Saturday, February 23, 2008

Combo Schedule is Okay

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I often see questions about feeding schedules where the mom is wondering what to do because baby sometimes isn't hungry to eat at three hours, but other times in the day can't go more than three hours.

Keep in mind that combination schedules are okay. No problem. If there is one feeding a day where your baby needs more time between feedings, you can do 3.5 hours for that feeding and 3 hours for the rest and still get in the correct number of feedings in a day.

You can do a combo 2.5-3 hour schedule. With both of my kids, that schedule also required one 2 hour interval in the evening (they were/are breastfed).

You can do a combo 3-3.5 schedule. I have done a combo 2.5-3.5 hour schedule. Kaitlyn is on a 4 hour schedule right now, but her last feeding comes at 3.5 hours so I can get her in bed in time. I can go on. Create your schedule to serve your baby's needs, your family's needs, and your needs.
So while you are creating your schedule, remember the option of a combination schedule.


Krystal said...

Combo schedule is great!!! I have really wanted to move to a 4 hr. shedule, but she is getting up at 7am every day, and I didn't want her to go to bed at 7, so I have put it off, thinking that she would start sleeping in longer. Well, I just decided to heck w/ that!! Now we do 7a, 10:30a, 2:30p,6:30p, and then I add the last feeding at 8:15p. So then she goes to bed at 8:30 (w/ her brother) which is the bedtime I wanted! YEAH!!! And I totally didn't think she would eat very much at the 8:30p feeding, but she did-she ate the usual 6oz. So she didn't even lose any feedings!

Plowmanators said...

Hurray! :-)

Fortibus Marketing of Charleston, L.L.C said...

I have thought about changing my sons feeding shedule. He is on a GREAT 3 hour schedule (I wanted to do 4hrs). THere are times when he is not hungry at all. I just think that him not being hungry at times just might be him, because there are lots of times for the first morning feeding that he really wont eat, so that makes me think that it's not necessarily the intervals of time between his feedings. Do I have to change his nap schedule in order to change his feeding schedule?

Plowmanators said...

naps will change if feedings change. So if you move to a 3.5 hour schedule, he will be eating 30 minutes later, and therefore going down for a nap 30 minutes later. But naps don't necessarily change in length. There will be changes in length of sleep if you drop a nap by shifting the feeding schedule, but if you maintain the same number of feedings, naps should stay the same length. If you drop a nap, other naps will likely get longer or nighttime length will get longer.

Catherine said...

Hi Valerie,

How do you choose when a combo schedule is right for you? Right now my 7 wk. son is on a 3 hour schedule with a 30 min. waketime total.

On a good day;

1) He cries through his first nap.

2) He sleeps 2.5 hrs. the second nap and I have to wake him up.

Then, he has three naps left. One or two out of these three naps he will wake up after 2 hours, he just seems to change which one each day. The other naps I have to wake him up.

I wish I had to wake him up at night! His nights have been awful lately:

Dreamfeed at 11:00.

Up at 2:45, 4:20, and around 6, then I have to wake him up for waketime at 8:30.

Anyway, I'd love your thoughts! I guess I'm already doing a combo 2.5 hr-3 hr schedule, just wondering if I should do anything differently because I have to consistently wake him up from those naps.

Catherine said...

P.S. The naps where I have to wake him are all 2.5 hour naps.

Catherine said...

Hi Valerie,

Sorry for the multiple comments but I was just reading on your blog how you shouldn't extend the schedule until your baby is sttn...obviously he is not! Do you have any thoughts on his insane night schedule that he's adopted the last week? :)

Plowmanators said...

I am glad you saw that. I would't extend until nights are good. Plus, a 2.5 nap is as long as you want to go. I would bet he is napping so long then to make up for missing other naps, not simply because he doesn't need to eat.

No ideas on the night other than what is in night sleep issues post. He is still going through the training process, and is still young. Hang in there! He will get there.

Lauren said...

Forgive me because my post is lengthy... and maybe not posted in the right spot!

My 6wk old son isn't sleeping through the night yet, but sometimes sleeps between 7-8 hours at night. The remainder of nights he makes it to at least 3 or 4am, which is about a 5 hour stretch.

