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Best Advice for New Parents- 50 Question and Answer Baby Guide

If you search in Google for the term “Babywise”, you find posts with tons of information on just that- Babywise…What Babywise is, How to implement Babywise, etc.

In fact, my post on why we chose to use the Babywise method shows up in that search, along with several other great posts, like this one from the babywise mom blog.

What you’ll also find, however, are questions and lots of them. New moms and dads that are searching for help with their newborns have questions.

Google notices that the people searching for “Babywise”, have also searched for other similar questions.

It is titled the “People Also Ask” section, and shows up in the search results as Google’s effort to help beef up the search, and answer even more questions that might be on your mind- or maybe even give you questions that you never knew you had!

What I love, is that these are common questions that all new parents might have, and the people that have these questions are also finding Babywise!

The use of the Babywise method will actually solve a lot of the common problems that parents run into in the early stages with their baby.

Babywise can help to navigate the waters, solve problems, and make things a whole lot easier.

So, I thought to myself, “Why not have a page dedicated to answering these other questions?” The questions that might be driving people to find Babywise, are valuable to answer. And those questions are questions that many parents are searching for.

And so, this post was born. Knowing that people with these questions also eventually searched for Babywise- makes me SO happy!

As new parents, there just isn’t time to be spending searching for answers. Below you’ll find quick answers to all of the baby questions you have.

In addition to the quick answer guide, I’ll link to more in depth resources and posts that I have as well.

Quick Baby Guide and Best Advice for New Parents

dad holding baby

From the “People Also Ask” section of Google, in a “Babywise” search…

1. What is the Babywise Method?

Babywise is a method to prioritize sleep for your baby. It is a form of sleep training (as in you are training your baby to sleep well), however, it is NOT cry it out.

This method helps to set your baby up for sleep success by focusing on eat wake sleep cycles throughout the day, sleep routines, along with ideal wake times and ideal nap times.

Putting your baby on a Babywise sleep schedule, will help them to sleep better at night.

Read more about the Babywise method here.

2. When should you start Babywise?

You can start Babywise at ANY time with your baby. It is ideal, however, to start Babywise from birth.

If you do, your baby will be on a great schedule, used to their routines, and sleeping through the night by around 3-4 months of age.

Everything really falls into place around that age when you’ve helped your baby to prioritize their sleep using the Babywise method.

Read more about what concepts to focus on when you first start Babywise.

3. What does Babywise teach?

At its core, Babywise teaches good sleep habits for your baby. On Becoming Babywise focuses on setting up eat, wake, sleep cycles, eating and sleeping schedules, along with nap and bedtime routines.

The “-Wise” series teaches far beyond this, however, and there are books into the preteen age as well. The focus is everything from discipline, to potty training, parental relationships, and more.

Read here about how the Babywse method helps babies sleep better.

4. When was Babywise written?

The latest edition that was published in 2019, is the 6th edition of the “On Becoming Babywise” book.

It is written by Gary Ezzo, and Dr Robert Bucknam, M.D., and was first published in 1993.

Get your copy of the Babywise book at amazon.

5. What is the eat wake/sleep cycle?

The eat, wake, sleep cycle is a routine that you follow with your baby throughout the day. Their day is a repetition of eating, then having awake time, then sleeping.

The idea is that you aren’t creating a sleep crutch by feeding your baby to sleep. Rather, they learn to take full feedings when they wake up, and they learn to put themselves to sleep without needing to nurse or have a bottle to soothe.

Your baby ends up eating only when they are truly hungry, and not simply for comfort.

Read about the eat, wake, sleep cycle here.

6. When can I let my baby cry it out?

At around 4 months of age, your baby will learn to self soothe.

At this point, as long as your baby has been gaining weight well (check with your doctor), babies do not need to eat in the middle of the night.

You can try a cry it out method to drop feedings, and get your baby sleeping through the night. Prior to this time, it is ok to let your baby fuss.

There are several things you can do ahead of time to set your newborn up for success with putting themselves to sleep and sleeping through the night.

Read how to handle middle of the night wakings here.

Read how to handle short naps by age here.

Read how to tackle the 45 minute intruder here.

7. When should I start getting my baby into a routine?

You should start routines with your baby immediately! Routines are different than schedules.

Schedules indicate a specific time.

Routines indicate a basic consistency or flow throughout the day or before an event.

Starting at birth, you can do eat, wake sleep routines throughout the day, as well as nap and night routines to indicate to your baby that it’s time to sleep.

Nap and night routines can easily be started after a couple of weeks.

Read about the eat wake sleep routines and why they are so crucial here.

