I recently asked for any blog post requests relating to Liam and the overwhelming response was to know about his schedule + sleep. I’m happy to share what we’re currently doing and what has worked for us. Every baby and family is different, of course, so I’m sharing this simply to share!
Before Liam was born, Mike and I took The Newborn Class from Taking Cara Babies. It was incredibly insightful and set us up to feel confident in those first couple months with a newborn. One of the things that Mike and I were both most nervous about was how we would handle lack of/poor sleep, especially in the beginning. We both love our sleep. Looking back on the newborn stage with Liam, I’m amazed at what we were able to do on just a few hours of sleep! We learned to rally and just go with it, knowing that sleep would eventually come. But there were definitely times of me crying about how tired I was and planning our days around when each of us could take a nap.
One of the things that we most helpful in that class was learning about the Eat, Play, Sleep routine. We started this with Liam at about 6 weeks (loosely) and still follow it today! I’m a very structured, organized person, so I knew that I wanted to get Liam on some type of schedule. He thrives on the routine/schedule that we have him on, which is great!
Our current routine/schedule (7.5 months):
5:30a-6:30a – Liam wakes up and I get up with him
I give him a bottle, we play for awhile, feed him breakfast (eggs, veggie puree, snacks), play a bit more
8a/8:30a (about 2-2.5 hours after waking up) – 1st Nap (typically about 1.25-1.5 hours)
9:30a/10a – Awake, bottle, play
12:30ish – 2nd Nap
1:30-2:30p – Awake (this second nap is sometimes just under an hour, other times it stretches longer), bottle, play
Somewhere between 4-5p – Catnap (this nap is getting short – it’s 30 minutes or less, but is still necessary to get him to bedtime!)
By 5:20p* – Awake, bottle, play
About an hour and a half from his last wake up, we start our bedtime routine of bath, dressed for bed, bottle, down in the crib.
By 7:30p, he’s in bed for the night. Sometimes it’s closer to 6:30, depending on wake up time and naps throughout the day.
*In order to get him to his 7:15/7:30p bedtime, we cap this last nap at 5:20p. We’re working on stretching his wake windows a bit, as we’re getting closer and closer to dropping that last catnap of the day.
On a typical day, he’s getting 2.5-3 hours of daytime sleep and 10-11 hours of sleep at night.
We have not done any formal sleep training with him. We opted to share the nighttime wake-ups with him and allow him the time to get to an age where he naturally slept better. It was a slower process that meant we had disrupted sleep for awhile, but we did what we felt comfortable with.
It’s interesting to look back on his sleep milestones, as they all seemed to happen at the monthly marks:
3 months = slept through the night for the first time (and not again for a long time, haha!)
4 months = started napping longer than 28 minutes
5 months = nighttime sleep was improving, along with good daytime naps
6 months = sleeping through the night more, but unpredictable with daytime sleep
7 months = sleeping through the night more often than not + predictable daytime sleep
We also haven’t gone through a noticeable sleep regression with him. He’s not one of those babies that was sleeping through the night regularly at 3 months old and then started waking every 2 hours for the 4 month sleep regression. He was slowly getting better and better over time, versus making a huge stride for awhile and then reverting. I also know that his development has a big impact on his sleep. Growth spurts and learning new skills comes with disrupted sleep for him, but it goes back to what is typical after that.
If you’re preparing to welcome a new (or first!) baby into your home and you’re stressed about baby sleep, you’re not alone! I spent probably too much energy fussing over his sleep from about 2-4 months. That also happened to be the time that he would only nap for 28 minutes at a time, so it was a difficult stretch. I was hyper about him getting the right amount of sleep and sticking to what he should be doing. While I think that helped him learn how to sleep longer stretches and figure out his patterns, I wish that I would’ve let go a little bit. Babies are humans, not robots. Just like I have my sleep patterns and tendencies, he has the same. In my opinion, some aspects of baby sleep can be taught/learned, while others are simply part of their makeup.
I’ll end on this note. There are so many different theories/opinions/methods related to baby sleep. Do your own research, find a plan that you’re comfortable with and think will work best for your family (even if that’s no plan at all!), and don’t worry about outside voices. As a mom who has been there, you’ll get through the tough sleep and things will eventually make sense!