He is a BIG eater. He has been combo BF/FF through these first six weeks, but will now be exclusively FF from here on. He has a voracious appetite, and has been taking 5-6oz since about 3-4 weeks. I am a little concerned because I don't want to overfeed - he already has reflux issues, and I can't help but feel guilty giving him so much just to watch him spit it all up, but he genuinely has the appetite for it. A pacifier won't cut it, and he'll scream red-faced for as long as you let him when he's hungry.

I noticed when he started taking more at each feeding that he was sleeping hard each time I woke him from his naps. He was still on a variable 2.5 - 3 hour schedule at that time. My pediatrician, who is familiar with BW and supports my desire to use it, advised that I go ahead and go to a 4 hour schedule because he is eating so well and was sleeping so well between feeds. This was also to address our concern about overfeeding. I just shifted us to more of a 3.5 - 4 hour schedule because I still tried to get in at least five feedings - he is still so little. This seemed to be working out great for a few days, but then he started not sleeping as well at some naps, waking early sometimes. Granted - I think there has been some tummy trouble interfering here.

I realize I've gone to an extended schedule before he is STTN, at my doctor's advice. So - should I not worry about overfeeding and go back to the more frequent feedings, even though he must be awakened from deep sleep at every feed? Or do I stay with a 3.5-4hr routine and still just wait for him to STTN? Will he even be able to if we've done this "wrong?"

Plowmanators said...

One thing to remember is that there is a growth spurt at 6 weeks. He might be doing that.

BW says for your age of baby to eat every 2.5-3.5 hours, gettting at least 7 feedings in a 24 hour period.

I would make sure to get those things in there until 8 weeks old. Then he might be able to go to 6 feedings in 24 hours.

If your greatest goal is to STTN, I would up the feedings in the day for sure. If you drop a day feeding, you will delay time until STTN.

Jesskarabow said...

I posted about a week ago with nap issues, now we have a new issue. Kara (15.5 weeks) is still waking up 45 min into a nap. sometimes with go back for another 15 min. but that's maybe 1 or 2 times a day (rare) My new issue is this: She wakes at 7:30 in the morning - eats maybe 5 oz. (I exclusively pump) Then she starts yawning within 15 min of waking. - she sleeps from 8:30 pm - 7:30 am - with no wakings.) I've been keeping her up for 1 hour & 15 min. (maybe too long?)but she goes to bed falls asleep rather easy, and then wakes at 9:30 totally not interested in eating. So, I wait, and wait. She may take an ounce in there, but then she's had a snack and really doesn't want to eat. I may be until 11:00 before she'll eat anything. It makes me thinkshe's ready for a longer schedule, but she wont nap. by the time she eats, she's exhausted and wants to sleep. Then she sleeps for 45 mins again and is awake and now really doesn't want to eat. Her feedings stay small as the day goes on. She's dropped from an average of 36 oz. a day to the 20's. She's 17 lbs (I know she's a big girl :)) She doesn't seem to want anymore, and my pediatrician says not to force it on her esp. if she's sleeping through the night still. I just don't know what to do. I can't figure out this nap thing. I've tried shorter wake time, longer wake time. Tried putting her down this morning at an hour, she talked to herself for about 5 min, and then made other random noises in there for about 10 more min. I think she's finally asleep. Too early? Adding to this - I work 3 days a week - so it's hard to keep trying to tweak the schedule, and it's frustrating for my caregiver (grandmother) because everyday is so crazy - and I come home to a cranky over tired baby. Any ideas??

cleitza said...

I am having a horrible time with my 7 month old!!! If I could ask you a few questions I would so appreciate it...
I will begin with his nights. He was waking at 4-4:30am, I have no idea what was waking him but he wanted to eat...if i went in there to check on him and then left he screamed 10 times louder and would continue for hours, only sometimes going back to sleep, but rarely. I moved his bedtime back from 7:30 to about 8:15 but he still wakes early anywhere from 5am-6:30am (we are supposed to start the day at 7am) what do I do? I thought about making his bed time even later but I don't really want to do that, maybe we need to start our day earlier?
and there are nap issues. He has for the past month or more been waking after only 45 mins of sleep for the first two naps...then for the third nap he will 75% of the time sleep for two hours. I have tried shortening his waketime, that seemed to make it worse, extending the waketime sometimes helps, but not always...I've read through all your posts a few times on nap troubleshooting, but thought you might have some specific insight here? I am wondering also if maybe he doesn't need the third nap...The problem i run into with that however is that I was under the impression if you take away third nap then you need to go to a 4 hour schedule...and with him waking hungry early in the morning, I'm afraid to take away a feeding during the day...
Thank you for your help!! without your blog I think I might lose my mind :)

Jared and Michelle Houk said...

