Like I’ve said before, I didn’t start Babywise with Little Bug until she was 3-4 months old! I wish I had had the knowledge I’m about to type here once bringing her home from the hospital! It would have made life so much easier and way more predictable!
Everything in this post today is information I have learned from Chapter 6 in On Becoming Babywise. Before I go any further you must understand something. Everything I write today is just an average. Meaning, this is what an average Babywise baby does if their parents follow the Babywise guidelines for eating and sleeping.
0-8 weeks (Stabilization Period):
This is the stabilization period and rightly so. A baby comes into the world not knowing good eating and sleeping habits. It must be taught. Baby eats every 2.5-3 hours (8-10 feedings per 24 hours) BUT Babywise tells mothers, “If baby is hungry and it’s only been 2 hours go ahead and FEED BABY!”. There are 6-8 naps (depending on the number of feedings) ranging from 1 – 1.5 hours long. Between 5-8 weeks baby might be ready to eat every 2.5 – 3.5 hours. Between weeks 5 – 8 baby might be able to go down to only 7 feedings per 24 hours but only after she starts sleeping 7-8 hours at night!
By 8 weeks baby is most likely sleeping 7-8 hours but 15% of Babywise babies don’t start sleeping 7-8 hours until 10-12 weeks.
After 8 weeks baby might be able to move to 6 feedings in 24 hours.
*This is the information I really wished I had during those first 8 weeks because I like to have goals and know where I’m headed. Plus, all new mothers wonder if their baby is eating enough and had I had these guidelines to go by, I would have been more relaxed. Plus, as I later learned, I was letting Little Bug go too long between daytime feedings during 0-8 weeks. This resulted in more nighttime wakings to feed. Had she been eating every 2.5 to 3 hours instead of every 3-4, she most likely would have had longer consecutive hours of sleep sooner during the night.
Weeks 9-15 (Extended Night):
During this period baby gradually moves to 9-10 hours of continuous nighttime sleep if breastfed and 11 hours if bottlefed. Nap lengths should be 1.5 hours long. Most babies drop the late night dreamfeed (I will be writing an entire post about the dreamfeed) in this period. At 12-15 weeks baby might be ready for a combo 3-4 hour feeding schedule. Starting around 13 weeks baby might be at 5-7 feedings per 24 hours.
Weeks 16-24 (Extended Day):
During this period baby has 4-6 liquid feeds per day and moves towards 10-12 hours of consecutive sleep per night! There are typically 3 naps that are 1.5 to 2 hours long. For some babies, the 3rd nap may only be about 45 minutes. (This was true for Little Bug. She needed that little catnap to get her through until bedtime!)
Weeks 25-52 (Extended Routine):
Feeding stays pretty much the same for baby as it was at 24 weeks (6 months) assuming baby was eating 4-5 times per day. There should be 4-5 nursings. By the end of this time period (12 months) you move to 3 feedings. Naps are 1.5 to 2.5 hours long. Usually the 3rd nap is dropped between 6-8 months. Remember, all these figures are just averages! Little Bug was 10 months old before she dropped her 3rd nap. The Babywise Mom’s oldest daughter was 11 months when she dropped her 3rd nap!) Once the 3rd nap is dropped wake time increases and the 2 other naps often increase in length too. (That wasn’t the case for Little Bug.) Around 16-20 months baby drops the morning nap and you transition to one long afternoon nap.
Okay. That was a whole lot of what information. Next I’ll be writing what I learned about PDF (Parent Directed Feeding), which is the how to accomplish all of the above!