Why an Eat/Wake/Sleep Cycle Works to Get Baby Sleeping

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Why do an eat, wake sleep pattern for On Becoming Babywise. The purpose behind the pattern and how it helps your baby sleep better.

Baby sleeping

The Babywise method outlines a simple pattern for getting baby on a solid routine in the Babywise book. Follow the Eat/Wake/Sleep Cycle. On Becoming Babywise states the when you follow this pattern you can expect to get baby sleeping well.

This type of daily pattern is also recommended by Tracy Hogg in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. She labels it as E.A.S.Y. . You can read all about the Baby Whisperer E.A.S.Y. method here.

Two very popular baby sleep books focus on an eat/wake/sleep cycle for baby sleep success. There are many others. We have all seen the phrase eat sleep play repeat all over the place. So what is so great about this?

I have often seen the question of “Why do the eat, wake, sleep pattern for Babywise?” People wonder why it is so important to follow this cycle. Why can’t you feed baby right before a nap? Wouldn’t that get baby sleeping longer for the nap if baby had a full tummy right before nap time rather than right after nap?

Read: How To Successfully Do On Becoming Babywise

The Power of the Eat Wake Sleep Cycle

There are many reasons the eat wake sleep cycle is so effective for your baby sleep schedule. 

Here is the importance of eat/wake/sleep pattern when implementing On Becoming Babywise:

The Eat Wake Sleep Cycle Solves Day/Night Confusion

The book says the cycle helps baby differentiate night from day. You do not have as much trouble for as long with day/night confusion. This is one of the biggest things that enables young Babywise babies to sleep well from birth.

Do not be alarmed if your little one has day/night confusion initially. This is normal. It will take some time practicing the eat-wake-sleep cycle for your newborn to get day and night straightened out. This feeding cycle helps you get your baby being more awake in the day and sleeping more at night much sooner than otherwise.

Baby is Not Nursed or Fed to Sleep

Following the eat/wake/sleep cycle helps babies learn to sleep on their own because they aren’t being nursed or fed to sleep. This is one of the most powerful things about following an eat wake sleep cycle. The baby is not nursed to sleep. The baby, therefore, needs to learn to fall asleep independently. 

This means that when your little one has a sleep transition, which happens every 45 minutes, your baby can slip into the next sleep cycle rather than waking up and needing to be fed to fall back asleep. This is nice for days and a lifesaver for nights. 

Part of the caveat here is that you need to make sure you encourage your baby to learn to fall asleep independently. Read up on Sleep Training According to Babywise for more guidance on this from a Babywise perspective. My favorite way to sleep train is the Gentle Sleep Training: The Four S’s, which is a no-cry sleep solution that can be used from birth. 

Why the eat wake sleep cycle works for baby sleep Pin image with a picture of a baby sleeping

Baby Takes a Full Feeding

When you do not feed baby to sleep, it helps ensure baby takes a full feeding. For this reason, you really want to avoid feeding right before a nap. When you feed a baby to sleep, baby usually falls asleep before baby is actually full. That means baby is not going to be content with a long nap. 

Read: How To Nurse a Sleepy Newborn

The Eat Wake Sleep Cycle Keeps Baby on a Solid Schedule

Another reason is to help baby make it the appropriate times between feedings. Whether baby is on a 2.5 hour schedule, a 3 hour schedule, 3.5 hour schedule, or 4 hour schedule, the eat/wake/sleep cycle keeps your little one on a predictable schedule.

If you have ever played with a baby close to feeding time, you know they are far less patient for food than they would be if they were sleeping. A baby can more happily make it to feeding time if they are sleeping than if they are out playing. So the routine prevents snacking from happening.

You feed baby before playtime so baby will happily get through wake time. You won’t have a hungry, fussy baby as you play, cut playtime short, and let baby fall asleep while eating. You can keep baby awake as long as baby needs to be, which means baby is getting enough time awake during the day to take nice, long naps and to sleep longer stretches at night.

Baby Stays Alert and Happy While Awake

I just touched on this, but it is worth focusing on this as its own perk. The book also says it helps baby to be more alert and happy during waketime. Baby is full and rested for waketime, so he can focus on learning because his basic needs are met.

This means that baby is learning and absorbing as much as he can while awake. His brain is processing more than he would if he were concerned about his hunger. 

As the brain learns, the brain needs sleep to process that learning. So the more baby can learn while awake, the more sleep baby will need in order to process that learning. You can read more about how the brain works in this way in the book Brain Rules by John Medina.

With that said, do not overstimulate your baby! There is such a thing as an overstimulated baby.

How To Calm Your Overstimulated Baby

Baby is Hungry and Ready to Eat When Nap Ends

If baby has taken a full nap, he is usually really hungry when he wakes up. That just works to strengthen your sleep routine because your baby will wake up hungry, take a full feeding, and continue on this beautiful cycle. 

The Eat Wake Sleep Has Flexibility

The eat/wake/sleep cycle is easy to do with a 3 week old. Eat wake sleep cycle newborn days are a dream (other than getting that newborn to wake up!). Even when your baby is 8 weeks old, you can implement this simple pattern.

The day comes, however, that your baby drops a nap and you can’t follow the eat-wake-sleep cycle anymore. People often stress out and get confused at this point. Will dropping the consistent eat wake sleep cycle ruin the sleep schedules they have worked so hard to build?

The answer, happily, is no.

You are laying a foundation with your eat wake sleep cycle. Think about toddler sleep. A toddler takes one or two naps a day. A toddler eats more than one or two times a day. You have to be able to move away from this eat wake sleep cycle over time.

Many, many years ago, I inquired of Anne Marie Ezzo (wife of Gary Ezzo, author of On Becoming Babywise) and got some interesting thoughts on this topic I hadn’t ever thought of.

She said you don’t have to feed babies right when they wake up to stick to your eat/wake/sleep cycle. You can wait 10-15 minutes before feeding and that is fine. That is, if your baby will wait. A lot of babies are very hungry and ready for food when they wake up–that is how my Brayden was. Newborn sleep is long. The newborn sleep cycle is more of a eat/change diaper/sleep cycle. Or a “fight to keep newborn awake to eat” cycle. As your newborn gets older, that changes and your baby will stay awake.

Anne Marie also said,

“I have shared with mom’s as their baby is on a good routine, got this nursing thing down, milk supply is great etc. and that usually is all in place between 4 – 6 weeks, that it’s probably a good idea to have a short space of time between getting baby up and sitting down to feed, so that baby isn’t ‘conditioned’ to think, as soon as I wake up I need to eat.”

Why do an eat, wake sleep pattern for Babywise.

She recommends this because she has heard from many moms of say, 6 month old babies say, “I’ve used Babywise and followed the feed/wake/sleep since my baby was born. I would feed him as soon as he woke up and now he is 6 months old and when he wakes up he seems to get so upset if I don’t feed him right away. Is it okay to make him wait for a little while before feeding him?”

She says the answer to this is yes.

So if you would like to wait a bit prior to feeding, that is fine. You just need to make sure you count that time prior to eating in your waketime calculations. Read more on how to correctly calculate baby wake times here. 

This idea has never occurred to me. While my son was very ready for food right when he woke, he also transitioned well into waking and waiting if needed. For example, as a toddler, he woke from his afternoon nap, but dinner wasn’t for another 1-2 hours. No problem. 

As a baby, Kaitlyn would wait if I need her to, which on rare occasion is necessary just because I had another child to care for and some sort of “crisis “would come up right when it is time for her to eat. 

Babywise is parent directed, so always remember that the parent gets to decide what to do.

Parent Directed Feeding (Babywise PDF) Explained

Common Eat Wake Sleep Cycle Questions

As people work to implement an eat play sleep schedule, they naturally have questions. Here are some common questions answered.

