Newborn Routine

bec and billie 2 bec and billie

I’ve had a gazillion ‘Ask Bec’ questions relating to Billie’s routine and how she is going with her sleep/feeding schedules so I thought it was about time I got my ass into gear and answered your questions.

I am a routine mum through and through. I’m a strong believer that babies will begin to sleep through the night sooner if they are on a routine (but some babies just do it naturally on their own from very early on- how lucky for their mumma!). Humans in general, I believe, thrive on routine. I for one take great comfort in knowing not only how my days are planned out, but also my weeks. I also love the routine of my year- it allows me to plan and look forward to things. For example, every single morning, I know I wake up at 7am and so do my kids. We come downstairs, put the coffee machine on. I change Billie and Oscar’s nappies, and then get Oscar a glass of warm milk and he starts playing with his trucks or watches Peppa pig on ABC 2. By the time I’ve organised Billie’s bottle, the coffee machine has heated up and I’ll make myself a strong latte and sip it as I feed her. I’ll then play with the kids before Billie has her morning sleep. I LOVE our morning routine and so do the kids- it’s nothing fancy but it’s just what we do.

I am flexible with my routines, meaning that if I have a day which completely throws everything into a spin, that is ok, and then usually I’ll be back onto our routine the day after this. I find if I’m a bit too crazy with work or if I’m away and so is my husband, then the routines go out the window and what do you know? My kids start waking earlier or not going to sleep at their usual times, they are harder to settle and not as content. They seem to crave routine and so do I.

Routines aren’t for everyone and you need to decide what suits your family and lifestyle. For my family, I need a routine as I am busy and work 3 permanent days a week with Ch 9, not to mention all the other ambassador work I do and this blog. My husband is a professional athlete and works 6 days a week. Both of our jobs require us to be well rested (i.e. well slept) in order for us to be able to perform at an optimal level- so does being a parent. Similarly, when I am at work and have someone looking after my children, the fact my children have a routine makes it easier for me to leave them, easier for the carer to look after them, and my children are happy to be cared for knowing they are doing ‘their usual thing.’

My first piece of advice for those wanting to implement a routine is to buy a notebook so you can write down what is happening throughout your child’s day, like when they wake, feed and sleep. This will allow you to keep check of where you are up to with your day. In those first few weeks you can be so tired and overwhelmed that I remember often forgetting when bub woke, what breast she fed from, how many sleeps she’d had for the day etc. I didn’t really know what the hell was going on- it was all a haze. When you can write down your baby’s activities it provides a guide as to what is to come next and allows you to problem solve why they may be grizzly or upset by looking back at when their last feed was (are they hungry?), when their last sleep was (are they tired or even overtired?) when their last number two was (are they constipated?) and why they won’t settle at night (have they slept too much during the day?).

Oscar started sleeping through the night (7pm-7am) at 12 weeks, Billie started sleeping through at 6 weeks (with a dreamfeed). The difference was that I started Oscar on a routine when he was 6 weeks old and it took 6 weeks to ‘kick in.’ With Billie, I started her routine as soon as she was born and she first slept through the night at 4 weeks but consistently, every night from 6 weeks.

I cannot stress how important it is to be able to detect sleep signs. If you miss the boat with these (like we did with Oscar for so many weeks), it makes it so much harder for your baby to fall asleep as they are overtired. I remember having Oscar up for 4 hours at a time as a 5 week old- what tha?! He just didn’t seem tired at all with those big, wide eyes but it turned out he was all stare-bear and bug eyed because he was so bloody tired- whoops! Hello, as a first time parent how are you supposed to know these things? Tired signs include yawning, staring into space, getting red around the eyes and irritability. I am so good at spotting the tired signs now and using my routine to tell me when Billie is due for a sleep that I always put her to bed awake and she’ll usually yell out for about 5 seconds before she karks it- it is gold!

So here are Billie’s routines:

NEWBORNS- Ok so newborns are so bloody hard to put on a routine and perhaps even impossible. I don’t even know if I should use the word ‘newborn’ and ‘routine’ in the same sentence! Sometimes they are just so darn sleepy that they won’t take a proper feed despite you doing everything to try and wake them! I read some books about what to do in the newborn phase but they just stressed me out because both of my kids wouldn’t stay awake for the required time nor feed for the required time. They both liked to ‘suck and snooze’ which was so frustrating because I was always anxious that they weren’t feeding enough as they were always sleeping (largely because of what the books were saying to do)! As a general rule, if you can get them on a basic routine you are setting them up to be able to transition into a more structured one once they become more alert and can sustain longer awake times.

