Getting Your Newborn To Sleep At Night…..

I’ve never claimed to be a parenting expert; I just read a lot of books that have taught me the importance of schedules, routines and sleep. Sleep is so important, especially in the first year of life, because the human growth hormone is released during deep sleep, which is crucial for development. I thought I would share something that has worked really well for us. One of the books I read after Olivia was born was “On Becoming Babywise”. This book teaches you to put your baby on a schedule to help separate their days from nights, which will result in them sleeping longer stretches at night. The “Babywise” philosophy teaches PDF (parent directed feeding) which is a combination of the clock and your babies’ cues.

What tends to happen with newborns is they fall asleep while eating, sleep for a few hours, then wake up and eat a little more and with this method they never really get in full feedings. They eat just enough to tie them over and this cycle continues over a 24-hour period with your baby waking several times in the middle of the night.

With “Babywise” you wake your baby every three hours getting in full feedings and then you let your baby wake you up at night. (If your baby falls asleep while feeding you would want to change their diaper right away to wake them up and get them to finish the feeding)

A baby needs 2.5 oz. of milk per lb. (breast milk or formula) in a 24-hour period.  You want your baby to try and eat this amount throughout the day so they can sleep longer at night. If your baby wakes up at 7 am then your feeding times would be 7-10-1-4-7-10. If your baby were showing hunger cues earlier then the scheduled feed time then you would go ahead and feed them. You will see that the routine feedings encourage a Baby’s hunger metabolism to organize into predictable cycles.

On average a six week old will feed for approximately 30 minutes stay awake for 30-50 minutes and then nap for 1 ½ – 2 hours. You do this all day long and then at your last feeding you put your baby down for the night and let them wake you up when they are hungry. When they wake you at night you want to provide just enough light to see your baby and keep things quiet and you only need to feed them as much as they desire.

What happens is as your baby grows they consume more food at each feeding during the day and will start to eat less at night. As a result, your baby will begin to eliminate night feedings all together. The best part is one day you will just wake up and realize that your baby has slept though the night.

I know this method is not for everyone, as it takes time and discipline but I would highly recommend it. If you follow what the book explains, it produces tremendous results very quickly. I am very aware that babies are not robots and there has to be room for flexibility and growth spurts. However it worked for Olivia and is working for Jordan who is two months old and is now sleeping 6-7 hour stretches at night.

“On Becoming Babywise” by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam

Enjoy your sleep…..

jamielynA Mom Knows Contributor

About Jamielyn

Hi, my name is Jamielyn. I am a wife and mother of two beautiful girls ages 2 and 6 weeks old. We live in Los Angeles where I am a part time actress and filmmaker and full time stay at home mom. I am the President of the Moms Club of West Hollywood and write a food blog when I find the time. I am a fan of schedules, sleep training and healthy living. If you have read "Bringing up Bebe" or know me, then you would know that this is similar to my parenting style. I look forward to passing on some of what I have learned on to you. I am a believer that you can raise healthy, happy kids and still have a dinner party at night!!!

11 Responses to Getting Your Newborn To Sleep At Night…..

  1. Jana says:

    What if your baby wants to eat again after 2 hours? Do you then wake them 3 hrs after that or go back to original schedule (so there would be 4 hours between those 2 feelings?)

  2. Jamielyn says:

    If I fed her at 7 am and then she was hungry at 9 am I would give her just enough to tie her over. I bottle feed so I would make 2 oz (her feedings are 4 oz) depending on how much she ate I would feed her again at 10 or 10:30 am. I tend to be flexible by 1/2 hour with feeding and naps when necessary. You will see once you start having feeding times your child will start to get hungry at these exact times.

  3. Jessica says:

    Great information, with infants and sleep, every little tidbit of helpful suggestions is worth a read!