What is Eat Wake Sleep Cycle

The eat wake sleep cycle is the routine you put baby on when following the Babywise method. You feed baby, baby plays, then baby sleeps. You do not play eat sleep. You eat, play, then sleep. Babywise eat play sleep cycle is very effective for helping your little one sleep well for naps and sleep through the night. 

What Do I Do When My Baby Drops a Nap

When your baby drops a nap, there is an excellent chance you will not be on an eat play sleep cycle anymore. When your baby drops from four to three naps, you might have an eat, play, eat, sleep cycle in the evening if your little one is not on a four hour schedule. 

You will definitely move away from solid eat wake sleep cycles when you drop to two and then one nap. 

When your baby drops a nap, it is no problem to not have an eat, wake, sleep cycle at the dropped nap time. 

How the eat wake sleep cycle works to get baby sleeping great with a picture of a baby sleeping

Do You Do Eat Wake Sleep Cycle at Night

No. Do not do an any play at night. This is true for the dreamfeed, also. You will get baby up, feed, and go right back to sleep. 

Read: The Basics of a Dreamfeed

What Do I Do When My Babywise Baby Falls Asleep After Feeding

Work to keep your baby awake for some wake time. In the early weeks, your baby might have a hard time staying awake longer than a feed. That is normal. If so, just let baby go to nap and take a nice long nap until the next feeding time. You can read up on how to add waketime in Adding Waketime to Your Newborn’s Day

Do I Need to Wake Baby Up From a Nap

Should you wake a sleeping baby to eat? Yes! You need to wake baby up from nap if it is time to eat. This keeps baby on a feeding schedule. Waking a sleeping baby is scary, but it is worth it to keep consistency to your days. 

What is a Good Newborn Sleep Schedule

If you are looking for some Babywise sample schedules, start here with my newborn sample schedules post. From here, I link to the other ages. 

Do You Have Tips on How To Wake a Sleeping Baby

Newborns are super hard to wake up. I do have posts for waking a sleeping baby. Keep in mind, there are times your newborn just will not wake up. Work for 10 minutes, and if baby will not wake up, let baby sleep another bit and then try again. Read more about that here


The eat wake sleep cycle is powerful. There is a reason it is outlined and emphasized in the Babywise books. This is a key element to any Babywise success.

Related Posts

If you are having nap problems, check out my eBook, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide. This book helps you establish successful naps from birth through the preschool years.

Get the whole Babywise series here

On Becoming Pottywise
On Becoming Teenwise
On Becoming Preteenwise
On Becoming Childwise
On Becoming Preschoolwise
On Becoming Toddlerwise
On Becoming Pre-Toddlerwise
On Becoming Babywise Book 2
On Becoming Babywise
On Becoming Pottywise
On Becoming Teenwise
On Becoming Preteenwise
On Becoming Childwise
On Becoming Preschoolwise
On Becoming Toddlerwise
On Becoming Pre-Toddlerwise
On Becoming Babywise Book 2
On Becoming Babywise

Why do an eat, wake sleep pattern for Babywise.

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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at Babywise.life, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. Susan and Ethan Peterson
    March 3, 2008 / 7:13 PM

    Do you have any suggestions for keeping baby happy in the 1 1/2 hours of waketime we are having between the last nap and her 7 p.m. feeding? She is only taking about a 45 minute nap, and then wide awake. Yesterday, we went for a walk, and it worked well, then put her in her swing. Well, today, it will be raining, and I was hoping for some creative ideas 🙂 Thanks

  2. Haley
    March 3, 2008 / 8:57 PM

    My son will be 4 months on the 14th and we started Babywise when he was about 6 weeks. He has been sleeping through the night since about 9 weeks. He has done wonderfully on a 3 hour cycle. I am thinking that it is time to lengthen that cycle to 3 1/2 or 4 hours. I am looking for some help on how to accomplish this. Right now he is breastfeeding 6 times a day at about 7:30, 10:30, 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, and 10:30. If I go to a 4 hour cycle then we will be up even later which is not the goal…according to page 120 he shoud be sleeping 9 to 10 hours which can’t happen if we are up even later. So I assume this means that we would go to 5 feedings a day? I’ve looked through the book trying to find some answers and I’m just more confused than ever. Any ideas out there on when and how to extend the cycle time? Any help would be very much appreciated! Thanks!

  3. Plowmanators
    March 3, 2008 / 10:24 PM

    Susan,My kids both loved to read stories–that always worked well. Any toys you have. I can’t remember how old your baby is…if she is interested, try different kitchen items (measuring cups, etc.). The swing idea is great. Singing (my son loved Wheels on the Bus), baby massage, bath, peek-a-boo…good luck! Hopefully after a couple of days, she will get used to it and be easier to keep happy.

  4. Plowmanators
    March 3, 2008 / 10:29 PM

    Oh, and in case you are worried about night length, you are now entering the phase where they move to 10-12 hours at night (weeks 16-24).

  5. Lori
    March 4, 2008 / 1:45 AM

    I am so glad you posted this today. I just moved my son, 6 months, to a 4 hour schedule (7, 11, 3, 7) and was wondering if it was ok for him to wait until 3 when he wakes early from a nap at say 2:30 or 2:45. In the mornings he generally gets a 2 hour nap, but afternoons can be hit or miss. Sometimes he sleeps for 1.5-2 hours, but others just 45min. Any suggestions on helping him get a lengthier (and consistent) nap in the afternoon? We were champs at the 3-hour schedule. I know people get excited about changing to the 4, but sometimes I want to go back!

  6. Haley
    March 4, 2008 / 3:14 AM

    Thank you so much for your help! I have known that it was time for some sort of change but I guess I have been scared to mess things up because they are going so well! Last week it seemed like he was going through a growth spurt, wanting to eat sooner and not sleeping as well. That only lasted a day or two and since then I have been thinking he is ready for a change in schedule. Most if not all feedings he doesn’t seem that hungry. He will eat well for a few minutes and then pull away and look at me and just wants to play. Would you consider this to be an indication that he could probably go to 5 feedings by dropping the 10:30 feeding? If I do this and stay on the 3 to 3 1/2 hour schedule he would also be getting somewhere between 10-12 hours of sleep at night which is what he is supposed to be getting between 16-24 weeks. I’m sorry to ask so many questions…I’m a first time mom and I just need someone to bounce my thoughts off of and there are a lot of experienced Babywise parents on here! Thank you!

  7. Plowmanators
    March 4, 2008 / 5:13 AM

    Lori,You might have more luck with a combo routine. So you could do 4 hours for the first feeding interval if he does well with that, but then do 3 hours (or 3.5) after that. Before too long, he could go four all day. Just remember combo schedules are okay 🙂

  8. Plowmanators
    March 4, 2008 / 5:20 AM

    Haley, I understand! I am the same way at those transitions.There is achance he is ready for both changes at once, but I would start one at at time. Babies need so many calories in a 24 hour period. So by dropping that 10:30 feed, he will need to take them in during his other feedings. So he should be more hungry at other feedings. If he continues to show signs of being ready for the 4 hour schedule after that feeding is dropped, then go for it. Good luck!

  9. Plowmanators
    March 3, 2008 / 10:28 PM

    Haley,See this post:When to Move to a 4 hour Schedule: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/when-to-move-to-4-hour-schedule.html When you move to a 4 hour schedule, you will drop a feeding.I would recommend, however, that you drop the 10:30 feeding first. You will then move to 10-12 hours of sleep at night. Once that feeding is dropped and going well, move to the 4 hours. Some babies do both fast; my daughter dropped the feeding then a few days later moved to a 4 hour schedule.Here is a post on dropping that feeding:Dropping the “Dream Feed”: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/dropping-dream-feed.html If he needs to go longer between one or two feedings, remember you can do a combo schedule of 3-3.5 hours. See this post:Combo Schedule is Okay: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/combo-schedule-is-okay.html Good luck!

