Thursday, April 29, 2010

Baby Whisperer: Four Hour Schedule

This post may contain affiliate links.

Looking at the bare bones structure of the systems, Babywise and The Baby Whisperer are really almost the same thing. There are, of course, some differences. One is when to move to a four hour schedule.

According to Babywise, the order of events are to first, drop the dreamfeed. After some time (2-4 weeks), you can see if baby is ready for a four hour schedule, going over readiness signs.

According to The Baby Whisperer, the events are to first move to a four hour schedule (at 4 months old) and then drop the dreamfeed (at 8 months old).

Over the last year, I have gotten a lot of questions regarding this scenario. Before McKenna reached four months old, I had questions on "what will you do? Which path will you take?" Once she had passed it, people wondered both what I did and why I did it.

So, here is a post dedicated to The Baby Whisperer and the Four Hour Schedule.

Hoggs 4/4 Plan

Information on this starts on page 33 in The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. Hogg says essentially that your child changes cognitively at four months old and therefore needs a four hour schedule. Now, take note that she does use words like "Most babies are ready at this point to switch..." (page 33), not all. Even so, the way she writes, I think most parents would read that section and say, "oh, time for the four hour schedule, she hit four months!"

Let me just say that I highly disagree with any statement saying that at X age, your baby is ready for 123. That just doesn't work. Babies are each individuals. I also disagree with pushing to a four hour schedule, which Hogg advocates doing.

I do, however, agree with saying things like 'most babies' are ready for something by a certain age, but I think we need to be careful to be sure to evaluate things as individuals. Hogg doesn't give any other criteria for being ready for the four hour schedule other than age.

I found it preferable to drop the dreamfeed before moving to a four hour schedule with my oldest two. I preferred the Babywise way. That way, you have 10-12 hours of consolidated sleep at a younger age. I also think that staying up for two hours is a stretch for most four month olds, and if you push it, you are likely going to fight against naps for a couple of months until your baby's ability to stay up catches up with your plans. With my last two, however, I did it the Baby Whisperer way. I found it easier to have longer stretches between feedings in the day and take care of other kids.

What We Did
With McKenna, we did move to a four hour schedulebefore we dropped the dreamfeed. This was due to special circumstances. She was ready to drop the dreamfeed at four months old, but we were going to be moving right around the time she turned 5 months old and I didn't want to be in the middle of dropping the dreamfeed when I moved McKenna to a new room in a new house. I wanted to be able to
check on her and check on the room conditions in the night. I just felt better about it.

But it was really hard to not do something at this point. She was ready for a change. At five months old, we found we were a bit delayed in moving, which we really should have planned on. We were working on our new house. My mom would watch McKenna and I would drive to her house to nurse her every few hours. Well, one day, time got away from me and it ended up being a four hour schedule for one interval.

McKenna was reaching all four hour scehdule readiness signs listed in Babywise. I decided that since she was making it, I should just let it go. It wasn't the order I wanted it to happen in, but she needed something to happen. I also figured if the Baby Whisperer suggests it, and she is showing readiness cues, she would be fine.

She didn't, however, stay up for two hours at a time. She just took longer naps. You can see the baby summaries around that age for more info.

Deciding For Yourself
So what should you do? Should you drop the dreamfeed or go to four hours first? Here are my things for you to consider:
  • Cues: Look for signs of readiness for either step. See Dropping the Dreamfeed and When To Move To A Four Hour Schedule for help. Don't go solely by age here. You will create problems if you force something your baby isn't ready for. Combine age with readiness cues.
  • Lifestyle: Which would be best for your family? Would you like to be able to go to bed before the dreamfeed? If so, drop it. Would you like to go on a date with your husband and not have to hurry back for the dreamfeed? If so, drop the dreamfeed. Do you need more time in the day? If so, the four hour schedule would be a good step for you.
In my experience, these two events often happen close to each other unless you do one really early in life (prior to four months old). So if your baby is 4 months or older, chances are the two will happen within a month or so of each other. The older your child, the shorter the distance. Kaitlyn was just before seven months old when we did each, and we did them a couple of days apart.

In the end, go with what you feel is best for your baby and your family. I don't think it really matters what you do first, so long as you are doing it following readiness cues.



