Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More Than Making it Through the Day: 0-6 Months

This post may contain affiliate links.
The first few months aren't that difficult to have goals for. You start off working toward having full feedings. You work on Getting a Consistent Schedule. You sleep train (CIO ) and anxiously wait for your baby to start sleeping through the night. Let's review our daily activities and apply goals for this age range.

  • Week One: As I mentioned above, a main goal of the first week is for baby to take a full feeding. Both parents and baby need to learn how to eat/feed and get things worked out.
  • Newborn Phase: Part of working on a full feeding is working on getting your baby to stay awake for the feeding. This usually carries on into future weeks. Make the effort to keep baby awake for feedings. It is worth your time. I know it takes your focus and energy. But your baby will be able to take in a full feeding and get on her schedule more consistently if you make the effort to be sure she is staying awake for her full feeding. Also, this applies to all meals--including the ones in the middle of the night. Until week 5, your baby needs 8-10 feedings in a 24 hour period. These need to be full feedings (see Babywise Milestones for more on specific feeding at specific ages). See Baby Whisperer: Feeding a Sleepy Newborn and Sleepy Newborns (http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/sleepy-newborns.html) for ideas on how to keep baby awake.
  • Proper Intervals: Up until week 5, feedings should be 2.5-3 hours apart, excepting night, when feedings can be at most 5 hours apart. At week 5, some babies can move to 2.5-3.5 hours, though not all. Between weeks 12-15, your baby might be able to go to 3-4 hour schedule. Between weeks 16-24 months, baby should have 4-6 liquid feedings in a 24 hour period. Please take note of the combo suggestions listed here. Combo schedules are okay. Your days do not need to be straight 3's or straight 2.5's or straight 4's. See Combo Schedule is Okay: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/combo-schedule-is-okay.html
  • Growth Spurts: Make it a goal to recognize and accept growth spurts. Many Babywise parents have a small panic attack when a growth spurt happens. Growth spurts are 100% normal. Don't ignore it, hoping it will go away. "Problems" will only grow when you ignore the growth spurt. Feed your baby as needed and growth spurts should not be a major disruption to life. Remember that with Babywise, you always feed baby when baby is hungry. See Growth spurt for more.
  • Tip: Non-BW Tips and Tricks: Breastfeeding moms, give your baby a bottle: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/non-bw-tips-and-tricks-breastfeeding.html
First, see My Sleep Hierarchy For Newborns. 0-6 months is perhaps the most tumultuous time for naptime and sleep in your baby's life. You will have sleep training, 45 minute intruder, nap disruptions of rolling and perhaps sitting up, and a learning curve of getting to know your child. You also can have teething, colds, and growth spurts.
Independent Playtime (Playpen Time)If there was one waketime activity principle I chose to take from Babywise, it would be Independent Playtime. I see it as the most valuable waketime activity to have. 0-6 months is not too young to start having your baby play independently. I didn't start independent play with Brayden until he was 6-7 months old. With Kaitlyn, I started at birth. It was so much easier to implement with Kaitlyn. We never had one day of struggle or tears with Kaitlyn. I really encourage you to start young. See more information in On Becoming Babywise II starting on page 72.
  • Newborn: During this phase, just work on staying out of your newborn's face. The fact she is awake does not mean you need to be working on entertaining her every minute of the day. Let her lay and just observe life around her quietly a couple of times a day. You could also do it for 5-10 minutes during each cycle. Let her learn early on that her company is good enough. I am not suggesting you ignore her all day, just reassuring you that you aren't a bad parent if you aren't talking, singing, making funny faces, etc. for every waking moment.
  • 3 Months: At some point, you will sense that your baby is ready for more structure to this. You might put her in a bouncer for 5-10 minutes on her own. You might lay her next to a baby-safe mirror to admire herself. You might put her at an activity gym to look at the toys and even bat at them. Work to have her do these things on her own for about 10-20 minutes at least twice a day.
  • 4 Months: Your baby will be getting older and more able to do independent play officially. You can still use the alternate mediums. You will need to start removing yourself from her sight since it is much better and she is more aware of her surroundings. You can start placing her in the playpen at this age.
  • 5-6 Months: Once your child can sit, increase playpen time to 15-30 minutes a day. You can have a basket of toys that you rotate and vary. You can also have books.
  • See Independent Playtime: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/independent-playtime.html and Independent Playtime Lengths for more.
Sibling Playtime
If your baby has an older sibling(s), you can start sibling playtime from birth. Initially, start with just the older sibling "helping" as possible with baby. Perhaps with the bath. Don't leave them alone together and don't let the older sibling overstimulate baby.
As baby gets older, she will love to see the silliness of her sibling(s). She will be fascinated just watching them. Sibling play can move to her just being in the room as the other child(ren) play. The older sibling will likely interact with baby, perhaps singing or just talking. He might show off and try to get a giggle out of younger sister.
This is not an age range I would leave baby alone with older siblings to play. As baby is closer to 6 months, I might be comfortable not sitting right there (depending on age and maturity of older sibling), but I wouldn't be farther than a couple of steps from them.
Free PlaytimeFree playtime doesn't have to start happening until about 5 months, so don't worry about it before then. For me, free playtime between ages 0-6 months is more of playing in the jumperoo or bouncy chair or in the high chair with some toys in front of her, etc. Free playtime can be in the presence of other family members. She can sit in her highchair and play while you make dinner. Once she can sit up on her own well, you can give her a basket of toys on the floor to play with. See also free playtime .
Bathtime starts as sponge baths and can end in this period with baby sitting in the tub.
  • Closeness: This is a good chance to utilize to get close to baby and spend some quality time with your undivided attention.
  • Sharing Workload: This is a good activity for Dad to do with baby if possible each day. Moms, you might need to just back off and leave the room. Don't hover and correct each step your husband takes.
  • Teach Appropriate Behavior: As your child approaches 6 months, she will start to be able to possibly do things that aren't appropriate in the tub. Decide on your tub rules (how much splashing for example) and start your consistency from the beginning if necessary.
One-on-One TimeMake it a point for each parent to have one-one-one time with the baby each day (as possible). Give Dad something that is his special time with baby. Bathtime, getting ready for bed, reading stories, etc. are some ideas. Have this time be time that you as the parent give baby 100% of your time and mental focus. Just enjoy baby. Non-BW Tips and Tricks: Teamwork: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/non-bw-tips-and-tricks-teamwork.html
I start reading to my children from birth. I find this very valuable. We have it as part of our bedtime routine. See Non-BW: The Value of Reading: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/non-bw-value-of-reading.html
Other Waketime Activities
  • Wake Baby Up: Initially, it is hard to keep baby awake for waketime. See this post for accomplishing that goal: Adding Waketime to Your Newborn's Day
  • Walks: Walks are great for both you and baby. You can talk to baby as you walk along and tell her about the world she is seeing.
  • Toys: See Best Toys for Baby: Ages 0-3 Months and Best Toys for Baby: Ages 4-6 Months for this age range.
  • Music: You can sing to your baby or play music CDs for her.
  • massage
  • Keep it Simple: Realize that your baby does not tire of repetition as soon as you might think. Do watch for signs that a toy or activity is getting to be "old" for her. Keep toys rotated as needed, but she can play with the same toy over and over again for a while before needing something new.
  • Optimal Waketime: get to know optimal waketime for your baby: Optimal Waketime Lengths
  • Avoid Overstimulation: Playtime: Don't Over Stimulate
Other Goal Suggestions
Related Posts:


EAB said...

Hi there,

I have an 11 day old and while we have the full feedings down, for the most part, we are still sporadic on the sleeping/active. I know newborns are super sleepy and for the most part our baby girl is; however, she has been wired from about 6:30-noon for the last two mornings. She just won't fall dead asleep. Do you suggest I just leave her in her cradle? I just feel awful doing so when she is so little and helpless. Is it too early to implement that? Basically I'm looking for advice on the sleeping part (is it in the cradle, the swing, the car seat?) and how do we get her to fall asleep anywhere other than our arms? I should mention that at night, she falls asleep great in her cradle, but won't do so during the day.

Thanks in advance.

bradysmom said...

Hi there - I know this isn't the place to post this, but I don't know where to put it. I have an eating question...

Has anyone experienced their child vomiting while eating?? Brady has always been a great eater, but just w/in the last 2 weeks, he has been 'making' himself vomit while eating his solids or juice. He is 1, and gets his bottle, then finger foods, then baby food. He has started randomly vomiting. While eating his food, or after drinking juice, he will start coughing (which I think he does because he can and it gets attention). Then the coughing makes him gag because he has food in his mouth, and then he throws up.

I know he's not sick, but I don't want to miss that something is wrong. I did introduce some 3rd stage foods, but he does it randomly with different foods - not necessarily the ones that are new. I'm hesitant to take him to the doc because his 1 yr. wellness is next Wednesday. I just don't know what to do - do I try to feed him again or what? Didn't know if anyone has any experience with this.


krimicrat said...

Hi! I am 35 wks pregnant with our first child, and I took a BF class at the hospital that said newborns should eat 8 to 12 times a day, and that they should continue nursing 8 times a day for as long as possible throughout the first year, and only drop to 4 times a day after the first year. They also said I should nurse on demand, but offer every 2 to 3 hours during the day if my baby doesn't cue to nurse. I want to follow BW and nurse - but now I am worried about the difference in BF suggestions between the book and the hospital. What should I do?

