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Best Baby Sleep Routine

Nyree

The Peek Routine
When should your baby sleep, feed and play?

Baby on playmat image

In this blog post I will share the routine that worked for me. By following this routine your baby is likely to cry less because you'll be quicker at determining what they need. You'll feel more confident, less tired, and adapt better as your baby develops.

BACKGROUND

I am a stay at home mother of two children and I have a BSc. Psychology degree from the University of Surrey in England. I have worked in a children’s psychiatric hospital where I focused on early child development. I've read Gina Ford’s Contented Little Baby routine. For the most part, I liked it because it advises the mother what to do and when. Even reminding her when to feed herself!! It offers a road-map with stages that you should work towards. However, friends would tell me that they felt the schedule was so restrictive that they could never be free to simply get out of their home and see friends. I also read the Baby Whisperer but for me it was too wishy-washy; lots of words and not a very structured guide on what I should actually be doing day to day. I also read Edward Estivill’s Perfect Night’s Sleep book. I loved it because there weren’t too many words and it was very practical. However, it was only focused on helping parents whose children already had a sleep problem. But I wanted a guide that would simply tell me what the hell I was supposed to be doing!!! Something that would preemptively adapt as the child matured. Below, I offer The Peek Routine to sleep, feeding and play. It’s in chart form at the end of this post, so it’s easy to print out, slap on the fridge door and follow alongside the notes. It's developed from what worked for my family in those first precious months. Please use the share button at the bottom of the blog to help your mummy friends.

Rabbit and baby photo

(Pictured: Bibi Bunny sleep companion with heartbeat by Zazu Kids)

THE SMALL PRINT BIT: I am not a doctor. The following information is what worked for me as a mother. If in doubt, check with your doctor and do what you think is best. When my babies were ill, I did not follow this routine at all. I just did whatever I felt was right and then, when they were completely better again, I restarted the routine.

SEE ROUTINE OVERVIEW CHARTS AT THE VERY BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG 

ROUTINE 1 (newborn+)

This routine is for when the baby is first born and through the first two weeks of life.

I chose to breastfeed but then offer a top up with a bottle of formula at the end of each feed. This way I knew that the baby was definitely full. So if the baby cried soon after, it was less likely to be due to hunger. Otherwise, the mother can feel stuck in a cycle of feeding and the baby just snacks every 15 minutes or uses the breast as a sleep aid – a Mummy Dummy. In addition, the combination of breast and bottle means it’s easier to transition to a different care-giver when the mother needs to have a break…rather than a breakdown!!! Did the baby get ‘nipple confusion’? No. Did the bottle feeding reduce breast supply? No, because the bottle is always given after the breast as a top up only.

For the most part, the baby just eats and sleeps. There is not much activity time other than bath time. I would often change the baby’s nappy right before feeding time to help wake the baby up or halfway through the feed if the baby was particularly tired. This helped with speeding up the feed time as the baby is more awake. The average feed time would still be an exhausting 45 minutes.

 baby bottle feeding photo

ROUTINE 2 (WEEK 3 - 6)

This routine is for when the baby is approximately three to six weeks old.

STEP CHANGE: Set alarm at 4am to feed. Unless the baby wakes up earlier. In-which-case feed between 3-4am.

You are now looking to stretch out the night feeds so you are able to get a less disrupted night’s sleep. Setting the alarm clock for 4am means that you can still keep the remainder of the day’s routine on track. The baby is bigger and can take a larger feed and therefore last longer between feeds. However, if your baby is crying a lot and hungry then they may be going through a growth spurt. Use your common sense and feed the baby a ‘snack’ i.e. a small amount of time on the breast (5 minutes) or a small bottle feed (20mls) just to snack them through to 4am. If the snack is too big then they will not be hungry at 4am and this will impact the rest of the day’s schedule.

 

ROUTINE 3 (WEEK 6 onwards)

This routine is for when the baby is around six weeks old and begins to “wake up”.

