How To Successfully Do “On Becoming Babywise”

A full step-by-step guide written by the Babywise Mom. How to use the Babywise method to get baby sleeping. Follow these 9 steps to be successful!

Newborn baby sleeping

When you first read On Becoming Babywise, you are pumped. You are so excited to get started and have a perfect, amazing sleeper who is on a predictable routine. Life is going to be smooth-sailing. Yay for a manual!

Then the work begins and you realize that babies aren’t quite as easy and straightforward in real life as they are when we write about them.

It can be hard to remember all that you read and know what to do with your little one when he doesn’t respond exactly as you expected him to.

Babywise is the parenting method I choose all those years ago and stuck with through all of my children over the years.

I have never once regretted it and write all about it on this blog to help as many parents as possible be successful with it. 

9 Steps To Do On Becoming Babywise

The pattern of the Babywise baby’s day consists of three phases: eat, wake, sleep.

This means your baby will wake up, eat, have some awake time, then sleep. Then wake up, eat, have some awake time, sleep.

This pattern will continue from the time your baby gets up in the morning until the time your baby goes to bed for the night. The basic things to focus on are:

  1. Have a consistent morning wake-up time
  2. Follow the eat/wake/sleep cycle
  3. Have your baby eat at regular intervals
  4. Make sure your baby takes full feedings
  5. Time naps correctly
  6. Put baby down for naps awake
  7. Have a consistent bedtime
  8. Do a Dreamfeed
  9. Always remember you are the parent

Each of these points is discussed in detail below. This post contains affiliate links

Babywise success steps pinnable image

Your Babywise Baby Should Have a Consistent Morning Wake-up Time

This point is listed first because it is one of the most important things for you to focus on.

Many people underestimate the importance of this and start the day whenever seems to work on that day. If mom is tired, she wants to let baby sleep in. If baby was up a lot in the night, mom doesn’t want to get baby up in the morning.

I get those things. I do. I have had four babies. I know what those things feel like. If you decide to ignore this step, you will not have Babywise success as quickly as you would if you followed it. If your baby just isn’t sleeping as well as you expected or hoped and aren’t following this step, implement it immediately!

In On Becoming Baby Wise, the authors Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam tell you to have a consistent morning wake-up time within 30 minutes.

So if you ideally want baby to start the day at 7 AM each day, you would range from 6:45-7:15 or 7-7:30 or 6:30-7:00…notice the “OR” thrown in there. Pick a range and stick to it.

See What Time To Start Baby’s Day if you need help deciding on a target morning wake-up time for your baby.

When I am establishing consistency with my babies, my morning wake-up time is as consistent as possible.

To the minute.

If I want each day to be predictable and I want baby to adjust to life and get on a routine, I find super consistency works the fastest.

You are getting baby’s body used to waking up at the same time and then eating at the same time each morning. Flexibility can come once the routine is well-established.

Images of a newborn baby with text that reads: How to do On Becoming Babywise a guide to success"


Troubleshooting Morning Wake-up Time Help

If your baby is waking too early in the morning, see Sleep Problems: Morning Wake-up Time is Too Early.

If your baby is consistently waking in the 5-6 AM hour and you aren’t sure how to handle morning wake-time in that case, see 5-6 AM “Night” Wakings.

If you just really want or need your baby to wake up later in the morning, see How To Get Your Child To Sleep In Later In The Morning.

Your Babywise Baby Should Eat, Then Play, Then Sleep

The eat/wake/sleep cycle is central to the Babywise system.

Eat wake sleep.

Your baby eats and then plays. That means that you are keeping baby awake for the feeding because you aren’t nursing or feeding baby to sleep. This means that baby eats a full feeding because he isn’t just eating until drowsy, falling asleep, and then being put to bed. If baby falls asleep, baby is woken up to continue eating.

This also means that when baby goes down for a nap, baby goes down awake because baby wasn’t nursed or fed to sleep.