The Young Family said...


I don't personally have experience with this with our own children, but watched our best friends go through it with their now 2.5 year old for over a year. They discovered it was actually allergy-related. Their son has a low intolerance to dairy, which they only discovered months and months after he'd been vomiting almost daily during meals. He'd start coughing and then it would cause him to throw up. Now, as long as they keep his milk/cheese intake to a minimum (i.e. pizza is okay maybe once every couple weeks) he's fine.

You don't mention giving your son dairy at this point, but have you considered writing down everything you're giving to him and seeing if there are any patterns that emerge? Perhaps it's some other type of food that's a problem?

Also, they began instructing their son to, essentially, "stop coughing" because they knew that he had developed a habit of working himself up whenever he began to cough to the point that he'd throw up even if he didn't really "need" to. So, they would just calm him down as quickly as possible whenever he began to cough. That helped a lot as well as he didn't get so worked up to the point of vomiting.

Hope this helps!

bradysmom said...

Young Family - Thank you so much. He started solids at 4.5 months, and never had any issues with food. We started giving him baby yogurt at 6 months, but stopped at 8 months when I say something on food allergies. He has always been on formula and breast milk, combined, and the formula is regular, milk based. I have noticed, though, that he may have a dairy sensitivity. As I said, his formula is milk-based, however we started him back on the yogurt around 11.5 months (since he was almost 1), and started giving him cheese. He has a skin condition that is almost like eczema, but not, basically really dry skin. I noticed that when we started back on the dairy stuff - his skin started to get bad again. But, he's been on the yogurt and cheese now for a couple of weeks before he started the vomiting thing. He also has diarhhea yesterday and today, so maybe he is sick. But he's only getting sick after he eats, and he is acting perfectly fine.

He has always been a 'texture freak' and will only eat a certain brand of food -the Earth's best organic - because it's the right texture. I was thinking that maybe this is his way of saying he's done with baby food. I don't know. I have a call into the doctor and am waiting for him to call me back. We did notice that if we tell him to stop coughing and re-direct the attention, he stops.

Again, sorry for putting this here - Valorie, please move where this post is better suited. But I'm completely in unfamiliar territory here so I thought I'd see if anyone has any ideas.

Thanks so much for the help! I think I will definitely keep a log of what he's eating and when.

ProudMum said...

hello, when my baby was around 2 or 3 months old then I found ur website and found it very useful and helpful. my baby is now 11 and half months old and she has very irregular shaped head because initially I did not know that one should change sides of baby on both sides. now here in UK doc said it will b normal after 2 or 3 years but I know it will not improve. I dont want to use helmets. I wish if you could add this topic to ur website so that new mums could benefit from this.

C-lee said...

KRIMICRAT. The BF classes is teaching you to demand feed where Baby Wise is teaching you Parent Direcred feeding (PDF). PDF has so much more benefits than Demand Feeding. I would suggest reading ON BECOMING BABYWISE BOOK 1, and read through Feeding Philosophies. There they give you an understanding and examples of each. I know parents that demand feed and their LO's is not as happy as my LO is. Remember babywise babies is happy babies. Hope this helps.

Test said...

Thank you so much for the help you give us moms around the globe. It is greatly appreciated. I was hoping I could get your guidance on something that confuses me greatly. DS is 6 months, adjusted he is just turning 5 months old. He eats every 3 hours and can stay awake only 2 hours max. However, his naps are almost always only 30 minutes so, in order to make it to bedtime, he sometimes has up to 5 naps a day. How can I soon "drop a nap" when he can't stay up any longer? I have tried for several days to let him CIO in the crib after the 30 minutes so that "Mom decides" when he gets up - but he doesn't sleep so by the time I get him from the crib and feed him, he is too tired to stay awake until the next nap time. I am hopelessly confused on this issue, even after rereading the book section several times. Please help!

The Carroll clan! said...

Hello everyone,

I'm not sure if this is the appropriate place to post this, but I have a sleeping question! My five month old baby has started rolling over like crazy. We always swaddle him when we put him down for the night, but he will start crying every couple of hours and when we go in his room he has rolled over. My question is: should we stop swaddling him and hope he will learn to roll the other direction, or do we continue to swaddle him and just go in to roll him back over when he cries? My husband is super paranoid that he will suffocate in his crib so we aren't getting hardly any sleep because we are constantly listening for him. Please help me!!

Plowmanators said...


