Birth to 6 Months Baby Schedule 21


While most parents experience pure bliss in the days that follow the birth of their newest addition, many quickly start to feel overwhelmed about how they will care for their newborn baby once they leave the hospital.

Sure, the hospital staff was nice enough to give you a couple of pointers, but deep down you are thinking… Is that all the guidance I get? Doesn’t this baby come with a manual? You may have read a couple of books to prepare for your little one’s arrival, gone to a few classes, and consulted google on everything under the sun – But nothing can prepare you for the moment you walk through your front door with your newborn baby for the very first time. Suddenly you have forgotten everything you read and everything you were taught.

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A baby’s needs are not that complicated, but since they can’t tell you what they need and when, you often find yourself wishing you had exclusive access to their little baby minds. I have found that the easiest way to feel more confident as a parent, is to develop a plan. Coincidentally, babies also like to know that there is a plan. They like to know that certain things are scheduled to happen at a certain time each day. Babies are not happy when they are hungry and sleep deprived. Being able to meet your bouncing baby’s basic needs, puts them in the right frame of mind and body, to comfortably explore their new world. For these reasons, establishing a daily routine or schedule can make yours and your baby’s life so much easier! It is almost like you are creating your very own baby manual…

Personalized baby manuals are important, because every baby is different. What worked for me, may not work for you. However, my goal is to provide you with a baseline. Below, are the schedules I used for my little one (mostly formula fed) from birth to 6 months old. Do not stress if your baby does not automatically conform to your strict schedule, mine sure didn’t. As long as your baby is getting enough formula/breastmilk and sleep, then you are doing a fabulous job! My hope is that these schedules make you and your baby feel a little more comfortable knowing that there is a plan in place.

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Baby Schedules

While it is tough (near impossible) to establish a schedule at only 2 weeks old, this will give you an idea of how often your bundle of baby should be eating and sleeping. **Tip: Do not change diapers after the last feeding**

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At 3 weeks, you want to start incorporating an Awake Time. This doesn’t usually last very long (about a half hour), as you can see… **Tip: If you are using bottles then have them ready right when baby wakes up! If you are using formula then you can make bottles ahead of time.**

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At or around 6 weeks (anywhere from 5-8weeks), Awake Time is now lasting a little bit longer and Nighttime Feedings should decrease. It was also at this time, that I decided to move my bundle of fun to her crib. But please do whatever feels right to you. **Schedules also make it easier to make the transition to a sitter or caregiver when the time comes.**

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At 9 weeks, Nighttime Feedings should be minimal or maybe even completely gone! Yay! My little love officially started sleeping through the night at 3 months old.**Exclusively breastfed babies may continue nighttime feedings for quite a bit longer, considering breastmilk moves through them more quickly**

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Anywhere from 3-6 Months, you will want to move to the “Four Hour Schedule”. This means that baby will be eating about every 4 hours now. It may not seem like it, but this is a tough transition for you and baby, so don’t push this if your baby is not ready. During this time you also want to start adding Tummy Time to the schedule. **I did not officially start solids until after 6 months, so that schedule is not included here.**  

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Together, let’s make some happy babies! I hope you found this helpful.

 


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21 thoughts on “Birth to 6 Months Baby Schedule

  • Julia Paolucci

    These are so so helpful thank you! I read the same books you did and really appreciate you synthesizing the schedules for me. Has made a huge difference with our little one! Do you have these schedules for post 6 months as well??

  • Anita

    How do you start with this schedule? You wake up baby to eat at these times? And put them to sleep in all specific timeslots? Tw weeks has only one feeding at night is that enough for a 2 week old. And how do u deal with 2 week baby waki g up more to eat..?