The Greenfields said...

Just wanted to add my experience- I wasn't sure when to drop the dream feed but I didn't mind it so I wasn't in a hurry to drop it. One night when he was 6 months old I was exhausted and accidentally fell asleep before the dream feed (which was at 11:00pm). The next morning I woke up in a panic (much like the one we all wake up in the first time our baby sleeps through the night :)) Since he still slept great without it, I never went back. Just a few days later he stretched to a 4 hour schedule. So, Val, it was my experience that, as you said, he dropped it closer together since he was older than 4 months. Thanks for your blog! Love it. Just thought I would share my experience in regards to this post.

Katie said...

The "Dropping the Dream Feed" link did not work :( Help! I need it! lol thanks

Plowmanators said...

Katie, I think I fixed it.

Amanda said...

I thought the same thing about Hogg's suggestions for moving to a 4 hour schedule, that it was a bit too rigid and the amount of waketime required would be more than many babies could handle. I know Tobias was 6 months before I could get him to stay awake 2 hours happily and that took work on my part. We dropped the dreamfeed super early--7 weeks because it just wasn't working for us, it caused Tobias to wake even more often. I know that's rare but I do agree that in general it works best to drop the dreamfeed and then move to a 4 hour routine. The only benefit I see to doing a 4 hour routine before dropping the dreamfeed is with milk supply for breastfeeding mothers. Going 12 hours can be a stretch for some so maybe that's part of why Hogg suggests it?

janinesmits11 said...

I have been been wondering about this as well since I use advice from both resources. My son is now 7 months old and we dropped the dreamfeed when he was around 5 months after him showing signs that he didn't need it anymore. He's done great without it. At about 6 months old, I tried moving him to a 4 hour schedule. He did okay, but I couldn't keep him up for 2 hours either and then he consecutively woke up around 10 or 11pm for 5 nights in a row. I assumed he wasn't ready for the 4 hour schedule because he still needed that 5th feeding, right? So we went back to a combined 3.5/3 hr schedule to get 5 feedings in.
So here is my question(s)...I would like to try again but he still doesn't stay up for 2 hours and rarely takes a nap longer than 2 hours. So if I were to feed him when he wakes up it throws off the 4 hour schedule. Should I stick to the 4 hour feeding times and just see if he ends up becoming more consistent? And, should I try and keep him up for 2 hours?

Landon and Dana said...

I have been hoping this topic would come up! My 4 mo old is having sleep issues, big time. I have followed BW faithfully since day 1 and he has never slept through the night, until last week he did about 4 nights in a row. That same week he also would have done a 4 hour schedule, but that really threw me for a loop and would have meant dropping the dream feed too, which i didn't want to push my luck with changing so much at once. He got his shots a week ago and hasn't slept through the night since, in fast he wakes up 2 or 3 times, but i don't feed him. Is that still considered "through the night?" Also, he has been taking horrible naps and not doing the 4 hour schedule again. So he has gone from one extreme to the other and i don't know what to do. Any suggestions???? Should i just try dropping the dream feed and see what happens?
I think that some of the reasons he is waking up is he wants his binki (so annoying), but mostly because he is starting to roll and is getting loose from his swaddle (which i just swaddle his body and leave his arms out.) I know this is a lot, but i am stuck and don't know what to do to fix this mess!

Jessica said...

So we are ALMOST to a 4 hour schedule! I'm embarrassed to say that she's almost 11 months and we are just doing this...lots of explanation but glad we are almost there!
I do have a question, though. While we are transitioning to this would it be normal to have a combo schedule until we reach 4 hours (after dropping the dream feed)? Like 7, 11, 2, 5, 7? And keep trying to push her to every 4 in the afternoon?

Mary said...

I am in a similar situation to Landon and Dana. My 4 month old is napping terribly as well. I dropped the dream feed a while ago, because it made him wake up extra times through the night. Now he usually sleeps from 7:30 or 8:30 (depending on when his last feeding ends up (I've been unsuccessful in getting him on a schedule) till 6 or 6:30 AM. My goal was a 7:00 wake time which he was hitting for a while, but he seems to have pushed it back when he stopped waking up around 4 AM.