STEP CHANGE: Introduce a split feed in the evening. Plus, set the alarm clock for morning feed at 7am. Your new aim is to not feed before 5am and even then, to only give enough to get the baby back to sleep i.e. 30-60mls or a small amount of time on the breast. Slowly (15 minutes time change every three successful days), try to extend the first morning feed until the feed isn’t until 7am.

Prior to this stage, the baby has mainly just eaten, slept and pooed. The six week old developmental milestone is one of the most testing times for new mothers because their day and night is now consumed by the demands of an increasingly more awake baby. It is important to try one’s best to place the baby down for sleep whilst the baby remains semi awake. If the baby always falls asleep in your arms then they are more likely to require the breast (or bottle) as a sleep aid. Plus, they are more likely to wake up because they are suddenly aware that they are no longer in the same place that they fell asleep. Imagine if you fell asleep in bed and then woke up on the kitchen floor, as an extreme example, you’d be wide awake and unsettled too, right? See top tips at the end of this blog for ideas on how to prolong the baby’s activity time.

Remember, it may be hard to wait until the next feed in the morning if they wake up before 7am. So be flexible and use common sense. The idea is certainly not to reduce the baby’s nourishment. If they cry then just try to give them a small amount to get them back to sleep. The time change is a gradual aim to work with your baby towards, not a strict line in the sand.

Similarly, if your baby is really tired because they didn’t sleep well the night before or they are going through a growth spurt, then don’t force them to stay awake just because the routine suggests certain awake periods.

 Baby feeding photo

ROUTINE 4 (Reduce sleep)

This stage is for when the baby is fairly consistent in no longer taking a full feed between 11pm and 7am.

STEP CHANGE: Reducing daytime sleep to encourage better night time sleep. The aim now is to reduce the daytime naps so that your baby is getting no more than 3 ¾ hours sleep during the day (7am-7.30pm).

When you’re exhausted, it’s soooo desperately tempting to let the baby sleep as much as they like during the day so that you can have a rest and catch up on housework / deal with older siblings. However, if the baby sleeps too much during the day then they won’t need to sleep as much at night. Therefore, leading to poor mum not being allowed to sleep!! By reducing the daytime naps, the baby will require more sleep at night instead. This needs to be done gradually and with flexibility.

 

ROUTINE 5 (11pm – 10pm)

This routine can be started once routine 4 has been fully established for two weeks consistently.

STEP CHANGE: Start moving the 11pm feed to 10pm.

Again, the aim isn’t to do this all in one go. Try to move the feed by 15 minutes every three days of it working. I had my husband do the night time bottle feeds unless he’d been out with his friends for the evening. Your husband will be pleased that he doesn’t have to wait up until 11pm to start the feed anymore so he will be greatly incentivised to help you with this stage. You may find that your baby wants their morning feed earlier as a result. If so, move the night time feed later by 15 minutes for a few days before trying to move it forward again. We want to stretch the night time feed so your family can all have more night time sleep. However, this will require flexibility and fiddling around with, until you get the balance right. And remember, if your baby is going through a growth spurt and needs a feeding frenzy, then feed them. Never leave a hungry baby crying. It’ll probably last a few days and then you can pick up again where you left off. Remember, when reducing the number of feeds, the amount of formula in the bottle needs to increase so your growing baby still receives an increasing amount of nourishment.

 Baby photo

ROUTINE 6 (Split-feed change)

This routine took place at around 3-4 months for me. It’s not a competition though, Tiger Mums. All babies develop at their own rate so it’s more important that routine 5 is mostly working before moving on.

STEP CHANGE: Once the 10pm feed is fully established, start to remove the split feed so that it’s bath time, then the full bottle, then some quiet activity time like reading a book together (10 minutes), then bed.

I chose to reduce the pre-bath feed slowly over time (say, 10-20mls every three successful days). Remember to increase the after bath time feed. The baby is getting bigger so will need more food not less.

 

ROUTINE 7 (drop 10pm feed)

This routine took place at around 4-5 months. Again, follow your own baby’s development pattern. This is only a guide on what worked for my family.

STEP CHANGE: Slowly drop 10pm feed completely by reducing how much milk is given at this feed. So, only feed at 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm.

