Saturday, April 14, 2012

{baby routine}

A few of you have emailed me asking how we handle napping & feeding, whether we feed on demand or on a schedule, whether G sleeps through the night or not.. so this post is in response to you!

This is what i have learned over the past 4 months:
You always feel like you are doing everything wrong as a new parent
Everyone is going to give you advice & judge EVERY little thing you do
People give you good advice, & .. not so good advice. 
You're going to have to pick & choose what you agree with & not take the things people say to heart.

From all of the good advice, not so good advice, & my own observations, I have learned a few things these past months. I am realizing that I KNOW what is best for my baby & my family.
One big thing i have learned is the importance of nap time. 
oh nap time. how i love thee so!
Our little family thrives off of nap time.
not only is a good nap time good for baby, its good for mama & dad. 
i like it when G has a successful nap day. reasons being, she gets rest, we get rest & we have a happy house & happy baby... & best part, happy nights. 
Napping & eating in our home:
*Before i continue, please note that this is just how we have decided to do things in our household because it works for us. we are not saying any other opinion is necessarily right or wrong. This is just what keeps our home happy & thriving.
In our home, feeding & naptime tend to go hand in hand.
I have observed G for weeks. I fed on demand from day one {& still do} and just watched how she acted throughout the day, letting her do her own thing. I wrote down when she woke up, when she wanted to eat, how long after she ate did she begin to show signs of tiredness, when she was most active, when she wanted to just rest..etc. I believe every baby is different & thats why i think this observation period is so important. I am very much an advocate for the baby led approach because  they are constantly changing, amount of time they are awake, how long they nurse, how often.
.{In the beginning, she would nurse every 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Now she nurses every 2 1/2 to 3 hours. She has just started staying awake for 1 1/2 -2+ hours at a time}

After observing , i began to realize that she was finally starting to wake up on her own around the same time, is hungry around the same times everyday, & sleepy around the same times. 
Sooo, really, Giuliana has made her OWN schedule
& it has been the best schedule for the time being. 
{as i am sure it will change as she continues to develop}

Until recently, G was not the best of nappers. I could get 30 minutes out of her for every nap, & the rest of the day she was kind of grouchy. I didnt realize the importance of a good nap. 
Now, she takes 2-3 naps a day & they range from 1 hour to 2 hours. 
& instead of waking up every 2 hours at night {which was exhausting..} she is sleeping better at night too! {only wakes 2 times}

What did we do? 
*we started by taking away her pacifier during the day.  
It sounds horrible, i know. But its for good reason! she was so attatched to that thing. she wanted it ALL DAY. I felt like her pacifier had turned into a replacement for our love & nurturing. & i was not ok with that. & it had started to interfere with nursing..
So, instead, she only gets it for nap time & bed time.
& since she doesnt have a pacifier in her mouth ALL THE TIME she has become quite the little talker.
Its so cute :) i love her little voice. & she is so happy!
*I stopped nursing to sleep.
When she was brand spankin' new, nursing was a Godsend for getting her to go to sleep. But as she has gotten a bit older, nursing to sleep has turned into a nightmare. The minute she woke up & realized mommy wasnt holding her,  she would freak out, & it was so hard to get her back to sleep! Imagine though, you fall asleep in one place & wake up in another, Scary!
Instead, we do our usual nightime routine: {bathtime, cuddle time, reading a book} & then i nurse her till she is full & almost asleep, burp her really well, & cuddle & rock her & sing to her until she becomes a limp little noodle :) {this does not take long at all}
She is still awake when i put her in her crib, but just so sleepy, she is ok with us putting her down to sleep! 
*I started swaddling again
Giuliana HATED to be swaddled in the beginning.
I think it was because of how her legs were when she was born, it made it very uncomfortable. {She was a big candidate for hip dysplasia because she was breech, her legs stuck out sooo straight, rather then curled up like most babies} But we have worked with her & now her little leggies are fine! She LOVES being swaddled now.  For naptime, i swaddle her right after i change her diaper, then rock her,  hum a song, & place her in her bed awake. At bedtime, she gets a bath, then pjs & swaddle, read a book, nurse, hum, Put in bed awake swaddled. I always leave her arms out, she moves around so much & pulls them out anyways. She still feels secure and tightly snuggled up.
* I do a top off feed & a diaper change right before nap time. 
I have found that she takes much better naps with a full tummy & a fresh diaper. So as she starts showing signs of tiredness, i slowely make my way upstairs & change her diaper. At her middle nap, I also nurse her, just until she is about to fall asleep. then i burp her really well & rock her & rub her back & sing & put her in her crib awake with her pacifier. She usually falls right asleep & sleeps for a good while. {1 1/2-2 hours} & wakes up super happy! 
* I have scheduled yet flexible nap times
As i stated, I noticed she usually started to get fussy around certain times of the day. For us it is between 9&930, 1&130, 330&4. So, i set her nap times as such. As long as she gets down for a nap somewhere in the half hour window, shes a happy girl. So, for example: around 9am she will start rubbing her eyes, I notice this, & immediately begin to talk calmer, and move a little slower. I take her upstairs & change her diaper & hum to her & rock her, then once shes a little limp noodle, i put her in bed.
 Having a somewhat scheduled nap time allows me to know when i will have time to focus on other things such as house chores & time with my husband when he is not at work. or just "Me time".
Of course there is the ocasional super fussy naptime where she just wont go to sleep, but I know she is exhausted. This is when ill either lay down with her if i am able to, or plop her in a baby wrap & she will just nap while strapped to mommy as i clean & run around. Its still a nap after all!
*She has a naptime friend
Giuliana has a little bunny toy that she Loves. She likes to have it with her all the time, in the car, in our arms, nursing, always. So of course we let her nap with it too. She snuggles that little bunny like crazy. Its so cute! 

