Links to Amazon on this blog are affiliate links*
Answers to some very common, frequently asked babywise questions can be found here. I will add to this list of questions frequently, so be sure to check back. There is a lot of information packed into a small space on this page. Make sure you click on the links provided for more reference.
This is the quick and dirty version of these questions and answers. I plan to expand on each and every topic. As I expand on these topics in more detail, I will also continue to place additional links within the text as a resource.
20 Frequently asked Babywise questions and answers
Have another question to ask?
Ask your questions in the comments section of this page.
My baby wakes before our DWT (desired wake time), how can I fix this?
Well, first of all, you may not need to do anything. If your baby is waking 30/45 minutes ahead of the DWT, and she is content, just leave her in her crib until DWT and start your day as usual. This is still restful time for her.
If baby is waking around the 5 am time frame, this means something in your schedule may need to be corrected, or she may just be waking out of habit.If your baby is waking out of habit (within 5 minutes of the same time every day), and if your baby is 4 months or older, you can try the CIO (cry it out) technique.
We did CIO for the 5 am waking once, and it stopped her from ever waking at that time again! She sleeps right through now.
There might also be an issue with the schedule. Most common reasons for waking early are:
– Too many naps
– Naps are too lengthy
– Wake times are not long enough
Take a look at our schedules page for your baby’s age to see if you are around the ideal wake times, and length/number of naps.
What is the 45 minute intruder?
Adults and babies alike transition through sleep cycles. For adults, this occurs about every 90-110 minutes, and for babies it occurs about every 45-50 minutes.
We transition from light sleep to a deep sleep, and then back to light sleep again. When a baby enters the light sleep phase again around the 45 minute mark, she will notice anything that is bothering her.
If she is uncomfortable, hungry, going through a growth spurt, teething, etc., – it might just wake her up! This is what we moms know as the 45 minute intruder.
How do I correct the 45 minute intruder?
Correcting the 45 minute intruder is challenging. It is like solving a mystery. There might be something bothering your baby, and you will have to figure out what it is.
It could also be that your baby is undertired or overtired (although overtired babies usually wake around the 30 minute mark). Baby may be going through a growth spurt and is hungrier than usual.
In your quest to solve the mystery, there are a few pages you can check out:
Your baby may also simply need to be taught how to transition sleep cycles. We did nap training with our baby, and it worked great.
How do I transition to fewer naps?
Dropping a nap can be a tough job. You’ll first need to rearrange your schedule and have a plan for what your day will look like. To get through the typical nap time, you’ll need to distract your baby!Go out, give her a snack, or play games.
Do whatever you have to do to keep her engaged in something. Some naps will be very easy to drop, and others will be incredibly difficult. When we dropped the last catnap and went down to 2 naps, it was extremely difficult.
So difficult, that I decided to write down everything we did to make it happen. These concepts and ideas can apply to dropping any nap, however.
How do I devise a schedule for my baby?
Start by looking at our schedules page and getting a starting point for your baby’s age. Then, watch your baby as you try the schedule for a few days. Watch for sleepy cues and hunger cues to see if you need to tweak the schedule.Not all 5 month old babies can handle the exact same wake times. The schedules page has estimates that you can follow and use as a baseline.Sleepy cues vary from baby to baby, but here are some to watch for:
– Rubbing eyes
– Burrowing head into you
– Pulling at ears
– Fussy and/or crying before nap time
Hunger cues also vary from baby to baby, but if you notice that you seem to have a habitually short napper, she could be waking early out of hunger, and you may need to shorten the cycle length.
Great Babywise Books Worth Purchasing:
How do I know when it is time to change the schedule?
Typically, if you have had a good, consistent schedule going, you will be very aware of the fact that your baby is trying to tell you to change it up when it happens.The most common schedule changes that need to be made involve increasing the wake times (which will also extend the overall cycle length), and/or dropping a nap.You’ll know it’s time to do this if you start to see some of these cues:
– Baby is resisting usual nap times
– Baby is not eating as much during scheduled feedings
– Baby is waking early from naps
Resources for you to make this transition:
Should I swaddle my baby? If so, when do I stop swaddling?
