Author Topic: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds  (Read 991 times)

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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2017, 20:10:03 pm »
Sorry for so much posting!
Don't worry that's what we are here for :)

The only reason the routine is sort of working/consistent now is that I'm there to resettle to around 2 hours nap time if necessary... 
I know you are trying to establish a routine and nap length habits but how long does he sleep if you are not there to resettle and extend?
Partly I'm curious because his A time is being kept so low and I am amazed you can resettle at all. partly I am wondering if it is worth you resettling for so long because you will not be able to continue this indefinitely and you *might* be inadvertently habituating him to being patted throughout his nap rather than self settling and transitioning alone.

I think we have some confusion over the A and E times.
To clarify, A time is the total time LO is awake from eyes open and awake to eyes shut an asleep. It includes everything you do in that time including nappy change, feed, play, song, wind down and trying to put LO to sleep.
By having E times slightly further apart it does not require that A times change.  I'll show an example based on your A time of 1hr 25 and an E time of 3hr 15 keeping in mind that Es need to be fitted where you can:
WU 7
E 7
A 1hr 25
S 7.25 - 9.25 (2hr)
A
E 10.15 (3hr 15 from last E)
A 1hr 25 (this is total time from 9.25-10.50)
S 10.50-12.20 (1hr 30)
A
E 1.15
A 1hr 25 (here there is only a short A time before S, it's okay, it is long enough not to feed to sleep)
S 1.45 - 3.15 (1hr 30)
A
E 4.30
A 1hr 25
S 4.40 - 6.10 (1hr 30)
A 1hr 25
E 7.15 (bit shorter than 3hr to fit before BT)
BT 7.35

During the last few days have you noticed how long your LOs sleep cycle is?


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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2017, 12:35:38 pm »
Thank you and thanks for the routine.  :) What I didn't understand was that it's okay to change the order of EASY so much and have the feed quite a way through the A time and close to the S.  My little one never or extremely rarely falls asleep feeding so that's not a likely pitfall for us.  I think there's an error in your first S time (8 25?) but I understand the concept of a routine like this. What do you think about what I said about the body clock programming we've achieved this week and changing the timings of his routine?

I think my LO's sleep cycle is 40mins. He frequently awakes at 7 mins in though and also at 15, 20 and 30 mins into the cycle as well as at the end when transitioning to the next.  We had one amazing success nap yesterday when he slept for 1hour 25mins with only a little help from me at the beginning and no resettles!  I was so happy as that is what we're trying to achieve but unfortunately he hasn't done it again so far. He is teething more now though so I think that is what's woken him for the last few naps as he's cried a lot and I've not been able to resettle him as usual. This morning he slept for 1 hour 45 mins with 3 resettles.  I'm really cutting down the patting though and trying to just shush and then lay hands on him only.

I feel a bit concerned that he's so abnormal in his A times. I hope he catches up soon as it makes going out between naps with my 3 year old very difficult!

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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2017, 17:10:19 pm »
What I didn't understand was that it's okay to change the order of EASY so much and have the feed quite a way through the A time and close to the S
Yes it's unavoidable at times and most of us have had routines like this. The main thing about the EASY routine is not to feed to sleep.  Sometimes you might need to feed earlier than the 3 hr or 3hr 15 just to make sure the E is done with a little gap before S.  But I think you have the idea now :)

I think there's an error in your first S time (8 25?
Yes, you're right. Sorry. It does of course mean the whole routine doesn't make sense but the point was to just give you an example of how things could be rather than a set routine to follow.  I'm afraid I dart through threads and tend to type faster than my brain works so I do make mistakes!  Oops!

I think my LO's sleep cycle is 40mins.
Maybe just watch out to see if this is consistent.  It is not a Set rule or anything but I feel I have observed if LOs have a 40 mins cycle they either sleep 1hr 20 (which is too short for some and is not what is considered a restorative sleep) or 2hrs (3 sleep cycles) where as a LO with a 45 min cycle seems to nap for 2 cycles totalling 1hr 30 (restorative)...  just something that might help you especially if you are trying to work out how many cycles and how long a nap you can expect.

What do you think about what I said about the body clock programming we've achieved this week and changing the timings of his routine?
I think you've likely made good headway in setting good habits.  I wouldn't worry too much about body clock programming, especially if it with regards to either 1hr30 or 2hr nap - I would go with whichever LO can to on his own, so it's taking into consideration his natural rhythms as well as setting good habits and an appropriate routine.  Hope that makes sense - it's flexibility within rigidity - somehow :)

I feel a bit concerned that he's so abnormal in his A times.
Was your LO full term?  Early?  Any issues or illnesses early on?

