she totally refuses to nap, even catnap in the swing between these feedings)
6:30 nurse, cereal
7-bed (I put her down totally awake but she is so tired by the time she goes down that she is asleep before I leave the room)
I know BW says that too much daytime sleep can = early wakings. I dont know what to do. Today has been deemed experiment day. I let her stay awake until she started to get grumpy, but not crying. She made it until 8:41 but played in her crib until 8:50 and went right to sleep, no crying! (she normally does not cry at all before naps or bedtime, I just had no idea what to expect since she was awake longer) I was floored! Is she ready for 4 hour schedule? What are your opinions on the whole sleep thing? Does she need less daytime sleep? I need your wisdom!! You are awesome, BTW. Love the blog, it is a total life saver!

Plowmanators said...

Joanna, I think she sounds like she might be ready for a four hour! I would try it and see how it goes if you haven't already.

I haven't ever had a child not sleep well at night due to too much sleep. i think that risk is so slim--especially with an older baby. I have heard from moms who have said that has been their issue, but my kids do more of drop a nap, then shift that amount of sleep from that nap to other naps or to night. So they stay at the same hours of sleep a day for quite a while.

Good luck with your transition!

Natalie Jansen said...

Hi, my son is 5 1/2 months. He is on a 3 hr schedule starting at 7am and then one last bottle at 9. He has been STTN since 7wks. BUT, he is a 45 minute baby to the second = frustration! Every few days or so he will take an hour or hour and a half nap. I have tried everything to get him to nap longer. but he wakes up happy 99 percent of the time. The rare times that he cries when he wakes is when I can get him to fall back to sleep( either on his own or with a little help).
His wake time is only 1.5 hours.
He has been on rice cereal now for 2 1/2 weeks (he was born ready for that)3x a day. For a week now he is not showing interest in eating unless it's the cereal. He will take about 3 or 4oz (normally 9oz) but only because I keep forcing the bottle in his mouth. haha He just coos and plays with it with his tongue and after a few minutes gets bored with that and starts squirming and turning his head. I am wondering if he is getting ready for a 4 hour schedule? Yesterday, because of things going on at my church, he went 4 hours without eating and 4 1/2 another time. Not because I wanted it that way, but he was in the nursery. He was great! The 4 1/2 was a little much for him, but both of those times he ate well and was very content. Do you have any suggestions for me as to what I should do? I am not overly anxious to move to a four hour schedule,(especially w/o good naps) but it seems like he's just snacking all day.
Thank you so much for your advice! It is so helpful! You are such a blessing!

Hannah said...

My son is 6 months old and still on a 3 hour schedule, 5 feedings a day. He's been STTN for awhile now: 7-7am. (His daily eating schedule is 7-7:30, 10, 1, 4, 7). I'm not in a hurry to get him to a 4 hr schedule, but he spits up alot, almost to make me think that he has acid reflux, so that's what i feel like is holding him back. Also, if I move him to a 3.5hr eating schedule, it would look like this: 7, 10:30, 2, 5:30, 7, which makes the last feeding only an hour and a half from the last one, and i know he won't want to eat. I tried something similar to this the other night, and like i suspected, he wouldn't eat at 7, but then woke up an hour after i laid him down for bed to eat at the 3.5 mark. Make sense? I don't know what to do. Advice would be great!! Thank you for everything you've put on this site; it is EXTREMELY helpful!

Hannah said...

Oh, I also forgot to mention that his naps are usually only 1hr, sometimes only 45 min., after 1.5 hours of waketime. This napping schedule throws off the eat/wake/sleep schedule and makes it so that sometimes he is going down for a nap right after eating. I've done everything, even letting him CIO, but he won't go back to sleep. In fact, most times, he wakes happy. I'm very confused, though from doing some reading on here, I've noticed I'm not the only one that struggles with this! So I was thinking that maybe the fact that he won't sleep much factors in problems in the eating area??

Lisima said...