Naps, however, are a disaster! About the time I went to 3 hour feedings a couple months ago, I stayed home for two weeks to get him on a schedule, and he started waking up early from every nap! Most naps, he wakes up 30 to 40 minutes early. So my dilemma is whether I should feed him when he wakes up early. That would put him on a 2 1/2 hour schedule, which seems very short for a 4 month old. When I do feed him on the shorter schedule, he eats well. So I guess he is hungry. I guess my question is whether it's ok to feed him when he wakes early or if I should treat it as a sleep issue and work on other solutions? I have tried putting him down sooner and later, anywhere from 45 minutes of waketime to 1 1/2 or 2 hours of waketime. Nothing seems to work. Help!

Tanya said...

Yes, I agree, Val. We can't push babies into a 4 hr schedule. The result is OT, cranky little ones.
Our experience with this was almost textbook. We dropped the DF at about 3.5 months, and sometime the next month I noticed that the baby was lengthening out waketimes. It's very obvious when your little one is ready for a 4 hr. schedule. At about 1.75 hrs after waketime starts, I start getting him ready for the nap, he is in bed and asleep at the 2 hr mark, and "usually" sleeps for 2 hrs. I tried the 4 hr. schedule before he was ready for it and it was a disaster!! So I let it go for a while and now, I can honestly say, it's GOLDEN!

Landon and Dana said...

I posted a couple of days ago and last night was daring enough to try and drop the dream feed.... and guess what???? He slept until 6 and was still wrapped in his swaddle. I think that the dream feed was starting to interupt his deep sleeping and he was never able to completely able to settle again. Let's hope that it keeps working. Should i feed him right before bed to make sure he has had enough through the day?

Landon and Dana said...


thesprian said...

Hi Val,
This post is sort of along the lines of a comment/question I was going to leave today anyway so here goes.
With my first baby, BW saved my sanity! My second, now 4 months old, is still oblivious to the fact that he is on schedule. We've been consistent from birth and he has a great temperament, a very happy baby. But he is very difficult to feed on schedule. If he doesn't want to eat yet, he won't (which is during the day and rarely at 3 hour intervals), and if he wants to eat, he won't sleep until I feed him (which happens at night!). We too stopped the dream feed because he woke the same times at night with or without it. So right now he sleep from about 8:00 until sometime between 12:00 and 3:00 when he eats (I'm trying to give him less and less the wean him from this), and then wakes again about 5:00 or 6:00 am. He rarely wants to eat breakfast in the morning even if it has been 6 hours since his midnight feeding. He's just awake! SO I can't get him to eat more during the day, but I can't get him to sleep through the night yet either. I am going to try a four schedule in about a week here just to see. . . I know BW says they should be sleeping through the night but, its a worth a shot don't you think? I've tried everything else. I even tried CIO at night but after 15 minutes I went to comfort him and I could hear is tummy gurgling. I would love to hear if other people have experienced a similar situation???

Ryan & Amber said...

Hi Val! I'm sorry to repost this if you've already gotten it from my comment on "31 weeks." Thank you so much for your blog. It's helped me many times. My daughter is in her 30th week. I feel like she is never going to make it to the 4 hour schedule, and I was wondering about your input. I've been doing solids since 4 months; here's our schedule
7:00 nurse/solids (2T prunes, 2T oatmeal - usually but not always finishes it)
8:00 nap
10:00 nurse
11:10 nap - she will cry so hard if we get her down any later than this; she just can't handle longer waketime
1:00/1:30 nurse/solids (2 "cubes" green veggie, 1 cube fruit - usually doesn't finish all the veggies)
2:30/3:00 nap
4:00 nurse
6:30 nurse/solids/bed (3 cubes yellow veggie, 2 cubes fruit - she almost always eats it all)We have to feed her early/bedtime because of my DH's schedule.
She almost always wakes up at the 3hour mark, but lately she's been waking earlier than that(after only sleeping about 1 hr.)! She's also been waking up at 6am, whereas up until about 3 weeks ago, she was making it to at least 7, usually 7:30 no problem. My milk supply is fine, as I am pumping enough, and the dr. said she's gaining weight well. Do you have any advice? I know the 4 hour schedule shouldn't be rushed, but it just seems like she should be able to stretch a little further? It's hard not to compare when the polls seem to suggest that most babies move to a 4 hour schedule by 6 months. Anyway, I would greatly appreciate anything you can provide. :)

Ryan & Amber said...