I have a 6 week old baby boy. He has been on a four hour schedule for four weeks. He was never interested in eating after three hours and would fuss and sleep and it was very difficult. So, we moved to a four hour schedule and he seems happy. He is gaining weight well. Is this a problem? Should I force a three hour schedule?

Chase & Shalee said...

I am working on adjusting my 3 1/2month olds schedule and need some help. She is STTN 10-11 hours and is napping really well during the day (usually 1.5-2.5 horus). She seems like she could make it 4 hours as I am having to wake her from naps often, however her wake time is still only 60-75 minutes and I don't want to push the 4 hour schedule too soon. I also don't know if she would get everything she needs from 4 feedings a day. So right now I am trying a 3-3.5 or 3.5-4 hour combo schedule. The only thing is that in trying to find something new that works for us it seems like our times are a little random right now(some days she is eating at 11:00, another day 11:15 or 11:30 and then at 2:00 - 2:30, etc.). Is it ok to have some flexibility or do you feel it is important to establish feeding times and stick with them at the same time each day. Her first and last feedings right now are at a consistant time. Just wanted to see if what I am doing is ok orif I need to be better at choosing times and sticking with them. THANK YOU!

Chase & Shalee said...

I forgot to mention in my previous post that our tentative schedule is 7:30, 11:00, 2:30, 6:00, 8:00

Kim said...

I have a question about my six month old. He is on a four hour schedule and sleeping through the night. He has started solids and eats about 6 tbsps 3 times a day. His schedule is breakfast at 7:30, 5 oz formula and 2-3 tbsp oatmeal and fruit. 11:30 5-6 oz formula and 2-3 tbsp vegetables and rice cereal, 3:30 4-5 oz formula and 2-3 tbsp vegetables and fruit, 7:30 5-6 oz formula and bed by 8:00. Last few nights he has been refusing 7:30 bottle and we have been dreamfeeding him at 10:00. Is this typical? Any suggestions on what we should do? I don't want him to get used to the dream feed, but I also don't think he will sleep all night without it. Would love some advice!

Plowmanators said...

Chase & Shalee,

At that age, I would really try to have feeding times quite consistent. Within 15 minutes should be fine, but I don't think I would extend it beyond that.

As you are finding what works best, I think it is fine to vary, but choose what works and try to stick with it.

As they get older, more flexibility is just fine. But at 3.5 months, I would definitely try to keep things consistent. But I am a consistent-type of person :)

Plowmanators said...

Kim, I don't think that is typical. He might be getting too much formula and/or solids at other times to eat at that point in the day. I would try to get away from the dreamfeed so you can have that long sleep at night. I don't bottlefeed, so I don't have much to offer in that area.

Chase & Shalee said...

Thanks for the help. Since my last post we have figured things out with our new combo schedule and they are working great. Pretty much right on or within 15 minutes. I too am a consisten person so this is very helpful!

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome Chase&Shalee. I am glad things are working out!

Alison said...

I am trying to decide if my son is ready to move to a 3.5 or 4 hour schedule. He is 3.5 months old and has been sttn from his DF at 1030-830 in the morning for about 5 weeks now. The last week or so he has not been ready to eat on his normal 3 hour schedule. Sometimes I will put the bottle down for 20-30 minutes and try again and he will eat. Sometimes I have to wake him at the 3 hours and sometimes I do not...its pretty inconsistent. I have been debating on whether or not to move him to a 3.5/4 hour schedule or combo schedule but I have a question. His waketime is still about 55 minutes. At the 55 minute is time. He starts to get fussy and is definitely ready for his nap. Do I have to extend his waketime by 30 minutes in order to implement a 3.5 hour schedule? Or do I put him down at 55 minutes and try to extend his naps?? Thanks so much!

Plowmanators said...