These points are all discussed more below, so for the purpose of this section, we will simply state that you want to have baby eat, then play, then sleep. For benefits of this cycle pattern read this post.

Newborn baby photo with text overlay

Your Babywise Baby Should Eat at Regular Intervals

Baby wise is a scheduled feeding method. You want your baby to eat at regular intervals. These exact intervals will change as your baby gets older. With a new baby, you will aim for baby eating every 2.5-3 hours.

You might have times baby eats sooner than 2.5 hours. You always want to feed your baby when your baby is hungry, as Babywise points out (literally at least 27 times).

You want to follow hunger cues. Your baby will eat more often when he has a growth spurt or if you do some cluster feeding in the evening. Other than these exceptions, aim for feedings happening every 2.5-3 hours.

As a newborn, your baby will need to eat about 8-10 times per day. Take your morning wake-up time and plan to feed baby every 2.5-3 hours until the last feeding before bedtime.

Get the whole Babywise Book series

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

Your Babywise Baby Should Take Full Feedings

One vital step to ensure baby can make it 2.5-3 hours in between feedings is to make sure baby takes full feedings at each feeding. This can be difficult to figure out, especially in the early weeks of focussing on this. I have an entire post on How To Tell if Baby is Getting a Full Feeding.

You can also see Feeding a Newborn: How Long is a Feed for help knowing how long a feeding should last.

Newborns are not easy to keep awake to eat. Read these posts for help with that:

Monitor Diapers

Watch your baby’s diaper output to have a good idea if baby is eating enough or not.

In the early days, you want 5-7 wet diapers and you don’t want the urine to be dark yellow or concentrated. You also want to be aware of poopy diapers each day. And of course, baby should be growing and getting bigger over time.

Read A Complete Summary of the Babywise Method

You Need to Time Baby’s Naps Correctly

Your Babywise baby needs naps in each cycle. Eat, wake, sleep.

Most naps should be 1.5-2 hours long. Some babies will take 2.5 hour naps. Some naps will be only 45-60 minutes (this is often true for the evening nap).

Babies need regular naps so they can grow and so they can process what they have learned while they were awake.

Wake Time Length

In order to have naps last long enough, you need to time naps correctly. See How To Calculate Waketime Length to know how to track how long your baby is awake.

It isn’t always easy figuring out the exact length of time your baby needs to be awake. It is usually less time than you would guess, but all babies need different lengths.

I have a cheat sheet for you in The Cornerstone for Good Naps. If you can get naps timed correctly, your baby will take nice solid naps.

More Important Sleep Elements

Timing isn’t everything. The sleep environment needs to be set up for successful sleep. You want to have a sleep routine. If you need nap help, I have an entire book on naps.

 The Babywise Mom Nap Guide

Your Babywise Baby Needs To Self-Soothe

You want to put your baby down for naps when he is awake. A huge part of the success of Babywise is that Babywise babies can self-soothe, meaning the baby can fall asleep without being rocked or using other sleep props.

Every 45 minutes, a baby transitions to a new cycle of sleep, and at that transition, a baby easily can wake up.

A baby who can self-soothe will settle back to sleep unless there is some other factor that wakes baby up (hunger, loud noises, discomfort, sickness, etc.).

Read What is a Sleep Transition (and How Does it Impact Naps) for more on the topic.

Baby needs to be able to self soothe in order to make it through all phases of the sleep cycle. 

This does not mean you have to do cry it out in order to be successful at Babywise (read Sleep Training According to Babywise for more on that).

It just means you need to somehow get your baby to be able to sleep on her own.

My personal favorite way to sleep train a baby is not a cry it out way. I use the Four S’s for sleep training. This is a gentle sleep training method.

I have done cry it out and have great tips for you if you want to go that route. Here are some helpful sleep training posts:

Also, there are times you will forego falling asleep alone in order to get the nap in so you can preserve the eat/wake/sleep pattern. Read up on My Sleep Hierarchy for Newborns for details.