  10. Susan and Ethan Peterson
    March 4, 2008 / 10:00 PM

    Thanks for the suggestions, she relaxed in the swing last night for the intereval time, I guess she isn’t quite ready to be awake during that time, but not quite ready to sleep real well either. I will remember those tips when the swing doesn’t work anymore though! She is 11 weeks today 🙂

  11. Plowmanators
    March 5, 2008 / 3:40 AM

    It is so nice to have a baby who will be content in the swing. My first was not that way, and my second was. It was much easier with a swing-liker!

  12. IzzysMama
    March 5, 2008 / 6:21 PM

    Sorry, its me again. 🙂 Before I ask my question I just want to thank you for all of your efforts with this blog and answering all of our questions! Like someone else mentioned, it is very nice to have an experienced bw parent to ask! So…I finally got my 4 mo down to one feeding at night (still wakes twice, but goes back to sleep at the first waking). She eats really well at the second waking, so I assume she is hungry. However, she doesnt seem to be eating that well during the day(we’re on a 3hr.). I have felt for awhile that she needs to go to 3.5hrs. but bw says not to change if they are still eating at night. Could it be possible if she ate better during the day she wouldnt need the night feeding? We also do a df at 10:00. Any suggestions would be great!

  13. Plowmanators
    March 5, 2008 / 9:10 PM

    You are most welcome! You can do a combo schedule if needed. You just don’t want to extend your schedule so much that you drop a daytime feeding. If she needs X number of feedings to get the ounces in she needs, you don’t want to drop one of the day feeds before the night one because it will only prolong the time the night one is kept up. So if there is one or two intervals you want to take to 3.5 hours, but you can still keep the same number of day feedings, go for it!

  14. Charlotte's Momma
    March 5, 2008 / 10:42 PM

    I’m glad you did this post. We have a little playtime after naps and before feeding. It started out because I wanted her to have tummy time before she ate (she’s a real spitter!). I just figured we were doing things not exactly the BW way.

  15. Mary
    March 11, 2008 / 1:27 AM

    Wow, I am so glad to have found this site. I am a new mommy with a 6 week old little girl. She is sleeping a good 6 1/2 hours at night consistently. I read the babywise book again last week and realized that I haven’t been consistent enough with her naptimes during the day, so i’ve started to put her down for naptime rather than holding her. Sometimes she will cry and cry and cry through her nap. After 20min of crying, I will go pick her up, change her diaper and put her back down but then she will cry for another 20min+. Does anyone have any suggestions? Am I doing this right?

  16. emily
    March 17, 2008 / 8:53 PM

    I just joined this blog, which I absolutely love, and I posted a comment but can no longer find it, so I’m going to ask my question again. Sorry for the repeat. What do you think about crib mobiles? My daughter (8 weeks) doesn’t need anything except a pacifier to fall asleep, she doesn’t even cry. So, I don’t need a mobile to help her fall asleep, but I would like one to entertain her when she wakes early. Would that be okay or would the mobile become a sleep prop? I don’t want to mess up how easily she falls asleep now.

  17. Plowmanators
    March 17, 2008 / 9:46 PM

    I can’t find it either :)I don’t view mobiles as a sleep prop. It shouldn’t be a problem at all 🙂

  18. Rachel
    April 11, 2008 / 7:26 PM

    I am following BW and CIO and it seems to be working pretty well. I do feel like my baby is sleeping all the time. She takes a nap about 5-6 times a day. When does this become less? I would really like it if she took a morning nap and an afternoon nap (about 2.5 hours each). Does it ever get there???

  19. Plowmanators
    April 11, 2008 / 7:41 PM

    It does. How old is your baby? Babies go down to two naps anywhere from 6-9 months (some later, my daughter was 11 months).

  20. Mary
    April 12, 2008 / 5:20 PM

    First off, thanks for your encouragement to let my baby girl CIO! She goes right down for her naps now with only a couple minutes of fussing. My new issue is her waking early from her naps. If we are at home and I place her down, she will go to sleep only to wake up after 30 minutes. I know she is still tired because when I go to get her, she is still fussy and yawning. Should I let her CIO if she wakes early from a nap? Any suggestions? She’s 11 weeks old now and she gets too stimulated to fall asleep in the swing anymore.

  21. Rachel
    April 12, 2008 / 10:39 PM

    My baby is 6.3 weeks old. She takes approx 4 naps a day and then stays awake between around 630 until her last feeding at 930ish and then goes to bed. She is sleeping about 6 hours a night, then feeding and then going back to bed for another 2 hours. When do the amount of naps drop? Also–she doesnt seem to have a problem staying awake in the evening time. Should I still be putting her down for a nap before the 930 feeding? That would be 5 naps! thanks so much for the help!!!

  22. Plowmanators
    April 14, 2008 / 5:03 PM

    Mary, Thanks for sharing your success! My guess is that while she is good about going down for naps, she is still learning how to self-soothe and can’t quite make it through those transitions. After a while more of practicing, she should be able to make it through the transition. In the meantime, you will have to figure out what to do to hold her off until the next feeding. SeeWaking Early From Naps/Won’t Fall Asleep For Naps: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/waking-early-from-napswont-fall-asleep.html

  23. Plowmanators
    April 14, 2008 / 5:06 PM

    Rachel,My girl took 4 naps until she was 4 months old (as did my son). At 6 weeks, 5 naps would be totally normal. See this post:Sample Schedules : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/03/sample-schedules.html I would consider that evening “nap” to be more of bedtime. So say you put her down at 7:30 or 8:00, then woke her at 9:30 or 10:00. I would consider 7:30 to be her bedtime and the 9:30 or 10:00 feeding to be a dreamfeed, or late evening feeding.

  24. Plowmanators
    May 20, 2008 / 4:26 PM

    Candice,I would think that at some point he will be able to go longer. I would of course make sure he is taking a full feeding so he can make it as long as possible. I would also watch your milk supply if you are nursing; when you have an older child to care for, it is even harder to get enough rest and even enough quality calories.Be aware of possible medical issues that can prevent him from eating a lot at a time (like reflux). Also, he might just have a fast metabolism. My son is that way. He was on a 2.5-3 hour shedule until he was 6.5 months old. He just needed to eat more often. Also, a newborn goes through growth spurts so often (it seems it is one long growth spurt sometimes :). If you are sure he doesn’t really need to eat as often as he is, then you can try to stretch him. See this post for ideas on how to do that:Waking Early From Naps/Won’t Fall Asleep For Naps: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/waking-early-from-napswont-fall-asleep.html

  25. djwagaman
    May 21, 2008 / 1:05 PM

    My 9 week old has been on a 2.5-3.5 hour schedule (usually closer to the 2.5 hours) and has been napping really well (had to teach her to cry it out in the middle of the nap when she would lose her pacifier, but she is doing great). She sleeps 9 hours a night consistantly and eats well during the day. My question is – the last couple days she has been only napping for an hour, then wanting to get up. Usually she will sleep closer to 1.5-2 hours at naptime. It took me several eat/wake/sleep cycles to figure out that she doesn’t need food when she wakes, she is just ready to get up. (I tried CIO and she doesn’t go back to sleep). Any ideas on how to get that wake time before naptime instead of after it?

  26. Rachel
    May 27, 2008 / 5:02 AM

    My daughter is almost 13 weeks old and has a eating schedule of 7, 10,1, 4 and 7. She then goes to bed around 8pm and sleeps until 7am with no feeding in the middle of the night. She takes three naps during the day (830-10, 1130-1 and 245-4) and that is it.When does she move to less naps that are longer? Does this look right?