I think swaddling helped tremendously in the early stages! Babies have what’s called the moro reflex (more commonly referred to as the startle reflex). If something startles your baby (a loud noise, her own cry, a sudden movement she makes, etc.), she is literally startled, and her arms and legs jerk backwards, giving her the sensation she is falling.
Babies used to sleep on their bellies, which eliminated this feeling, and was comforting to them. Now that we are told to place babies to sleep on their backs, the swaddle helps her get through while she outgrows this reflex.
Babies typically outgrow the moro reflex around 4 to 6 months of age. Unfortunately, many babies learn to roll around this time frame as well. As soon as your baby is rolling, she needs to be unswaddled for safety reasons.
Our daughter hated the typical swaddles DIY and broke out of them. The swaddleme worked for awhile and kept her from breaking out, but she still grunted and made it clear she was not a fan.
We noticed that she comfortably slept with her arms above her head, so it was no surprise that she loved this swaddle that keeps her arms up!
How do I get out of the house and keep my baby on a schedule?
When your baby wakes, feed her as usual. Then immediately leave the house for a short outing. Plan on heading home around nap time.Your baby may fall asleep on the car ride home, in which case you can practice transferring her into the crib (yes it does require practice), or she may wait to sleep until you get home.
Either way, plan short, simple outings throughout the week and plan around your baby’s schedule.The schedule will naturally lengthen as she gets older, and you will have more time. Babies enjoy these small outings as it keeps them stimulated, and you will appreciate getting out of the house as well.
If you are lucky, you might have a baby that sleeps while you are out, so you could potentially stay out into and/or through the nap time. I would not advise this on a regular basis, however, because the sleep baby gets while on the go will not be near as restful.
What is a dream feed, and when do I do it?
A dream feed is a calm, quiet feeding that occurs after you have put the baby to sleep for the night (around 10-11:30pm). It is called a dream feed, because you rouse baby just enough to eat. Most likely baby’s eyes will still be closed and you keep the lights off and try not to stimulate them at all.
I personally never liked the dream feed and have not heard many success stories with it. I could never keep our baby sleepy enough, and it always ended up backfiring on us. I think it is VERY dependent on your child as to if this will work.
I have also heard so many stories of the dream feed disrupting sleep and causing early morning wakings. I, personally, would not recommend dream feeding. I do recommend cluster feeding, however!
What is cluster feeding, and when do I do it?
Cluster feeding is feeding baby several times, close together, right before bed. We did this when our daughter was 2 months old, and it worked great. Babies are extra fussy in the evenings, so nursing or giving a bottle will help soothe her. Doing this also gets extra food into her so she can sleep longer at night and not wake out of hunger.
Check out our 2 month old schedule to see how we structured our cluster feedings in the evenings.
Find our Printable Babywise Schedules in My Etsy Shop:
What cues do I look for to see if I need to increase or decrease baby’s wake time?
Needing a decrease in wake time is easy to spot. Naps will be about 30 minutes, because baby is overtired. Your baby will be extra fussy before naps because she is tired and not getting to sleep when she needs to.
Needing to increase wake time can be a bit more tricky. It can also result in short naps, but typically naps are around 45 minutes in length instead of 30.
My baby won’t nap while I’m out. What do I do to handle this?
Personally, I wouldn’t go out when your baby needs to nap, unless you absolutely can’t avoid it. The most restful sleep happens in a quiet setting (at home in the crib). It is hard to nap on the go (whether in the stroller or in the car).
I would certainly have a hard time napping, and if I did nap, I know it would not be uninterrupted and restful. I plan my outings for when my baby is awake, and we head home when it is nap time.
Eventually, your baby’s wake times increase, and baby will nap fewer times a day, meaning you will have more freedom as baby gets older.
When and how do I go about dropping a feeding?
You will notice that your baby is eating less and less each feeding. Your baby may be uninterested all together. Either way, your baby will definitely tell you; just pay attention to how much she is eating and how interested she seems.
You can check out our monthly schedules for a baseline and an idea as to how many feedings your baby might need at her specific age.