I'm kind of torn between the A times. I know it is impossible to get a Lo to sleep a longer nap when they are UT, so a short A time doesn't help. On the other hand you are sure about the A time need and seem to know your LO's needs well.  I would normally say to ignore any tired signs and go for a full A time to help establish routine and make sleep training easier.
I can only advise what I have experience of either from my own DS or from threads I have supported/read - in the end it is always your call :)


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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2017, 19:16:45 pm »
Thank you very much for your help this week. It's been a very tough week for me but not so tough on our little one due to your advice which has been great. We are not at the point I'd hoped we'd be at but I can't take any more days of so much time in a darkened room anyway so I'm glad the week is at an end! As you say we've established some good habits so I'm trying not to feel too disheartened. My husband goes back to work tomorrow and our little one may not nap for more than a cycle in his cot without me there to resettle him straight away while I look after my other little boy. He may therefore get very overtired or we'll have to go back to our bad habits!

So... my plan is that as the A times we've been working with basically haven't worked I will try a longer one of 1 hour 45 mins to see if that helps, despite tired signs. I need something to work now!


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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2017, 21:04:31 pm »
Oh you are very welcome - it's a pleasure to have held your hand through the week :)

I don't have 2 LOs so I can't truly comment on how to handle it (we have a "then there were two board if you'd like to pop in there?) however, I'm not convinced bad habits or AP need to be returned to.
- you can run a relatively strict routine by setting times and just sticking to them (with that little flexibility thrown in) which continues the routine even with short naps
- you may be able to pop in very briefly at the right time to see him through a transition (totally different age and stage but I used W2S with my DS during a tricky nap drop, rather than going in 30 min into the nap and patting for up to 20 mins I went in for 2 mins only (entered 1 min before transition, left 1 min after), that's all it took and was the difference between transitioning peacefully and screaming his head off like a banshee. I'm not saying this is possible with ALL LOs but you just never know)
- you might opt for push chair naps for some or all - IMO this is closer to sleep training than sling naps.  You can even rock the push chair a bit, then less and less, and LO is at least sleeping on a mattress type surface kind of similar to the cot and you are hands free to see to your older child.  Even having the push chair in the family room whilst you rock it with your foot whilst modelling play-dough with your 3yo - you do know mothers are great multi-taskers don't you ;)  pushchair naps might also be a good solution for out and about naps when yo take your 3yo to the park etc
- you can aim for one nap per day in the cot to continue with the training.  make it the same nap every day, look at your 3yo routine and see which nap might be the one where you can give it an extra few mins to do a cot nap.

You've done brilliantly this week and I think you made lots and lots of progress with sleep training which is sure to help when you have a 3yo to care for.
Good luck
let us know how you get on.


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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2017, 13:03:49 pm »
Hello, an update from me - we're still trying to establish a routine and cot naps of more then one cycle! The 1 hour 45 mins A time didn't fix this unfortunately and our LO still needs resettling with shush pat after 30 - 40 mins and sometimes repeatedly through the nap. I've been trying to do this by leaving my 3 year old with an activity but it's tough on him and I don't like doing it.  If I'm not there at the time to resettle straight away resettling doesn't work. We've also had teething and vaccinations to contend with which has complicated things.  Our rough routine has completely gone out the window as our LO always wakes up in the morning at different times and then naps for varying lengths. He also still wakes up to feed (definitely hungry) every 3 to 4 hours at night and my husband and I feel exhausted. 
To try something new I am trying our LO on 4 hourly feeds to see if this means he'll take in more milk, particularly fatty milk, during his day feeds and help the night waking. He can just about make it to 4 hours if we distract him the last half an hour so we'll see how he goes tonight on this. Tracey seems to be a big advocate of 4 hour routines solving all ills at this stage! I'm going to try and keep the feed times at least consistent and try as much as possible to keep the wake up and bed times consistent too. With A times of 1 hour 45 mins to 2 hours (our LO seems to have matured to the lower end of this suddenly!) and see if that sorts out nap lengths and consistent nap times. Does this sound sensible?
Unfortunately our LO is a long way from napping in the buggy. He just cries in there when he gets tired and he's not a good car napper either. Sling might be an option if we do need to go out but he wakes after one cycle in there now. We need to be out of the house from 11.50 to 12.20 some days as much other little boy has just started preschool 3 mornings a week so we need to somehow work around that.
A question - if LO has only slept for one cycle does the subsequent A time need to be shortened accordingly?

