Friday, July 12, 2013

Sample Infant Schedule: Little Man

I started a new series about the sleeping and feeding schedules that I followed for my children during their first year of life.  I started with my oldest, Princess.  Sometimes it’s nice to compare with other moms :)

Baby #2:  Little Man

Little Man came into our lives much easier than his sister and continued to be a very relaxed baby. My problem was that his sister required my constant attention being only 16 months old.  I immediately realized that I needed a better system and began the daunting task of putting both children on a schedule.  Up until that point, Princess slept with me most of the night and needed me to fall asleep. I got her in her own bed and able to go to sleep on her own (not easy).  Then, I used the time after she went to bed to research a little bit on how to start Little Man a schedule that we could stick with and avoid the drama we had just experienced with his sister.

I read two books: The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5 and On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the GIFT of Nighttime Sleep.  Both were great resources and gave me an idea of what my baby was capable of at what age and how I wanted to go about instituting a schedule.

I made sure that Little Man ate every 2-3 hours, no matter what.  I roused him from sleep by changing his diaper, fed him and then let him do whatever he needed.  He could go back to sleep or “play” or I would just rock him.  This went on for the first month.

At three weeks I introduced 1oz of formula at his last feeding.  He quickly needed 2-3 oz.  

Once he reached about 4-5 weeks I was more strict with what he ate and when.  I also made sure that he was kept awake after eating so that he got into the routine of being awake during the day and napping on a schedule.  It seems counter intuitive, but if a baby sleeps well during the day, they are more likely to sleep well at night.  There is a balance to achieve.  Not enough sleep is just as bad as too much.

If he ate on schedule and slept on schedule then the rest was easy.  He kind of did this on his own to begin with.  As long as I made sure he ate at regular intervals the rest fell into place.  He was also content to occupy himself a lot.  Sometimes after he ate we played together, sometimes he sat in the floor with his sister and I and sometimes I put him by the window or with toys to keep him stimulated. I worked out really well.  He still does great on a schedule!

Weeks one and two:
  • Nursed on demand.
  • Slept up to 3 hours at a time.

Weeks three and four:
  • Nursed every 2.5-3 hours.
  • Slept in between feedings.
  • Introduced formula at three weeks at last feeding.

Week five:  
  • Began trying to keep him awake after feeding to follow sleep-eat-play cycle.
  • Nursed every 3 hours.

Week 6:
  • Nursed every 3 hours
  • Napped after play period
  • Began sleeping for 6+ hours during the night.

Weeks seven and eight:
  • Began formula at every other feeding in anticipation of going back to work.
  • Napped ever 3-4 hours.
  • Switched to lactose free formula once we realized that he was lactose intolerant.

Weeks nine-eleven:
  • Went back to work part time.
  • Nursed or pumped at 6:30AM, 1PM and 5:30PM.
  • Formula at 10AM, 4PM and 7-8PM.

Week 12:
  • Back to work full time.
  • Schedule same as before.

Four Months:
  • Introduced rice cereal at AM feeding with formula.
  • Stopped nursing.

Six Months:
  • Introduced veggies and then fruit
  • 6:45AM rice cereal and formula (6oz)
  • 10AM 6-7oz formula, nap
  • 12PMish Lunch fruit and veggies (organic, jarred)
  • 2PM nap
  • 5:30PM Dinner fruit and veggies
  • 7-8PM formula, bed
  • 2AM formula

He began eating solid foods when his teeth started coming in.
Gave up the bottle at about 2 years old.
Two naps changed to one long afternoon nap at about 2.5 years old.

He still takes a solid 1-1.5 hour nap now.  He will be four in November :)

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