  27. Plowmanators
    May 28, 2008 / 4:51 AM

    She will have three naps for quite a while. The earliest she could drop the third is 6 months, most drop it around 8-9 months, and some go longer. It looks like she is doing well 🙂 Once you move her to a 4 hour schedule, she could take longer naps for the first two, but a shorter third nap.

  28. Fortibus Marketing of Charleston, L.L.C
    June 7, 2008 / 12:50 PM

    Plowmanators, My son is almost 7 months and you were saying that around this age he would start to eat with the family, so does he not need to eat when he first wakes up any more?? Oh, little info that might help… I’m wanting him to sleep at least 10.5 hours at night so his first 2 naps are at least 1.5 hours long with a cat nap usually later afternoon, so if I feed him now when he wakes up, then he will no longer be on his 4 hour schedule, so is it ok for me to wait about an hour after he wakes up now to nurse him and then feed him his solids, or will that mess up his routine??? Man, just when you think you have it down, things change!LOL!

  29. Plowmanators
    June 9, 2008 / 3:42 PM

    I know, things change so often that first year! For my kids, mealtime with the family really started more around 9ish months. Before that, for breakfast, my son and I would eat first, then I would get my daughter up and feed her. For lunch, I would get her up and feed her, then she would eat finger foods while we ate lunch, so she was “eating” with us, but had already had her meal. For dinner, she was usually asleep for her 3rd nap while we ate dinner. As she got older, it moved more toward her eating meals with us. Breakfast and lunch came first, then dinner, but that was closer to a year. At 7 months, I would still try to keep the eat/wake/sleep, giving maybe 20 minutes if needed after he wakes to feed him. You can start to have him sitting with the family at mealtimes and eating finger foods as he starts them, but not necessarily eating his full meals at the exact times the rest of the family is.

  30. Bacsgrl11
    July 13, 2008 / 7:48 PM

    My son is 7 weeks old and has been sleeping in his crib at night without many problems since he was 10 days old. He is sleeping about 6 hours at this point. I’ve been following the BW sleep/eat/wake cycle and the 2.5-3 hour pattern since birth. The thing I haven’t been following is the proper wake time and getting him to nap during the day. I’ve realized that my son has been having too much awake time (my original thought was that if I wore him out during the day he would sleep better at night). I have had a lot of trouble getting my son to take naps during the day in his crib. We are getting ready to start CIO because right now the only way I can get him to sleep during the day is to hold him. The swing will work for a 30 min. nap but not for a good, 1-2 hour nap. My question is this. If my son does finally fall asleep only to wake up 2 hours into his feeding cycle, what should I do? If I let him stay awake for the next hour, he will definitely fall asleep after I feed him. He usually doesn’t need to be fed until 3 hours – he’s 7 weeks and 13 lbs (he was barely 7 lbs at birth) so he’s getting full feedings and growing well! Should I let him cry for that whole next hour? Although he doesn’t show signs of hunger, he’ll eat if I offer him a feeding. Thank you!

  31. Nathan and Rachel Greenfield
    August 7, 2008 / 5:21 PM

    my noah is 13 weeks old and is a dream with naps and bedtime (as a result of reading CIO bootcamp and getting serious about it)he’s on a 3 hr. schedule 7,10,1,4,7 and then dream feed at 11pm. he does great with his naps for the most part. he is usually tired after 1 hour or 1 hr 10 minutes and then after talking to himself for a few minutes and then a few minutes fuss (sometimes) he usually gets a solid 1 1/2 hour nap. my question is about the stretch of time between 4 and 7. it seems he can stay awake a little longer at this time but can’t quite make it to 7. he starts to get fussy around 6:00 so he takes a little nap- maybe 45 min or an hour. is this normal to take this last “catnap” of the day. when is the average time where he would drop this 4th nap. i wasn’t worried about it until a friend of mine mentioned she thinks he sleeps too much. he’s such a happy baby, i just haven’t worried too much about it. and i know your daughter is a big sleeper, so maybe he’s just a big sleeper also.

  32. Plowmanators
    August 9, 2008 / 10:46 PM

    That catnap is 100% normal. It sounds perfect. Most babies drop that nap around 4 months. Since he is still sleeping well, I wouldn’t worry about what your friends think 😉

  33. Jane
    November 29, 2008 / 3:58 AM

    Hello! I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog! Reading through this has been incredibly helpful…thank you! I have a 7 week old and his current schedule is as follows: 5am – feed/wake time6am – nap8am – feed/wake time9am – nap11am – feed/wake time12 – nap2pm – feed/wake time3pm – nap5pm – feed/wake time6pm – nap8pm – feed/wake time9pm – sleep11pm – dream feed/sleepSo, for the most part, he’s feeding every 3 hours and napping for about 1.5-2 hours. He wakes up around 2:30-3:30am, but we don’t feed him anymore…he’ll go back to sleep with a few love taps =) How do we get him to sleep through the 5am feeding? And what time should we be putting him to bed? Does this schedule look normal for a 7 week old? Can you share what we should be working towards in the coming weeks, as far as feedings/wake times/naps, etc? Also, we should wake them up if we’re approaching the 3 hour mark, right? If I want to go from 3 to 3.5 hours, does that mean he gets a longer nap or a longer wake time? Sorry for all the questions…thanks!

  34. Plowmanators
    December 2, 2008 / 10:38 PM

    Jane, for dropping the 5am feeding…right now I wouldn’t worry about dropping the feeding itself, but I would work on dropping the waketime following it. Fee him and then put him right back to bed. He is young enough that it is an acceptable time to be feeding.Wake him to stay on 3 hours.For a longer cycle, first at this age you can’t move to straight 3.5 hour schedule. You can do a combo 2.5-3.5, but not straight 3.5. At that age if you were to go to 3.5, it would have to be with a longer nap. See this post for sample schedules:Sample Schedules : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/03/sample-schedules.html

  35. Steph
    January 7, 2009 / 2:21 PM

    Hello!Sorry if you have already answered this – I tried to skim all the other comments to see.My baby is 5 months old (about 23 weeks) – and she does 5 feedings a day (7:30ish, 11, 2, 5 and 8:30). So, I guess I have a combo thing going. I was worried when I brought her down to 5 feedings a day a few months ago. Is there a time (say, when you do 4 hour scheduling) where they only eat 4 times a day? Is that ok? She goes to bed around 9:30, and I’d like to eventually get her to go to sleep around 8ish (we’re working on that). So, i’d have to eventually drop the 8:30 feeding – or rearrange the schedule and make it earlier? What would you suggest?Also – in the past week or 2, my daughter went from a solid 2-3 hour morning nap/1.502 hour afternoon nap and maybe an evening catnap to barely napping at all. She now only does 40 minutes in the morning (like clockwork for the past week), and really struggles to go down at ALL for afternoon nap. Any thoughts on this as well?Thank you!