If you try to force a longer waketime, it will only result in shorter naps. You would want to wait until he is sleeping each time it is time to feed before stretching the schedule.

If he has even just one interval a day that he is asleep when you go to get him, you can extend that interval to a longer schedule.

Most people drop the dreamfeed before extending the schedule to a point of dropping a daytime feed. You want that long continuous sleep at night before you want longer intervals in the day.

See the blog label "four hour schedule" to help you decide if he is ready to extend or not.

Alison said...

Thanks. I have been working on eliminating the DF. I have moved the time up and decreased the amount of formula he gets. He is not quite ready to give it up though. I have been cutting it down by 15 minutes every few days and this morning he woke up an hour early so I am going to push it back again and see what happens. I have tried giving him bigger bottles during the day but he just won't finish them.

When I do extend his schedule to a 3.5 or 4 will his nap lengths remain the same? He is now up for 55 minutes and then sleeps for about 2 hours. When I do extend his schedule what increases, waketime or naptime? Thanks so much for all of your help! I have read the posts on this and I am still unclear!

Plowmanators said...


It will depend on him. Kaitlyn went to longer naps. I always had to wake her from naps, so instead of a 2 hour nap she moved to a 2.5 hour nap. Some naturally move to a 4 hour just by nature of the waketime extending and naps staying the same. He can do either way :)

mum2nica said...

HI Val

I really encouraged by your blog ! I have recently posted a question under nap troubleshooting, and still awaiting for your answer.
Anyway, i have another questions regarding STTN and schedule ( im very confused now) that i would love to hear your opinion.
She has been previously on 2.5 hours schedule ( from week 7-9) and started to STTN few nights . until few weeks ago (week 10) when we were consulted by our GP that it is time to go for 3.5 hours. so, i started to adjust her feeding routine to combination of 2 to 3.5, as i read through your post how you did it with your daughter with cluster feeding. Her schedule is 3.30 hours, 3.30 hr, then 3 hr, then 2 hr, 2 hr 2 hr with dreamfeed 2 hours at 10.30.
Her schedule : 6.30, 10, 1.30, 4.30, 6.30, 8.30 (bedtime), 10.30pm dream feed.
She is more of pattern than schedule type, as she would sometimes wakes at btw 5.30-7am. Depending of the night if she STTN.
She was doing really well after i have her schedule changed since week 10 until recently. hit her 12 weeks!
My prob now is, she started waking up after her bedtime feeding and dream feed. Sometimes she would sleep for an hour and woke up crying. I ended up feeding her thinking she is hungry
for the last 4 nights, She even wakes up for Morning feeding around 2.30-4.30. I let her CIO last night after a few nights of feeding her during those hours. But she would cried hard for 1 and half hours. and i ended up feeding her again.feeling guilty and tired! I noticed that, during her breakfast feeding she would not be as Eager as before. So i thought, her growth spurs might be over.
My questions are, Am so confused,
1)should i change her routine again to 3 hours? as i know baby need to have a stable routine, but i am worry that i will mess up her metabolism again.

2)If i move to 3 hours, she may not be able to go through her evening stretch as she would not sleep during the 4th and 5th nap !! that my other dilemma. she would usually take a short nap on her 4th nap and refuse to sleep during 6-8pm without feeding.

3)Why would she wakes after an hour of feeding at night? and hungry again in the middle of the night?her STTN is so inconsistent.
By the way, she has her preferences on one side of breast that makes matters more complicated. Im expressing my breast to have more stimulation. Hopefully will increase the supply of my milk.

Hopefully you get to answer both of my comments.
Thank you very much.

Plowmanators said...


I think I would go back to the shorter schedule (2.5-3 hours). She is really too old for consistent cluster feeding (as I realized with McKenna--you are supposed to stop at 8 weeks). They stop eating well at the dreamfeed because they aren't hungry enough after the cluster feeding. At that age, one 2 hour interval would be fine, but to have three I think is too much.

You can do the longer stretches in the morning and shorter stretches at night.

popey said...