Hello! I have an 11 week old daughter who STTN early (5 weeks) but I just dropped the dream feed last week. Didnt want to push it since she was still so young but since we dropped it she has moved to 3.5 hours consistantly. It's hard for me to get 5 feedings in and have her on a 12 hour day. She seems over tired at night and wakes up constantly, even though she is not hungry. I figure that's because she is not getting to bed at a good time since I'm trying to squeeze in that last feeding. How can I schedule my day? I don't think she can go 4 hours yet but who knows. Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

Natalie, you could definitely try it out and see how it goes. You will likely need to see if he can lengthen waketime between naps and then he will also likely be awake for a while before he eats next. It doesn't hurt to try it and see how he does. Good luck!

Plowmanators said...

Hi Hannah, I am not quite sure what you are asking. Are you wondering if I think you should force a four hour schedule? If so, I am not a believer in pushing it if the baby isn't showing the signs of being ready. If you do think he has reflux, that might be why he doesn't sleep well. Let me know if this doesn't answer your question.

Plowmanators said...

Lisima,

You will most likely need to do a combo schedule--so not straight 3.5 hours all day. Something like:

7:00
10:30
2:00
5:00
7:30

Lacey and Tyler said...

I love your website and would love a little insight. My LO is 4 months and 1 week. He's on a 3 hour pattern. I didn't start BW until he was about 8 weeks old. I had to go back to work at 12 weeks and since then it's been a combination between me, my sitter, and my DH to keep him on schedule. They're great, but it's still more of a pattern. One thing we have down is his WT is only 1 hr 15 min. He gets sleepy on the dot if not a little sooner. We try for 2 hr naps. His 1st and 2nd nap with his sitter are usually between 1.5 hr and 2.25 hr naps. I normally tell her to wake him up after 2 hours.

His next cycle is with my husband. He's not too accurate on the schedule thing, but he does pretty good.He puts him down around 1 hr 15, but this nap is most always 45 min. If I'm home, usually I can swing an 1hr15 min nap from LO, but not always. The next cycle depends on the previous cycle, so I never know if I need to come straight home, of if I'll have an hour to go to the gym or whatnot (I BF at home).

I'll usually feed him once more between 7 and 8 and then put him to bed between 7:30 and 9. We don't have a consistent bed time. I then do a DF around 9:45-10:30. He'll STTN until 7. That's the one consistent time!

I'd like to move him to a 3.5 hr schedule...and actually make it a schedule. I just get so confused figuring out if I need to extend or retract WT and or NT. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Lacey and Tyler said...

Also another question: I've read on here that you shouldn't move onto a longer schedule until they're taking their naps well and you have to wake them for their feeding. How do I get to that point??

Plowmanators said...

Lacey,

You will want to get a consistent bedtime. That will help your consistency.

Make sure you read the opsts on "optimal waketime lengths" Those will help you understand when to do what.

Also look into the posts on stimulation levels.

They way you get to waking them up for naps is 1)them being ready for it and 2)waketime length and stimulation levels being right.

A Better No Tomorrow said...

Hello again,

My son is 8 1/2 months old. He has always slept about 10 1/2 hrs at night. He is currently starting to drop his third nap and although he doesn't nap for 2 hrs, his naps are between 1 hr 15 min to 1 hr 45 mins and he is able to stay awake for 2 hrs at a time. Physically, I know that he is able to go 4 hrs between feedings, but we have stayed at feedings every 3 to 3 1/2 hrs due to his napping habits. My question is, he seems to be falling into somewhat of a 4 hr schedule. I read that a baby needs to be sleeping 12 hrs at night before making the change. Is it possible to move to a 4 hr schedule if he is only sleeping 10 1/2 hrs at night, or do you think I would just be asking for problems? Thank you so much for your advice. I really appreciate it.
kandice

Plowmanators said...

You can do the four hour with a 10.5 hour night. You just will have to tweak some how.

So if you ate at 7, 11, 3, and 7, you would be in bedtime at 8:30 to get the 10.5 hours at night.

Lacey and Tyler said...

Thank you for answering! I have another question if you don't mind. We're on a 3.5-4 hour schedule...however he's not sleeping his full naps (due to stimulation at the babysitters I think). It is okay that we still with the scheduled feeding times? (7, 11, 2:30, 6)

Maureen said...

