So God Made a Mother Collection ➔


I watched tears stream down a fellow mama’s sleep deprived cheeks, as she described her frustration about not being herself lately. It was very clear the minimal sleep she was getting was making it a struggle for her to get through daily routines. In that moment, I wanted to reach out and give her a big squeeze to let her know that I was there to support her.

Although I have had my share of sleepless nights, I am so grateful for my friends that told me about the book On Becoming Baby Wise, by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam. The tips and strategies suggested were a huge help, as I navigated through the fuzzy weeks when my daughter was a newborn. Following the suggestions made by Ezzo and Buckman, my daughter was sleeping eight hours at night, by eight weeks old. I hope you will have a similar experience, if you decide this approach is for your family.

  1. Teach your baby the difference between day and night by establishing a routine.

The basic daytime routine entails the following: the baby eats, then has awake time, then sleeps. This sounds simple, but Ezzo and Bucknam believe the order of these activities is imperative. There are two exceptions to this “rule.” The exceptions are the first week the baby is born and at nighttime. After nighttime feedings, the baby should be put back to sleep directly after the feeding.

  1. Get a full feeding in with newborn (7-10 days old).

The focus of the first two weeks is to get a full feeding session in, without the baby falling asleep. That means doing things to keep the baby awake such as: rubbing his feet, talking, touching his face, switching sides more often (if breast feeding), or changing his diaper. Ideally the baby will fall into a routine of eating every 2.5-3 hours, using this method. Make sure the baby is getting fed at least 8 times within each 24 hour period.

  1. Use parent-directed feeding to decide what is best for your baby.

Parent-directed feeding (PDF) means that you evaluate your baby as a whole. You consider her hunger cues, in addition to her feeding schedule, to determine what she needs.

  1. Establish the first feeding of the day.

This may be decided naturally by the baby, but should remain fairly consistent day to day (within a half hour). By setting a general time for the first feeding, it will allow you to plan your schedule for the day.

  1. Naptime should begin by lasting 1-1.5 hours.

Once your baby is one week old, he should begin napping for an hour to an hour and a half, during the sleep phase of the schedule. If the baby is having a hard time falling asleep, try putting him to bed earlier the next day, by 15 minute increments. As he grows, the number of nursing sessions and naptimes will decrease, although the length of naptimes will increase.

  1. Put the baby to bed while awake.

Placing the baby in bed while awake, will help to establish healthy sleep skills, according to Ezzo and Bucknam. In fact, they believe that it is best not to use sleep aids, which include rocking the baby to sleep, nursing the baby to sleep, or using any other method in which the baby would rely on you to fall asleep. They do, however, encourage you to comfort your child if needed.

  1. Be flexible.

Sometimes you will need to go grocery shopping, attend an event, travel, etcetera. Life will happen, don’t stress out over keeping the routine. In these situations, be flexible and allow your baby’s schedule to change. If the change only occurs once in a while, the baby will bounce right back to the original routine. This schedule is meant to provide a natural rhythm for the baby, not to imprison the family.

Amy Lu

I am a Midwest mama from Michigan who enjoys sharing parenting and pregnancy resources with parents of young children on the blog, If you enjoy free parenting resources, delicious recipes, and discovering what you really need for newborns, then grab a cup of coffee and come hang out at Making Motherhood Matter. I would love to connect with you on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the Positive Parenting Tools Community.

Don’t Let Anyone Rush You, Mama

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother with two kids at home relaxing

From the moment our children are born, other people make it challenging to stay in the present moment—they start asking questions that look forward instead of at the now we are in. Can you believe how big she’s getting, where did your newborn go? Oh my goodness, he’ll be walking any day now! Are you thinking about preschool? What will you do when they’re both in school? What will you do when your baby goes to college? While these questions may come with good intentions, they’re not helpful at all. We moms need to be allowed to be fully in...