Read about setting up bedtime and nap routines here.

Read about the difference between schedules and routines here.

8. How do you introduce a sleep routine?

Sleep routines should be introduced to your newborn immediately, and change as your baby grows.

At the newborn phase, the sleep routine we introduce is simply “change diaper, feed, swaddle, close curtains, turn lights out, and turn sound machine on.”

Once your baby is a couple of months old, you can also start to also incorporate a book.

The new routine becomes “change diaper, feed, read book(s), swaddle, close curtains, turn lights out, and turn sound machine on.”

Keep it simple and consistent, and introduce it early!

Read about setting up bedtime and nap routines here.

9. What time should I put my baby to bed?

The later you put your baby to bed, the earlier they wake. It’s true.

Babies have a cortisol surge just like adults do. It makes it very hard for them to get to sleep once this happens.

Starting around 8 weeks old, try to get your baby to bed around 8 pm.

By the time they are 10 weeks old, aim to have bedtime at 7 pm.

This bedtime will pretty much last until your child is in early elementary school.

See all of our baby schedules at this page.

See our 8 week old schedule here.

10. What is a good bedtime routine for baby?

The best bedtime routine for a baby is one that you can be consistent with. Thus, this means you should create a SIMPLE and quick bedtime routine.

The best routine we’ve found is: change diaper and change into pjs, feed, read book (incorporate this around 2 months), swaddle, close curtains/turn out lights, turn on sound machine, hugs and kisses, then lay baby down and leave.

Baby’s do not need baths every day, and it can be separate from the bedtime routine.

Find our bedtime routines specific to age on our schedules page.

Read about setting up bedtime and nap routines here.

11. When can you start sleep training a newborn?

You can sleep train a baby starting day 1. Sleep training means to “train your baby how to put themselves to sleep.”

Training your baby how to sleep can easily be done using the Babywise method.

The method has you focus on eat, wake, sleep cycles throughout the day (which ensures your baby isn’t relying on food to sleep), and sets them up for success by getting them the right number of feedings and naps throughout the day.

Cry it out techniques should not be used until your baby can self-soothe (around the age of 4 months).

Read this post on how Babywise relates to sleep training.

Read this post for an in depth look at what the Babywise method is.

12. When should I start my baby on a sleep schedule?

Sleep schedules go hand in hand with feeding schedules. Babies should be started on a sleep and feeding schedule at birth.

Once you get the go ahead from your doctor (usually once your baby is back up to birth weight), you can let your baby sleep as long as they want during the night.

A 3 hour schedule during the day should work perfectly to fit in the correct number of feedings and naps during the day.

See my newborn schedules at this page.

13. What’s a dream feed?

The goal of a dream feed is to keep your baby in a sleep like state, but provide them a feeding, so they sleep longer stretches at night.

You rouse your baby just enough to eat, and then put them back down to continue sleeping. This dream feed happens around the 10 to 11 o’clock hours.

Read this post for specific Babywise frequently asked questions and answers.

14. How do you dream feed a baby without waking them?

– Do the dream feed sometime between 10 and 11 pm.
– Place baby on breast (or offer bottle).
– Rouse just enough to get them eating.
– Feed for 5 minutes on one breast, then offer the other.
– You may need to unswaddle to get your baby to eat.
– Place back down in crib.

Read this post for specific Babywise frequently asked questions and answers.

15. Do you wake a sleeping baby for a feed?

During the day you should always wake your baby if it is time for a feeding.

This ensures that your baby will get enough feedings throughout the day, and also not oversleep during the day.

This will also help your baby to sleep better at night, and not wake due to hunger. Only wake your baby during the night, if your doctor has instructed you to do so.

To get your baby on the ideal schedule, visit the sample schedules page, along with the ideal wake time page.

16. Should I let my baby sleep all day?

Your newborn will sleep a lot during the day, however, you should work on establishing day from night.

Distinguishing day and night is another one of the main goals when bringing a baby home from the hospital.

To do this, you want to wake your baby according to your feeding and nap schedule during the day.

There is only so much sleep that a baby needs in a 24 hour period. If they sleep too much during the day, they won’t sleep well at night.

Learn how to establish day from night here.

17. Should I feed baby after every nap?

Feeding your baby after they sleep instead of before is a very important thing to do. It helps you to establish an eat, wake, sleep routine throughout the day.

A baby will eat, then have awake time, and then sleep. This cycle repeats during the day, and helps to ensure your baby is not relying on eating to go to sleep.

This will set them up for sleep success with both naps and night.