I just realized that her age was wrong in my previous post; she is now almost 32 weeks old. :)

Plowmanators said...

Thanks for adding your experience Greenfields!

Plowmanators said...

Manda, that is a fair thought, but I honestly doubt it. She is so gung-ho for formula feeding that I think most of her advice is really tailored toward that. I don't think she would specialize advice toward breastfeeding moms without specifically saying she was doing so.

Plowmanators said...


My personal preference is if the baby can't make it to four hours through long enough waketimes and naps, just wait until baby can. Otherwise, everyone starts to get stressed out. I just dont' want to set myself up for stress like that. I wait until baby can do it.

Keep in mind that combo schedules are okay--you don't have to do straight 4s or straight 3s...the first interval might be closer to 4 while the last might be closer to 3 and the others everything in between. That is fine.

Plowmanators said...

Landon and Dana,

See these blog labels for help:

4 month sleep problems

Wonder weeks



I wouldn't drop the dreamfeed right now. If you drop it before addressing the other issues and he doesn't do well, you will doubt his reason for not doing well.

Plowmanators said...

Jessica, that would be fine. I am not sure what most people do (ie what is "normal") but that sounds fine to me :)

Plowmanators said...

Mary, it sounds like it could be a growth spurt, in which case, yes, it is good to feed him on the shorter schedule.

I always say treat it as a hunger issue first; act like it is a growth spurt. After anywhere from 3-8ish days, the growth spurt will usually be over and you can move on to other solutions.

Plowmanators said...

Tanya, thanks for sharing your experience, too!

Plowmanators said...

Laondon and Dana, that is great! I hope it keeps up for you.

Plowmanators said...

thesprain, it is definitely worth a shot. Some moms find moving to a four hour schedule fixes things.

I would also be sure to look over the naps: troubleshooting revised and updated post to see if there is anything you could tweak.

Plowmanators said...

Ryan and Amber, I did answer on that post :)

ashleywheatley said...

Hey there! We have been on the 4 hour schedule a couple weeks and it is going pretty well. The only tricky part is his first waketime. He can't stay up 2 hours in the morning yet. He does well with it in the afternoon but not before his first nap. I wanted to see at what age most babies are able to stay up that long in the morning. My baby is just over 5 months. He does pretty well with staying up an hour and a half, but then if he only takes an hour and a half nap, we have an hour until time to feed. I am not sure what to do, or when to start trying to get him to stay up longer in the mornings. Wanted some advice and just to see what the average age most babies stay up 2 hours is.

Plowmanators said...


I am not sure what would be average. I think there is a poll on waketime length for that age group (see poll results blog index and scroll down to waketime length).

My guess would be around 6 months old--but of course there will be a lot of variation in there.

If he will, you can let him take a longer nap in the morning. So he could be up 1.5 hours and sleep 2.5.

Tarin said...

I am getting desperate for help. My son in 12 weeks old. he was on a 3 hr sched up till last week. i moved him up to a 3 1/2 hr sched which looked like this:
6:30 am feed
7:15 nap
10 am feed
10:45 nap
1:30 feed
2:15 nap
5 pm feed
5:45 nap
8pm feed and back to sleep
10 pm feed and back to sleep

he was doing great then suddenly a few days ago started to arch his back and scream when i would get him up to eat. I have ALWAY had to wake him to feed. and so i decided let me try to do 4 hrs and still keep 6 feedings he is now doing:
6 30 feed
7:15 nap
10:30 feed
11:15 nap
2:30 feed
3:15 nap
6 feed
6:45 nap
8 feed and back to sleep
10 feed back to sleep

I am just hoping this sounds ok. i really cant tell if its right for him. he is also waking at some point between 5 and 5:45 am and fussing for 15 mins and going back to sleep. please tell me if this sounds ok or if there is something i should be doing different

Plowmanators said...

Tarin, I am a little confused. Is he now happily sleeping until you get him to eat again? If so, then what you are doing is fine :)

The 5 AM fussing is normal for all babies that age, not just BW babies :)

Ali and Andrew Hyde said...