One of my favorite things about Babywise naps is that my baby is able to fall asleep independently and make it through a good nap length. Self-soothing is vital to that. 

If you need help with Babywise sleep training, be sure to see this post:

Your Babywise Baby Needs a Consistent Bedtime

A consistent bedtime is almost as important as a consistent morning wake-up time.

When choosing your bedtime, aim for it to be 10-12 hours before your morning wake-up time. I personally go for 12 hours.

So if we are waking up at 7 AM, I go for bedtime to be between 7 PM-7:30 PM. In setting your goal times for daily feedings, make sure they are spaced through the day so you can land at your desired bedtime.

If you are cluster feeding, bedtime might be a little later than 12 hours before. If you cluster feed at 6 PM and then 8 PM, with a Dreamfeed at 10 PM (see that section below), treat either 6 PM or 8 PM as your bedtime.

Bedtime is not your last feeding of the day. It is your long-term bedtime goal. For more on bedtime, see:

Newborn baby sleeping photo with text overlay

Your Babywise Baby Needs a Dreamfeed

Most Babywise babies will need a Dreamfeed, or late evening feed. This feeding happens in the 10 PM hour.

Before we get too far into it, let me say that some babies just don’t respond well to the dreamfeed. If that is your baby, it is okay. The dreamfeed is mostly there for your benefit. It is so you can get one last feeding in before you go to bed so baby will sleep longer at night.

If you want to go to bed at 8 PM or the dreamfeed just isn’t helping things, don’t stress it. Just don’t compare your non-dreamfeeding baby’s night sleep to the dreamfeeding baby.

Let me add, I find the dreamfeed so valuable that I put a lot of time and effort into getting my babies to do it even though it wasn’t easy. It is worth putting some effort in to see if you can make it work.

The dreamfeed is beneficial because it gives baby one last feeding before you go to bed. That means baby sleeps more when you are also sleeping.

How To Do On Becoming Babywise. A full step-by-step guide written by the Babywise Mom.

The dreamfeed is also beneficial because it helps you make sure you get enough feedings in during a 24 hour period.

When you get baby up this last time for the day, you can be sure you have enough feedings.

This helps the following day be more predictable. If baby didn’t get enough feedings the day before, she might wake more often the next day seeking more food. A dreamfeed helps you keep things more consistent.

The dreamfeed can start from birth and often is dropped anywhere from 3 months old to 8 months old. Kaitlyn was my oldest when she dropped it and was a 7 month old. Brinley was my youngest and was not quite 4 months old yet.

Please note, the dreamfeed should be treated like a night feeding. There is no waketime after this feeding. You try to keep baby as sleepy as possible while still feeding baby. Read more about the dreamfeed in these posts:

Remember Babywise is Parent Directed

One of my favorite things about Babywise and what sets it above other similar books for me is the focus on it being parent directed.

Baby wise is PDF–Parent Directed Feeding. Each baby is different and an individual. There are guidelines that work for most babies, but there are always outliers and always tweaks your baby might need.

Your baby might have a faster metabolism and need to eat more often than the average baby. Your baby might have reflux and need intervention to sleep well. Your baby might have really high sleep needs and need to take longer naps than the average baby.

There are countless caveats that can come up. Babywise can work for every baby because you can change things as needed to make it work for your individual child.

You are the parent. Understand the why behind the guidelines given and find ways to accomplish that why that works best for your little one.

Babywise PDF is one of the best things about Babywise. 

A Note on Babywise Controversy

I managed to make it until my second child was a newborn before I realized there was Babywise controversy.

I was shocked when I discovered this–why would anyone have issues with this parenting method? Especially considering that so much of it is “you are the parent, you decide.”

I have found that much of the criticism online about Babywise is from people who haven’t read the books themselves. They have heard or read controversial points without reading about them in the context of the book themselves. 

For others who have read the book, many seem to have misinterpreted what they read. I discuss Babywise at great length on this blog and I quote the book as well as cite page numbers where you can find the information yourself.