Keep Reading

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Kids Crave Your Time, Not Fancy Things

In: Kids, Motherhood
Dad and daughter with basketball smiling

I have four kids, and like most parents, I’m doing my best to give them a happy childhood, but we’re not really an activity family. Don’t get me wrong, we love a good day trip to the local water park or a night out at the movies, but with several different ages and a tight budget, activities or outings are rare for us. Sometimes I end up feeling bad about it, like our kids are missing out, but then I take a deep breath and realize that some of the best moments come from the simplest of things. Lucky for...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergarten Graduate—Wherever Life Takes You, I’ll Always Be Your Safe Place To Land

In: Kids, Motherhood

I cried on your first day of kindergarten. Did you know that? I held it together through the getting ready and the goodbyes—but once I had waved one last time and was pulling out of the parking lot, the lump in my throat poured out as hot tears down my cheeks.  How could you be starting kindergarten? You, my precious firstborn baby. We had some growing pains as we adjusted to a new routine. The school days were so long. I spent my days missing you and you spent yours missing me. We were apart from each other more than...

Keep Reading

The Secret to Slowing Down Time Is to Notice the Moments You’re Living In

In: Kids, Motherhood

Dear current self, You’ve heard a lot of mothers admonish you to slow down and enjoy every moment with your children. They’ve warned you with phrases like “before you know it,”  “in the blink of an eye,” and other cliché’s that haven’t really hit you, but they will. Soon, they will. I am writing you now because I’ve seen you trying to wrap your mind around the how-to—as if holding time in your hand is a skill anyone has successfully mastered. I’ll save you the suspense. It can’t be done. It is inevitable. Your kids are going to grow up....

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Celebrate a Holiday Just Because It’s On the Calendar

In: Kids, Living

I switched on the computer, adjusted my chair, then quickly swiveled back around again toward my husband, “Are you sure? You don’t mind?” “Me?” he made a swift waving motion as if swatting a fly. “Psht. Yeah, I’m fine with it. You?” He lifted his head and locked our eyes a little more securely, “Are you sure?” “Yes,” I said firmly, without hesitation. “OK, good,” my man turned back to his phone, “Love you.” “Good,” I confirmed. A rush of relief swept through me as muscles I didn’t even know were tense suddenly relaxed. A bubbling surge of energy had...

Keep Reading

I’m Raising Wild Boys

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy and toddler smiling at each other, color photo

Yesterday my boys (two and eight) were playing outside in our cul-de-sac—running, yelling, tackling each other . . . all the normal stuff. One of the neighbor moms was out as well, looking on as her son joined the fray.  “I need to send him over to your house for a week or two,” she joked, “so he can get more in touch with his boyness.”  “No, you don’t want to do that. My boys are wild things,” I quickly replied. And I wasn’t joking. My sons are rough, tough, primal beings.  Moments before this conversation, my oldest was ramming...

Keep Reading

A Big Move Brings Big Emotions For Little Kids—Here’s How to Help Them Cope

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood

It doesn’t matter how outgoing or funny or charismatic your kids might be, the possibility of uprooting their little lives and relocating to a new city is terrifying for any parent. Add a global pandemic into the mix, and it’s an idea that feels almost insurmountable.  But when my husband got a job offer we couldn’t refuse, we packed up the car and drove our two kids (eight and four) west from Pennsylvania to the great state of Arizona. The decision weighed heavily on me, and I wasn’t prepared for the avalanche of mom guilt that followed. But as I’ve...

Keep Reading

My Kids May Never Be Professional Athletes, But They’ll Be Strong, Confident Adults Because of Youth Sports

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tween boy playing hockey, color photo

I have pivoted 180 degrees over the last few years on one major bone of contention in our household of four, which includes two sporty kids who love ice hockey and baseball: the rationale behind our, in my opinion, excessive expenditure of resources on our sons’ youth sports careers, and whether this makes any sense.  Neither of them is NHL or MLB bound. Or at least the chances, statistically, are extremely minuscule. And yet, we have directed an inordinate amount of our life savings as well as our precious time to not only club sports, but also private lessons, to...

Keep Reading

Food Allergies Won’t Stop Her—How My Daughter Is Teaching Me to Be Brave

In: Kids, Motherhood

Dear daughter, I know sometimes you wonder if you’ll ever do normal things without me hovering over you. Double and triple-checking your snack labels and drilling you about whether your allergy meds are packed and ready. It’s a lot for you to carry, physically and emotionally. But you’re so strong, sweet girl. Flexible, too. You can do this because you were built for it. And someday, someday, you’ll see it: that this story is yours because you carry it with grace. You don’t complain much, and when you do, you follow it up with a wise comment, saying this sort...

Keep Reading