    • thehashtagmom Post author

      Great question! 2 week olds are highly unlikely to conform to any sort of schedule, let alone one that is this specific. The 2 week old schedule here is meant to guide first time moms with how often their little should be eating…at a minimum! So your little one may end up eating way more than this which is perfectly ok and normal (This was just my little one’s personal 2 week schedule. It does not apply to all babies). As long as your baby is eating and sleeping enough, then you’re doing a great job! You will want to get your baby started on a schedule by setting the mood. This is the most important. Make sure nap times are dark and quiet and awake times are bright and active. For night feedings, the most important thing is to keep everything dark, don’t talk to baby or make eye contact with baby. Just feeding and changing only at night. Likewise, day time feedings should be interactive and bright. Babies are incredibly smart and will catch on quickly to the differences between day and night. But it will take a little time for them to adjust so be patient and it will pay off.

  • Kara

    So I’m a FTM and my LO is great during the day but for some reason requires more feedings at night. He has gas issues and that could be the problem bi just always cave and feed him because I’ve tried everything else. Did you start cry it out at this young (he is 2 weeks)? I feel so discouraged. Outside of before bed he is on a 3 hour routine. Help!

    • thehashtagmom Post author

      Poor guy! Gas issues are the worst. It could be the way he is sleeping. Since he has gas issues he may still need to be slightly elevated or propped up while sleeping at night. Rock n plays or swings are great for babies that need to sleep at an angle, and at 2 weeks it is perfectly ok for them to sleep this way. But I would consult your pediatrician on the best sleeping practices if you think your little guy is still uncomfortable at night or not sleeping enough due to gas issues. If it just turns out he is hungry then absolutely feed him! Just make sure those night time feedings are dark, no talking or eye contact. Strictly business. Eventually he’ll catch on. The cry it out method never worked for us so I am not really a fan. My baby always cried with a purpose, so not only did she never “give up” crying (like the method suggests) but I knew I could easily make her stop by just giving her what she wanted (once I figured out what that was…)

    • Hailey

      I think 2 weeks is way too young to cry it out 😔 Your baby was in a very small space for 9 months and needs his mommy. The beginning is tough! Don’t be discouraged it’ll get better.

  • Anna

    I just want to point out that this feeding schedule will work only with a bottle-fed baby! If any breastfeeding mamas read this, they should be aware that trying to put a newborn on a feeding schedule such as this one will most likely be very harmful for their baby’s health and detrimental to their milk supply. Newborn babies should be fed on demand, not on a schedule, whether feeding by breast or bottle.

    • thehashtagmom Post author

      The schedules are meant to show first time moms, at a minimum, how often their little ones may be eating. As I have stated, newborns are highly unlikely to conform to any sort of schedule. The schedules will not apply to all babies, and every mom should do what they feel is best for them and their situation. Breastfed babies will most certainly eat more often than formula fed babies, which I also mentioned. I agree you should never keep a baby from eating if they are hungry. Again, the schedules provided are just an outline of what worked for me and as I have said, they are not designed to apply to every baby out there. My goal is to help provide a baseline for first time moms. That way they can create their own baby schedules with what works for them, so they may feel more comfortable and confident as a new parent.

    • Megan

      I actually very much disagree. I just had my third baby and all of my babies have been on this schedule to a T. And I do mean to a T. My youngest is 2.5 months and sleeps 12 hours at night. I exclusively breastfeed her (as I have all my babies). My oldest two breastfed well over a year- my oldest actually over 2 years, so it is not true that your supply will decrease or that it cannot be done.

  • Amy

    This may seem like a very dumb question but I’m a brand new mom still pregnant and I was wondering what tummy time is?

  • Ria

    Hi, since you don’t change diaper after last feed, did you ever encounter problems with maybe diaper rash or anything? I’m a first time mom and want to start the schedule,but was. Worried about the diaper part!

