Between weeks 16 and 24, Merge Four happens: This is when many Babywise babies begin to extend their morning waketime by merging the early morning feeding and the mid-morning feeding. This merge reduces six feed-wake-sleep cycles to five. As a result, there will be only one feed-wake-sleep cycle between breakfast and lunch (although lunchtime is usually moved up at least a half-hour).

This is also close to the time when solid foods might become necessary and can potentially impact the timing of activities within the feed-wake-sleep cycles. (A full explanation of how the introduction of solid foods can impact the feed-wake-sleep cycles and nighttime sleep is in Babywise II.)

Baby's Sample Nap Schedule After Merge Four
(Weeks 16-24)

Activities

1. Morning: 7:00 a.m.

  1. Feeding
  2. Waketime
  3. Down for a nap

2. Late Morning

  1. Feeding
  2. Waketime
  3. Down for a nap

3. Early Afternoon

  1. Feeding
  2. Waketime
  3. Down for a nap

4. Late Afternoon

  1. Feeding
  2. Waketime*

5. Early Evening

  1. Early Evening Waketime
  2. Liquid feeding, down for the night**

    * Take note how the late-afternoon waketime activity extends into the early evening, concluding with the bedtime feeding. While there is no full naptime between the two feedings in this feed-wake-sleep cycle, a baby may on occasion doze for 30-40 minutes, depending on when the late afternoon cycle began. This is referred to as a “catnap.”

    ** Possible 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. “dream feed” for the breastfeeding Mom.

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    Note about “Dream Feeds

    Mothers will commonly ask if there is a difference between the late-evening feed and the dream feed, since they both fall around the same time at night. Yes, there is a difference! The late-evening feeding provides the necessary nutrition baby needs and is part of a baby’s routine up through the first three months.

    The dream feed comes later. It is not offered because the baby needs the calories, but to help the breastfeeding mom maintain her milk supply. Not all mothers need to offer a “dream feed,” but the probability increases as Mom’s age moves into her mid-30’s.

    Do you have a question about baby nap schedules or when to merge? Leave a comment below or check out these nap time articles:

    For more help getting your Baby on a Babywise sleep schedule, you can read more articles on Baby Sleep here on Babywise.life.

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    Excerpted with permission from On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo, M.A. and Robert Bucknam, M.D., copyright Parent-Wise Solutions, Inc. You can learn more and purchase the book here.


    Sleep Schedules


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