Disperse the total daily feed across fewer feeds but not reducing the overall intake. I also started weaning at 4 months with some baby rice in the milk powder.

 

ROUTINE 8 (weaning)

I began to follow the structural advice in GINA FORD’s The Contented Little Baby Book of Weaning combined with the yummy recipe suggestions in Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner book.

“If only I’d read this advice when my baby was younger” Fear not. The following information is just for you.

Sam Sheep photo

Sam Sheep in stock now

click here to see how it works

Infant Sleep Training

It is never too late to begin sleep training. It can be more difficult with an older child because of the bad habits that have been learned prior to training. However, with the right products and commitment from the parents, the older infants are able to learn more quickly because of their increased cognitive abilities. To see the full Zazu Kids beautiful sleep training range, click here and learn why this company has won so many prestigious awards. Plus I will include a FREE Zazu Kids soft toy pacifier holder to the first three orders of a Zazu Kid product.

 

Dex Dog Baby Comforter

Dex Dog Soft Toy Baby Comforter with heartbeat

click here to learn more


Top Tips on Toys

I recommend a cot mobile for the first few months. Often marketed as a sleep aid, I have found such products to be quite the opposite. Brightly coloured cot mobiles are a great way to entertain your tiny baby – giving you just enough time to nip in the shower in the mornings. I would then use a playmat (again as garishly coloured as possible) during morning and afternoon activity time. The company Tiny Love do a great range in both these items. Bland, beige colours are not ideal because although they may fit nicely into your home colour scheme, they are very difficult for small babies to distinguish and therefore hold their gaze and interest. Once the baby can sit, I chose to remove the arched, overhanging bars that straddled the playmat and instead place different activity toys. For example ELC activity triangle, shape sorter toys and noise makers. From about the age of 5-6 months, I used an exersaucer activity table. This again gave me a chance to jump in the shower, have the luxury of going to the toilet without an entourage, or time to cook a fast dinner. The cot mobile, playmat, exersaucer, and Dex Dog baby comforter range have been must-have items that I recommend to all my friends.

 

The Peek Routine is based on what worked for me and is in no way offering medical advice. If any uncertainty occurs regarding the safety and well-being of your baby, it is the responsibility of the care-giver to determine the best course of action. No child should ever be left to cry excessively or starved of food or affection. This Peek Concepts blog offers advice based on one family’s experience and does not undertake to be medical advice. Peek Concepts takes no responsibility for any harm arising from this information. The care-giver must procure immediate medical assistance if the baby appears unwell.

Sharing is caring

If you learned something from this blog, please share it with friends. Sleep more, live well, be happy.

 

The Peek Routine Overview Charts

 ROUTINE 1 (WEEK 1 & 2)

START TIME

WHAT TO DO

5AM

BABY FEED

6AM

ME SLEEP

7AM

 

8AM

BABY FEED

9AM

 

10AM

 

11AM

BABY FEED

12PM (MIDDAY)

 

1PM

ME SLEEP (UNLESS HAVE OLDER CHILD WITH ME)

2PM

BABY FEED

3PM

 

4PM

 

5PM

BABY FEED

6PM

 

7PM

BABY BATH TIME

8PM

BABY FEED

9PM

ME SLEEP

10PM

ME SLEEP

11PM

BABY FEED (HUSBAND  DOES FEED) / ME SLEEP

12AM (MIDNIGHT)

ME SLEEP

1AM

ME SLEEP

2AM

BABY FEED

3AM

ME SLEEP

4AM

ME SLEEP

 

ROUTINE 2 (WEEK 3 - 6)

START TIME

WHAT TO DO

5AM

ME SLEEP

6AM

ME  SLEEP

7AM

 

8AM

BABY FEED

9AM

 

10AM

 

11AM

BABY FEED

12PM (MIDDAY)

 

1PM

ME SLEEP – UNLESS OLDER CHILD WITH ME

2PM

BABY FEED

3PM

 

4PM

 

5PM

BABY FEED

6PM

 