I have a nearly 9 week old little boy and he has been on a consistent 3 hour schedule (he is formula fed) but always needs waking for his feeds (his wake times are increasing slightly in length too). The book says that when this happens you should consider moving to a longer schedule. However, if I move to a 3.5 hour schedule then his last feed is either very early or very late. Also, he is not consistently sleeping through the night. He did go 8 hours for a few nights last week but then went back to 6 hours. Do you have any advice on what I should do and any ideas onb a sample schedule? Thanks!

Plowmanators said...


I wouldn't extend. Well, by now he is about 11 weeks, so you could try it. But I personally would wait until he is sleeping from the DF until your morning wake up time.

My girls were both the type to need to be woken for feedings, and I didn't move to 4 hour for Kaitlyn until almost 7 months old and McKenna was 5 months old.

Matt, Jennie, and Noelle Ours said...

Hello! We have a 18 wk old baby - she was born 6 wks early so adjusted age is approx. 12 wks - but she seems older maybe like a 14 wk old. She is a great napper and has been very routine. I have stayed home with her the past four months, but just returned to work. She stays with a sitter who does not know bbw so I am trying to still implement bbw even though she is not with me all day anymore. Just the past three days she has started to extend her naps to 2 1/2 hrs - I am going in to wake her (over the weekend). She has been on a 2.5 - 3 hr schedule with a wake time of 60-75 min - 7 feedings a day - she has gone to bed at 6:30p - and dreamfed at 8:30p and 10:30p - she sleeps until 7a. She is approx 10.5 lbs now (again she had been premature). Is it okay to go to a 3-4 hour combination schedule as long as she sleeps up until the point of her next feeding? Her sitter allowed her to stay up 2 1/2 hrs and said she was content; however, her wake time with me has never been more than 1 1/2 max. Did you find that waketime extended this much when they extended naps? This would result in her going to 6 feedings vs 7 feedings. Should we extend even though she still needs her dreamfeed? If you wake her up to eat she is DEAD TO THE WORLD will eat, but not wake up! This happened when I woke her up at the 3.5 hour mark - I think she needed another .5 of sleep, but I wasn't sure if it was time to extend.

envisionlp said...

I have a 2 month old son that has been doing great with sttn since he was about a week old. We fed him enough during the day so he didn't need it at night. I now have him on a 3 hour schedule and feed him at 8:30 am, 11:30, 2:30, 5:30, 8:30 and 10:30 dreamfeed. He's awake for an hour which includes feeding and then I put him to bed fully awake. He does pretty good at his naps except his cranky time at the 6:30 nap. He sometimes wakes up in the middle of a nap and cries for several minutes and then falls asleep. I usually wake him up for every nap (except maybe at 8:30 b/c sometimes he's cranky). I am considering going to a combo schedule of 3.5 and 4 hours but I'm not sure if he's too young. That would mean I would go to 8:30, 12:00, 4:00, 7:30 and 10:30. Do you think he's too young to move to 5 feedings a day? My 2 year old was 5 months before I moved her to a 4 hour schedule but he seems to do much better at sleeping than she did. Please give me your thoughts. Thanks.

envisionlp said...

Also...if I shouldn't move his schedule yet, is there anything I should try for his late nap of the day where he cries a lot? I let him CIO but it's stressful. He eats at 5:30 and I put him to bed at 6:30ish. He usually cries a lot for this nap. We don't get him up until 8:30 to eat. I tried putting him down a few minutes earlier and later and it didn't seem to help. Is it just a stage?

Plowmanators said...

Matt, Jennie, and Noelle Ours,

The baby might have been content with a longer waketime because she was overall well-rested. At that age, anything over two hours is too long for sure. I would keep waketime at 2 hours.

You can move to a four hour before dropping the dreamfeed if that works best for you. That is what the babywhisperer does. We did that with our youngest and it worked just fine. I don't think it is my preferred way to go (I prefer dropping dreamfeed first), but it works out just fine.

envisionlp said...

I ended up starting him on the 4 hour schedule. When I put him down at 6:00-8:00 for his last nap (the one he has always done bad at) he either lies there for an hour or falls asleep and then wakes up at 7:00 and cries for an hour. Is there anything I can try to fix this? I don't think he needs more sleep. Could it be that he should be awake for longer? That would mean he was awake from 4:30-6:30 if I changed it at all. any advice?

Paternog said...

