12 Week Sample Sleep and Eating Schedule for Newborns with Free Printable-min

12 Week Sample Sleep and Eating Schedule for Newborns with Free Printable


12 Week Sample Sleep and Eating Schedule for Newborns with Free Printable

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Newborns are hard and they don’t come with a guidebook, unfortunately. I have used the same simple newborn schedule with my both my kids when they were newborns, and it works wonders.

I think one of the best things you can do to make your life easier with a newborn is have a consistent schedule.

Then, it’s like your newborn almost becomes predictable. (I said almost let’s not get too excited).

Their happy.

You’re happy.

Everyone’s happy.

Nobody likes zombie mom, and a good sleep and eating schedule can minimize your time spent in “zombie mom“ mode.

Disclaimer: I just have to say that you can’t get too caught up in being super strict with your schedule. The great thing about this schedule is that you can be pretty flexible with it and still have great results. You don’t want to be too hard on yourself or drive yourself crazy because that just creates the crazy mom.

Newborns thrive off schedules, and they will adapt to just about any schedule you put them on.

This is good and bad.

It can be bad because if you feed them every hour, they will get used to eating every hour and expect it.

However, this also means that you can get them on a different, better schedule, just as easy. (easy is relative, again, don’t get too excited).

You can get them on a schedule from day one, which is optimal, obviously.

But I always use the first 4 weeks as free game. I don’t try to push the schedule too much, but I just try to start slowly moving in that direction.

This is just my personal preference. The last thing I want to do is think about a schedule. The only thing I want to do is hold my baby, recover, watch Netflix and sleep when the baby sleeps.

I can only do that for a few weeks before I’m like, “okay, I have to get on a schedule before I go crazy.”

You find what works for you. When you’re ready to be on a schedule, this one works great:

(I learned this schedule from the book Babywise. It’s the closest I’ve come to finding a “baby guide”.)

12 Week Sample Sleep and Eating Schedule for Newborns

12 Week Sample Sleep and Eating Schedule for Newborns with Free Printable (2)-min

I use the Eat-Play-Sleep schedule. (I go into even more detail about the schedule here, with examples of what to do during each cycle of the schedule.)

This type of schedule creates a routine for your baby so that they eat enough, ware themselves out playing, and then have a good sleep time.

I will briefly go over each cycle since I go into a lot of detail in that other post.

The Eat

Obviously, this is when your baby eats. However the important thing to keep in mind when feeding your baby is to make sure they complete a full feeding.

If they don’t, then they just snack.

This means they will be hungry again too soon, and you’ll constantly be feeding them throughout the day.

They also won’t get the full sleep they need because they are hungry.

Although I’m not strict about my schedule the first 4 weeks. I always try to give my baby a full feeding. That way it’s easier to transition them into a good schedule, and they sleep longer. 

I always use a nursing pillow to feed my babies. They provide support and comfort especially while breastfeeding. It’s also great for propping up your baby if you’re bottle feeding. My babies also like to lay in them because it sits them up enough that they can look around. You can get a FREE one here using promo code LIVINGTICKLED40. You just pay for shipping. I still have my nursing pillow.

The Play

During the play or wake cycle, you play with your baby. This is a good time to bond, make them feel loved and safe, and wear them out.

There are several activities you can do during this time including

tummy time
the baby gym
swing (this is my favorite one)
go for a walk, use a baby carrier so you can get some exercise too, and it’s easier. This is my favorite one.
play peek a boo

I have included a lot more ideas in this article.

The Sleep

Now that they have full bellies and have exhausted themselves, your baby is ready to sleep.

You lay them down for a nap, which can be anywhere from 1.50-2 hours during the first 12 weeks. 

If you are following this type of schedule your newborn sleep schedule will look something like this:

Week 1 – Week 2

7:00 am Wake Up for Day- Eat
Play
Sleep
9:30-10:00 am Eat
Play 
Sleep
12:30-1:00 pm Eat
Play
Sleep
3:30-4:00 Eat
Play
Sleep
6:30-7:00 Eat
Play
Sleep
9:30-10:00 Eat
Play
Sleep
12:30-1:00 am Eat (Night-time feeding)
Play- Short Play or go right back to sleep
Sleep
4:30-5:00 am Eat
Play- Short Play or go right back to sleep
Sleep
7:00 am Wake up

After the first 2 weeks, somewhere between week 3-5 your baby will start to merge one of their night time feedings. If you stick to this schedule, this usually occurs naturally. They will just start to sleep longer and longer at night. Depending on if you’re using formula or breast milk, it might happen sooner or later. Formula is a little heavier, so it keeps them full longer. That being said, both work for this schedule.

Eventually, Instead of getting up for 2 nightly feedings, they drop one. They don’t get up at 12:30 am and 4:30 am, They get up at 2:00 am. 

Your Newborn sleep schedule would look something like this:

Weeks 3 – Week 7

7:00 am Wake Up for Day- Eat
Play
Sleep
9:30-10:00 am Eat
Play 
Sleep
12:30-1:00 pm Eat
Play
Sleep
3:30-4:00 Eat
Play
Sleep
6:30-7:00 Eat
Play
Sleep
9:30-10:00 Eat
Play
Sleep
2:00-2:30 am Eat (Night-time feeding)
Play- Short Play or go right back to sleep
Sleep
7:00 am Wake up

You’re baby most likely won’t drop another feeding during the night until about week 7-10. Their schedule will shift a little and they will take shorter naps in the late afternoon. Again, this usually occurs naturally. All babies are different, so they might do it sooner or a little later.

It would look something like this:

Week 7 – Week 12

7:00 am Wake Up for Day- Eat
Play
Sleep
9:30-10:00 am Eat
Play 
Sleep
12:30-1:00 pm Eat
Play
Sleep
3:00-3:30 Eat
Play
Sleep
5:30-6:00 Eat
Play
Sleep
8:00-8:30 Eat
Play
Sleep
11:00-11:30 pm Eat (Night-time feeding)
Get ready for bed
Sleep
7:00 am Wake up

Flexible

Like I had mention before, this schedule is flexible. If you don’t get in a full feeding somewhere, it is not the end of the world.

When I first started this schedule with my daughter, I went crazy trying to stick to it because I thought that she wouldn’t sleep enough, or eat enough if I veered away from it. I would be doomed.

This however is NOT the case. I definitely had nights where I couldn’t keep the baby awake to eat, and I was tired, so I gave up and went to bed. I didn’t even care when they woke up next.

Sometimes they will sleep longer and sometimes they were up 45 minutes later. But then I jumped right back into a full feeding.

This is just a guideline to follow, so don’t go crazy trying to stick to it, or any schedule you choose to follow.

At the end of the day, your baby will be loved, safe, and fed.

If you’d like this in a nice handy printable click here. 

Related: Ways to get rid of Mom Guilt

The colicky baby

It is very hard to stick to this or any type of schedule when you have a colicky baby.

My daughter was colicky, so she made this schedule very difficult at first. I just tried to take it one day at a time, baby steps, and then strides.

This schedule did help her sleep better through the night, and I was beyond grateful for that!

If your baby is colicky, you can read some of my tips here, and hang in there!  

I highly recommend a schedule, even if it’s not this one. It makes everyone happier, and helps your baby sleep through the night on their own faster.

Sleep is good for everyone!

Newborn Sleep Schedule (1)-min

Grab my FREE Newborn Sleep Schedule Printable. 

Related: How to get Your Baby Sleeping through the Night by Day One

Related: How to Relieve a Colicky Baby

Related: The Best and Worst Baby Products as Told by Moms

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