One of the most consistent pieces of advice I received as a new mom is: get him on a schedule and your life will be much easier. Let me first pre-face this by stating that the word “schedule” used throughout this post should be perceived as a routine that we simply use as a guide to structuring our day. It is in no way a rigid “schedule” that forces us to check off a box for each feed or each nap. We do not wake Leo to feed if he sleeps through his “scheduled” feeding time and we do not force him to nap at his “scheduled” nap time if he is wide awake and not showing any signs of tiredness. That being said – here is how I established a feasible, flexible routine for Leo at 8-weeks old.
- For the first six weeks of Leo’s life, I simply tracked (using this app) when he would wake (on his own) to feed and noted how long he stayed up until he started showing that he was tired. By the time he was six weeks old, I noticed he developed a pattern and would wake at approximately the same times every day and night to feed. Noting this pattern, I used times within the hour at which he typically wakes to form the basis of a schedule.
- We operate on an E.A.S.Y. schedule – eat, wake, sleep, you.
- E – Eat
- A – Awake/Activity
- Leo is usually awake for 30 minutes (from the time he wakes to feed) to 1.5 hours. After 1.5 hours, he tends to fuss and starts to become overtired if we miss his earlier cues indicating that he is getting sleepy.
- During his awake time, we will do some sort of activity i.e. talking to him, diaper change, tummy time, or allowing him to play on his activity mat alone. Sometimes, he is content sitting in his Boppy seat and watching me do things around the house. Other times, he requires more attention. We do our best not to overstimulate him.
- S – Sleep
- Leo typically naps anywhere from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours at this age. He usually only sleeps longer than 3 hours (up to 4) during the night or during a growth spurt. We do not wake him for any reason when he is asleep.
- Y – You
- This is the time I set for myself when Leo is sleeping. I can do whatever I want or need to do – sleep, shower, eat, clean, blog, text, or simply do nothing and relish in the silence.
- Here is a sample of the routine we have. As mentioned, these are estimated timeframes that Leo feeds and naps. He usually wakes on his own to feed within the hour of the time set.
NOTE: Leo is formula-fed and feeds every 3-4 hours.
Maximum Awake Time
1 Hour 30 Minutes
9:00 AM – Dress
9:00 PM – Bedtime Routine
Additional Things To Note
- We typically change Leo’s diaper after each feed and right before each nap, if needed.
- The 12:00 PM and/or 3:00 PM feeds usually occur on-the-go as I like to plan my errands or outings with friends around these times.
- Leo used to feed twice during the night – once between 12:30 AM – 2:00 AM and once between 3:00 AM – 5:00 AM. He dropped his 3:00 AM – 5:00 AM feed (on his own) around 8-weeks; we did not night-wean him.
- We swaddle Leo for each nap and he naps in a lit room during the day with minimal household noise to help him understand that it is daytime.
Our routine will adjust as Leo gets older and is able to go longer between feeds, stay awake for a longer time, and start to sleep longer throughout the night. If we get way off track – which happens often, especially during visits or outings – it’s perfectly okay! We simply don’t sweat it, embrace the spontaneity, and proceed with the routine as normal. Leo usually resets himself within 1-2 days.