Occasionally, you might have a schedule where in the evening, you wait to feed until before bed. For example, my 5 month old takes a catnap from 5-6 pm. He’s just eaten at 3 pm, so he doesn’t eat when he wakes up at 6 pm. He waits until his bedtime feeding at 7 pm.

Learn more about the eat, wake, sleep cycle here.

18. Should babies nap in the same place they sleep at night?

Yes. For consistency sake, and also for safety reasons, your baby should only nap in a bassinet or crib.

Napping in the same location that they sleep at night will also help them to learn that their bed is a place to sleep.

When putting them on a nap schedule, you might need to hold them and get them used to the schedule for a bit, but once you’ve nap trained, you should be putting them down in the crib.

For information on how to do nap training in 3 easy steps, read this post.

19. Should I let my baby cry it out during nap time?

About every 45 minutes, babies have a new sleep cycle. Babies can wake up simply because they haven’t learned how to transition to the next cycle. This can cause short naps.

If you go in too soon, you might be disturbing them. Depending on your baby’s age, you can let your baby cry it out for a few minutes.

Babies 0-3 months old should be allowed to fuss for about 5 minutes, but not all out cry. If your baby is crying and screaming at this age, try to help.

From 4 months on, even a baby that is all out screaming for 5 minutes, can put themselves back to sleep. The 5 minute rule is a great one. Pause and let 5 minute elapse before offering help.

The 5 minute rule has been an incredible addition to our parenting tools! I also highly recommend doing cry it out for bed and nap time at the same time for consistency sake.

For an in depth look on how to troubleshoot the 45 minute short naps, this post is helpful (and has a printable guide).

For how to handle short naps based on age, read this post.

Read about how to avoid short naps all together.

20. Do daytime naps affect night sleep for babies?

Daytime naps absolutely affect night sleep for babies! An overtired baby does not sleep well.

An undertired baby does not sleep well. In other words, you want your baby getting just the right amount of daytime sleep, so they sleep well at night.

To do this, it is important to have a sleep schedule set up. This way you know when your baby should nap throughout the day, and for how long.

To get your baby on the ideal schedule, visit the sample schedules page, along with the ideal wake time page for a printable chart.

I love this guide on sleep totals that your baby needs.

21. Should you wake baby from a long nap?

You should definitely wake your baby from a long nap. It is important that your baby get the correct number of feedings during the day.

Having a schedule will help you to achieve this.

You also want your baby taking the correct number of naps during the day, instead of one really long one and then getting overtired before bedtime.

An overtired baby does not sleep well.

To determine how long your baby’s naps should be, take a look at this sample schedule page. Find your baby’s age and see the recommended nap lengths, number of feedings, and schedule to aim for throughout the day.

22. How do you wake a sleeping baby?

To wake your baby, gently touch them on their back, chest or head to rouse them. Talk to your baby softly and wake them in a gentle way.

Turn the sound machine off, and open the curtains to give some light. Then hold your baby as they fully wake, and then change their diaper before feeding them.

Find a printable guide for information on how long your baby should be awake between naps on this page.

23. How do I keep my baby awake during feedings?

Keeping a newborn awake during feedings can be very challenging. Getting a full feeding in is important, however.

Rub your baby’s feet, tickle their toes, place a cold/wet cloth on their forehead, make sure you are feeding in a well lit area, or even take your baby’s clothing off to wake them fully.

Do a diaper change before feedings, and even halfway through if it helps.

Tips for encouraging full feedings can be found in this post.

24. How do you encourage full feedings?

Getting a full feeding in with a newborn is difficult. It is important to space out feedings and have the right schedule so your baby is eating when they are hungry, and not just for comfort.

Once you have the schedule correct, you can focus on keeping your baby awake and getting the full feed. It is much easier to encourage full feedings if your baby is actually hungry, so that is step one!

Tips for encouraging full feedings can be found in this post.

25. How can I get my newborn to sleep longer at night?

The short answer to getting your newborn to sleep longer at night, is to keep them sleepy.

If your baby wakes, feed your baby and get your baby back to sleep quickly. Do not change your baby’s diaper or unswaddle unless necessary.

When you think your baby is ready, extend feedings by trying to offer a pacifier instead of breast/bottle, and try capping feedings.

Read about the 6 steps to handling night wakings here (printable included).

26. How do I settle my newborn at night?

You should be able to easily settle your newborn at night if you set them up for success during the day with the correct number of feedings and naps.

Your newborn should go to sleep easily at night if they are on a good schedule, and nothing is bothering them.

Set up a bedtime routine to help them know it’s time to sleep. In the middle of the night, feed your newborn if they wake.