  4. EmilyE says:

    I’m just staring to implement this training at 6 weeks. We’ve been feeding about every 3 hours up to this point, so I’m hoping that makes it a little easier. Today- day one …
    1. What do you suggest if she wakes up hungry before her scheduled next feeding? How do you recover that time? For instance, she ate a small amount (1 oz) around 1pm, fell fast asleep until she woke at 1:45. She then ate 3 oz. and is sleeping now. Her next scheduled feeding is at 4. If she’s still sleeping, should I wake her? Wait until 4:30? Will feeding her get her back on our 7-10-1-4-7 schedule?

  5. Jamielyn says:

    Hi Emily, I am so sorry I am just now getting you message. If your baby ever wakes up hungry I would feed them at this age they have so many growth spurts and sometimes they just need more or extra ounces here and there. Yes, if her feeding time was at 4:00pm and she was still sleeping I would let her sleep an extra 1/2 hour and then give her a full feeding then. It takes a little time and it is not always exact sometimes they need more food and sometimes a little longer nap but if you keep it up they really start getting hungry and tired at pretty much these exact same times everyday. Also I want to note that it is good to always staty ahead of the baby so if you are giving her 4 oz and lets say she drains the bottle then you want to start making 5oz

  6. carmel says:

    Hello. I have an 8-week old and I am starting on BW as my baby doesn’t really have a routine/schedule. As per the above message, I have tried to put my baby on a 7-10-1-4-7 feeding schedule. however, she only does very short naps. Today, she only had a 30-min nap at 830 am; then the next was 20 minutes. She would cry waking up; looking like she’s hungry. I try to give her a full feeding but I am currently breastfeeding so I dont know how much she’s really taking. Should I just feed her whenever she looks hungry and then still feed her at the scheduled feeding? She doesn’t really do long naps; unsure if it’s because I have been feeding her on demand. She used to nurse every hour to hour and a half before. Even then, her naps are still short. There were only a handful of times when she napped longer than 1.5 hours. I would really appreciate your help and response. Thank you.

  7. Jamielyn says:

    I think the most important thing is to establish a routine which which is feed-activity-nap and repeat, if your baby wakes up shortly after her nap and is hungry then I would feed or and then again at her scheduled feeding time. I would always feed your baby when they are hungry I would just try to determine if she is eating or pacifying. If you know she is eating then she needed it, if you think she is just pacifying then I would try to find another way to sooth her. You can also try feeding her again before her nap and see if it makes her nap go a little longer. You also need to factor in her weight…small babies have smaller stomachs and do need more feeding and also factor in growth spruts in which case your baby will be hungry every 1-2 hours. It will not always go perfect but I think the importance of a routine will help to your baby to know what comes next. This will help establish eating and feeding patterns it just takes a little time.
    I hope that helps and if you have any other questions please don’t hesitate. Like I said above I am not an expert but this has worked for both of my girls!!!

  8. priscilla says:

    hey guys, im trying to work on this patern, so far my 2 1/2 week old daughter did really good last night, with her 3 hr feedings at 7,10,1,4, and so on but today we went shopping and she got hungry at 3:30 ish, so i have her 15 minutes and she was done, then at 5 she was hungry again and she got a good 35 minutes feed (breastmilk). i dont think shell be hungry at 7 pm again,so what do i do? hope she waits till 10 pm? try feeding again at 7 pm? how do i get her back on her normal schedule?

  9. Jamielyn says:

    Hi Priscilla, congratulations on your new baby! One thing I would stress is for the first six weeks I would feed your baby on demand as their tummies are so small that the amounts they eat and times they eat will vary. I would schedule feed when they 6-8 weeks (make sure they are at proper birth weight and always discuss with preditrition) remember its a combination of the clock and your babies cues. I think it’s great that you have a routine going this early on but your baby is still little so you might have multiple feelings throughout the day/night.

  10. priscilla says:

    you were right! lol i was so excited bc she got her own pattern within the first 2weeks but things keep changing. i will stick to feeding on demand for now, even though its so stressful at times:( but thank you!!

  11. Emily Huston says:

    My Little one didn’t sleep for 3 long hours. He use to wake up at every an hour because of gastric reflex. He wake up crying and wanted me to feed him. But as he grew and learnt stretching his body and taking turns, the problem resolved.