See these posts:

Waking Early From Naps/Won't Fall Asleep For Naps: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/waking-early-from-napswont-fall-asleep.html

Should You Do CIO? http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/11/should-you-do-cio.html

CIO Bootcamp: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/11/cio-bootcamp.html

Using Babywise Without Doing CIO : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/12/using-babywise-without-doing-cio.html

Also, be sure that she isn't up too long:

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

Plowmanators said...


I don't have experiene with that (on purpose). One thing to note is that the vomit is never as much as it looks (you learn that when they have reflux).

If it were me, I would give him more after immediately, but not at a non-meal time. Watch him for signs of sickness, but if you think he is just doing it "because," he should be able to wait a week to talk to the doctor about it.

Also, I would try going back to stage two and just be sure he doesn't have a sensitive gag reflux.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks for your thoughts Young Family. Those are good tips and good points to consider.

Plowmanators said...

Bradysmom, the diarhhea would really make me wonder if he is sick or having some allergic reaction. The food log sounds like a good idea.

Plowmanators said...


8 times a day for a year is quite extreme. I have never heard that!

I nursed both of my children for a full year on BW without a problem. I weaned only because I wanted to. So let me assure you that you can do it and be successful. You want to make sure you follow suggestions in the book. You always feed baby when hungry. You have certain number of feeds for certain ages. You don't let more than a certain number of hours go by without feeding.

See this post to help alleviate your worries:

Combating Babywise Myths #5: Babywise will cause you to lose your milk supply if nursing: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/combating-babywise-myths-5-babywise.html

bradysmom said...

Thanks for the advice! I think it was a virus. He was around some sick kids so, maybe taht's it. It's either that or he's done with the baby food. I know that he does have a sensitive gag reflex.

He's been on only formula for the past 2 days and did fine, so we're starting some solids today. I figured I'd give him some Cheerios and see how it goes!

Thanks for all of the help.

Plowmanators said...

Proudmum, That is interesting. I have heard that suggestion before, but I haven't ever done it with my kids. I will add your tip.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks for your thoughts, C-lee. It seems the hospital is teaching beyond demand feeding. I don't think that a demand-feeder would force 8 feeds a day for a year if baby didn't ask for it. But I don't know that much about demand feeding.

Plowmanators said...


Thanks for your thanks!

I would say there is a good chance he is awake too long. A short nap like that usually indicates that he is awake too long. See these posts:

Easy Nap Fix: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/easy-nap-fix.html

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

Plowmanators said...

Carroll Clan, I would try stopping the swaddle and see how he does. Most babies are ready to drop the swaddle by that age. He most likely will continue rolling while swaddled and won't be able to roll back, so you will have to continue what you are doing.

Brave China Doll said...

Thanks so much for this post!

Can you please help me with a dilemma? My son is 13 weeks old and consistently wakes anywhere from 30 mins to an hour into his nap and multiple times during his naps almost EVERY nap.

I have done all the research into the 45 minute intruder, let him CIO, but nothing seems to work. He has done this since birth and I am completely clueless. He goes down and sleeps fine at night.

Quite typically, he'll wake multiple times during the nap and finally fall back asleep about 30 mins before his next feeding when I then wake him from a sound sleep to feed.

Any suggestions?

Thanks so much,

C-lee said...

Way beyond demand feeding.

Plowmanators said...

Good luck Bradysmom, and you are welcome! Kaitlyn was done with babyfood before she hit one year. If that is the case, you can't blame him. It does seem kind of gross :)

Plowmanators said...


The first thing to check is a growth spurt, especially at his age. See the blog label "growth spurts" for more on this.

Second, I would look into waketime length. See:

Easy Nap Fix: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/easy-nap-fix.html

Nap Cues : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/03/nap-cues.html


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

Finally, be sure there are no sleep props contributing to the problem.

patricia said...

Hi, I've been looking on your blog for answers to my daugther problems for a year. Now i'm expecting a new baby and i found this post the best thing I read. All the problems are there and the related post as well. I'ts a really good review. Thank you for your help in this blog it's been a blessing for my family.

Plowmanators said...

Patricia, you were the first comment of 2010!

Thanks for your thanks! I apprecaite and am glad I have helped.

Kristen Elizabeth Lee said...

Great post here. I have a question.

My 10 week old (first baby, first grandchild) wants to be held when he is awake. With the grandparents and aunts and uncles, you know he is! With my husband and I, we try not to but he cries and cries. When we pick him up, he stops. Should we just let him cry it out? Any tips? Thanks a lot!

Plowmanators said...

Kristen, if you don't have one, get a floor gym or a bouncy chair. Then put him in one of those and start by putting him there and playing with him. Then slowly back yourself away from it. This whole process would be about 2 weeks, maybe even as much as 4. If he cries when you back off, give him a few minutes before getting him. It will be worth your efforts for sure!


Related Posts with Thumbnails