Since before baby Ralph was born we knew we wanted him on a strict schedule. Not just because it would help him out (in my opinion, everyone does better with some sort of routine) but also to really help us out. We wanted to make this as easy of a transition as possible, plus making your baby THAT much more predictable makes what could be the most stressful situations, not really a big deal at all. For us, putting baby Ralph on a schedule has made our ‘new life’ that much easier. I plan my day around his naps/feeds and we also plan our ‘outings’ around when works best for him. Yes, we adjust but grabbing lunch at 12:45 instead of 12:15 because it works better for Ralph and lets me actually enjoy lunch (just one of many examples I could give you). Plus, you know that moment when your baby is screaming at the top of their lungs and you could easily go into panic mode? Although it is still stressful, it is a lot easier to narrow down what is wrong when you know how many ounces they have had in the day, when their last feed was, how long their last nap was…you get it.
I have said this before but baby Ralph is a really easy baby. Part of that is his because of how he ‘is’ but I really give a lot of the credit to his attitude and overall happiness to his schedule. We learned early on that when all of your babies needs are met, they are content. A content baby = a happy baby.
Before baby Ralph was born our game plan with his schedule was to give him the first 10 days to do whatever he wanted. Eat as many times as he wanted and sleep as much as he wanted but on day 11 it was go time. Oddly enough, Ralph really surprised us and ate for the first time around 10 am (he was born at 9:29); so we kind of just started the schedule on day 1. Not on purpose, it just happened.
Okay okay, now ‘the schedule’. I have to say that this has worked really well for us and even got baby Ralph to start sleeping through the night at 6 1/2 weeks but I know there are other great ways to keep your baby on a schedule (if you feel like commenting, I would love to hear what you are doing).
What we did was start baby Ralph out with 8 feeds a day. 7 am, 10 am, 1 pm, 4 pm, 7 pm, 10 pm, 1 am, 4 am. At week 4 we started stretching him at night (thank goodness for pacifiers) in hopes to drop his 10 pm feed, then his 1 am feed, then his 4 am feed to get him to the point he is at today where his last bottle is at 7, he is in bed by 7:45 and we wake him up at 7 am for his first bottle.
Three really important things I have learned about my baby/the way we are doing things, is that if Ralph is awake for more than an hour and a half he gets over tired and therefore meltdowns happen. I also learned that if you take his current weight and multiply it 2.3 you get the amount of ounces that he needs in a day. Finally, I learned early on that the app Baby Connect if a life saver. It allows us to all ‘connect’ on our phones so we can input how many diapers (dirty/clean) he has in a day and how many ounces he is intaking at each feeding. It was especially helpful when he was sick because we could look back and know the DAY he dropped in overall ounces. If you’re a mom you know how many feeds/diapers there are..if you asked me how many ounces Ralph took two days ago I would not have a clue..it’s so nice to be able to look back at an app and be able to answer that question!
Okay, in order to keep this as simple as possible, see below for Ralph’s current schedule. It’s amazing how he is like clockwork with his eating. He literally gets fussy minutes before he is supposed to take his bottle. By having baby Ralph on a schedule, it has made our lives so much easier because he is so predictable. An example of that is if he eats at 1 PM and at 2:20 he is crying it’s easy to figure out what is wrong. He just ate, so we know he is not hungry, he has a newly (ish) changed diaper; so we know that once we put him down for his nap he will be fine. Same thing with if he starts crying at 6:45. Since he eats at 7 PM, we know that he is crying because he is hungry! okay, now the schedule..which I honestly applaud you if you have made it this far in the post!!
Baby Ralph’s Current Schedule
- 7 am: Feed (currently he is offered 7 ounces but if he sucks the bottle down, we ALWAYS offer another ounce..sometimes he takes a little more, others he just pushes the bottle away)
- 7:30 am: Back to bed
- 9:45 am: baby Ralph is woken up, change diaper, ‘play’ and get ready to feed at 10.
- 10 am: Feed
- 10:30 – 11:15: Play time!!
- 11:20:20 – 12:35: Nap
- 12:35 – 1: Diaper, play
- 1 pm: Feed
- 1:30-2 pm: more playtime
- 2 – 3:30: Nap
- 3:30 – 4 pm: Diaper, playtime
- 4 pm: Feed
- 4:30 – 5:20 pm: play
- 5:25 – 6: nap
- 6 – 7: playtime
- 7 pm: last feed of the day
- 7:30 (ish) pm: get baby Ralph to bed! (sometimes he goes right down, sometimes it takes a littleeeeee more work)
Please know that I’m not totally crazy and yes of course we are loose with the schedule but it really is nice to have a general ‘guideline’ for the day. Somedays it takes him REALLY long to go back to sleep for a nap and others we just lay him down and he falls asleep!
For us, keeping baby Ralph on this schedule has not only made him VERY predictable but has also made the very new (and somewhat scary) idea of having a baby much more stress free. Plus, knowing when your baby is going to nap/eat/play allows me to (somewhat) plan my day so I don’t miss anything (perfect example is working out at 8:30 am…Ralph is aleep and when I get home, I wake him up and play until I feed him at 10 am).
Feel free to ask ANY questions you may have but please remember, this is what has worked for us and all babies react and need different things, so this might not be the schedule for you! I am also super realistic that whenever we cross the bridge of having another baby, that baby may HATE the schedule that Ralph loves. You never know what to expect but all you can do is try your best!