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The 4 Hour Schedule At 4 Months That Helped Us All

By:Andrea Howe

Right around the time my son turned four months old, we started to notice a bit of a change in him, in particular to his sleeping and eating patterns. Itried to be very loose and laid back about his schedule from the get-go, and didn’t force a strict timeline to our day, but a rather consistent routinedeveloped anyhow. He would get really sleepy and ready for a nap every 1-1.5 hours, and then nap for roughly 1.5-2 hours, so he naturally was eating aboutevery 3 hours. His schedule for the most part was very “textbook”. At about 4 months old though, as I said, he started to change. Here’s how a slightadjustment to his routine made for a smoother day (and night).

When Hayden turned four months old we noticed that after 3 hours he just wasn’t that hungry and was starting to eat less and less, but seemed hungrier moreoften throughout the day, and he was also waking up more at night, starving and taking full feedings. We also noticed that he wasn’t really sleepy andready for a nap anymore after being awake for an hour or so. He was starting to fight his naps a bit more. He was definitely changing.

One of the parenting books that I followed quite closely when I was a new mom dedicated an entire chapter to baby’s development and growth during thefourth month of life, and talked in detail about how important it was to change their routine a bit to account for this growth. I briefly remembered thisso revisited the topic and sure enough, it stated that at four months, babies are growing so much that they can handle being up for longer, and need a bitmore stimulation and awake time to get them properly tuckered out for a nap. In terms of feedings, they are also starting to be ready to eat more perfeeding, and less often. The idea is to stretch out their feedings so that they are hungry enough to take a full feeding and not just snack. It seemedclear at this point that Hayden was snacking throughout the day, and by night time was ravenous because he wasn’t getting enough calories during the day.

So we gradually over the course of about 3 days started to stretch out his feedings to every 3.5-4 hours. We also then kept him up a bit longer, more like2 hours, before we put him down for a nap. By the end of the transition he had dropped a feeding completely, but he was eating much more at those feedingsthan he was before. He also dropped a nap.

His schedule now looks roughly like this everyday:

Wake 7 am and eat.

Nap from 9-10:30/11 am

Eat at 11 am

Nap from 1-3:30/4 pm

Eat at 4 pm

Catnap from 5:30-6

Eat and bedtime by 7:30

Eat again at 10:30-11pm

Sleep till about 4:30 and eat again

Up for the day at 7:30 to start again!

Moving from a 3 hour routine to a 4 hour routine definitely helped all of us. Hayden is happy hanging out with us a bit more during the day and is lesshungry between feedings and at night. We’re happy to be waking up less, although the routine is by no means perfect. Just last night he was up about 4times just wanting to hang out with us! But for the most part we are all doing great now that we are on a 4 hour schedule.


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