I have a question about switching to the 4 hour schedule... My baby boy is now 4 months old and we've done BW since he was born. His schedule now is...
9:00 wake and eat
10:40 nap (perfect nap, never wakes early)
1:00 wake and eat
2:45 nap, but never makes it to 5:00- usually wakes at 4:15, but if I get him and lay down with him he'll go back to sleep til 5:00
5:00 wake and eat
6:45 nap
7:30 wake...
Here is the problem... If he's not supposed to eat again til 9:00 how does the 4 hour schedule work if the last nap is usually just a 45 minute cat nap? After his last nap he's up for 1hr. 45min and then down for bed.

I know his wake time might seem long, but it used to be 1 hr 30min and the 45 minute intruder was hitting us hard and the increased wake time fixed the problem perfectly...

Thanks SO much!

Ali and Andrew Hyde said...

Sorry, I also forgot... Yes, he is STTN. He has been since he was 12 weeks old and he is now 19 weeks old. He still does great at night on this new 4 hours schedule. Since his 3rd feeding is at 5:00 and then he goes down for a nap at 6:45 and wakes up around 7:30-7:45, should I feed him then or wait til 9:00? The past few nights I have fed him at 8:00, but he doesn't seem very hungry and then I get stressed that I will put him to bed hungry so I'll try and feed him again at 9:00 and he'll eat a full feeding. . . I am confused ust because his last nap is so short... Thanks SO much!

Plowmanators said...


What you would do with a short nap is just wait a bit before feeding..

Another option is to "cluster feed" in the evening--meaning you feed every 2-2.5 hours in the evening.

So you could feed at 5, then feed at 7:30 and put him down after he eats and is ready for bed.

About this Blog said...

To anyone that can respond,
i have a 6 month old (turns this week) but she was 5 weeks early so i guess really she's 5 months adjusted. She has been doing amazing since birth. pretty much textbook baby. I only followed babywise and never read baby whisperer so i didn't really know what a dream feed was until a couple weeks ago. I just did babywise and dropped the "late night feeding." She dropped that at a little after 3 months actual age. she was eating 730-730 every 3 hours taking 5-6 oz per feed. I was in heaven. Then she got the stomach virus that her 3 yr sister had about a month ago and that bug had her vomiting everything she ate and she was hospitalized for 2 days b/c she couldn't hold anything down. and b/c she was so young she had to ride it out which meant she only took about 10-15 oz a day for 2 weeks!!! She has never been the same since. she got back to normal for a couple days then got the cough big sister had and we were back to not wanting to eat. Since this all started about a month ago, She's only wanting 3-4 oz at each feeding so i thought ok teething..well teething doesn't last a month!! She still only wants small amounts so i thought she was ready for 4 hours. weve tried that this week and she's starving around 1 b/c she hasn't had enough oz to hold her until the next feeding. but when i try to feed her more at the scheduled times she wants nothing to do with it. i'm just confused on how she can be bigger and not eating as much. she only weighs 13 pounds and she's almost 6 months which is only like 4 percentile but i'm stummped b/c she was taking 5-6 oz at 4 mos and now its a struggle to get her 4 oz at a 3 hour mark but can't seem to do 4 hr schedule yet. ive considered combo but on average she's still only taking 20-22 oz a day. she's still STTN so that's good but Ihave noticed recently she's waking at random hours, chewing on her hand, and going back to sleep within 30 min. i'm just stummped. we've even tried cereal and she likes it but still very hard for her to take to the spoon so i'm not pushing it bc she's only 5 month adjusted and still doesn't have control of her tit seems to hold her over but i don't want her liquid to diminish anymore than it already has. anyways, long explanation but so weird!!! looking for any guidance or other experiences bc her schedule is so jacked now i don't even know what to go back to! her wake times are still 730...thank you!

Kelly Pagan said...

I don't know if this is the right place to post this question, but I am just desperate for some help. My daughter turned 4 months last week and since then everything has fallen apart. Up until then, she was on a perfect 3 hour schedule. She was sleeping 12 hours at night, for the past 9 weeks. Now, she is waking up 45 minutes into her nap, won't go back to sleep and is waking up at night. What do I do??? I feel like I've tried everything! When she wakes up from her nap, she is generally happy. Should I just let her play until it is time to eat again? Any suggestions would be so greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

About This Blog,

I really don't have great advice because I never counted ounces, so I don't know what my kids ate and if there are normal fluctuations in appetite.

