**I am sharing our newborn schedule that has worked best for us. This is in no way a “fool proof, works for everyone” kind of post. Every baby is different, so take what we’ve done if you want but tailor it to your baby. We have worked best with a combination of baby led cues and routine. We do not deny a feeding or nap from Knox if he shows he needs one.**
How in the world is Knox a month old?! It is truly mind boggling and I want to nibble up every bit of this little boy for as long as he will let me. Is this really how fast time flies with your kids? Oy, I can’t handle it. I already have cried publicly when I realized Knox would date girls one day that ARE NOT HIS MOMMY. Heart-wrenching, that’s all I have to say about that.
We have had an incredible experience so far *knocks on every piece of wood* with a baby who took to a schedule really quickly and sleeps really well. Seriously, by God’s grace, I prayed SO HARD for a baby that would let me sleep. Don’t get me wrong, we still have a newborn who can be fussy without any apparent cause and we are both exhausted, but Paul and I are sleeping about 5 or 6 hours a night which has helped a ton with our sanity.
To be completely truthful, I didn’t read any books before Knox was born. I asked (and still do) close friends a lot of practical questions, but told myself I didn’t want to read any books about “how to” anything. I am a very ‘put on your big girl pants and figure it out by yourself’ kind of person, and I took on motherhood with the same mentality. Thus, I didn’t know “scheduling your baby” was such a hot topic… and definitely didn’t even know it was officially a thing. I found out it was when I shared on Instagram that we were sleeping through the night a couple weeks back with a newborn and how, and so many people asked if we were doing Baby Wise. We aren’t, but after reading about it, it showed us we weren’t crazy for instinctively getting Knox on a routine that semi-follows ours (and that it’s very controversial- we had no idea!). All Paul and I knew when we came home from the hospital was that we work best with a routine of some kind, and we wanted to see if we could somehow get Knox to work with us a little in that. When we had success our second night home (after a HORRIBLE first night with zero routine or order to our day), we quickly jumped on what worked and wrote out a schedule. That means we started Knox on somewhat of a routine at 6 days old. Our schedule went off of partially Paul’s and my routine meshed together with what Knox was doing on his own already.
Note these VERY important things before making a schedule for your baby:
- You cannot let them go more than 3-4 hours MAX without feeding until they hit their birthweight again after coming home from the hospital.
- By 1 week, they should be eating anywhere between 2-4 oz. a feeding. (This is important if you do any kind of bottle feeding)
- Get everything checked and approved by your pediatrician before implementing routine.
- Don’t get frustrated if there are days your baby isn’t “cooperating” with the schedule. They are babies, and they are ultimately going to do what they do and show what they need. Just stay calm and your baby will be calm!
Every baby will be different, and even our schedule can vary a little bit still day to day, because at the end of the day it’s way more important to follow Knox’s cues than stick to a strict schedule. Some days, he is just hungrier and needs to eat earlier or needs to eat between official feedings, or he is fussier and needs to nap a bit longer. But, this schedule is our goal every day.
The things that I DO stick to, no matter what:
Wake-up time and routine/bedtime and routine is the same every single day.
We currently sleep Knox in a Dock-a-Tot in either a SwaddleMe Swaddle *BY FAR THE BEST* or the swaddles our hospital gave to us (both are velcro swaddles and much safer in my opinion than the blanket swaddle), inside our bassinet. Knox kicked out of his blanket swaddles every single night we tried them, and we quickly learned they didn’t work for us. Some babies love them and do great with them, though! The blanket swaddles do work great for us for hanging out on the couch and truly just a blanket type of situation (under supervision).
He ONLY is swaddled for bedtime as part of his routine, and this really says “It’s time for bed.” For most naps, we put Knox in his Dock-a-Tot wherever I am at in the house. I say most, because I mean… who doesn’t want to snuggle their sleeping baby? He associates sleep to the Dock-a-Tot, although he really can sleep anywhere. I recently started sleeping him in the bassinet without the Dock-a-Tot for naps sometimes and will move that around the house as well, because once Knox is too old to swaddle he cannot sleep in the Dock-a-Tot inside the bassinet. (It’s a hazard if he were to roll out of the Dock-a-Tot). We have a mesh sided bassinet, but it’s just not worth risking. (obviously…) Lastly, I just started moving the bassinet into the nursery when he falls asleep for a nap to get him used to sleeping in there with white noise on for when the big transition to the nursery comes, too. I switch it up all day.
All that to say, here’s our newborn schedule. This is what has worked for us. We know it will surely change, already he is showing an earlier bed time works/is needed, so there have been a couple nights we have put him down at 9:30 and he wakes up at 4:30 AM. Then I feed, and he goes back to sleep until about 7 AM.