For a detailed look at newborn schedules, visit the sample schedule page.

Read about the 6 steps to handling night wakings here (printable included).

Read about setting up bedtime and nap routines here.

27. How long should you let your newborn sleep without eating?

A newborn should go about 3 hours between feedings during the day.

This ensures that your baby will get the correct number of feedings throughout the day.

Make sure you work to get full feedings, and wake your baby from a nap if it’s time to eat.

Once your baby is back up to their birth weight, and once you have the ok from your doctor, you can let them sleep as long as they will go at night.

See sample newborn schedules at this page.

Read about techniques to getting full feedings here.

28. How do I get my baby to sleep without feeding?

It is important that baby’s learn how to put themselves to sleep without being fed to sleep.

To do this, make sure you follow eat, wake, sleep cycles throughout the day. Feed your baby after each nap, then have awake time, and then nap time.

Make sure you also implement nap and bedtime routines to indicate to your baby that it is time to sleep.

Read about the 5 benefits of using eat, wake, sleep cycles here, along with a printable guide on how to implement this in your baby’s day.

29. How do I reduce night feeds?

Reduce night feeds with your baby, by doing 6 key things: feed your hungry newborn, get your baby on a solid daytime schedule, do not change your baby’s diaper in the middle of the night (unless you have to), keep your baby sleepy, stall feedings with a pacifier, and cap feeding times or amounts.

Read more details about the 6 steps to handling and reducing night wakings here (printable included).

Get your baby on a solid schedule during the day with this printable.

30. When can I let my baby sleep through the night without feeding?

As long as your baby is gaining weight fine and you and your doctor are happy with how the weight gain is going, babies no longer need the middle of the night feeding at 4 months of age.

A baby may continue to wake simply out of habit, however. Waking to eat is not always indicative that baby is actually hungry.

Read about the 6 steps to handling and reducing night wakings here (printable included).

31. How long should a 5 week old baby sleep at night?

A 5 week old baby that is on a good schedule during the day, and getting enough feedings and naps, will potentially wake every 3-4 hours, and may even go longer stretches.

To see a sample 5 week old schedule, view this post and visit the schedules page for all schedules at all ages.

32. When should you sleep train?

Sleep training, as in training your baby how to sleep, should start day 1. Cry it out methods of sleep training should not be used until your baby is at least 4 months old.

For information on how to peacefully sleep train using the babywise method from day 1, read this post.

For cry it out techniques see this page.

33. How do you sleep train a newborn?

The key to sleep training a newborn, is to start from day 1 and be consistent. Teach your baby the difference between day and night.

Teach your baby to feed during the day, and take good naps. When you feed your baby at night, do so quickly and keep it dark.

Put baby back down as quickly as possible.

Refrain from rocking your baby to sleep. Set them down awake, after optimal wake times during the day, and let them fuss (not cry), before providing assistance. Use a pacifier if you need to.

Optimal wake times are the KEY to success with this. Your baby needs to be tired for naps, but not overtired or undertired. See optimal wake times and get a printable guide at this post.

34. Can a newborn put themselves to sleep?

Absolutely! If you don’t believe it, visit the NICU. Nurses do not have time to put babies to sleep. They have time to feed and address any issues. They simply lay the babies down, swaddle them, if they can, and the babies go to sleep.

If your baby is getting optimal wake times (not too long), doing eat wake sleep cycles (instead of feeding to sleep), and getting full feeds on a schedule (instead of snacking all day), your baby can put themselves to sleep.

35. What age do babies put themselves to sleep?

They will naturally put themselves to sleep if you set them up for success. If you get in the way, they will rely on you to do it as long as possible. But, if you teach them how to put themselves to sleep, they will do it as soon as you let them.

To teach babies to put themselves to sleep, introduce a feeding schedule, do eat wake sleep cycles, focus on full feedings, optimal wake times, and refrain from rocking your baby to sleep. Lay your baby down awake.

36. Can I let my 10 week old cry it out?

Cry it out is not recommended until babies can self soothe- this typically happens around 4 months of age. It is ok, however, to let your baby fuss for a bit, and even cry for 5 minutes or so (all out screams).

I’ve seen both of my babies at 3 months old, scream for 5 minutes and then go back to sleep.

See this post on dealing with short naps and how to handle it by age for more information.

37. How long do you let a baby cry it out?

This answer depends on the goal, the age of the baby, and the time of day/night.

Cry it out (extinction method) is not recommended until a baby is at least 4 months of age.

It is important to set your baby up for success so you know nothing is wrong (other than being tired). Use schedules to accomplish this, and optimize their wake times.