One thing to know is that the sickness seems to have coincided with the huge 4 month developmental leap, so that combined with sickness might have really thrown her off.

Have you tried doing a 2.5-3 hour schedule to see if you can get more into her?

We could post this as a "help a reader out" question if you would like. Let me know.

Plowmanators said...

Kelly, that is 100% normal at that age. See the label "wonder weeks" as well as "4 month sleep problems."

Allyson said...

Hi Val,
This is my second time writing and I just want to thank you again for this amazing thing that you're doing! I LOVE your blog!
So we just had another precious boy about two weeks ago and we was literally born on a four hour schedule. In the hospital, he was in the NICU for a few days and they were waking him every four hours to eat. When we got him home, I would wake him every three hours, but he just wasn't ready to eat. Occasionally, he'll eat at 3 1/2 hours, but usually he'll only take a full feeding on the four hour cycle. I don't have much milk, so I'm pumping and supplementing with formula. I can't find anything in BW or your blog that talks about a 4 hour schedule with newborns. Our other son was on a perfect 3 hour schedule until he was 9 months, so I'm in new territory. Our pediatrician says it's okay, but I'm wondering if you have any thoughts. How will this affect him sleeping through the night and the dreamfeed?? What about naps?? We have had such tremendous success with BW with our other boy doing the 3 hour schedule, then moving to the 4, so I just want to make sure that we get it right again even though it looks different this time around. Thank you so much for any advice/words of wisdom you can offer:)

Plowmanators said...

Allyson, if he is happy, and your pedi says it is okay, then I would just go with it. A huge reason for a 3 hour schedule is to establish milk supple. Another one is to get enough food in baby, but if he is happy, then he is getting enough.

My guess is that he will get a bit older, be more awake in general, and need to go back to a 3 hour schedule, so if/when that happens, don't feel like he is regresssing.

It might make it so he STTN at later age than he would otherwise (if he stays on a four hour). Make sure you do a dreamfeed.

Let me know if you run into problems at some point and we can hopefully sort them out.

Ali and Andrew Hyde said...

Hi! So, I posted a similar question about moving to the 4 hour schedule when my boy was 4 months old, now he is 8 months old and we are finally maybe ready to make the switch. It took so long becuase I took your advice and enjoyed my baby rather than tried to extend him here and there and stress myself out. So, again, I have a question about the out night schedule. We were doing
8:00- wake and eat
10:00- nap
11:30- wake and eat
2:00- nap (this used to be 1.5hr, but he started waking up during the night and then one day he would only take a 45 min. nap and then he slept perfect so I went with it)
2:45- wake and eat
6:00- wake and eat
8:00- eat
9:00- bedtime

This was working great and I guess still could, but I am guess I am just wondering if he could drop the last feeding. I want him to drop the last 30 min. nap, but I don't think he is ready for that. Today we did...
8:00- wake and eat
10:30- nap
12:00- wake and eat
2:30- nap
4:00- wake and eat
7:30- acting super tired so I let him nap for 20 minutes...
8:00- wake and eat
9:15- bed... took a while to fall asleep cause he was not very tired.

I really guess I am just wondering if it is possible to drop a feeding or a nap without putting them to bed earlier? I don't want to put him to bed earlier because then he will get up earlier and I am not starting our day before 8:00...
If we decide to stay on our original schedule with the cluster feeding at night, do you think it is ok to have his second nap only be 45 minutes and his last nap 30 minutes? I guess if he's STTN then it should be ok, right?

Any opinions or advice is greatly appreciated! THANKS A MILLION FOR THIS BLOG!!!

Keeping Up With The Knables said...

I have a 3 month old BW baby who is STTN and seems to be ready to go longer between feedings. Right now we do every 3 hours and lately I have to wake him up from a nap to feed him. I dreamfeed him at 10:00. My question is, when I drop the dreamfeed, do I then divide those ounces of milk (he will not longer get at dreamfeed) throughout the bottles during the day so he is still getting the same amount?? Thanks a ton!!