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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2017, 14:41:02 pm »
Increasing the A time may well help.  Some LOs need a bit more than the guidance times too, not necessarily for all the A times but some like a longer first A time and some like the first A to be normal or the lower end and the following A times to be longer. It's something you kind of learn about your LO through experimentation really.  It is possible that if he is able to be settled at the right moment of transition with a 1hr 45 min A time then a 2hr A time he might be able to do it himself.

WRT the 4hrly feeds, yes Tracy did say LOs at 4 months move to 4hrly E but she also said some LOs can't make it to 4hrly E until closer to 6 months.  She listed some LOs that might need to stay on 3hr E longer (or perhaps 3.5hr say) eg prem, low birth weight, BF, but my LO was none of those and still didn't make it to 4hrly milk until 6 months when solids came between milk feeds which helped him extend to 4hrs.  Some LOs just need to eat at the shorter time interval.


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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2017, 14:42:55 pm »
A question - if LO has only slept for one cycle does the subsequent A time need to be shortened accordingly?
Sorry forgot to answer this.
Many people here do reduce the following A time to avoid OT. It's really your choice though, sticking to a full A time can help to establish a better routine faster.  I wouldn't reduce too much because UT naps are really hard or impossible to resettle where as OT naps tend to be easier to resettle.


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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2017, 13:27:06 pm »
Hi there
Thanks very much for your help last week. I have tried an A time of 2 hours. Our LO has slept for a couple of cycles without resettling a few times but usually still needs resettling after 30-40 mins. Interestingly he often then goes for 2 more cycles without more resettling and I think this must mean OT rather than UT. It's so hard to get it exactly right and I think it depends on a whole host of other things like how long he slept for his last nap,  what time he woke in themmorning,  how much he was awake in the night etc I'm trying to follow is tired signs but I think once these are in full swing he's usually OT.
Our other issue is that we have absolutely no consistency with the timings of our routine still due to different wake up times and nap lengths. Also feeding times are all over the place. I tried 4 hourly feeds and managed to keep him waiting for each feed for a day which resulted in much bigger longer day feeds. He then went 6 hours before his first feed that night which is great for him. However the following day he seemed really hungry and I couldn't keep it up and the next two nights he fed 3 hourly. He takes his big long feeds at night rather than during the day. I am trying therefore to make sure he's really hungry for his day feeds rather than sticking to a schedule such as 3 hourly or 3.5 hourly feeds etc. But this then means his feeds are at different times and is another reason we can't establish a routine with any consistent timings. How on earth is it possible to manage this?! And how important are consistent timings (roughly) or can it work to just follow the baby while keeping in mind guidance A times? Thank you!

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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2017, 13:45:09 pm »
I should just add to my previous post that although we haven't got everything sorted in that it's extremely difficult to makeplans with no routine and we are still up several times a night I am still so thankful and grateful that we spent that very tough week sleep training and now have cot naps and a way of getting our little one to sleep. We still need to shush pat unfortunately but it's so much better than having to hold our LO or constantly carry him in the sling. I can now eat more easily and get a little done and have a little time with my 3 year old between resettles so thank you again for your help that week!

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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2017, 18:43:39 pm »
You are very welcome - I'm glad to hear that things are somewhat easier for you.

For a consistent routine you can kind of just force it, I mean, so long as the A times are basically appropriate for age and the E times are basically appropriate for age/hunger then you can work with these to implement a routine which best fits what you need to do in the day.
For example, my DS when he was a baby I could alter his first A time as he needed based on his development, he needed a long first A time and did a consistent 2hr nap in his cot for the first nap of the day. After that though I had a fixed time twice per week where I absolutely had to be at an appointment on time so I "forced" the rest of the day in the best way I could, being as respectful to my DS as possible whilst also meeting this unavoidable need.  The way I worked it was a car nap on the way to the appointment and another on the way home.  I timed leaving the house so that he could fall asleep in the car, this sometimes meant leaving earlier than I wanted but it helped him get a nap on time, I could let him finish his cycle in the car before the appointment.  There were times he would have slept longer than one cycle but I had to wake him, yes he was not happy, he had to do a full, long A time and then would be back in the car for third nap which was basically a set nap time rather than based on A times.  It's not ideal, it's not perfect but he got used to it. He got so used to it that even on the days I did not have that appointment I had to car-nap him as he was so much in the habit of sleeping in the car, if I tried to put him in the cot for second nap I got refusal even though he was perfectly happy to do so for first nap.
I think you could do something similar with your routine, you can look at when/where you need to go out and see what fits with baby and also encourage baby to fit with the rest of the family, it's a bit of a compromise all round but that's family life isn't it?

