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The ‘Holy Grail’ of feeding routines
The ‘Holy Grail’ of feeding routines

Reaching the ‘Holy Grail’ (in my opinion) of feeding routines – 4 hourly feeding!

At 8 weeks I started to notice a few changes in Amelia and felt like it was time to change up her routine again….

She was drinking a lot and I had always had to wake her from her sleeps, but then one morning we all slept in until 7 (she had been waking at 6 to try and fit in the awkward 3.5 hourly routine) so I thought it was a chance to give the four hourly routine a go!

What our four hourly routine looks like...

  • 7am – wake and feed
  • 9am - sleep
  • 11am (this moved to 10:30am pretty quickly) – wake
  • 11am – feed
  • 12:30pm - sleep
  • 2:30pm – wake
  • 3pm - feed
  • 4.30pm – sleep
  • 5:15pm – wake & feed (this feed was part of a split feed to simulate a cluster)
  • 6:30pm - bath
  • 7pm – feed (finish cluster feed)
  • 7:30pm – bed time
  • 3am – night feed

With my son Liam he would never stay asleep past 6:30am so we decided that this was when his day would start. To make up for that time we tacked on an extra 30mins to his morning sleep, starting at 2 hours and moving to 1.5 as time progressed.

So, how did it go?

The first day or so she settled into the feeding schedule easily but she had an almost ‘jetlagged’ feeling about her. I guess that makes sense…she was now awake in her sleep times and asleep in her wake times. I struggled through and managed to keep her awake for the two hours, (walking her around showing her a mirror with interesting patterns...nappy off time...taking her outside etc.) which meant she slept really well we she did go down.

Day 2 was fairly similar to day 1, she woke at 6:30am so I had to dummy her on and off until 7 and it was a bit of a struggle to keep her up until 9. She went on to have really good sleep after that but I let her go into her next sleep cycle in the afternoon leaving her really unsettled in her catnap. I work off a 45 minute sleep cycle and I found I could extend the afternoon sleep by 15 minutes if she was really tired (or put her down 15 minutes early) but anything more than that would really throw her off for the afternoon. Good news was that it didn’t affect her going down at night and she went through to 4 o’clock that morning! I know I was meant to dream feed her at 3am but I didn’t.

On day 3 I woke Amelia at 7, and again struggled to keep her up for two hours. I felt it was time to work out how to manage this and not muck up her catnap. She was so young to be awake that long, but in other ways she seemed ready! It was time to get Kate my sleep consultant’s advice.

After much discussion we decided to keep trying with the two hour wake times but drop the morning nap to 1.5 hours to help the catnap. We were heading away for that weekend so we knew we would be out of sorts, we just adjusted the routine as we went. Amelia has been fairly easy to manage when she’s out of her routine, she somehow just finds her way back…polar opposites to Liam, my first!

When did she start to settle into it a little easier?

At about 10 weeks the struggle to keep her up had diminished (it took just over a week) and she settled in really well. It took longer than I thought it would…maybe it was a tad too soon at the beginning, and then I think she fell into a wonder week leap, she always seems to sleep really well through her leaps.

She did wake a bit early from her morning sleep at times, so I tacked on 15 mins onto her afternoon sleep (by putting her down early) and would let her go into her next cycle. Or I would tack on some awake time in the afternoon which helped her catnap!

So…what’s next for Amelia…dropping the night feed! Stand by for that one :)

Natalie xx

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