My general rules for newborns-

* Feed every 3 to 4 hours. Wake them if they are still sleeping (which is most of the time), even overnight. The aim is to encourage your baby to gain as much weight as possible so they are big enough to sustain longer periods of sleep overnight.

* Always swaddle tightly

* During the days I’d just go with the flow with bub’s timings based on the first point above but every night was the same bed time routine (so they’d be able to tell the difference between day and night- ie. night is for SLEEPING!)

– 7pm BED

– 10pm Wake up and bath, then bottle (I’d breastfeed during the day and my husband would bath and give a bottle of formula at this time so I could get some rest). You can bath at 7pm but in this early stage it was something that my husband would do for both of my babies at this time. We move the bath to 6:30pm at 4 weeks.

– 2am Set alarm and wake baby for a bottle/breastfeed

– Between 6am and 7am wake up (I wouldn’t let Billie sleep past 7am. If she woke before 6am I’d give her a small feed and then a larger one at 7am to start her day on time)

FROM 4 WEEKS- Billie started fussing when we’d try and put her to sleep at 7pm and would want to stay awake for hours. She was far more alert and so we knew it was time to move her bath to 6:30pm so she could be in bed by 7pm. We also knew that it was now time to give her more awake time during the day. Quite simply, she was sleeping too much during the day for her older age now, that she had all of this energy at night time when she was supposed to go to sleep. So we began our journey of trying to keep Billie awake after her day feeds- what a mission! It was hard stretching her out but we’d manage to keep her awake for 1 hour to 1.5 hours (FEED, PLAY, SLEEP) and what do you know- by bed time at 7pm she was more than ready to go straight to sleep. We’d try and make sure she only had a combined day time sleep total of around 5 hours.

– 6-7am’ish feed (sleep 8-10am)

– 10-11am’ish feed (sleep 12-2pm)

– 2-3pm’ish feed (sleep 4-5pm)

– 6:30pm bath then feed

– 7pm BED

– 11pm wake and feed

– 3am set alarm, wake and feed (I forgot to set the alarm one night and she slept through until 6am- eep!)

– 6am-7am she would wake and we’d start our day again.

FROM 6 WEEKS- Billie had gained lots of weight and was now well over 5kgs which meant I could tinker with dropping the 3am feed. At first she would sometimes wake around 4:30am so I’d feed her (only a small amount though) and then wake her again around 7am to start the day. After a day or so, she’d start waking around 5am by yelling out but instead of getting her straight up, I’d leave her and see if she’d fall back asleep and she would- hallelujah! Of course if she was crying I would always go to her but she’d usually just stir, yell out and then fall back asleep. After a few nights of doing this she’d eventually start waking between 6am and 7am- YAY!

– 6-7am’ish feed (sleep 8-10am)

– 10-11am’ish feed (sleep 12-2pm)

– 2-3pm’ish feed (sleep 4-5pm)

– 6:30pm bath then feed

– 7pm BED

– 11pm wake and feed

– 6-7am she would wake and we’d start our day again

FROM 3 MONTHS- We dropped the dreamfeed around 3 months and made sure we upped her intake during the day to make up for it.

– 7am Awake and feed (sleep 8:30am)

– 11am feed (sleep 12:30)

– 3pm feed (nap for 40 mins)

– 6pm Bath

– 6:30pm Bottle

– 7pm BED

FROM 4 MONTHS- longer awake time during the day.

– 7am Awake and feed (sleep 9am)

– 11am feed (sleep 1pm)

– 3pm feed (4:30pm nap for 20 mins)

– 6pm Bath

– 6:30pm Bottle

– 7pm BED

Remember- every baby is different and this is just a rough guide of what I do based on professional advice I sought when Oscar was 6 weeks old. If you have a baby who struggles to sleep and it’s causing much grief to you/your family/ your baby, then I would consider seeking professional advice. I am also a HUGE advocate of getting whatever help you can. It is not a sign of weakness or defeat to ask for help. Babies are bloody hard and they do say, “it takes a village” to raise one. In this day and age we put so much pressure on ourselves to be able to do it all with no help at all. Well that’s fine if you’re Wonder Woman but if you need help or a bit of professional guidance (like a lot of us) then book a Night Nanny (with qualifications such as midwifery or mothercraft nurses) or a sleep school.

Here is a list of some of my top resources for people/services who can help with getting your baby to sleep and who I have called on for help in the past to get my routines in order.