  36. Plowmanators
    January 12, 2009 / 10:22 PM

    Steph, Yes, 4 hour schedule means four feedings a day. Most babies do fine with this, though some do need five feedings. I think those that need five actually need mom to have five for proper stimulation. If that is the case, you can pump a fifth feeding rather than feeding a fifth feeding. If baby needs 5 feedings, I personally wouldn’t do a 4 hour schedule. That would put the 5th really late.If you move to a 4 hour schedule, you would eat at 7:30, 11:30, 3:30, and 7:30…ending in time for an 8 PM bedtime. You could also move up that 7:30 feeding a bit if needed if you have a longer bedtime routine, or you could do the routine before the feeding. See this post about the sleep thing:5-8 Month Sleep Disruptions : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/05/6-month-sleep-disruptions.html

  37. Eva
    January 22, 2009 / 3:10 AM

    I am in LOVE with this site- it really helps as a first time mom and my babywise book FINALLY came in the mail today- baby Ave is 3 weeks old tomorrow! I have been doing the 2.3-3 week spaced feedings, but I read on here and I missed the part about a consistent morning start! -I read BW in the summer, now I am freshening up on it. So I will start that tomorrow morning. Just a question:1-Ave did full feeds and good wake times for the 1st 2 weeks- amazing actually; 1 hour each time and gained 14 ounces, however now for half of the days feedings, she only feeds for 10 minute intervals- this started yesterday- she still has a wet diaper everytime I change her, seems satisfied (I can not wake her once she decides she is done feeding) and has a dirty diaper almost everytime too. She has good wake times for half the feedings too. Has she finished a growth spurt? Is that why she seems content with only 10 min? She feeds 8 times daily. Gosh, I am just so concerned I am messing it up, I am really looking forward to an eventual full night sleep for herself and me too!

  38. Plowmanators
    January 27, 2009 / 2:55 PM

    Eva,There is a growth spurt usually around 2 weeks, and then again 4 weeks. So it is possible that growth spurt is over and you are in between right now. If she is happy and diaper out put is normal (and weight gain good), I wouldn’t worry about it.

  39. lyn
    February 5, 2009 / 5:25 PM

    Hi! I love your post. It has been very informativeand helpful. I have a new baby (3 weeks on Monday) and her current schedule is nursing at 2am, 5am, 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 8pm, & 11pm. I'm having a hard time with waketime for her. She does great at staying awake while nursing, but then falls asleep when I'm burping her. She gets out the burps she needs too, and still sleeps through them! At the 2am, 5am, & 11pm feeding I've been putting her straight to bed and she sleeps great. At the other feedings throughout the day I've been trying my hardest to add in waketime. What happpens though is that she falls asleep while I burp her, stays asleep through diaper changes, walks, etc., but then when I put her down she wakes up. Do I need to then pick her up to spend some waketime with her? Or do I leave her to put herself to sleep? (which she does within 20 minutes or so) Any help would be appreciated. 🙂

  40. The Cleary Family
    March 26, 2009 / 3:12 PM

    I have been skimming all these posts for an hour looking for the comment/question I posted two days ago regarding eat/wake/sleep and dropping the third catnap and can’t find it!! Am I crazy?! I thought I posted it here but checked four hour schedule, dropping a nap etc. Let me know if I need to post it again!Thanks,Stephanie

  41. maratkurbanov
    March 27, 2009 / 6:38 PM

    I’ve been doing BW since day 1. At 4 months my baby is sleeping 9-10 hours at night on 7 feedings a day. Her schedule looks about like this:8am Feed/wake/sleep10:30 F/W/S1:00pm F/W/S3:00 F/W/S6:00 F/W/S8:30 F/W/S10:30pm F/W/S She often (almost every day) will not lay down for an evening nap until she has eaten a second time. When BW says to go to 4-6 feedings it also says 3 daytime naps. If she even does the maximum of 6 feedings, doesn’t that mean 5 naps + nightime? I’m wondering if I’m trying to put her down for too many naps during the day, and if I understand correctly that BW says to ALWAYS do the sleep/wake/nap cycle at all ages. I’m so glad to have found this site!! Any help would be great!

  42. Plowmanators
    April 8, 2009 / 5:29 PM

    Stephanie,If you don’t have a response by now, I haven’t been notified of it or the post didn’t work for some reason.

  43. Plowmanators
    April 10, 2009 / 8:20 PM

    maratkurbanov,At 4 months, most babies go to three naps a day. Both of my kids did this by dropping the nap between your 6 and 8:30 PM feedings.See the dropping naps lable and also the sample schedules for more on that.Don’t decrease the number of feedings until you know she is ready for it. The next feeding you would drop is your 10:30 PM feeding. See the lable “dreamfeed” for more on that.

  44. TheKorthuis'
    April 17, 2009 / 8:57 PM

    Thanks so much for all the help with BW schedule challenges. I have a 4 month old with the following schedule 5A eat, no wake and sleeps until 8A, 8-8:50 wake, sleeps until 11…this continue exactly like this until 8P being her last feeding of the day. But, in the last week or so, she has not been very hungry throughout the day, one feeding really hungry the next not so much, and then really hungry for the next one. I am trying to bump her to a 4 hour schedule so that she is hungry at every feeding. The problem lies in that she wakes up to0 early to support the eat/wake/sleep routine if I were to have her on a 4 hour schedule. For example if she woke at 8A, wake time until 8:50 (50 minutes is all she can handle) and then she would sleep 2 hours or so – which would work great for a 3hour schedule. But if her wake time does not match the span she needs to eat well, then what do I do for that extra 30-60 minutes until it is time for her to eat. It would mess with the order of eat/wake/sleep. Help…I keep getting plugged ducts/mastitis from the inconsistent eating patters.

  45. Plowmanators
    May 6, 2009 / 8:47 PM

    TheKorthuis, As this post indicates, you could have her up for 30 min before feeding. Other than that, there isn’t much you can do. You can try going to a 4 horu schedule and see if everything else follows.If not, for now I would pump after the feeding she didn’t eat well for so you don’t get plugged.

  46. P-T
    June 27, 2009 / 1:41 PM

    Have adopted BW since day 1 and my bb is now moving into the 10th week. Have been on 3hr schedule pretty consistently for the past few weeks and she has been stretching for only abt 5 – 6 hrs from the last feed i.e. 2200. All in she's getting 7 feeds including the middle of the night feed. Her schedule are as such where her respective feed time are at 0700/1000/1300/1600/1900/2200/0330-0400 (at times there may be 30 mins variation). At times she need to be woken up for her feed hence was wondering should i persist with 3 hr schedule and only to extend her schedule to 3.5hr or 4hr until she STTN or i can move on to 3.5hrs schedule now as and when she is able to stretch longer for her day feeds? Btw,love your site as its really informative and helpful!!

  47. newmomma
    June 28, 2009 / 12:12 PM

    Okay, so I have been looking at this site to find the answers that I am looking for and can not find it. I do love to look at this site to help me with my daughter who is 9 months old. I have been doing BW since day 1. Right now, I think she is ready to drop the 3rd nap. She really doesn't take that catnap anymore, but I still put her in her crib to get the idea that it is sleep time. She is on a 4 hour schedule. However, how do you do this? I know your site says that this is a nap you skip, but doesn't that go against the BW theory of Eat/Wake/Sleep? I am so confused and I think and worry it will confuse my daughter if I get her up at 3pm and feed her, then keep her up until her next feed which is around 630-645 then bed at 730. That essentially is feed/wake/feed/sleep. What do I do? Please help.

  48. Jay & Veronica
    July 20, 2009 / 5:46 PM

    My son is 2.5 weeks old and we have been following the eat, wake, sleep schedule. The thing is, my son was born @ 9 pounds 11 ounces and eats a lot of food. I pump at times and he eats much more than another child his age. So BF takes a lot longer for me. So we do the eat, wake thing and then he wants to eat before he sleeps. I have tried to let him CIO, I've tried the soother, but he is actually hungry. So I have been feeding him and he will BF for 10 min approx. Although if I pump and bottle feed he gets more milk into him and doesn't require the snack before sleeping. But I would like to continue BF rather than bottle feeding. Is it okay that he needs to snack before he sleeps or what should i be doing to eliminate that?Thanks

  49. Plowmanators
    July 21, 2009 / 8:53 PM

    P-T, You don't want to extend your schedule to the point of dropping a day feeding until1-baby is consistently STTN2-you have dropped the dreamfeed (late-evening feeding).So it looks like you don't want to do that yet. You could have some 3.5 hour intervals, but just don't drop a feeding.

