Principles from Babywise (in no particular order):
- Do everything within your power to give your baby a full feeding every time you feed him/her. This is usually only difficult because babies like to fall asleep while eating. WAKE THEM! If you don't, they will wake up mad and hungry way too soon. Plus, if you are breastfeeding they need to feed long enough to get the nutritious hindmilk. So, change their diapers, their clothes, dab them with a warm wet cloth, etc.
- Try to stick to a 2.5 - 3 hour schedule with feeding, during the day. This means if you start to feed the baby at 8am, the next time you will feed them will be at 11am. This is what I stick to.
- After the first week, try to set a first feeding time and stick to it. Ours is 8am. Today we had to change that up a bit, it's okay to be flexible. Try to be fairly consistent though.
- During the day, you should have 3 things happen with baby. Feeding time (about 30 minutes), Wake time (about 15-20 minutes after feeding), Naptime (until you wake them for next feeding. At night, however, you will just let them sleep (not longer than 4-5 hours) and then when they start to stir and show hunger cues, get them up and feed them (change their diaper probably afterwards) and put them right back down.
- If you stick to those 3 things pretty consistently during the day, the baby will not likely get their days and nights mixed up. Also, do not think that if the baby stays awake longer during the day, that she/he will sleep better at night. It just gets them overstimulated and then they have a hard time settling down.
- Oh, and a new lesson we learned, newborns cry sometimes . . . and it's okay. We just recently have been letting Davie put herself to sleep for naps. After she's awake for awhile, we swaddle her up nice and tight, put her in her basket, turn on the monitor and wait. Sometimes she fusses a little bit, but you can tell it's a sleepy whiny cry and not a PAIN cry. If you hear that he/she is distraught (or after 15 minutes is still fussing), then try to go calm the baby down. They might need to burp . . . or just to be held. But if you can suffer through a little crying now, you'll be glad later when they know what to expect. Babies learn SO fast.
Try to put these in to practice (again, flexibility is okay) as soon as possible. It is really nice to have a predictable baby . . . what with the anxiety you WILL experience anyways. Again, if there is ONE book to read in preparation for baby, it should be this one.