HI Valerie,

My baby girl is 4 months old today and up to this point she’s been on more of a “pattern” then a schedule. I’m a schedule type of person and it’s been killing me with all the erratic nap and eating times. I feel like a prisoner to the house because I can’t seem to schedule any outings never knowing when baby girl will be sleeping! On the positive, I have been keeping a feeding log since month 1 so I’ve been studying it to see what her current schedule is. My first problem is that I have never established/enforced a wake up time, however she usually wakes up around 7-7:30 am. My next problem is her eating (nursing) pattern. She only likes to nurse for about 5 minutes when she first wakes up from one breast only. So when it’s time to go back down for her nap, she wants to nurse from the other for just a few minutes. Will this put her off for her next feeding? Do I need to try to get her to “fill up” when she first wakes?

Plowmanators said...


I would guess it is actually due to witching hour. There is a post on that topic. See "witching hour" blog label or type that into the goodle search bar at the top right of this blog.

Lailah said...

My daughter is 13 weeks old and is on a 3 hour schedule. 7:30/10:30/1:30/4:30/7:30. She is formula fed. After eating at 7:30 and bedtime routine she will sleep form 8:30 until morning :)

I tried a 3.5 hour schedule yesterday and her waketimes remained the same, about 60 minutes and she just ended up take 3 2-2.5 hour naps. Then she woke up at 4:00 am and started to whine. It was definitely not a hungry cry just whiny. She whined on and off until 7:30 when I got her for the morning.

Do you recommend that I move to 3.5 schedule as her waketimes increase or is it okay that her naps are so long and it is not robbing her nighttime sleep?

Is it necessary to do a 3.5 schedule before a 4 hour schedule?

Thank you so much!

Plowmanators said...


I would definitely get a consistent start time each day. I would also definitely nurse her all at once right when she gets up and not at all right before she goes down for a nap. There is also a post titled "getting a consistent schedule" that can give you more ideas.

Plowmanators said...


You definitely do no need to do a 3.5 hour schedule before moving to a four hour schedule.

Since she didn't sleep as well at night on the 3.5 hour schedule, I would just stick to a 3 hour schedule for now and gradually increase as her waketime increases.

My daughters both could do longer naps and still sleep well at night, but that won't be true for all babies.

Amy said...

My 6-1/2 month old doesn't seem to make it past 1hr15min wake times for the majority of the day until about 5ish. She is gradually extending her morning nap to be about 2 hours. However, if she is awake for only 1hr for her first waketime and ends up sleeping for 1-1/2 hours is it okay to stretch her to the 3 hour mark for feeding even though it means I put her down for her next nap only about 35 min after that feeding. I find that she is spitting up more if I feed her after 2-1/2 hours instead of 3. I'm really hoping she will extend her waketime soon, because she is waking up during the night now and I think it might be due to so many naps so I can stick with the Feed-Wake-Nap schedule. Do you have any advice? Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

Amy, I suggest you see "Eat/Wake/Sleep Cycle". I think that will give you guidance.

Tina Haight said...

Hi- I am having issues figuring out a good schedule for my 15 week old (will be 16 weeks on Thursday). He is still not consistently STTN. We just started CIO about a week ago and since then he has STTN twice, so it is gradually getting better. I am on a 3hr schedule (7-10-1-4-7-10), but he doesn't really seem to be hungry after 3hrs anymore. I know you aren't supposed to extend the time in between feedings until they are STTN, but I think I may need to. I am mainly confused about the evening time. If our waketime is at 7am, can you come up with a sample schedule where his bedtime can fall around 7:30pm or 8pm? Do I feed and put straight to bed? Is there a nap after the 2nd to last feeding? Thanks for any help you can give! :)

Plowmanators said...

Tina, some moms find that moving to a 4 hour schedule actually helps things overall, so it is worth a shot. If it doesn't work, you can go back.

So, If you did a 4 hour schedule, you would do:

7, 11, 3, and 7. Since you currently have a dreamfeed, I would keep that for now. So DF at 10.

You would still do a nap after each feeding.

If you don't quite want to go to four hours, do 3.5:

7/10:30/2/5:30/8 (short interval)/then DF at 10 or 10:30. That would really smash your night though.

You could also do a combo:


Another option to consider is dropping the dreamfeed first.

Cassie said...