7PM

BABY BATH TIME

8PM

BABY FEED

9PM

ME SLEEP

10PM

ME SLEEP

11PM

BABY FEED ( HUSBAND DOES FEED ) / ME SLEEP

12AM (MIDNIGHT)

ME SLEEP

1AM

ME SLEEP

2AM

ME SLEEP

3AM

ME SLEEP

4AM

BABY FEED / ME SLEEP (SET ALARM FOR 4AM)

 

ROUTINE 3 (WEEK 6 onwards)

START TIME

WHAT TO DO

7AM

BABY FEED

KEEP BABY AWAKE UNTIL 9.30AM

8AM

ACTIVITY TIME: COT MOBILE & PLAYMAT SUGGESTED

9.30AM

BABY SLEEP 9.30AM-11AM

10AM

 

11AM

BABY FEED  BABY SLEEP FROM END OF FEED UP UNTIL 3PM

12PM (MIDDAY)

 

1PM

 

2PM

 

3PM

BABY FEED  KEEP BABY AWAKE UNTIL 5PM

4PM

 

5PM

BABY SLEEP: 5PM-5.50PM

6PM

BABY SPLIT FEED (SPLIT FEED MEANS ONE BREAST NOW & 50% FORMULA  AND OTHER BREAST ANDTOP UP FORMULA AFTER BATH)

6.30PM BATH

7PM

BABY SPLIT FEED

BABY  SLEEP 7.30PM ONWARDS

8PM

ME SLEEP

9PM

ME SLEEP

10PM

ME SLEEP

11PM

BABY FEED ( HUSBAND  DOES FEED ) / ME SLEEP

12AM (MIDNIGHT)

ME SLEEP

1AM

ME SLEEP

2AM

ME SLEEP

3AM

ME SLEEP

4AM

ME SLEEP NO ALARM CLOCK

5AM

ME SLEEP ‘SNACK’ FEED IF REQUIRED

6AM

ME SLEEP ‘SNACK’ FEED IF REQUIRED

 

ROUTINE 4 (Reduce sleep)

START TIME

PERSON

7AM

BABY FEED

KEEP BABY AWAKE

8AM

ACTIVITY TIME. QUIET TIME 9.15AM ONWARDS

9.30AM

BABY SLEEP 9.30AM-10.15AM

10AM

WAKE BABY AT 10.15AM (GIVE ‘SNACK’ IF BABY CANT WAIT FOR FEED)

11AM

BABY FEED THEN KEEP BABY AWAKE UNTIL 12.30PM

 

12PM (MIDDAY)

BABY SLEEP 12.30PM-3PM

1PM

 

2PM

 

3PM

BABY FEED

KEEP BABY AWAKE UNTIL 5PM

4PM

 

5PM

BABY SLEEP: 5PM-5.30PM (GIVE TINY ‘SNACK’ IF BABY CANT WAIT FOR FEED)

6PM

BABY FEED HALF BOTTLE / ONE BREAST

6.30PM BATH

7PM

BABY FEED HALF BOTTLE / ONE BREAST

BABY  SLEEP 7.30PM

8PM

ME SLEEP

9PM

ME SLEEP

10PM

ME SLEEP

11PM

BABY FEED (HUSBAND  FEED BABY) / ME SLEEP

12AM (MIDNIGHT)

ME SLEEP

1AM

ME SLEEP

2AM

ME SLEEP

3AM

ME SLEEP

4AM

ME SLEEP

5AM

ME SLEEP

6AM

ME SLEEP

 

 

ROUTINE 5 (11pm - 10pm)

START TIME

PERSON

7AM

BABY FEED

KEEP BABY AWAKE

8AM

ACTIVITY TIME. QUIET TIME 9.15AM ONWARDS

9.30AM

BABY SLEEP 9.30AM-10.15AM

10AM

WAKE BABY AT 10.15AM (GIVE ‘SNACK’ IF BABY CANT WAIT FOR FEED)

11AM

BABY FEED THEN KEEP BABY AWAKE UNTIL 12.30PM

 

12PM (MIDDAY)

BABY SLEEP 12.30PM-3PM

1PM

 

2PM

 

