See what a good Babywise routine is for your baby and when it’s appropriate to put your newborn on a schedule. You can also see an example of a Babywise newborn schedule!
The newborn baby phase has to be one of the sweetest, most exhausting time in a parent’s life!
If you want to get a jumpstart on your baby’s sleep habits then you may be wondering about getting them on a newborn schedule.
Before jumping head first into getting a newborn on a schedule, make sure you give yourself time to heal from your birth and adapt to life as a new mom.
You don’t need to worry about implementing a routine for the first week to two weeks that you’re home with your newborn.
Trying to get a newborn on a schedule too early can cause unnecessary pressure and stress for parents who are already adjusting to so much.
That being said, I am all about adapting a routine for your newborn as soon as you’re ready! Learn more about the difference between a Babywise routine for newborns and a Babywise newborn schedule and get tips for starting your newborn’s routine when you’re ready!
What is the Babywise Schedule?
I have a love/hate relationship with Babywise.
I’ve shared before how the book has some great principles but I didn’t feel like it taught me how to actually carry out those principles.
One of the things that was lacking for me was specific baby wake windows and how to actually get my baby to sleep when she struggled.
I really needed a better framework for tackling newborn sleep and I needed more than Babywise provided.
Have a new baby or expecting one soon? Grab my Newborn Sleep Toolkit. It’s 25 cheat sheets of newborn sleep tips and tricks to get your new baby sleeping well. The Newborn Sleep Toolkit is full of graphics and easy-to-read info and is perfect for exhausted new parents! Get it here.
When Should A Newborn Have A Routine?
The words schedule and routine are sometimes used interchangeably, though they can have very different meanings.
There really won’t be a rigid nap or feeding schedule at this age, because we want to follow our baby’s hunger cues and sleep cues accordingly.
It will also be important to try and keep your baby awake for feeds. Newborns are very sleepy and are prone to falling asleep at the breast or bottle.
There are different things you can do to ensure your baby stays awake and takes a full feed such as switching breasts or undressing your baby a little.
You can start setting up this routine from day one or as soon as you feel ready after adjusting to delivering a human! (Give yourself some time to get settled in and recover and don’t feel pressured to start doing it all right away!)
What Should A Newborn’s Schedule Be?
Newborn sleep is still really scattered at this point and continues to be scattered even through implementing a 2-month old schedule and often a 3-month old schedule. Sleep typically doesn’t become more regular closer to when you start implementing a 4 month old schedule or 6-month baby schedule.
The best schedule you can follow at this point is to watch the clock like a hawk and make sure you get your baby down for a nap or bed within their appropriate newborn wake window, which is only about 45 minutes!
That’s right, your newborn can only be awake for about 45 minutes before they really need to go to sleep again. Keep them awake much longer than that and you’ll get an overstimulated baby and overtired baby.
You can also work on fixing their day and night confusion by exposing them to natural light during the day and using blackout curtains in their nursery for night sleep. It can take up to 12 weeks for them to grow out of their newborn circadian rhythm.
How Do you Get A Newborn On A Schedule?
The foundations of Babywise are following an eat/wake/sleep cycle and working toward independent sleep. The book also discusses full feeds and feeding baby between 2.5 to 3 hours based on their hunger cues.
I never saw exact Babywise sleep schedules in the book, which frustrated me and left me wondering my baby’s proper wake times. Some babies don’t show sleepy cues or they’re very subtle, so I really needed that missing piece of the puzzle!
If you’re focusing on feeding full feeds, most babies will fall into a natural feeding schedule of eating every 2.5 to 3 hours. Some babies may also like to cluster feed, especially in the evening during the newborn witching hour.
You want to make sure to not let your baby go too long in between feeds, which sometimes means waking a sleeping baby to feed.
A newborn will never fall into a perfect schedule at this point. The term schedule can mean rigidity and I firmly believe that new parents and newborns need flexibility this early in the game.
A newborn’s naps can range from 20 minutes up to 2.5 hours at this stage and can take time to develop. If your baby only naps 30 minutes, that’s okay! They’ll slowly be able to extend their sleep cycles.
Sample Newborn Baby Schedules
I really like to see things on paper, so I developed a few sample newborn schedules to give parents an idea of what their baby’s day might look like.
Keep in mind this is a general overview and I urge parents to always feed a hungry baby and follow their baby’s feeding cues.
7:00 AM: Wake up + nurse or bottle
7:45 to 9:30 AM: Nap (Baby slept in bassinet)
9:30 AM: Nurse or bottle
10:15 to 12:15 PM: Nap (Went for a walk in a stroller)
12:15 PM: Nurse or bottle
1:00 to 2:30 PM: Nap
2:30 PM: Nurse or bottle (Parents woke to feed and head to grandma’s house)
3:15 to 4:45 PM: Nap (Baby happily slept in grandpa’s arms while visiting)
5:00 PM Feed (Waited to feed 15 minutes after baby woke up)
5:30 to 6:15 PM: Nap (Car nap on the way back home)
6:30 PM: Start bedtime routine + nurse or bottle
7:00 PM: Bedtime
If you love sample schedules, I also have my baby sleep cheat sheets for ages newborn through 3 years old which has sample schedules for every stage and tells you when and how to make a nap transition.
Good luck getting your newborn on a flexible routine using this sample Babywise schedule as a guide!