Hi Valerie,
I was so glad to read that your daughter's awake times are very similar to my son's and at the same age too. My son can only stay awake after he wakes for about an hour and 10 min. and then about 1 and half hours after the first nap and the afternoon nap. I THINK he wants to drop a feeding and go to 4 because he never wants to eat at the three hour mark. But my concern is that he doesn't sleep as long as your daughter did. He goes to bed at 7pm and wakes at 6 am and eats then. He goes to bed at about 7:15 and sleeps for about an hour and a half so that puts him needing to wake up and not be fed for a while but his awake time is so short he starts bumping into getting ready for his next nap. Any suggestions on how to help him take longer naps like your daughter or why he isn't eating if he's waking up? I am very good at watching sleepy cues. When I put him down he does a little standing but (for morning nap) he is usually asleep within 10 minutes of me putting him in the crib. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Buchta Base said...

Hello!
I am on my third child and have used BW for all three (all three responding very differently to it) and its funny how you can be so obsessed with something and then forget it a few years later. My daughter is 7.5 months old and her schedule is kinda wacky. Eats, 7-11-1:45-5-7:30 then only naps 9-10:45 and 2:30-4 ( no evening nap). Sometimes if she wakes up early (happy usually) her awake time is like 4 hours!! She's a really happy baby so it's hard to read her. Should I be adding a nap time in there because of long awake time? She has been STTN since 9 weeks, started solid foods at 5.5 months and I am nursing. Thanks in advance!! I have referred your site to every mom I know and every one of them has found guidance and support. Thank you so much!
Cami

Buchta Base said...

Hello!
I am on my third child and have used BW for all three (all three responding very differently to it) and its funny how you can be so obsessed with something and then forget it a few years later. My daughter is 7.5 months old and her schedule is kinda wacky. Eats, 7-11-1:45-5-7:30 then only naps 9-10:45 and 2:30-4 ( no evening nap). Sometimes if she wakes up early (happy usually) her awake time is like 4 hours!! She's a really happy baby so it's hard to read her. Should I be adding a nap time in there because of long awake time? She has been STTN since 9 weeks, started solid foods at 5.5 months and I am nursing. Thanks in advance!! I have referred your site to every mom I know and every one of them has found guidance and support. Thank you so much!
Cami

Daniela Freitas said...

Hi! Just like the last poster, I am also on my 3rd kid and have used BW / Whisperer in combo for all 3. And I, too, don't think I have any brain cells left from over-thinking, so I decided to post instead :)
My son is 16 weeks old and his schedule is weird. He can handle 2-2.5 hours of awake time and can happily manage 2 naps per day for 1.5-2 hours each. But he is not STTN. He used to do 8-10 hours (@ 2.5-3 months old) but recently has been waking at 11pm (I let him CIO), and then waking at 230am (I BF here), and then again 5-6am (I BF again to get him back to sleep). Wake-up is 7-730am. A month or 2 ago he was going through to 430-530am without ANY wakeups. It was amazing. I was able to workout! haha. But the 4-month regression and growth spurt (I'm guessing) hit and now I'm questioning the routine. I know I'm not "supposed" to go to the 4-hour routine or drop any feedings yet bc he is not going long enough at night, but I don't know what the next move should be. In order to get the feedings in, I do nurse before his afternoon nap. Here is the current schedule:

7/730am: eat
930am-11/1130am: nap
11/1130am: eat
130pm: eat then nap (I wake him up if he falls asleep nursing and then put him in his crib awake)
2pm-4pm: nap
If he wakes up before 4pm, then he gets a catnap. If he makes it until 4pm or later, we skip the catnap and put him to bed 30 min earlier.
4/430pm: eat
630/645pm: bath, book, boob, bed by 730/8pm
I do not dreamfeed and never have with any of my kids.

But now with the night waking, I'm questioning everything. Should I add in a clusterfeed around 6pm to get more food into him? (That means 6 feeds during the day?!) Or will that just make him not eat enough at 7pm? Should I be forcing a catnap (HATE the evening nap bc it means we're stuck at home and the other kids can't get outside). Will the 4-hour schedule help him STTN even though its against BW? Any help to fix this mess would be so amazing. I will be starting solids next week, so I don't want to confuse the poor kid any more than needed. What should I do, oh BW guru?

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