See this post on dealing with short naps and how to handle it by age for more information.

38. How do you play with a newborn?

Newborns are hard to play with. They have such minimal wake time that most of the wake time is spent feeding. It is important to get some awake time in between feeding and sleeping, however, even if it is just for a minute or so.

Show your baby a stuffed animal, or read them a book. Playmats are great for any age as well. Lay your baby on their back or start tummy time! Newborns can’t see very far yet, so keep that in mind. They can hear you so well, though so talk a lot!

39. When should you start tummy time?

Start tummy time immediately! While babies should not sleep on their tummies, they can do supervised tummy time while they are awake starting day 1. Starting early will help get them used to it and start strengthening their muscles early.

40. Can you overfeed a newborn?

Yes. Babies are comforted by the sucking motion of feeding. This is why they like pacifiers. If you feed a baby every time he/she cries, the baby will get used to snack eating and will be eating simply out of wanting comfort, instead of only when they are hungry.

By the same token, babies that are fed on a schedule, could potentially eat too much in one feeding. This is likely to occur more with bottle feeding since they can get more food quickly. You’ll know if it’s a problem based on your baby’s weight gain, and fussiness after eating, spitting up, etc.

41. Can you overfeed a breastfed baby?

Yes it is possible, but not as likely as a bottle fed baby that gets food faster out of the bottle. Keep an eye on baby’s spitting up habits, fussiness after eating, and weight gain. Only offer each breast once.

42. What is the Babywise sleep method?

The Babywise sleep method is a way of prioritizing sleep for your baby. It is having your baby on a feeding and sleeping schedule so they get the correct number of feedings during the day, the correct amount of wake time between feedings and naps, and the correct amount of daytime sleep.

This all combined, will lead to much better nighttime sleep, and a sleep trained baby.

For full details read this post on the Babywise method.

43. Will a hungry baby sleep?

Yes, a hungry baby will sleep, but not as well or for as long as a baby that is full. I saw this first hand with my son. He was not getting enough to eat, yet he didn’t fuss or complain, and he slept well. Before that experience I would have said that there was no way a hungry baby would sleep. But, it is possible.

44. Should I put my newborn on a schedule?

Yes, you should put your newborn on a schedule! This will set your baby up for sleep and feeding success! Even newborns can learn a schedule and routine. It helps to prevent them from wanting to snack feed all day, and helps to get them the right amount of sleep.

See sample newborn schedules here.

45. How do you get a newborn into a routine?

Newborns catch on to routines pretty quickly. The first routine I start with any baby from day 1, is the eat wake sleep cycle. It is a basic routine throughout the day.

They learn that when they wake up, they get to eat, then play, then sleep again.

It is also crucial to start nap and bedtime routines. This helps to indicate to them that it is about to be sleepy time.

46. How long do newborns stay awake?

Newborns have minimal awake time. They are awake long enough to feed, and then go back to sleep!

For a printable chart on optimal wake times see this post.
For a printable schedule sheet, view this link.

47. Why is my newborn so fussy at night?

Newborns are still learning the difference between night and day. They have to be taught that day is a time to be awake, and night is a time to sleep. Your newborn is also hungry. Babies eat every 3-4 hours for the first few weeks.

Learn how to teach the difference between day and night here.

48. When should I change my baby’s diaper?

Getting into a routine with diaper changes is a great thing to do. When your baby wakes from a nap, change the diaper, then feed, then have awake time. Don’t change the diaper until the next wake time unless you need to.

49. Should I change my baby’s diaper at night?

No. Do not change your baby’s diaper at night, unless you need to or it is bothering them. The goal at night is to keep your newborn as sleepy as possible! If you can get away with no diaper change, go for it!

Here are 6 great tips for extending nighttime sleep (one of which is not changing baby’s diaper).

50. What do I do if my baby won’t burp?

If your baby won’t burp, try and try again. Try different positions. You can hold your baby over your shoulder. You can lean their face into your hand with a “C” hold around their chin (this is usually the best for newborns).

Try different techniques. You can pat, rub in circular motions, and rub in upwards motions.

When all else fails, lay baby down for some play time, then pick your baby up and try again in a few minutes.

Tummy time often helps as well to get gas moving.

Good luck in your parenting adventure! I hope these questions and answers help you to navigate the early stages of parenting.

Please leave any additional questions in the comments section and I’ll answer them as soon as I can!

Having Twins? Here are some FAQ about twins with all the answers from a super twin mom!

Best Advice for New Parents- 50 Question and Answer Baby Guide
50 questions new parents ask - asnwered

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