So pretty much, {at 4 months old} our day usually goes a little something like this:
700/730 am: G wakes up & Nurses
{At this feeding, she lays in bed with me while i nurse her}
830/9 am:  goes down for nap #1
10/1030 am: wakes up & Nurses 
1130/12: *top off nursing session* nap # 2
1/130pm: wakes up & Nurses
230/3pm: nap #3
4/430pm: Wakes up & Nurses
7/715 pm: Bath time, pjs, book cuddle time
7/730 pm: Nursing session & bedtime

This is how most days happen to unfold. but some days it goes NOTHING like this & thats ok. The important thing is just do what your baby needs. If she needs an extra nap, thats ok! if she needs an extra feeding, thats ok! if she wakes up earlier/later than usual, thats ok!! we just play it by ear.
Some days Giuliana wants to eat more, or nurse again a half hour after i nursed her & of course i nurse her. I am not confined to a perfect schedule. & nursing isnt just about nutrition, it is about nurturing your sweetie, so if they need more nurturing, by all means, nurture them!

I believe that every baby will sleep through the night when they are ready to. no sense in trying to force her to do something she isnt mentally & emotionally ready to do yet. 
But she does well :) & i dont mind getting up to nurse her. I miss her sweet little peanut face! 

This is how we get through the day. This is what has worked for us. Of course everyday is different & if something needs to change, its totally fine. We are flexible & I dont believe in having a fussy baby just to try & make it to the next "scheduled" nap time. If she needs another nap or feeding, thats ok! 
The important thing is to be flexible and follow your motherly intuition.
Remember, you know your baby best out of anyone. 
& you are doing a great job :)

{Some days/ nights, G needs a little extra nurturing, so these times, we dont force her to sleep in her bed. If im having a really hard time putting her down for a nap, i will simply bring her into our room & lay down with her until she falls asleep. Or at night, if she is waking frequently to nurse or i cant get her to go to sleep, i will bring her into our bed for the night.
So i guess you could say, we practice partial Co sleeping. 
Its important that when practicing any co sleeping that you make your bed a safe environment for your baby. {we use a thinner blanket & have a bed rail on our bed that folds down when not in use}
It is also important that "both" parents are on board with it. 
This is why we practice partial co sleeping. It is important to us that we love & comfort our daughter, but it is even more important that we maintain our relationship as husband & wife. We need our time too!}

 let me know if you have any other questions
& other mamas, please feel free to leave your own advice for other mamas as a comment! 


  1. Thanks for sharing! Very helpful for moms-to-be!!

  2. Great post!! I agree...I think letting your baby make the schedule is best for everyone! :) Alexa will be 9months this weekend and her naps are STILL the same as they were back when she was 3months old. Keep up the good work!

  3. My daughter is 7 mo old and I still swaddle her sometimes when she's really fussy! She has been PROTESTING naps lately- Good tips! Thanks!

  4. I just stumbled across your blog from Pinterest. ha! My husband & I have a 6 week old baby boy, Cash. This post has come to me at the most perfect time in our new life with our new baby. Thank you for the reassurance in how my husband & I are parenting! This is something that I really needed to read! If you ever have the time feel free to check out our blog & to see some Cash cuteness! :)

  5. love reading about baby-led schedules! just found you from Pinterest (though now I can't remember what I was clicking through to see ...) your little G reminds me a lot my my little E. she's 18 months now, and reading this made me miss those sweet baby days. hmm maybe it's time she had a sibling :)