Kai is now 12 weeks old! I can't believe how fast this time has flown by. My maternity leave officially ended yesterday, but I've decided to just finish out the week with some vacation time! I will truly be cherishing these last few days of not having to work with my little bub, but I'm trying my best to keep a positive attitude about next week. It's another great step of getting back to some more normalcy in life.
One thing that I'm so relieved about with Kai though is he's been sleeping through the night successfully every night for the last 4 weeks. I am one well rested mama and really hoping this habit sticks with me going back to work. I definitely need my sleep to make it through the work day! Whenever I tell people though that he sleeps through the night already they tell me how lucky I am. While yes I am lucky that I get 7 hours of sleep every night, we didn't just get lucky with him doing this though. It took A LOT of hard work to get to this point. When he was 1 month old we were delirious with lack of sleep like any other parents to a newborn. However, we've been implementing a feed, wake, sleep schedule for him from day one and we started really repping the rewards of this hard work by 2 months. The first two months are incredibly hard. I'm not going to hide that fact, but if you put in an effort to get your baby on to a good routine it can get so much easier! I realize not all parents are fans of schedules with their babes but it is what works best for us. We are both working parents who are organized and love their sleep. Most importantly though, we feel that it is very important for Kai's cognitive development that he gets enough sleep in order to properly develop cognitively and physically. We're personally able to achieve this for him by having him on a schedule. We knew we wanted to have some schedule for our baby even before he was born. Caleb and I both read the book On Becoming Baby Wise, and discussed how much we liked it and agreed with the philosophy behind it. It was both how we were wanting to go about a feed and sleep schedule plus we both liked the idea of our baby potentially sleeping through the night by 8 to 12 weeks. Well my friends it works, it really really works. We think it’s pure magic. So today I am going to share our daily schedule with all of you as of today (12 weeks). At the end of the post I'll touch upon weeks 1-2, 3-7, and 7-10, too just in case your babe is a little younger than Kai and you're wondering what we did during those phases.
Kai's Daily Schedule
7:00 AM - Wake Kai up with lots of kisses and smiles and change his diaper
7:05 AM - Feed
7:30 AM - Pump extra milk while Kai lays in his bassinet. We typically "chat" during this time and he checks out his hands and feet.
8:00 AM - Read to Kai while he's in his baby wrap
8:30 AM - Nap time in baby wrap
9:30 AM - Feed
10:15 AM - Diaper change, get him ready for the day, swing time
11:00 AM - Nap time in crib
12:30 PM - Feed
1:15 PM - Diaper change, play mat time
2:00 PM - Nap w/ mom or in Moses basket
3:30 PM - Feed
4:15 PM - Diaper change, tummy time, walk, play w/ toys
5:00 PM - Nap time in crib
6:00 PM - Feed
6:30 PM - Diaper change, rocker or play mat time
7:30 PM - Nap time w/ mom
8:30 PM - Feed
9:00 PM - Bath (every 3rd night), diaper change, put PJs on, read a story, say our prayers, bed time in crib
11:00 PM - Pump for stimulation and supply purposes
We do this same exact routine every single day to the best of our ability. We of course go out and run errands or go visit Grandma and Grandpa, but even then we typically try to stick to this schedule. Consistency is key. Kai seems to know and understand what is coming next and it's also helpful for us as parents. We know when we can schedule appointments, when we'll have time to get stuff done around the house, or simply the best time to run errands because he's so predictable. Obviously every day isn't perfect and he can be fussy but normally he is one happy baby!
As you can see, we are on a feed, wake, sleep cycle. This is called parent directed feeding per Baby Wise. We like this kind of routine because then it doesn't get Kai dependent on food to fall asleep. A well rested baby eats well. A well fed baby sleeps well. Kai is always so happy and alert and I can say with confidence it's because he sleeps and eats so good. Because he's well rested he is able to get full feedings every time so he's happy during wake time and is able to take a full nap before it's time to eat again. If he wakes up really early from a nap we can using narrow it down to gas because since he gets full feedings it isn't because he's hungry again. After we burp him or soothe him a bit he usually will fall right to sleep and sleep all the way till his next nap time.
Here are some frequently asked questions we get asked all the time about our schedule and how we feed Kai that I wanted to address for you all!
Do you wake Kai up from his naps to eat?
Yes we do. The only time we let him go past a feed time with a nap is if we are off schedule or if he just wouldn't go down for a nap at his usual time. We usually don't let him go more than 30 minutes past a normal feed time though because if we do then that messes up the rest of the day.
Has your supply gone down with him not eating in the middle of the night?
Not that I can tell. He eats a lot at 7am and I still have to pump after he's done eating. The rest of the day he seems to always be satisfied after his feedings and when I pump I still get the normal amount of 2-3 oz per pump session.
How do you feed Kai?
I nurse Kai at 7am, 9:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 3:30 pm and Caleb bottle feeds him pumped breastmilk at 6pm and 8:30pm.
Do you supplement with formula?
