After my four-month blog post for Bodhi I received some questions regarding the schedule we are following. First, I'll start with the two books I turn to most for our sleep questions and guidance. The first is Moms On Call. I referenced all three Moms on Call 0-6 Month, Moms on Call 6-15 Month, and Moms on Call No Nonsense Toddler books with Emerson. These all serve as quick reads and handy guides on typically schedules to follow. I also reference Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child for more in-depth look at sleep, the affect it has on development and how to combat more troublesome sleep issues.
Using both these books as foundation we practiced having Bodhi self sooth early on, typically at night. After a night feeding I would immediately put him back down, regardless if he was awake or asleep. More time than not he was awake but would't cry and be able to put himself back to sleep, taking anywhere from 10-30 minutes. Doing this early on, since we brought him home really, helped with the night wakings and allowed him to organize day and night sleep. Now, at four-months Bodhi still wakes a couple times a night to nurse, but I am able to nurse and immediately put him back down. Although those night wakings are tough on me and my sleep, at least I am not spending an extra hour coaxing him back to sleep. I can nurse and be done anywhere from 10-20 minutes.
We did hire a sleep consultant to help us with Bodhi's sleep mainly during the day. I still reference both sets of books mentioned above, but I was struggling with organizing Bodhi's day sleep and comparing him to Emerson. I remember Emerson pretty much sleep trained and she was more by the clock, meaning we put her down at pretty much the same time for naps and bedtime everyday. I have to admit that Emerson's sleep months 3-5 are pretty hazy for me so I am sure we had some similar struggles, I just don't remember them all to well. The sleep consultant helped me get out of my own head and really focus in on Bodhi as an individual and not comparing his sleep patterns to his sister. And, while I would love Bodhi to be sleeping through the night with no night feedings, given his slow weight gain I have accepted the fact that I need to suck it up awhile longer. He needs all the calories he can get, even if it means less sleep for Mom!
Taking this approach I base Bodhi's schedule on what is developmentally appropriate for his age. We aim for total daytime sleep between 3 and 4.5 hours, total nighttime sleep between 10 and 12 hours, with total sleep in 24 hours between13 and 16 hours. Bodhi is taking 3 naps a day, sometimes a fourth catnap in the late afternoon depending on when he wakes up from his third nap. The schedule I try and adhere to is below:
6–6:30 am: Awake + Feed 1 + diaper change.
6:50–7:45 am: Playtime. Tummy time, singing (you can use lullaby CD’s), books, infant massage, upright sitting practice, remember to give baby time to play on own, this is very important!
7:45 am: Pre-nap routine. Telling story, cuddles, gentle singing (no clapping or tickling), and short feed.
8 am: Nap 1, in crib (45–90 min.), if baby pops up, use Patting, Rocking or Crying. Try to put down drowsy but not asleep.
9:30 am: Feed 2 + diaper change.
11:15 am: Pre-nap routine. Telling story, cuddles, gentle singing (no clapping or tickling), and short feed.
11:30 am: Nap 2, in crib (45–90 min.), if baby pops up, use patting, rocking or crying. Try to put down drowsy but not asleep.
12:30 pm: Feed 3 + diaper change.
2:15 pm: Pre-nap routine. Telling story, cuddles, gentle singing (no clapping or tickling), and short feed.
2:30 pm: Nap 3, (45–90 min.), no sleeping past 5/5:30pm. I aim for at least two hours of awake time before bed.
3:30 pm: Feed 4 (or a short Nap 4 if Nap 3 was short—wake baby by 5 pm if putting down to sleep at 7pm. Remember, there should be 2 hours from end of last nap to bedtime.).
6:30–6:45 pm: Feed 5.
7–7:30 pm: Transfer to crib
10:30–11:30 pm: Feed 6 (I'll work to drop this feed between 5 and 12 months).
2:30–4 am: Feed 7 (I'll work to drop this feed between 5 and 12 months).
I should note that this varies from the Moms on Call schedule which would have Bodhi down to two naps a day. He just doesn't seem developmentally ready for two naps, so we have him on three and I will look to drop down to 2 naps closer to 6-7 months. This is also a fluid schedule meaning if he wakes early from a nap I start the clock. He has about a 90 minute awake window so if he only sleeps 40 minutes I start the 90 minute counter from the time he wakes up, and will put him down a bit earlier for the next nap depending on his drowsy signs.
I hope this is helpful! I'll keep updating our schedules as Bodhi changes and grows into the next phase.