  50. Plowmanators
    July 21, 2009 / 8:56 PM

    newmomma,I addressed this in the other place you asked this question, but EWS cannot last a lifetime. EWS is to establish hunger patterns and get the sleep you need in a day with a young baby. My kids all start to move from EWS at 4 months when they drop the fourth nap. She won't be confused. You will likely need to move bedtime up for a little bit, though. There is a post titled "Eat Wake Sleep Cycle" that can give you more on the purpose of it to help put your fears at ease 🙂

  51. Plowmanators
    July 21, 2009 / 8:59 PM

    Veronica,If he needs to eat that soon after eating, then there are a couple of things I suspect. One is that he isn't taking a full feeding when he breastfeeds. If so, you will want to correct that.Another is that you might be keeping him up too long. A 2.5 week old should have at most 40 minutes of waketime–that includes the time it takes to eat. A baby that is about 9.5 pounds should actually be able to go longer between feeds than a smaller baby. Most would also be able to eat faster than if they were 6.5 pounds. Good luck!

  52. Rebekah
    September 22, 2009 / 2:52 PM

    Thank you so much for the wealth of information you provide!! My son is 3 days away from being 6-months old. His nighttime sleep has never been disrupted (STTN since 8.5 weeks and currently sleeping 11 hours). Since about 7-8 weeks, we have had our occasional struggles with the 45-minute intruder. However, lately, there is no rhyme or reason to any of his naps. He eats at 8, 12, 4, and 7:45 and still takes 3 naps. One day, his naps might be perfect (two 1.5 hour naps plus a 45-minute catnap). The next day, I might do the exact same thing with him (as far as waketime length, feeding, waketime activities, etc.) and all of his naps might be 45 minutes!! He eats well (breastfeeds at each meal, 5-7 T cereal at each meal and just started veggies for lunch) and never wakes up acting hungry. In fact, he will usually play in his crib for most of the 1.5 hours (I leave him there until "nap time" is over). Of course, if he goes down at 9:45am and then wakes up at 10:30am, that leaves an hour and a half until he's supposed to eat again and it throws off the rest of the day. I have read all of your posts about naps, waking early, etc. but I am at a loss. We do have a toy that hangs down on the side of his crib. When he wakes early, he immediately goes to it and plays with it and bangs it for quite a while. Could this be causing him to wake early? On the one hand, it's nice because when he does wake early it keeps him occupied; however, could it be causing him to actually want to wake early?? I'm just feeling discouraged about these short naps!!

  53. Lisa Hardy
    October 5, 2009 / 11:46 PM

    Hello. My son is now 6 months old and we've been doing eat-wake-sleep from the beginning. He is on a great schedule (4 hours now) and has slept through the night since about 11 weeks. I have a question now regarding solids and how to integrate them into his schedule. We started at 4 months giving him cereal. First at the nighttime bottle then at the morning bottle too. We fed him half his bottle first, then the cereal, and then the rest of the bottle. We gradually started to introduce vegetables and fruit and now he eats many kinds and he has solids at every bottle (4). My question is whether we should continue to feed him the solids at the same time as the bottle or if we should start to feed the solids somewhere between bottles. I especially wonder about his nighttime bottle because he seems to be very hungry very early every night lately. He eats at 7 and lately by 6:15 he is hungry. He gets enough food during the day…I really don't think we should add any more. So, I was wondering how bad it would be to give him his solids at 6pm and then the bottle at 7. I was interested in your thoughts on this. Thanks!

  54. Plowmanators
    October 9, 2009 / 10:13 PM

    Rebekah, have you read the post 5-8 Month sleep disruptions? It could be a need to drop the third nap (or teething, or new skill, etc…all outlined in that post).It could also be an issue with his age and wonder weeks. See the blog label "wonder weeks" for more on that.

  55. Plowmanators
    October 9, 2009 / 10:15 PM

    Lisa,BW says to not do that. It says it creates a snacking habit. Baby Whisper says to feed bottle, two hours later feed solids, two hours later nurse…personally, I agree with Babywise on this. However, if you are jus wondering about that last cycle, I think it would be fine to feed him solids at 6 and then his bottle at 7. If you do it for that one cycle, I think it would be fine. But not all day. Try it and see how it goes.

  56. Erica
    November 4, 2009 / 2:50 AM

    Hi,My son is 3 months old and we just started BW a couple of weeks ago. My question is about the eat, wake, sleep schedule. My son consistently falls asleep during feedings still, so i've been waking him up, the problem with this is it often takes him well over an hour to finish feeding. Should I be counting the feeding session as over at some point? Right now I have him on a 3 hour shedule, so he eats for 60-90 min, awake for 30 min, nap for 60-90. I'm concerned that if I end the feeding earlier he won't be gettig enough food (since we started bw he hasn't been eating as much). Also, do you suggest waking him during his dreamfeedings to finish eating? Thanks for your help!

  57. Tiela Marie
    November 20, 2009 / 7:15 PM

    I have been trying to find a dite that can help me with my sons schedule and I am THRILLED to have found this!! Nathan's schedule is like this:7am: 6 ounces8-10:30: nap11am: 4-6 ounces1:00-2:15: nap2:30-3pm:4-6 ounces4:30-6:30-nap6:30pm:6 ounces(He may sometimes take a nap and sometimes he won't between the last 2 feedings)10pm: 1tbsp cereal (with 1 ounces formula) 7 ounces bottleI am desperately trying to 1. drop that last feeding and 2. figure out when to start feeding him more cereal or a veggie. I am so new at this and I need a little help. I would like to get him down to 4 feedings and to be asleep by at least 7:30-8. I don't know if I feed him cereal or something like that at 7 and also a bottle or just the solid.. I've tried to go through the different blogs but there are just so many! lol

  58. Erica
    November 21, 2009 / 9:03 AM

    Hi! Please disregard my earlier question, as it's no longer an issue. Now my son (almost 4 months old), is having no problems staying awake through feedings. Our new problem is he looses interest eating and wants to play after eating only a couple of ounces (previously he was eating 5 ounces). I've been keeping the stimulation really low, which is the only way i can get him to eat the couple ounces. Also, since this has started, it's been taking him longer to go to sleep for his naps (used to be just a few minutes, now around 15) and we've also started getting the 45 minute intruder naps. Yesterday I noticed that his fussiness at nap time looks a lot like he's hungry, so I tried feeding him, and he downed the rest of his bottle, but was then too sleepy to stay awake to play. He napped for 2 1/2 hours for the first time in over a week! So now I'm puzzled. How can I get him to take a full feeding so I can keep to his schedule? Thanks for your help!

  59. Plowmanators
    December 1, 2009 / 3:32 PM

    Erica, there are a few possibilities here. He is appraching the wonder week 19 (see wonder weeks blog label). That might be the issue or at least contribute to it. He might not be hungry enough when it is time to eat so he doesn't take a full feeding. I would consider extending the schedule. If he won't sleep until your desired eating time, try playing with him for 30 minutes and then feeding him as outlined in this post.The baby whisperer says to move to a four hour schedule at four months. This works for many babies. Since your baby isn't hungry on your schedule, try seeing if extending it will fix it.

  60. Plowmanators
    December 1, 2009 / 5:02 PM

    Tiela Marie,1.If you look at the blog label "dreamfeed" you will find all the information on that2.See the blog label "solids" for that info. There are lots of different ways to do it.3.See "four hour schedule" for that info 🙂

  61. Amy
    February 2, 2010 / 1:18 PM

    My 10-week old is currently on a 2.5-3.5 hour schedule. However, I was wondering how I could make her feeding times more consistent. For example, sometimes for her second feeding she'll go 2.5 hours. Other days she'll make it to 3. This makes each day's feeding times a little different. Is that normal? Is there something I should do to change it?