On the few occasions I have not been sure how to explain something, I have emailed the authors of the book to be sure I am on the same page they are. 

Still others who criticize people tried the Baby Wise method and it did not work for them. That is okay! There are so many different ways to parent. Babywise is just one way. But it seems some people feel the need to attack it if it wasn’t perfect for them.

I love the Baby Wise book. It works very well for my personality and has been fantastic for all of my children. Not everyone needs to use it, though. Parents need to do what fits them best. 

If you want to read more on the Babywise controversy, I do have many posts discussing and refuting common Babywise myths. 

Setting Up A Babywise Sleep Schedule

If you are working toward getting your little one on a solid Babywise schedule, I have so many posts to help you. You can see my schedules page for all of my posts related to schedules so you can set up a sleeping schedule for baby. 

If you have a baby under the age of one, start with this post and find your baby’s age to get tons of sample schedules and what to expect.

Do You Need the Baby Wise Book?

Click here to buy your own copy of the On Becoming Babywise Book. If you are new to the book Baby Wise, you will want to start with this book On Becoming Babywise book 1. There are many more to follow to help you with your future years. 

Babywise Schedule Chart Cheat Sheet

I have put all of this into a two-page document for you that you can print (I would print front and back and make it one page). You can get your copy by clicking on this link. This is a great Babywise schedule chart cheat sheet that is printable.


The book Babywise by Gary Ezzo is a wonderful parenting tool that I have seen help thousands of parents.

You will love the peace of mind knowing what comes next for your baby each day.

As my children have gotten older and hit toddler years, preschool years, child years, preteen years, and teen years, I have been happy over and over again that we started Babywise all those years ago.

My two year old was easier because of the foundation we set as a baby. My 11 year old was easier because of what we worked on that first year of life. My teenagers are a joy!

It pays off over and over again. I believed it way back in 2007 when I started this Babywise blog and believe it now as I continue to raise my children and strive to help you succeed with On Becoming Babywise. 

Newborn baby sleeping

Babywise: 9 Steps to Success

Prep Time: 1 minute
Active Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 2 minutes

How to be successful with On Becoming Babywise and get your little one sleeping well as fast as possible!


  1. Have a consistent morning wake-up time
  2. Follow the eat/wake/sleep cycle
  3. Have your baby eat at regular intervals
  4. Make sure your baby takes full feedings
  5. Time naps correctly
  6. Put baby down for naps awake
  7. Have a consistent bedtime
  8. Do a Dreamfeed
  9. Always remember you are the parent

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How to Do Babywise

How to do Babywise tips from the Babywise Mom. How to use the Babywise method to get baby sleeping. Everything you need to be successful with Baby wise!

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6 thoughts on “How To Successfully Do “On Becoming Babywise””

  1. I just wanted to say thank you for your excellent content and the thoroughness of your blog! It helped me out so much 8 years ago with my first and now as many of my friends are having babies, and struggling to find solutions, I can direct them to your blog and know they will find an answer to their questions. Your work is amazing!

  2. Good morning – I am now 61 and used the Ezzo’s method for my four children along with “My First 300 Babies” – I have also written a book on “trust filled parenting” – using their principles – these principles that you talk about absolutely changed our parenting journey and we now have 4 very successful adult children. I am thankful for your voice out there in the young parenting world – these new parents need to know that newborns need not keep you up all night – actually with baby #4 (I was 40 yo) we structured her schedule so that she would be off all night time feedings by 2 weeks old – it worked! She is now a thriving, intelligent, competent 23 yo – and we were soooo thankful for a full night’s sleep! Keep up the good work –

  3. We started with BabyWise back in 1988 only then it was known as Preparation for Parenting. What a Blessing!! All 4 of our children slept through the night before 6 weeks of age. I’ve saved all my books from those classes and have passed them on to my children as they start having their own children. It works!!
    Now they can come here, to your website!! Thank-you for this! I’m positive it will help many moms and families!
    Keep up the good work!!


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