How do I deal with early nap wakings?
As a general rule of thumb if baby wakes after the 30 minute mark, she is overtired. She may need shorter wake times, or less stimulation during the wake times.
If she is waking after the 30 minute mark and is upset, something is most likely bothering her (hungry, uncomfortable, cold, etc). If she is waking after the 30 minute mark but wakes happy, she may be undertired- meaning she needs longer wake times throughout the day.
Sometimes a schedule change needs to be made. See questions 3, 4, 5, 6, and 11 above for more help on this.
Other times, you are not quite ready for a schedule change, and baby isn’t ready for extended wake times. So you have 3 options:
- If your baby wakes early, you can simply feed and start a new eat, wake, sleep cycle on the adjusted schedule. Your bedtime in this scenario is often earlier than normal.
- You can do an EWSW (eat, wake, sleep, wake) cycle. Your baby wakes early, and instead of feeding immediately, you give her restful awake time, and then feed at the normal, scheduled time. Make sure your baby is not waking out of hunger if you choose this option.
- When baby is old enough (4 months +), you can simply leave her in her crib until nap time is over. I often have a rule that I leave our daughter in her crib for a full hour from the start of a nap.You may also want to check out our nap training page for some helpful tips on helping your baby to sleep when she is supposed to and for the right amount of time.
My baby rolls over, sits up, stands, etc. at night and cries until I come roll her back or lay her down. How do I correct this?
Unless you want to have to keep rolling your baby over in the MOTN, or laying her down when she stands up, do not help your baby. You can show her the first few times so that she knows what she needs to do, but don’t make a habit out of it, as she will quickly rely on you.
Odds are, when you roll her back or lay her down, she will quickly pop right back up anyways. She will figure it out, and she will want to figure it out.
How do I go about giving solid foods?
We decided to give solid foods at 4 months.
A quick overview: We started oatmeal at 4 months, did purees at 5 months, started bite sized pieces at 6 months, and by 7 months she was eating what we eat for the most part.
How do I handle MOTN (middle of the night) wakings to set myself up for success?
There were several steps we took from day 1 to make sure we were successful with our baby sleeping through the night.
This page will outline the details for you. In a nut shell- don’t just assume your baby is hungry and feed her. This can cause her to be reliant on nursing or getting a bottle in order to fall asleep. Once baby is old enough (4 months +), you can also start sleep training, which will help tremendously.
When is it ok to start sleep training and where do I start?
Research shows that it is ok to begin sleep training when your baby knows how to self soothe (suck on hand, suck on finger, etc). This usually happens around 4 months.
We logged everything we did with our baby at 4 months and even wrote down how it went, day by day.
At what age do you transition from the bassinet, to the crib?
I would recommend at 5-6 weeks. At this age, your baby is getting up less and less in the MOTN, and the sooner the transition happens the better.
We did not feel comfortable moving our baby out of our room until this age. I am so glad we made the transition when we did, however, because she got much better sleep as a result. We were able to start better routines, and she quickly learned that being in her crib meant it was time to sleep.
I keep hearing that I should put my baby to bed before 8pm. Why is this? Won’t she just wake earlier in the morning if I do this?
Babies and adults get a cortisol surge in the evenings. It’s that moment when you are so tired that you can’t keep your eyes open, but then when you finally go to bed, you can’t seem to sleep.
This is the cortisol surge. For babies, it happens around the 8pm time frame. If we can put them to bed before the surge, they will fall asleep easier and avoid the fussy period that can happen in the evenings.
We didn’t start having an early bedtime until 3 months of age, because babies still need around 6/7 feedings up until this age. Fitting those in, requires keeping baby up after 8pm. Once they are down to 5 feedings, however, the schedule gets easier to work around the 8pm time.
I was petrified that putting her to sleep earlier would cause her to wake earlier in the mornings. I kept reading that she would still sleep as long, if not longer, but I just didn’t believe it.
Well, it’s true. She slept until the same time in the morning, sometimes longer! It was easier to get her down for the night, and she got better, more restful sleep as a result.
Check out our 3 month schedule to see when we first changed our schedule to reflect the new bedtime.