  62. Plowmanators
    February 13, 2010 / 9:44 PM

    Amy, that is pretty normal for that age, but for help with more consistency, see "Getting a Consistent Schedule"

  63. Nika
    September 29, 2010 / 4:30 PM

    Hello there! Just found your blog and have been reading it for two days straight – such good info on here! We started BabyWise when our boy was 3 weeks old. By 12 weeks, he started sleeping 10 hours at night. Now he's almost 20 weeks, and he's still sleeping 10 hours at night. His last feeding is at 8pm and he wakes at 6am. Here is my question…when he wakes at 6, we have our feed and awake time. And by 7:20am (seems to be the same every single morning), he's rubbing his eyes and ready for his morning nap. Do you think that there is something preventing him from sleeping longer in the first place? Or does it seem normal that he gets tired so quick after sleeping through the night? He takes 4 naps a day, does that also seem like the norm with BW babies? I know each kiddo is different, but just looking for some ideas out there. And lastly, he's starting to eat more, so I am thinking about moving him to 3.5-4 hr schedule (and starting to include some rice cereal), but wondered if our mornings seem like they're on the right track or if he should be sleeping longer (instead of waking at 6am?) Anyways, any information would be appreciated! Thank you sooo much for all the wonderful and helpful information you have available for us eager readers!

  64. Plowmanators
    October 15, 2010 / 8:56 PM

    Nika, the first morning waketime is the shortest. In fact, 1 hour 20 minutes is quite long for a 20 week old, so there is nothing odd about it at all.Most babies go to 3 naps at 4 months old, but with him getting up at 6, I think that would be normal.If I were you, I would start treating 6 AM like a middle of the night situation, especially considering that in a few weeks 6 AM will be 5 AM when the time change happens. So I would feed then put right back to bed. Then get him up by 8 AM and treat that as the first feeding of the day.

  65. Robyn
    December 8, 2010 / 2:56 PM

    I am at a loss. I have an 11 week old boy. About 4-5 days ago he started to not eat very well in the day. He will nurse for only like 5 minutes at some feedings and it is not because he is getting faster, he just isn't eating as much. I give him a bottle once a day of breastmilk and he will only eat about 2 ounces then be done. He is starting to sleep about 8 hours at night. So this is what he does:eat at 8:30PMeat at 4:30AMeat at 8:30AM- this feeding is really short.play and sleep and wake up early at like 10:30 for another feeding in which he is really hungry.1:30- short feeding4:30- decent feeding7:00- pretty good feeding8:30- "snack" before bedtime.He also seems to be less happy and content while awake and more tired which I am assuming because he isn't totally full. I have thought about moving to a 3.5 hour schedule, but he isn't sleeping long enough at night really I don't think AND all he would do is sleep longer if I stretch it out. I'm just not sure what to do. ANY advice from ANYONE would be helpful! THANK YOU!

  66. Plowmanators
    December 20, 2010 / 11:43 PM

    Robyn, this is pretty normal around 3 months. McKenna did this too. I think is wonder week related (that is my theory–see "wonder week" blog label for more on that). If so, he should snap out of it before too long.

  67. Plowmanators
    December 20, 2010 / 11:44 PM

    I thought I should add, if he seems like he is in pain at all, I would definitely bring this to your pedis attention.

  68. mattksgirls
    March 2, 2011 / 1:34 AM

    i'm so thankful for bw & this site! i have a few questions re: my 6 mo. old. she's been on a 3 hr. schedule since birth, however, within the past few weeks her naps have shortened, she's had some night waking (been sttn since 8 wks), and she's not as hungry at 3 hrs since she started solids. my initial thought is to move her to a 3.5 or 4 hr. schedule. my question though is re: her naps. her first nap is usually 1.5 hrs. her second & third naps range between 30 min – 1.5 hrs, depending on the day. i read your blog about dropping the third nap and wondered if that would help, but it seems like she needs that 30 min – 1 hr. nap still. what should i do though when she wakes early from her naps and it's not time to eat yet? just consider that part of her wake time and have activity until her next feeding? does that mess up the eat/wake/sleep cycle? she wakes up happy. i'm so type a and it's driving me crazy! her schedule has been…7-7:30 – wake/eat9 – nap10:30 – eat12 – nap1:30 – eat3- nap4:30 – eat7:30 – eat7:45/8 – bedi nurse her 4 times a day w/ her last feeding a bottle. thanks for your help!

  69. mattksgirls
    March 2, 2011 / 5:55 AM

    just to follow up to my post, i have reviewed the 6 mo old sleep disruptions, as well as the napping blog. i cannot figure out what's going on w/ her except perhaps she just needs a schedule change. i appreciate any suggestions though. thanks again!

  70. Plowmanators
    March 18, 2011 / 4:58 AM

    You could try to have a two hour waketime and see how she sleeps after that. You can always try it and see how it goes.

  71. Esther
    July 18, 2011 / 2:48 PM

    My son is 3wks, 4 days. His eating routine looks like this: 445a7309451240p3005158001040215a545 800Is this normal? I'm dying from lack of sleep. Thx for any help.

  72. bluesweater
    July 21, 2011 / 11:16 PM

    not sure if where to post this…..How important is it to have the same time every morning as your start time?

  73. Plowmanators
    August 5, 2011 / 4:42 AM

    Esther, I am a bit confused by what you wrote with the schedule since the two mornings are different. It looks like you are close to 2.5 hours throughout the day. That is normal. The night is okay, too. It should cut down by one feeding before too long. Hang in there and take naps in the day when you can.

  74. Plowmanators
    August 5, 2011 / 4:49 AM

    bluesweater, Very important. I have a post on that and say that starting at the same time each day is a huge part of establishing STTN. See the index on "Wake Time"

  75. Unknown
    January 9, 2012 / 5:56 PM

    PLS Help!I am on Sleep, Play, Eat pattern. im not sure if i want to start EASY. My son is 14 weeks old it takes me 1.5 to 2 hours to put him down for the night.we start at 7:30 and he is asleep by 9 and i dream feed him at 10:30. He is very inconsistent: he used to sleep till 5am after a dream feed but now he is up at 1:20am,5:30am and all over the place. his naps are short only45 min or shorter.we do have a bed time routine and i watch his awake time he is up for no more then 1 hour, then i nurse him to sleep.

  76. mjs
    February 21, 2012 / 4:15 PM

    hello! i happened to stumble upon this blog + haven't been able to stop reading! i'm hoping this will be a great ongoing resource for me…a very newbie mom of a darling 18 week old baby girl! :)we had no clue what we were doing for the first 3 mos of our little one's life! luckily i was given the advice to do eat-wake-sleep so she has been on that pattern from day one. however…her sleep had always been horrible. she did have some refulx…but frankly we just weren't helping her sleep well. we'd bounce her for 2-3 hrs at naptime + bounce her 3-4 hrs at bedtime. finally at 12 wks we were desperate + let her cry. oh to know what she was thinking because she cried for 40 min + has been sleeping all by herself ever since! :)we're sort of doing a combination of "healthy sleep habits, happy child" + "babywise". her eating + sleeping are pretty good…but i know according to "babywise" she should be moving toward being on a more consistent schedule/routine. i'm wondering if you could maybe offer some advice for us to fine-tune our system. :)first her eating: i try to feed her every 3 hrs give/take a half hr depending on her nap duration. she generally eats at 7:30a, 10:30a, 1:30p, 4:30p, + 5:30p (part of the bedtime routine…but she's always completely awake when she's laid down). she then consistently eats at 11:00p + 3:30a. right now she is so distracted while eating that she's not getting full feedings. i feed her right after her nap, still swaddled, + in the dark. because of this…i think that's why she's still taking 2 full feedings at night. is there anything in particular i should amend with her eating? or is this just a phase of being distracted + we're basically on the right track?second her sleeping: my daughter, at 18 wks, can still only have an hr waketime. her strong sleep cues come at 60-75 min + if i follow them sleep is easy…if not it's a struggle. she generally takes 3-4 naps a day. one will be 2.5-3 hrs + the other 2-3 will be 1 hr. therefore the 3 hr feeding schedule sometimes gets mixed up. also…she has a very early bedtime. her last nap ends pretty consistently around 4:30p so bedtime is btw 5:30-6:00p since she can only make it an hr. is this an okay pattern of day/night sleep or should we be working toward a different goal?i guess i just don't quite know what to change in order to get her to eat more consistently + in greater amounts as well as get her to have more uninterrupted sleep at night.thanks so much for any hints/tips…i really appreciate it!