Again, this is what has worked wonderfully for us with our newborn, and it has given us sleep as first time parents. At the end of the day, rested parents make for better and more patient parents in this household. A well-rested baby on a routine is a very happy baby, too, in our experience so far. The days he hasn’t slept well or routine was off, he was cranky. Knox is thriving, gaining proper weight, extremely alert during awake times, and such a good baby overall. *all the praise hands*
Our Newborn Schedule
(Can be implemented once back to birth weight)
Mommy wakes up at 5:30 AM, get coffee, set up for feeding, etc.
**diaper change before feeding**
Feed at 6 AM
Finish around 6:30, Burp, Nap for 1.5 hours, wake up and play for 1 hour (read aloud, carry, sing to)
Feed at 9 AM
Finish around 9:30, Burp, Nap for 1.5 hours, wake up and play for 1 hour
Feed at 12 PM
Finish around 12:30, Burp, Nap for 2 hours, wake up and play for 1/2 hour
Feed at 3 PM
Finish around 3:30, Burp, Nap for 1.5 hours, wake up and play for an hour (carry him around in Solly Wrap for new scenery and talk to him while you prep for dinner)
Feed at 6 PM
Finish around 6:30, Burp, Nap for 1 hour, wake up and play for 1.5 hours
Feed at 9 PM
Small Feeding *snack time* (about 1.5 oz), Burp, Cat Nap** for 45 minutes, wake up and play until final feeding
Feed at 10:00 PM***
Full feeding (about 3 oz), bedtime routine after final feeding (daddy changes diaper, swaddles, put on Owlet Monitor, lay in bassinet bedside barely awake- don’t let fall asleep in your arms!)
***Until we hit birthweight, and could drop a feeding we did:
Feed at 9:30
Feed at 11
Feed at 3 AM- **bottle of breastmilk for a faster feeding
If your baby doesn’t want to take a nap between certain feedings or doesn’t sleep the full time, that is OKAY. Don’t force it. Wait for that first yawn and lay them down then. Take advantage of awake time to play, read books aloud, swing, tummy time, etc.
Teaching Day vs. Night
When we first brought home Knox and were getting the routine rolling, we had to go through really just about a week (maybe less?) of training him what was nighttime vs. daytime. Meaning, we were all stoked he was sleeping basically all day and in the evenings when our meal train friends were coming over or grandparents were hanging out… but then realized that was why he wasn’t falling asleep when we wanted to go to bed. We followed feeding times etc. as shown above, but “Operation Keep Baby Awake” commenced from 6-10 PM. We played, sang, bounced, and had to fight through cries, but it worked after just a couple days! Now, he is so chill (most of the time) in the evenings, and it’s when he is most alert and ready to hang out.
*READ: We ALWAYS let him nap between these hours while training days and nights when he showed us he was truly tired. It’ll keep you both from being frustrated. Just don’t do a full 2 hour nap during this period. Eventually, the needed nap at this time will likely go away or become much shorter if he slept through the day. Again, follow your baby’s cues above all else. As much as you don’t want an overslept baby, you don’t want an under slept baby.
MAIN KEY: Your newborn needs about 17 hours of sleep a day, meaning 7 hours awake! Whatever times throughout the day you can make 7 hours total of awake time work, do it.
Our biggest rookie mistake: Thinking Knox didn’t need to burp.
As we increased his food intake accordingly, we also found Knox didn’t burp easily. We thought that his lack of burping just meant he didn’t need to, but that was not the case. We went through a few days of a very out of character fussy baby, and didn’t understand why. He was tooting A LOT, though, and we figured out with our pediatrician we weren’t getting burps out of him enough. If your baby is eating, he/she is burping… or should be. They won’t always burp after a feeding, but if they are going multiple feedings without burping, keep trying!! We watched a whole lot of YouTube videos on burping a baby, and laughed a lot about how much life has changed to be celebrating burps and toots.
I cannot say enough how much I really believe if the parents are calm and go with the flow -even with a schedule or routine!- your baby will mimic that. Paul and I decided way early on in pregnancy that we wouldn’t be the parents who wash the pacifier every drop, freak out over every little thing (although that is HARD not to haha), and don’t go out with our baby. With flu season being so bad, we definitely have had to be more cautious than we would like, but we are certainly not taking any chances with that. Even still, I have been to church with Knox multiple times starting at 11 days old (thanks to our Milk Snob that keeps him covered in his carrier!! We have this one), a family wedding at 3.5 weeks old, and we feel so at ease with him. Knox in turn is such a calm, consolable baby. I just can’t help but think that’s partially his personality and also what we’ve helped cultivate. Keep calm, carry on- that’s my advice for you fellow first time mommies. You are you still YOU, you just have an awesome new addition to you now. Keep telling yourself that, and it will help you dive back into “normalcy” or at least your “new normal”. 😉 You can do this, and I promise it really does come naturally. And, at the end of the day, you will know what is best for your own kid. As I said at the beginning, having a routine is just what has worked for us!
As for these amazing newborn photos, of course they are by the amazing Cottonwood Road Photography
Favorite Items, Month 1
Links for everything you see in our nursery are here in our Nursery Reveal!