My baby is almost 8 weeks old and we are currently feeding at 7a, 11, 2,5,8p and a DF at 11 pm. She sleeps OK at night but wakes up around 3:45 am and cries out and then goes back to sleep till about 5 am. I feed her a full feeding at 5 am so when I go to wake her at 7 am to start the day, she is not really interested in eating or waking at all. Should I not offer a full feeding at 5 am? Also, during the day I usually have to wake her to eat. I think its probably too early to move to a 4 hour schedule but should I try a combo? How could I do a 3.5 hour schedule? Our Dr said to try and drop the DF and see what happens but I think most people DF and it works well. I think she would wake at 1 or 2 am to eat and that seems more frustrating to me than feeding her at 5 am. I would rather her sleep from 11p (DF) to 7 am straight thru before I drop the DF. What do you think? I am exclusively pumping and she is taking about 4 oz each time and weighs right at 10 lbs. What hours would you advise during the day to try for a 3.5 hr schedule? I am so confused. I guess what we are doing is working but not if she is sleeping longer and I am waking her to eat? And then waking her at 7 and she is not even hungry and wants to keep sleeping but I know its important to enforce the 7 am wake/eat time.

Cassie said...

Hi, after reading more on your awesome site, I have altered some of my questions from my post a couple days ago... last night I did the DF at 11 pm and did not change diaper or unswaddle her and she only took 1 oz. so is it OK to change her diaper to wake her more to ensure she takes the entire feeding? Also the night before when she did take the entire 4 oz DF, she slept till 5:45 am without waking at all. When I do feed her a full feeding, she is never interested in eating breakfast at 7 am and thus creates the ripple effect like you mentioned. She takes the bottle so well and quickly but I saw that you mentioned the 5-6 am feeding may not be necessary if they are not interested in breakfast. Is she too young to not feed her then? or should I just offer 1-2 oz, and then see if she will go back to sleep till 7 am? And I think the schedule we are doing now is working fine becs it is 6 feedings during the day and then a 7th possibly at 5 am. I don't see a need to go to 3.5 hour combo yet? What do you think?

Cassie said...

And I am pumping exclusively and giving her BM- not formula if that helps give you more information.

Plowmanators said...


I would probably try to feed her the first time she woke rather than waiting until 5.

You also might try moving the dreamfeed a little earlier--sometime between 10-10:30.

I wouldn't drop the dreamfeed before she is sleeping from DF to 7--and I also wouldn't extend the day time schedule until then (at least for that age of baby).

You could definitely cut back on number of ounces at 5ish am and see how that goes.

Rachel said...

Hi there,
I have been consulting your blog since my son was born 12 weeks ago, and usually can get my questions answered by reading your responses to other questions, but I'm stuck with this one...

My 12 week old started STTN (last feed is at 9 pm, first feed at 6:30 pm. He would never wake for DF, from day 1) about a week ago. For the first few days, he kept with the 6 feedings and it was very consistent on the time from day to day. The past few days, however, he has been waking during his afternoon nap (which used to be 2.5-3 hrs long and a 4 hour gap between feedings) to eat. This adds a 7th feeding and essentially makes him cluster feed 3 times in the middle of the day. Should I allow him to do this, or should I consider it something like the 45-minute intruder and let him CIO? I wasn't sure since the book, and your blog, say sometimes babies need 7 feedings when they start STTN.

Any advice would be great!

Plowmanators said...


yes, I would do it. It is probably a growth spurt.

Heather Melo said...

My 8 1/2 month old twins are on a 4 hour schedule. They also eat baby food after their first and third feedings. They are very rarely ever hungry enough to drink more than 2 or 3 ounces from their second bottle feeding of the day (the one that comes after their first feeding followed by baby food). Right now I'm letting them wake up from their first nap and then not feeding them for a half or full hour to let them get a little hungrier. Otherwise they'll take 2 ounces and then be hungry again when it's time for their next nap. Any ideas? Is it ok for them to go 5 hours in between 2 feedings? I don't think I'm giving them too much food to eat in the morning. I usually give them each half a gerber step 2 fruit and a few tablespoons of oats. I'd appreciate any input. Thanks!

javabean8 said...