  77. McKay Balog
    January 26, 2014 / 12:18 PM

    Hi there! We have been implementing BW with our son since Day 1 and have had pretty good results so far. I've been devouring your blog for the last 6 weeks and re-read the book twice. We have him on a good 3 hr schedule right now (he's 5 1/2 weeks) with feeds at 7-7:30, 10, 1, 4, & 7 plus a DF at 10:30 or so and then 2 middle of the night feeds (sometimes just one, around 3:30 or 4 if I'm lucky). The problem I'm having is that he is getting a lot of daytime sleep at the first 2 naps (2 hrs) but by the later part of the day & bedtime he's not settling and/or he's waking up early. I've read your posts on naps and troubleshooting and I feel like the problem is too much daytime sleep. He's right at a 1 hour waketime right now and I know the book says naps should be 1-1.5 hrs (which would be perfect, I think) but I don't understand what else makes the 3 hour cycle if he's having only 1 hour of waketime? Should I extend his waketime to cut down on the amount he's sleeping during the first half of the day? We watch his cues and he's always ready to go down right around the 1 hour point so I'm just not sure. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  78. KerryTom
    February 7, 2014 / 9:36 AM

    Hi there. I have twin girls who are now 4 months old. They sleep well at night usually only waking for 1 feed. We have them on a 4 hourly feeding schedule which is great but each day is different to the next depending on their first feed, which depends on when they wake up. My first question is, how do we get them to wake up the same time everyday? Secondly, sometimes they eat, play, sleep and others they eat, sleep, play. If they're tired after their bottle and I try keep them awake, they get very grumpy with me. So, I prefer to follow their ques and let them follow which ever cycle they choose. Is this a good idea? If not, how do I move to eat, pay, sleep without stressing them out and making them overtired? Thanks! Kerry

    • KerryTom
      February 8, 2014 / 4:38 AM

      Hi…as a follow up to my first post, I thought I should provide more info: we are working towards a schedule of 7:00 / 11:00 / 3:00 / 7:00, which sometimes happens but their waking time depends on what time they wake up for their night feed… usually between 1:30 and 3:30. This morning they woke up at 1:30 and 5:10, so in order to get them to 7:00 for "breakfast" we have given them a smaller snack bottle. Is this a good idea?

  79. Julia
    September 19, 2014 / 12:28 PM

    Thanks so much for your blog- I love it!My daughter is 12 weeks old. She is on a 3hrly schedule with feed/wake/sleep cycle. For some at times and especially this last week she sometimes has a only a small feed when she wakes up then refuses to take any extra so we play but then gets hungry before she goes down for a nap. This has been happening before bed too and she has even fallen asleep at the breast which I have tried to avoid from the beginning. I'm now worried she with associate feeding before sleep. Do you have any tips? I'm just not sure why she won't take a full feed

    • Valerie Plowman
      September 22, 2014 / 11:04 PM

      I would bet it is the 12 week wonder week. Look up wonder weeks on my blog and then if you need more info, google "wonder week 12". If it is that wonder week causing it, she will snap out of it when she is over the 12 week wonder week. Or she will be easier to work out of it.

  80. JJ LEWIS
    March 28, 2015 / 10:54 PM

    Hi! Posting this question regarding feeding here but not sure if this is where I should be posting it. My LO is going to be 3 months old in 3 days (4/2). We are on day 4 of bottle feeding with formula. She had bilateral inguinal hernia repair 3/26. She takes the formula but it takes her about 45min – 60min to drink 2-4oz. By the time she is done, she is close to her nap time. She can stay awake (optimal wake up time) for 1hr to 1 1/2 hr. I think she is still getting used to the bottle, she did take a while as well when she was nursing, and she plays with the bottle nipple for 10 minutes before she actually nurses. My question is should we put a limit to when she should stop feeding during her wake up time? Can we feed her during the whole of her wake up time but that defeats the eat, play, sleep cycle. Thank you.

    • Valerie Plowman
      April 15, 2015 / 12:25 AM

      JJ Lewis, I hope you have this worked out by now. If not, try different nipple sizes. Maybe try waiting 10inutes before feeding so baby will be that much more interested in eating.

  81. JJ LEWIS
    March 28, 2015 / 11:20 PM

    Ops. I meant 3/19 for her surgery.

  82. Pettyj
    April 8, 2015 / 11:12 PM

    Hi! I was wondering if you believe the eat/wake/sleep cycle is better to stay on or try to feed on the schedule even if they wake up early? For example my baby will eat, have play time, go down fine but then wake up an hour before his next feeding. I know it's not due to a growth spurt because he doesn't eat super well when this happens. I've tried running to soothe him back to sleep and CIO (which usually makes him more worked up). I have an 18 month old too so I can't spend all of my time getting him back to sleep until his next feeding. But if I wait it's basically feeding and putting him to bed….

    • Valerie Plowman
      April 15, 2015 / 12:23 AM

      Pettyj, that is a great question. I have seen BW done both ways. I think usually that the best thing to do if the baby isn't hungry is to try to stay on feeding schedule. The trouble is that if baby is up too long, naps won't be good. So you can kind of split the difference, so you would feed 30 minutes after waking. Have you tried a swing?

    • Pettyj
      April 15, 2015 / 2:49 AM

      That's a great idea! Thank you I will try that! Yes I do use the swing quite a bit. I still really try to put him down awake but if he wakes early I use the swing if it is taking too long to get him back to sleep. He has quite a bit of tummy issues and that doesn't help the waking early. I am really struggling with getting him to sleep until the next feeding times. Would you bet I am missing his optimal sleep window? With my first I always knew when he needed to go down but I think between my focus being split on my 19 month old and him not having obvious sleep cues I am struggling with getting him on a schedule. 🙂 thank you!

  83. Allie Cole
    November 4, 2016 / 3:21 PM

    Hi! I've looked on several areas of your blog and can't seem to find the answer I'm looking for! Thanks for this amazing site; it was my saviour when I had my son (who is 2 and is still an awesome sleeer!!) and am still using it regularly now for my second! My daughter is 3.5 months old, has been sleeping through the night for a couple of weeks now (I'm going to try dropping the dream feed soon!). She naps 4x a day for 60 minutes (almost exactly) every time. This is where I'm having my problem though. Because we have always done the sleep, eat, wake cycle, she wakes, I feed her, we play, she goes to bed. Lovely and predictable, however this is a 2 hour schedule!! She is so easy going I have no doubt she would wait patiently to eat to get to a 3 hour eating schedule, however this would mean she would be eating at times right before her nap! What's more important: a 2.5/3 hour schedule or the eat/wake/sleep pattern?! 1 hour of waketime is ideal (some days I can get an hour and 15 out of her, but she'll often wake at the 45 min mark if I do!). Thank you so much!

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