I don’t know about you, but from very early on I felt like I was hearing about parents doing bedtime routines with their babies when they were like 6 weeks old, but that never seemed to work for us. As a newborn, Eliana’s schedule was just so inconsistent; it felt like I was trying something new every other day. There was nothing routine about it. But now that she’s a little bit older (she turned 4 months on March 28), I finally feel like we have gotten into a routine that works for us.
This routine is thanks in part to Cara from Taking Cara Babies. I have been following her since Eliana was born. We did her newborn class and it was a lifesaver, and now we are using her “Navigating Months 3 and 4” e-book. We started this routine when Eliana was about 14 weeks old for reference. She has been sleeping like a champ ever since.
We follow the eat, awake, sleep routine throughout the day. She is usually awake for about 90 minutes from the time one nap ends til the next begins, which is developmentally normal for a 3-month-old.
*Quick note about naps: it is developmentally normal for babies to have a difficult time with naps. Naps don’t begin to regulate until starting around 5 months. See this awesome blog about naps for reference.
NOW COMES THE FINAL AND VERY IMPORTANT STRETCH OF THE NIGHT. We extend wake time before bedtime to nearly TWO hours. Babies around three months should have at least 95 minutes of awake time before being put down for bed.
Sometimes she will start crying about five minutes after I’ve put her down and I’ll have to go back in her nursery, pick her up and bounce her a little more and then set her back down with her paci and she’ll fall asleep. She has been waking up right around 6 a.m.
Note about dream feed: we tried doing the dream feed, but she either wouldn’t wake up for it or I found that it didn’t make a difference in how long she slept, so I quit trying. Some people swear by it, though!
I hope this helps! Every baby is different, and what works for us might not work for you. I just hope that seeing this routine inspires you to search for what does work for you. Let me know how it goes!