    • thehashtagmom Post author

      In my case, our last feedings always resulted in feeding to sleep. So it was rare that she went to the bathroom on the last feeding. If she pooped then I would definitely change her, then go back to rocking her and “topping her off” with formula or breast milk. If not, then I would not wake her just to change a wet diaper. You will change baby in the middle of the night however, so they are not spending a crazy amount of time in a dirty or wet diaper. Just make sure that the night time feeding and diaper change are done in the dark, with no talking or eye contact so baby knows that it is not play time.
      To prevent diaper rashes, I always coated her bottom with vaseline almost every time I changed her. So I never really had a diaper rash issue with her.

      • Kay

        Hi, I am a first time Mom and I am concerned my 2 week old isn’t sleeping enough. He was very active in the womb and my OB even said she hoped I didn’t have a baby who was up 24 hours a day. Of course I thought this was a joke.
        If I try to follow your schedule I have a few questions. Did you always take them to a dark room to try and get them to sleep? Even through the day?
        For nighttime feeds you were in complete quiet – as in don’t turn on the tv to stimulate yourself to try and stay awake?
        Thank you!!

        • thehashtagmom Post author

          Hi, yes you definitely want to try and make the nap time environment as close to the bedtime sleep conditions as possible. Very quiet, dark room, sound machine…whatever you have found that works for you. This does make it difficult to go anywhere or do anything during the day, but in my opinion, it’s worth it in the long run. And for nighttime feeds the trick is to not let baby know you are really even there. Stealth mode. So yes, no stimulation anywhere in site for those feeds (it sounds bad but I would try not to even make eye contact with my little one at that time).

      • Carly

        I’m a first time mom, my daughter is almost a week old and she LOVES her sleep! I know things can change at any moment, but so far she seems super content and isnt a big fusser (maybe just a lazy girl 🙂 ) . Having this schedule as an outline and guideline knowing when to get her moving and awake to feed is awesome!! Like you said, of course whenever I see that little mouth start to smack or she starts going for her hand, I of course feed her. It’s just reply comfortING to have something to guide a first time mom my who has no idea what to expect!! Thank you!!!

  • Robin

    I have a 6 week old that I would love to begin this schedule with. Thing is, I am fortunate to have a grandma around that wants to rock him while he’s sleeping and I can’t help but want that too sometimes. Any thoughts on how to keep a schedule while still getting in cuddle time?

    • thehashtagmom Post author

      There is absolutely no reason to compromise cuddle time to maintain a schedule. If your baby can fall asleep being held or rocked or touched, then that is wonderful for you and makes cuddle/sleep time so much easier. However, some babies tend to get overstimulated very easily and won’t sleep if they are constantly being held or bounced or touched. Sometimes, it is difficult but necessary, to leave them to sleep on their own (or to make it more like bedtime) in order to ensure baby gets adequate sleep. So if you notice your little one is having trouble or fighting going to sleep during cuddle time, then I would remove the stimuli (you or grandma) and try to let him fall asleep on his own.

  • Heather

    Hi! I find these sample schedules very helpful – even if they need to be altered slightly for your baby, it’s a starting point! Two questions: would you wake up your baby from a nap to feed on or around the scheduled time? I imagine one really long nap would alter the rest of the day’s schedule! Also, I understand keeping night feedings very dark and quiet – but how do you keep baby awake to finish the feeding? With our first we had to do everything possible to keep her awake so that she would feed! If she didn’t eat enough, then she would wake up sooner. I’m about to have my second and want to do a better job with scheduling!

    • thehashtagmom Post author

      I would usually do things to wake her up naturally like 15 minutes after she was due to get up. I would open the curtains, turn off the sound machine, maybe touch her face a little, but I would let her wake up herself (I wouldn’t pick her up or anything). If none of those things worked then I would just let her sleep and alter the schedule for the rest of the day.
      As far as keeping her awake for night feedings, I would just touch her cheeks to get that sucking motion going again. However, if she was adamant about sleeping instead of eating then I wouldn’t force it. And if she woke up sooner than usual the next day, then I would alter the schedule for that day. Which was usually easy, because she would generally just extend her first nap on her own since she woke up sooner than expected and was more exhausted.