3PM

BABY FEED

KEEP BABY AWAKE UNTIL 5PM

4PM

 

5PM

BABY SLEEP: 5PM-5.30PM (GIVE TINY ‘SNACK’ IF BABY CANT WAIT FOR FEED)

6PM

BABY FEED HALF BOTTLE / ONE BREAST

6.30PM BATH

7PM

BABY FEED HALF BOTTLE / ONE BREAST

BABY  SLEEP 7.30PM

8PM

ME SLEEP

9PM

ME SLEEP

10PM

BABY FEED (HUSBAND  FEED BABY) / ME SLEEP

11PM

ME SLEEP

12AM (MIDNIGHT)

ME SLEEP

1AM

ME SLEEP

2AM

ME SLEEP

3AM

ME SLEEP

4AM

ME SLEEP

5AM

ME SLEEP

6AM

ME SLEEP

 

 

ROUTINE 6 (Remove split feed)

START TIME

PERSON

7AM

BABY FEED

KEEP BABY AWAKE

8AM

ACTIVITY TIME. QUIET TIME 9.15AM ONWARDS

9.30AM

BABY SLEEP 9.30AM-10.15AM

10AM

WAKE BABY AT 10.15AM (GIVE ‘SNACK’ IF BABY CANT WAIT FOR FEED)

11AM

BABY FEED THEN KEEP BABY AWAKE UNTIL 12.30PM

 

12PM (MIDDAY)

BABY SLEEP 12.30PM-3PM

1PM

 

2PM

 

3PM

BABY FEED

KEEP BABY AWAKE UNTIL 5PM

4PM

 

5PM

BABY SLEEP: 5PM-5.30PM (GIVE TINY ‘SNACK’ IF BABY CANT WAIT FOR FEED)

6PM

BATHTIME

7PM

BABY FEED

10 MINUTES QUIET ACTIVITY TIME

BABY  SLEEP 7.30PM

8PM

ME SLEEP

9PM

ME SLEEP

10PM

BABY FEED (HUSBAND  FEED BABY) / ME SLEEP

11PM

ME SLEEP

12AM (MIDNIGHT)

ME SLEEP

1AM

ME SLEEP

2AM

ME SLEEP

3AM

ME SLEEP

4AM

ME SLEEP

5AM

ME SLEEP

6AM

ME SLEEP

 

ROUTINE 7 (drop 10pm)

START TIME

PERSON

7AM

BABY FEED

KEEP BABY AWAKE

8AM

ACTIVITY TIME. QUIET TIME 9.15AM ONWARDS

9.30AM

BABY SLEEP 9.30AM-10.15AM

10AM

WAKE BABY AT 10.15AM (GIVE ‘SNACK’ IF BABY CANT WAIT FOR FEED)

11AM

BABY FEED THEN KEEP BABY AWAKE UNTIL 12.30PM

 

12PM (MIDDAY)

BABY SLEEP 12.30PM-3PM

1PM

 

2PM

 

3PM

BABY FEED

KEEP BABY AWAKE UNTIL 5PM

4PM

 

5PM

BABY SLEEP: 5PM-5.30PM (GIVE TINY ‘SNACK’ IF BABY CANT WAIT FOR FEED)

6PM

BATHTIME

7PM

BABY FEED

10 MINUTES QUIET ACTIVITY TIME

BABY  SLEEP 7.30PM

8PM

ME SLEEP

9PM

ME SLEEP

10PM

ME SLEEP

11PM

ME SLEEP

12AM (MIDNIGHT)

ME SLEEP

1AM

ME SLEEP

2AM

ME SLEEP

3AM

ME SLEEP

4AM

ME SLEEP

5AM

ME SLEEP

6AM

ME SLEEP

 

Take a look around our store. For the heath and safety conscious, our range includes water testers, baby thermometers, air pollution monitors and fire prevention essentials.

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Nyree is a Director of Peek Concepts.

Peek Concepts brings hard to find monitoring, measuring and safety products direct to your home at affordable prices. Shop from the comfort of your home whilst experiencing the level of customer service available from traditional retail outlets.


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