Cath Curtin (midwife and sleep specialist) here

Tahna Leader (maternity nanny who stays at your house and shows you how to put your baby into a routine. She got triplets sleeping through the night at 6 weeks- yep, all 3 of them in the same room. She is a genius this lady!) here

Gabrielle from Sleep Rescue here

Tweddle (sleep school) here

Mitcham private sleep centre here

Queen Elizabeth Centre here

Ngala here

Caroline’s Angels here

Leave a Comment

  1. manes m

    I want to use this opportunity to thank this great holy man called Priest Babaka for what he has done for me and my family. This great man has brought happiness and joy back again to me and my family. Priest Babaka has used his great power to help me bring back my husband within the period of 48 hours and also helped me in getting pregnant with his powerful prayers and after 7 days of applying his herbs.This is more than words can say, at first i didn’t believe it but today it is so true and all thanks goes to him. i will advice every one out there that has a similar issue, and also any one who is willing to get his or her lover back and any one who wants to get pregnant quick to contact this wonderful man today and forever remain happy in life. email: [email protected] or Facebook at priest.babaka

  2. Trishy G

    Hi Bec, I love everything about your blog and how you share fab things such as fashion tips as well as personal stories about your family and home life! I was wondering if you might post an “update” on your routine with juggling your two now that they’re a bit older – I’m looking for advice on feed times for my 6 month old (solids and milk) while juggling getting out and about with a busy toddler who also needs a day time nap! Any advice welcome!!!! xxx

  3. Rachael S

    Hi Bec
    Just a question with the 6week routine I notice you had feed 6-7 bed at 8am
    We’re you breast feeding or formula during that time? If I feed at 7 I find he takes an hr this includes burping. This would mean I’m feeding and then putting him straight to sleep..?

  4. Hi Bec, hope this isn’t a silly question but I’m just wondering what you did with Billie from 4 weeks during 5pm sleep finish time and 6.30pm bath time?

  5. Bailey R

    Our little guy is almost 3 weeks old and we’re thinking of introducing formula at his dream feed to hold him through longer during the night, and also give me time to express and keep up with his appetite! Do you have any recommendations on formula?

  6. Meg M

    I have followed a very similar routine so far and have found it great for both the little one and for myself. What experience, if any, have you had with travelling with babies and adapting (or not) their routine across timezones, ie Victoria to WA? Do they adapt better when their routine is continued, but adapted to the local timezone (eg give the 11am feed at local time) or is it better or easier to get them to adjust to the new timezone straight away?

  7. Coleen J

    Becjudd, firstly thank you, I have a 15 day old baby boy Nash :-) I have been running on barely any sleep and i was really about to crack, I saw your Insta post yesterday and logged on and wow, I feel like i was reading my saving grace, I adopted a few of your tips and already on night one – I have started to establish a routine and plan to continue. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! One question (my baby was very constipated and colicy, we changed his formula and I found a natural probiotic and we are seeing results) Where was Billy sleeping at this age (15 days) I slept in the lounge last night as it is a big open area and had his bed further away from me, and one of the things that worked was that he was further away from me and I was not lying awake listening to his every noise and was only woken up to his feed cry. Where does Billy sleep? Also what is your feedback on Dummys?

  8. Tina P

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! Agree though that new mothers shouldn’t put too much pressure on themselves for the first 6 weeks (it stressed me out!) but ‘routine’ does work.

  9. Belinda R

    As a first time mum of a 3 month old- we struggle with day time naps longer for 30-40 minutes. Bec, what do you do if Billie wakes before her next feed / in less than 1.5-2hours?

    1. Oh yes- isn’t the 40 minute cat napper a drainer! Billie went through a couple of weeks like that and then my midwife told me I need to tire her out more so she is exhausted and needs to sleep for more than 40 mins. So I gave her heaps of tummy time and stimulation. She didn’t always enjoy the tummy time because it is a real work out for her sometimes but she would burn so much energy that she started sleeping longer almost instantly. On the days when she kept waking after 40 mins I remember pushing her out and keeping her awake for up to 2 hours before feeding her. Hope this helps. x

  10. Amanda B

    I’m a routine girl too. I had twin girls and they were sleeping and feeding all over the place so I knew that having a routine would be just what they and I needed. I used the routines from Save our Sleep which are similar to the ones you have used on the blog and they fell into them so well. Sleeping 7-7am with a dreamfeed from 7 wks. It was fantastic and really helped me get my groove back for when i went back to work. They still have a bedtime routine at age 7 years and it works very well in our house – unless they have been misbehaved and go in a bit earlier..hahahaha. Love your blog Bec – so amazing XX

  11. Sarah W

    Routines are the best :) i have an almost 8mth old and she has been on the save our sleep routine from day 1. She is a dreamer aleeper and feeder. I am a very lucky mumma. She is on a very similar routine as Billie. I believe mums need the routine more than the babies. Without the routine i would have lost my mind. Keep up with ghe great blogs/posts.