If morning WU time being different every day is throwing your routine off you could wake him at a set time, he will likely pick up the habit and start waking at that time or gradually become less of a grouch over it.  Naps can be "set" but set based on as close as you can to his ideal A time is better.
Does this help you think about your own routine perhaps?

Our LO has slept for a couple of cycles without resettling a few times but usually still needs resettling after 30-40 mins. Interestingly he often then goes for 2 more cycles without more resettling and I think this must mean OT rather than UT
On this, I'm not convinced it means OT but can't say anything for certain. he could just be learning to sleep longer naps. 4-6 months is prime time for short naps and needing to help LO resettle or accept short naps so to be honest you are doing brilliantly to get a longer nap even if you do need to resettle once, and LO is doing great to get 3 sleep cycles, it's really good compared to many routines at this age.


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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2017, 19:11:39 pm »
Ok thanks yes that's really helpful and reassuring to know we're doing okay and things don't have to be perfect. The problem with WU is that's it's often earlier than ideal rather than being later. WU needs to be around 7 rather than 6 for a routine to work around our preschool commitments. I guess we could try shush pat to get him to sleep until the proper WU time. The other routine buster is that sometimes our LO won't resettle so we end up with a 30 or 40 minute nap. But often he does resettle and then naps sometimes 1 hour 25 mins, sometimes 2 hours. So I'd want to base the routine on the longer nap but then when he doesn't resettle that would mean a really long A time until the next prescribed nap. The same issue applies to the second nap. Then with the third nap he often doesn't go down at all for some reason so I then move his bedtime earlier by an hour or more  to avoid him getting really overtired and possibly affecting night sleep (he tends to self settle without shush pat at bedtime but he can't if he's OT). So this then again affects WU time making it earlier!  Do you see what I mean! I think I get very worried about A times being too long and OT if naps don't go according to plan. I worry that OT will affect the next nap/night sleep.
When I try and work out a routine the last A time works out at 2 hours 45 mins to try for a 11.5 hour night. This is in an ideal world where the catnap has happened. Do you think this is too long?

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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2017, 18:38:28 pm »
2hr 45 min could be too long for him just now yes, but it is very much dependent on the individual LO.
Average A times- BOOKMARK ME!
My DS for instance would have managed 2hr 45 easily in the morning but not in the evening.  However if it is not every day then it is probably less of a problem, it's not like you are purposely setting the routine at an unsuitable time, you can only do what you can do can't you?
Alternatively, you might try a 2hr 15 A time earlier in the day, maybe the first A time, I think at the moment you are on 2hrs (sorry if I am wrong) and an additional 15 min in the morning might just help to encourage a later WU and easier transition on the nap.  Even if it doesn't do those things, what it would then do is help you get through the day a little more so that the last A time is not quite as long, does that make sense - extra 15 min A in the morning means 15 mins less A in the evening.


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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2017, 18:23:16 pm »
Ok thanks for that advice. What would you do when the nap is only 30 or 40 mins... still stick to the prescribed routine next nap time even though that makes the A time really long? And when the last nap doesn't work/happen would you mive bedtime earlier to compensate?

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Re: Starting EASY at 4 months - going to four hourly feeds
« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2017, 13:20:08 pm »
What would you do when the nap is only 30 or 40 mins... still stick to the prescribed routine next nap time even though that makes the A time really long?
A lot of people adjust the next nap time so that the A is not over long. When mine went through the 40 min naps we had 4 or 5 per day, looking back I wish I'd tried something else, like more of a set naps kind of thing as I do wonder if I was just continually putting him down too early even though he appeared tired.  Hindsight and all that.  As you know Tracy established routines by sticking to the nap time so yes the A went long.

EBT (early bed time) is very useful if the last nap is refused.  Some people put LO down as early as 5.30pm even.  Bit of a gamble that early.