Yes, if we need to. Since Kai no longer eats at 11pm I've started to get a small supply of breastmilk that we can give to him. However, if he depletes the stocked breastmilk we do give him formula if he wants it. Like I said, we feed him till he's full. So if he wants more than the breastmilk we have available by bottle, then formula it is! We give him Similac Advanced Pro formula if you're looking for a recommendation.
How do you know how much Kai is getting when he nurses? And how much do you feed him from a bottle?
We feed him until he's full. It honestly varies at every feeding every day. Sometimes it's 1.5 oz sometimes it's 8 oz. It's whatever he wants. When I nurse him, he eat's until he pulls away or just won't suck anymore. It's usually around 15 minutes per side. Sometimes it's 10, sometimes it's 20. I know that can be frustrating to hear when you're trying to figure out what to do but I promise you will learn what your baby needs! Throughout the whole day though he gets around 24 oz total.
How do you get Kai to not fall asleep on the breast?
Kai was such a sleepy baby at first when it came to breastfeeding...sometimes he still is if he didn't get a good nap in. If he keeps dosing off I try blowing in his face, running my finger lightly over his cheek, patting him on the shoulder, and tickling his feet. I also talk to him a bunch. If he doesn't respond to any of those things then that is a sure fire way that I know he is done on that side.
Do you nurse Kai on both sides?
Yes, always. He's never not done both sides. The best advice I can give on this is if your baby is going longer than 20 minutes on one side and doesn't want to do the other side, try pulling them off at 2o minutes and switch them. 20 minutes should be enough time to have emptied one side. If it keeps happening make sure you pump on the side they don't nurse on so you don't get clogged up.
Where does Kai sleep?
At night, Kai sleeps in his Dock a Tot in his crib. He also sleeps like that for is 11am nap and his 5pm nap. His other nap times I hold him or have him in his baby wrap on me. Sometimes he will nap in his Moses basket or bassinet in our room if I want to take a nap, too.
How did you get Kai to sleep through the night?
We gradually worked our way to him sleeping from 9:30pm to 7am and it's all thanks to staying on schedule. During weeks 1-2 Kai ate at these times: 7am, 9:30am, 12pm, 2:30pm, 5pm, 8pm, 11pm, 1:30am, 4am. He napped between all those times with his only wake time really being just for a diaper change or bath time. During weeks 3-7 Kai ate at these times: 7am, 9:30am, 12pm, 2:30pm, 5pm, 8pm, 11pm, 3am with naps between all those times and about 30 minutes of wake time before each nap. During weeks 7-10 Kai ate at these times: 7am, 9:30am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm, 6pm, 8:30pm, 11pm with nap times between each feeding and about 45 min of wake time before his naps. When we got to week 10 and we wanted to drop the 11pm feeding, we knew he was ready because he would barely wake up at 11pm and would only have an ounce or two of milk at that feeding. To help pad him though we moved his 8:30pm feeding to 9:30pm for 3 days then moved it back to 9:15pm for 3 days and then landed back at 8:30pm. He hasn't woken up before 6:30am since he was 8 weeks old.
Do you let Kai cry it out?
We sort of let him "cry it out." We have a 15 minute maximum. If he cries for any longer than that we go to him and attempt to soothe him. Most of the time he does fall asleep within 5-10 minutes though. We follow this same philosophy during naps, too. He tends to be a sleep crier, so he's not actually awake and he's able to resettle himself in a couple minutes to finish out his nap. The only exception to this is if he does a horrible hold his breath scream, then we go to him right away because that usually means something is wrong.
Do you wait to feed him until his scheduled feeding time if he wakes up early from his nap or do you feed him right away?
So if the 15 minutes has passed and he still hasn't stopped crying then we feed him. Hunger ALWAYS trumps the clock. If he wakes up and he's not crying or seems to be hungry we'll wait a few minutes to see if he'll go back to sleep and if he doesn't we will still feed him. We try our best not to get off the feed, wake, sleep cycle. He almost will always have a little bit to eat if we offer it to him. From that point we just try our best to get back on track with our normal schedule the rest of the day.
Do you keep Kai up till it's his scheduled nap time?
No, if he's tired before then we put him down. Those are just the latest times we allow him to stay awake before we start to put him down for a nap.
I know this was a long one but hopefully this is a good model for any of you mamas out there who are trying to get on a schedule and are looking to get some full nights of sleep. Please remember though that you need to do what is best for you and your little one. The first month is very hard. It was no where near perfect for us. We kind of just stumbled our way along and after about 4 weeks it all really started to click. The first two weeks are the hardest. You need to get a good latch down, feed almost every 2-3 hours and never go more than 4 hours, and try to get your milk to come in if you're breastfeeding. That's really hard when you're so tired and trying to heal. But it gets better before you know it! Keep at it, and just remember, you are seriously the best mom in the world! If you have any other questions about schedules, sleep, or any other mom questions in general, please leave me a comment below and I will answer the best I can!
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I’m Diana; curator & author of Tiny Dapper Fox. Here you’ll find posts on motherhood, home life, travel, & fashion/beauty as well as City Guides for places all around the world. Make yourself cozy and let’s be friends!
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