Plowmanators said...

Ali, I think you could put him to bed for the night between 7:30 and 8:00 and he would sleep until 8 AM.

That is the route I would go. That second transition during a nap is really beneficial, so I wouldn't cut nap #2 short on purpose.

Plowmanators said...


I didn't bottle feed, so I don't know for sure.

I do know that my babies seemed to eat more in the mornings when we dropped the dreamfeed, so you might not divide the ounces evenly throughout the day--you might add several to the first and a one to the second...

Anyway, I would try to get the ounces in the other feeds, but as to how evenly it will work out, I am not sure. Good luck! Let us know what you find out for future bottle feeding moms :)

Ali and Andrew Hyde said...

Thanks Val! Ah, I just get so freaked out that I am going to mess him up! I am too wrapped up in his schedule and really do judge myslef as a mother if he doesn't nap well or eat well or sleep well- I know I am nuts! I also only have one child and have all the time in the world to devote to just him, I am sure that I will relax with my next one. I appreciate your time SO much! Thanks!!!

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome!

Jessica, Trey and Madison said...

Hey Val,
I've been definitley using your blog to help with my 15 week old daughter. We started implementing BW at 3 weeks and she actually started sleeping through the night at 7 weeks. However, I was really stressed out in the beginning because I wasn't able to breastfeed her and at 4 weeks switched to formula. I was giving her 6 oz every 3 hrs (she was born 9lbs 2oz (:) and I told a friend of mine that (she has 2 daughters and used BW and did formula) and she suggested doing every 4 hours, which I did at really early age. Well, now at 15 weeks, she has a total of 5 bottles (6,10,2,6,10) and my husband and I are arguing about that last bottle. At first I thought we had to drop the last bottle all together but now I realize that she needs 5 bottles total. We've been feeding her last bottle earlier (9:30) but she's been waking up at 4 (granted, she's been very congested and has been waking up numerous times during the night and this past week has finally started sleeping more). What do you suggest? We were thinking about feeding her right when we get home from work/daycare at 5:30 and then bathe her at 7:45 and feed her at 8pm. Right now we bathe her at 5:45 and give her the bottle at 6 and then 9:30. Any suggestions? I'm nervous that I've completely ruined all progress since I started the 4 hours too early! Thanks for your blog - it's a LIFESAVER!!!

Plowmanators said...

Jessica, I would just stay with the four hour and five bottles. You will just drop the dreamfeed later than you would have since you did four hours sooner.

Wait until she is sleeping from dreamfeed to morning waketime consistently for at least two weeks. Then you can think about dropping the dreamfeed.

Mike and Kristin Atkins said...

I am so confused about trying to move my son to a 3.5-4 hour schedule...he is 14 weeks, and he is currently having to be woken up from his naps for his next feedings. My huge dilemna is that I am breastfeeding, and I go home at lunch every day to feed him. I can't change the time I'm able to go home (which is 12:30) so he's still on a 3 hour schedule so I'm able to feed him at lunch (otherwise he would have 3 bottles while I'm gone whereas right now he only has to have 2).

This is his current schedule:
wake/nurse: 7:00 am
nap: 8:00
wake/bottle: 9:30
nap: 11:00
wake/nurse: 12:30
nap: 2:00
wake/bottle: 3:30
nap: 5:00
wake/nurse: 6:00
dreamfeed: 8:00
bed 9:00

I can't quite figure out how to move him to a longer schedule or drop a feeding without forcing him to have 3 bottles a day instead of the 2 he gets now... help!?

Plowmanators said...

So do you nurse him at 7 Am and then again at 6 PM? So couldn't you feed him at 7, he have a bottle at 11, him have a bottle at 3, then you feed him at 7 PM? So he still has only two? You could even try pumping at lunch so he could have a bottle from you.

Stephanie said...

