Newborn Baby Sleep Training Tips (3 - 6 Weeks Old)
I’m going to start by saying this...
I’m new to sleep training.
Yes, I am a mom to two but long story short, Ava was an angel baby. An absolute angel baby. She sleep trained herself — slept in her own crib and her own room from night one home from the hospital and we never had to train her to sleep. She literally just slept (that must be dad’s genes) so this time around, I finally know what it’s like to be a newborn mama and NEED that coffee every morning.
So before I tell you what we’ve been doing, just keep in mind that every baby is different and of course, the same tactics aren’t going to work for everyone. Talk to your pediatrician to ensure your sleeping and eating schedule is what your baby personally needs to thrive and ADAPT. Be flexible.
Adapt your schedule to your needs and your baby needs. Because what works best for your entire family is what’s best. And that’s the most important thing to remember!
Let’s take a step back so you know where we’re at with sleep —
Night one, Franky slept like a dream. We couldn’t wake him to feed him and the nurses weren’t worried because he was cluster feeding during the day and my milk came in right away.
Night two was a whole different story. He wouldn’t sleep — we couldn’t put him down. All he wanted to do was be held and eat, eat, eat. And of course, we didn’t mind losing sleep over our newborn.
And then we went home and for the next two weeks, sleep was minimal. Very minimal. There were nights when we’d only get 10 hour stretches of him sleeping in his crib, nights when my total sleep was around 2 hours and exhaustion set it. He has reflux so he just wasn’t comfortable and our pediatrician wanted us to hold off on any schedules until he was two weeks old so that’s just what we did.
And the day he turned two weeks and his pediatrician gave us the go ahead, the schedule started.
Now before you get all mad at me and tell me how Babywise is terrible for babies, how they’ll have attachment issues and how it’s just against all medical advice, remember that word I told mentioned at the top?
I read Babywise and it had so much amazing information in there that has worked tremendously for us, but I also threw so many things out the door that I didn’t want to use on Franky. I used the information in the book to adapt a schedule that worked for us but here are the differences:
- I stick to a schedule but if he’s hungry, I feed him. I don’t require him to wait until the “designated eating time.”
- We don’t do cry it out. We let him make noises and sometimes do some little cries here and there without touching him but if he’s truly crying, we pick him up, feed him, change his diaper and tend to whatever his needs are. “Cry It Out” is just something I can’t personally do but of course, it works out fabulously for some babies and families. However, that just isn’t us.
So here’s the schedule we’re using, based off of the Babywise recommended schedule for Weeks 3-6. And the book has new schedules as babies get older so I plan to continue using them as long as they continue working for us!
[The first day/night we used this, he slept 4 hour stretches immediately which was double what he had slept up until that point].
Newborn Baby Feeding/Sleep Schedule (weeks 3-6)
7:00am: feed on one boob, change his diaper, feed on the other side
9:30am (or every 2-3 hours): repeat
12:00pm (or every 2-3 hours): repeat
2:30pm (or every 2-3 hours): repeat
5:30pm (or every 2-3 hours): repeat
8:00-8:30pm: feed on one side, diaper change, swaddle (if you swaddle), feed on the other side, put into his own crib
11:00pm (or whenever he wakes up next — usually between 11 and 12): feed on one side, diaper change, feed on the other side + back to bed
3:00am (or whenever he wakes up next): repeat above
- The Game Changer: The biggest game changer has been feeding on BOTH SIDES for every feeding. The more they are full during the day, the less likely they are to wake up hungry at night
- Day Time Eating: 2-3 hour stretches. If he wants food earlier, I’ll feed him. But I won’t let him go past the 3 hours.
- Day Time Sleeping: I let him sleep as much as he wants during the day — on me, in the rocker, etc.
- Night Time Feeding: These are 4-5 hour stretches right now. Babywise says to wake up after 4 hours to feed but I’ve been letting him sleep as long as he wants at night.
- Night Time Sleeping: He does wake up throughout the night and if he whimpers a little or makes noises, I don’t go in there and he falls back asleep after a minute or so. If he’s awake at that last feeding, I still put him in the crib wide awake and he falls asleep on his own with no issues
- Diaper Changes Between Feedings: The reason I do this is so I can burp him between sides and then hopefully wake him up enough during the diaper change to at least latch onto the second side.
And then finally, waking a sleeping baby... because this is half the battle, right? The other day I posted on stories asking “How do I wake up a sleeping baby?” So many of you laughed and said “ummm, you don’t” but the reason I wanted to know was for this — baby sleep training. I need to get those calories in during the day so he sleeps more at night. So after three hours if he’s asleep, I wake him up to feed him.
Sorry that was like the longest novel EVER but I just had so much to say. Feel free to DM me over on Instagram (@theoverwhelmedmommy) if you have any questions —