When do you officially move out of the newborn stage? According to Wikipedia it’s after 28 days, but many people seem to refer to newborns up to 8 weeks.
For us, I am marking it as 6 weeks, which was when Amelia was ready to move into her next feeding routine – 3.5 hourly. She was 5 days early so her corrected age would have been 5 weeks. As she was bottle fed she was ready for this, but if you are breastfeeding your baby would likely need to be at least 8 weeks. Many experts suggest you can start a routine anywhere between 2 & 4 months.
Signs I look for when a baby is needing to change routine...
- Resisting sleep (I had to make sure that it was not because they were over tired)
- Taking enough milk to spread feeds out (Amelia had 110mls at 6 weeks & 150 before bed)
- Sleeping longer in the night (Amelia dropped her dream feed by mistake at 5.5 weeks and never went back)
- She started to wake more and needed to have ‘light training’ to get her through the 45min sleep cycle
When you move to a 3.5 hourly routine you are not really dropping a feed (unless you remove the dream feed at the same time, which worked in unison for us with Amelia) but it does make the feeds pretty awkward at the end of the day and sleep becomes a little challenging.
Our 3.5 hourly routine...
- 6am – wake and feed
- 7:30am – 9am - sleep
- 9:30am – feed
- 10:30am – 12:30 - sleep
- 1pm – feed
- 2:30-4pm – sleep
- 4.30pm – feed (although I would do this a little earlier if she was asking for it when she woke)
- 5.30 – Sleep
- 6pm – Wake & feed
- 6:30pm - Bath
- 7pm – Feed (two feeds in this wake time to simulate a cluster)
- 7:30pm – Bed time
- 2:30am – Night feed (I would try not to feed her before 2am)
With Liam at this point, we were still doing the dream feed at 10:30pm and continued on until after 12 weeks. Amelia dropped it by mistake and we weren’t going back! For most babies it’s very normal to be still having two night time feeds, or more!
What went wrong for us…?
Amelia would never go to sleep until 8:30pm, if we put her down any time before that she would cry until then anyway, so we would keep her up a little longer and she’d be much more settled when she went to sleep.
Light Sleep training
- Firstly, I am a huge advocate for white noise (see our Growbright white noise playlist here), I found it very useful for both kids and they both liked different settings. Liam loved a musical tune, whereas Amelia likes more of a wave sound. Both loved it loud!
- Let them cry for 1 minute
- Go in and re-settle and then let them cry for 2 minutes
- If she didn’t go to sleep I would pick them up and do a ‘benefit of the doubt cuddle’ (to check there was no wind) and then start the controlled crying again for two more rounds. If that failed…and we never really got to that point, I would use the dummy.
NB: this was under guidance of a sleep professional (my sleep consultant, Kate Sommer). I would always recommend talking to someone you trust as well as making sure that they are not hungry or sick.
Some of you may be wondering how to resettle without picking up/feeding or using the dummy….I would shush pat, but make sure you do this for a short amount of time (maximum 1 minute) just to calm them, and then leave the room as you don’t want to make this a crux for yourself.
Feed/Play/Sleep– what type of play was appropriate for her age?
Whenever I changed routines, one of the biggest challenges would be keeping Amelia busy for the 1.5 hours up. After a few days she would generally be ok and these were the types of play we would do.
- Assisted tummy time using our airnest pod
- Sitting in the bouncer
- Walking around looking at bold patterns
- Taking pants and socks off (if she was getting too warm)
- Nappy off time (under a play mat)