I am SO CONFUSED!!! My daughter is just about 3 months old, and is on a 3 hour schedule and still gets a dream feed at 10:30. She has been sleeping all the way through the night until 7-7:30 for a couple weeks now. I am breastfeeding but have been giving her a bottle for the dreamfeed since she was about 1 week old. Most of the time, I have to wake her from her naps to keep her on 3 hours, and sometimes I feel like I'm puting her to bed for her nap when she could be up longer to ensure at least a 1 1/2 hour nap. And should she talk for a while before falling asleep, sometimes she's only getting an hour nap before I wake her to eat. For this reason, I would think she might be ready for at least a 3 1/2-4 hr schedule. (I don't think she's ready for 4 hours all day yet, since sometimes she is still very ready at the 3 hr mark.) But it is suggested to drop the dreamfeed before stretching the daytime schedule, but I'm not sure she is ready for that. Last week, I got mastitis, so I nursed for the dreamfeed instead of the bottle, and while doing that, after sleeping until at least 7 for at least a week, she was waking at 5 and 6. When I went back to the bottle at night, she started sleeping until 7 again. So I would assume if she was up early just from not drinking as much as she normally gets from the bottle, that she definitely wouldn't sleep through without any dreamfeed. So should I stick with the 3 hour schedule until she's ready to drop the dreamfeed? And I'm also confused about how to drop the dreamfeed. I know to push it up by 15 minute increments until you're eventually where you want the last feeding to be, but what happens when it gets to be an hour between the last evening feeding and this. For example, if 7:30 is the last evening feeding and I've worked the dreamfeed back to 9, that's only and hour and a half later?

Plowmanators said...

Stephanie, you could go to a 3-3.5 hour schedule before dropping the dreamfeed with no problem. But Hogg suggests going to a four hour schedule before dropping the dreamfeed, so if you think that is what is best for your little one, go for it!

I have a post on dropping the dream feed. If you want to move it up slowly, I would move it until you got to 9:30 and then just drop it fully after that. Good luck!

Bethany said...

My son is almost 6 months now and he's been on the 4-hour schedule for about 6 weeks now. 8am, 12pm, 4pm, 8pm. He usually naps from 9:30-11 in the morning, 2-4 in the afternoon, and then 6 or 6:30-8. But I always have to wake him up at 8pm to feed him, otherwise I think he'd keep sleeping for a long time. Then I try to put him down for "Bedtime" at 9:30, but he's not always tired by then. Do you have any suggestions on how to maybe adjust his last feeding of the day and nap/bedtime? Idealy I'd like to get him to bed earlier than 9:30... And how long do you keep the baby on the 4-hour schedule??

Plowmanators said...

Bethany, I stay on a four hour until at least 12 months old.

I would suggest a couple things you could try. You could try shortening that last nap by waking him earlier. You could also try just moving bedtime earlier, but I think a shorter nap might be the first step to try.

Aubrey Sundeman said...

My DD is 14 weeks today and is doing pretty good on a 3 hour schedule. Eating at 6, 9, 12, 3, 6, and 9. I almost always have to wake her from her naps to eat (I think at daycare she wakes sooner for them but they often have to wake her as well). I would like to move to a 3.5 hour schedule and propose that I feed her at 6, 9:30, 1, 4:30 and 7:30 and extend her wake time / nap time by 15 minutes each. My question would be if it's ok to change the schedule and drop the 6th feeding all at once? Also, I don't think that she would be able to stay awake much longer than 1h45m - so what should I do about a nap between the 4:30 and 7:30 feeding? Offer a short one / try to keep her awake / keep it the same (1.5 hrs)? Any assistance would be appreciated. Thanks!

Lindsey Braacx said...

My son is just about 7 months old now. He's been on a 4 hour schedule since about 5 1/2 months. I don't dreamfeed and he's been STTN pretty much consistently for a while now. There was a laps for a bit but I think he was going through a growth spurt.

I feed him at 7am, 11am, 3pm, and 7pm. With solids following the first 3 feeds.
My question is, when will the feedings line up with normal meal times? When I feed him at 11am, I'm not ready to eat lunch yet, and then at 3pm, we are certainly not eating how does that work? When will his meals line up with the rest of the family? I don't think he'd be able to stretch the feedings further apart, but doing them closer together wouldn't work either since if I try to feed him at 3 1/2 hours, he's totally uninterested.
Your help is greatly appreciated! I'm not sure if this is the right place to post, I've been searching for other posts on this but can't find anything. Thanks!

Valerie Plowman said...

Hi there, I have a post titled "aligning meals with the family" that will give you some info. Let me know if you still have questions after that.


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