Allison John & I met when she DM’d me on Instagram about baby sleep schedules. Allison is super passionate about this topic because sleep training & getting her baby on a schedule literally changed her life.
A lot of you have DM’d me actually, wanting to know about Zaza’s schedule. Happy to share it ( & I will soon ), but I thought bringing Allison on to really dive deep into how it helped her would be good. & if you guys like this post then I’ll definitely share Zaza’s schedule with you.
Everyone is different & every family is different. What works for one person might not work for another person, but sharing all our tips & tricks, taking what we like & leaving what we don’t is what The Skinny Confidential is all about. This is by no means a blueprint for how your baby’s schedule ‘should’ be, but I wanted Allison to come on to share the benefits of having your baby on a schedule.
Drum roll plz…let’s welcome Allison John to the blog to share her experience with sleep training & baby/toddler schedules.
Hi! My name is Allison – I live in Michigan, am a long-time reader of The Skinny Confidential, a mom of one 19-month old boy, pregnant with #2, & passionate about all things having to do with motherhood. I’ve always had a very type-A personality, am psychotic about to-do lists, & have an impeccably organized house, so I truly didn’t think having a baby would change any of that very much. HA! Biggest joke of my life….
After we brought my son home from the hospital, it took about 3 hours to realize that we had been *blessed* with a child who did not know how to or like to sleep. I was exclusively nursing, so I got into a really quick habit of sticking my boob in his mouth anytime I needed him to go to sleep.
Pretty soon he started to associate eating with sleeping, so it was impossible to get him to sleep without nursing him. Before I knew it he was taking every nap in my arms, I was getting over 15k steps a day rocking/dancing him to sleep around our house, my husband & I hadn’t slept in the same room since he was born, & at night he would only sleep in bed with me – on my chest. The cuddles were great, but I had zero life apart from getting my baby to sleep. We spent the first few months of his life in a fog, just trying to survive.
When he turned 5 months old I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went on a journey to teach my baby to sleep on his own, get him on a schedule, & actually have a life again. I researched any chance I got & was so sick of finding things saying that if I just got him on an “eat, play, sleep” schedule, life would be great. That didn’t work for us.
My saving grace was finding Chrissy – “The Peaceful Sleeper” – on Instagram ( @the.peaceful.sleeper ). Her philosophy on sleep training & actually hiring her to talk me through doing it CHANGED. MY. LIFE. ( *Side note – if your baby is struggling with sleep, I highly recommend reaching out to her to help! )
Sleep training is a whole different topic, & I’m here to talk about the aftermath – having your baby on a solid schedule. For those of you who like specifics ( ahem, me & probably all other The Skinny Confidential followers), here are some exact schedules we have used:
5-MONTH OLD SCHEDULE
♡ 7:00 am: wake for the day & nurse ( please substitute nursing with bottle feeding if that is what you do – this is just from my own experience ).
♡ 8:00 am: feed solids ( mashed banana, oatmeal, or pureed fruit ).
♡ 8:15 am – 10:00 am: nurse & nap #1 ( don’t nurse TO sleep, nurse BEFORE sleep – or bottle feed ).
♡ 11:30 am – 1:15 pm: nurse & nap #2.
♡ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: nurse & nap #3.
♡ 5:30 pm: feed solids ( mashed sweet potato or cooked & pureed green vegetables ).
♡ 6:00 pm: start bedtime routine ( bath every other night, coconut oil massage, diaper/pajamas, nurse, read books, rock/sing a song, & place him in the crib drowsy, but awake ).
♡ 6:30 pm: bedtime.
*In between times are tummy time, going for a walk, or literally anything to keep him entertained.
*At this age, I was still nursing him 1-2 times overnight – usually around 10:30 pm & 2:30 am. I chose to not wean night feeds at the same time I sleep trained. He dropped these feedings on his own over the next few months.
TODDLER SCHEDULE (1 year – current)
♡ 7:30 am: wake for the day & nurse ( yes, I’m still nursing my 19 month old – we’re working on weaning & it’s obviously not going great ).
♡ 8:00 am: Cheerios on the couch/cuddle/watch a show.
♡ 9:30 am: breakfast.
♡ 11:30 am: snack (aka lunch pt. 1).
♡ 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm: nap ( he gets a cup of whole milk before his nap ).
♡ 2:30 pm: snack ( aka lunch pt. 2 ).
♡ 6:00 pm: dinner.
♡ 6:30 pm: start bedtime routine ( same as above ).
♡ 7:00 pm: bedtime.
*In between times are playing outside, reading books, going for a walk, seeing friends/family, or *hopefully* independent play so I can get things done around the house. Pre-quarantine days we also used to go to swim or mommy & me classes, walk around Target, go to the library, etc. I really think that getting toddlers out of the house & seeing new sights is one of the keys to good sleep & a solid routine that works for both of you.
There are SO many benefits to having a baby on a schedule. Top ones for me are:
A well-tempered baby. It is super rare that I let my son skip a nap or go to bed late, but I find that when I do he is SO much fussier than when he gets the sleep he needs. Babies thrive on a schedule & love to know when they are going to eat, sleep, play, go outside, take a bath, etc. – just like we do.
Being able to anticipate when I will have time for myself. Not going to lie – I LOVE my alone time. It is so motivational to know that I get a short break in the middle of the day & 12 straight hours overnight for myself. I think this also helps me to play better with my son when he is awake & give him the attention he deserves.
SLEEP. I love love love love love to sleep. Especially now that I’m pregnant, all I want to do is rest when I can. It’s amazing to have the option to take a nap every afternoon & go to bed at 9 pm if I want to.
The ability to plan out our days/weeks. Before we were stuck in our house, we had something planned every single morning & every afternoon. It really helped to break up the day & mix things up for both of us. I would always plan classes, play dates, walks, etc. around naps & bedtime ( meals are more flexible & can be done on the go ).
The only downfall to having your baby on a schedule is that you have to be willing to sometimes say no to, or alter plans. For a homebody introvert like me, this is no problem – my son’s schedule is actually the best excuse ever to get out of things I don’t want to do. You just have to learn your baby’s temperament & gauge whether an overtired, cranky kid is worth doing whatever it is that may interfere with their nap or bedtime – & sometimes it definitely is! But other times it isn’t, & you may just have to say no to your third cousin’s barbecue ( oh shoot ).
So now, I’m sitting here at 7:30 pm on my couch, writing this post, watching Housewives, & having some tea ( would be wine, but #pregnant…. ) while my son sleeps. And I can expect him to sleep until at least 7:30 am tomorrow morning. I truly never thought this day would come.
If you’re in the newborn fog, sleep-deprived, & desperate for some sense of normalcy, a schedule for your baby will change everything. If you have a toddler who is all over the place & you just want a break, getting him or her on a schedule will help both of you thrive. If you are anywhere in between, you & your baby can and will benefit from a schedule, too.
I am so passionate about this now that I see the life-changing powers of it, so please feel free to reach out if you have questions on this topic or want help implementing it in your family! You guys can DM me @becomingtheirmom.
Hope some of you found that post helpful. Be sure to follow Allison on Instagram @becomingtheirmom.
Do you guys want a post on Zaza’s schedule too? LMK below.
+ check out what I’ve been feeding Zaza.
++ take a peek inside Zaza’s nursery.