Ah Ha! You solve yet another one of my problems. I recently put my 3 month old on a 3 hour schedule with a 7:30am wake up time. She was still waking up around 4:30am to eat but has started to extend that to 5:30 or 6:30am which puts a major wrench in my timing. I have 2 school age children and need to be available to get them on/off the bus and help with hw, etc. Your post seems like such common sense and yet I was so frustrated trying to figure out how to fix this problem. Thank you once again!!

Plowmanators said...

Heather, five hours is a long time. But if they are getting the food you think they should get in a day, and they continue to eat and sleep well, then go for it. Just be sure you keep that fact in mind if you encounter sleep issues at all.

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome Javabean8 :) Thanks for the thanks!

Heather Melo said...

ok thanks. I'll keep that in mind.

Zephyr said...

Hi Val!

I hope you get this.

I have a question about combo schedules. My 11wo daughter has been STTN for nearly four weeks now on a 3hr schedule. I have to wake her from her first two naps, but she's not always keen to take a big third nap, she'd rather a smaller 30-45 min nap. I've considered moving her to a four hr schedule, but she seems a little young (plus couldn't manage 2hrs waketime - she currently does 80-90mins). I'd like to put her on a combo 3.5hr schedule, but still maintain our 7pm bedtime (Save our Sleep, Tizzie Hall, believes 7pm results in optimal sleep cycles so the baby isn't woken by rising sun, plus her current bedtime is 7pm, so I don't see merit in swapping to 8pm just to go back to 7pm later). I can't get my head around the math for 3.5/3hr schedule resulting in a 12hr day.

Is it okay to combo 3.5/2.5hr?
Eg 7-10.30-2-4..30-7

or 3.5/3/2.5/3? (7-10.30-1.30-4-7)?

Save our Sleep has 10wo babies on her four hour schedule, and even though I think my baby would be fine on the four hr, it just seems early compared to other book schedules. Plus I don't want to drop the extra feed.

I should add, I still DF and intend to continue

Plowmanators said...

Yes, 2.5-3.5 is totally fine. My 9 week old does a combo. She will do 3.5,3.5, 3, and 2-2.5 for the next.

Betsy said...

Zepher - I'm curious what happened with your combo schedule. I'm having the same issue. My daughter still has 4 naps (14 weeks), but the last one is tiny - 15-40 mins - normally 20-30 mins. First two I have to wake her, but she will only stay up 85-90 mins so I'm not ready for a 4 hour. I have tried to move her to two naps a couple times, but I can never get her to sleep till 5 and then she'd never make bedtime (7ish) if she wakes up a like 4:30/45.

So schedule now is:
7 a.m. wake up (I wake her) and feed
8:30-10:30 nap (I wake her sometimes)
10:30 feed
12-1:30 nap (I wake her typically)
1:30 feed
3-4:30 feed (usually she wakes up about 4:15)
4:30 feed
5:45/6 cat nap - 15-40 mins
6:45/7 p.m. feed
7:30 p.m. bedtime

Any advice from anyone would be GREAT! When I tried to drop a nap it was:
7 a.m. feed
8:30-10:30 nap
10:30 feed
12-2 nap
2 p.m. feed
3:30 nap, but would wake after an hour
Then got confused so let her doze for 15 mins before bed around 6ish

Again she's not ready for 4 hours yet as she'll only stay up 85-90 mins.

Thanks so much.

stooks said...

My 13 week old has had a problem with 45-min naps since he was 5 weeks. I tried everything under the sun to get him to sleep and nothing worked (longer wake times, shorter wake times, more stimulation, less stimulation, 2.5 hr, 3 hr, 3.5 hr and every thing in between.)

Finally I decided to just try for the 4-hr, figuring that was the only thing left. It worked! His wake time is around an 1hr 45min and I usually have to wake him up at that 4 hr mark. HOWEVER - he has never slept through the night. He has woken up every night around 4 am since he was 1 month.

His bedtime now is 9:15 with no dreamfeed (we dropped it 4 weeks ago and it made no difference in his MOTN waking.)

My question is - could moving to this 4 hr schedule be hurting his chances of STTN? He has been on babywise since birth & he weights 13lbs so I know statistically he should be able to STTN, he just won't!

Also, I just have to throw in that I love love love your blog! I think i have read everything you have written about four million times. You help keep me sane :)


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