I was a little baffled for a while – how do you change their schedule? I would hear that at some point they would go from 3 naps to 2, and I knew that we would eventually start eating more solids and less milk. But how? How do you know when to drop a feeding, when to feed them more or less? How do you know when to drop a nap, or change a nap time?
Turns out it’s easy actually – because they know what they want and they tell you. All you have to do is pay attention and listen to what they are telling you. And the schedules gradually shift and settle into a new pattern as you follow their cues.
Around 10 months old they started to shift to 2 naps. We would put them down for that third nap and they would just lay in there and play and talk. So once that started to seem like the consistent pattern, then we stopped trying for the third nap. I think my kids hung on to that third nap longer than most. But now that they are just taking 2 naps, the naps are usually longer. Usually. And the two naps usually start a bit later. Around 9:30 or 10:00, and then around 2:30 or so. Sometimes they still get put in their cribs later, at the time that they might have had that third nap. It’s not with the expectation that they’ll sleep, but sometimes they just seem to want a little quiet time – they get fussy, and maybe a little overstimulated. And after 20 or 30 minutes of quietly talking or playing in the crib, they seem refreshed and ready to be social again.
(but not always – the last few days I think we’re either fighting a cold or teething. Or maybe both. They’ve been ready for those naps earlier than usual).
As far as feeding goes – we are now nursing just 3 or 4 times a day. This reduction in nursing isn’t at all driven by me. I follow their cues and let them nurse when they want do. They always nurse when they wake up in the morning and before bed at night, and in the middle of the afternoon. The feeding that sometimes doesn’t happen is the mid morning one. It depends on how long their morning nap is. If they have a long nap and don’t wake until close to noon, then they go straight to lunch. Up until recently they were nursing before going down for their morning nap, but they both decided at the same time that they weren’t interested in that. They just want to go to bed. Even if we try to offer them a bottle at that time, they’re not interested. So they seem to decide for themselves how much milk they want. I think this is because we have always kept the milk/nursing as just for food – not for soothing or comforting. They’re very good at comforting themselves in other ways and I’ve never started the habit of offering to nurse them if they are upset but not hungry. So, I guess as they are eating more solid food and needing less milk for nourishment, they are naturally nursing less. Soon – after a year old when they can have whole milk – we will gradually move away from the daytime nursing, and let them have milk in cups with their meals, and we will just continue with the morning and evening nursing for a while longer.
They eat usually 4 solid meals a day – breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. It’s so easy now because they are mostly feeding themselves, and they basically eat what we eat for dinner. If we are eating something really spicy then I will make something separate for them. Also occasionally if we are eating something not very healthy (shame on us!), or very messy that I don’t feel like cleaning up. But most of the time they just get cut up pieces of whatever we’re having. We occasionally still spoon feed them mashed up veggies, because they seem to prefer their veggies that way, instead of in whole pieces. And they love getting bites off of our forks – everything tastes better from a big fork. For lunch they eat great stuff like tofu, garden burgers, cheese, beans, organic chicken – healthy stuff. Breakfast is the only meal that we regularly still spoon feed them – cereal and yogurt. They like it, and get angry if you don’t shovel it fast enough. They also have some finger food with their breakfast – either pieces of toast, or some healthy pancakes that I make (organic buckwheat, tofu, and sometimes some squash or sweet potato or apple or banana – or a combination. Sounds strange, but actually they taste very good), or scrambled egg.
So here’s the schedule (at almost 12 months old!):
· Any time between 6:00 and 7:30 – wake up and nurse
· 8:00 am – breakfast
· ~ 9:30 – nap
· 11:00 – nurse or bottle (if wake from nap early)
· 12:00 – lunch
· ~1:30 or 2:00 – nurse or bottle
· ~2:30 – nap
· 5:00 – snack
· 7:00 – dinner
· 8:30 – nurse and then bed
They still usually sleep all through the night in their own beds. We’ve had a few interrupted nights lately, I think because of teething. They have taken turns either waking up crying in the night, or waking up earlier than normal. They both have just cut through another tooth (Danny now has 7, Callie has 6). Sometimes if one wakes up a little too early for us, then we get that one in bed and we all go back to sleep. But otherwise they sleep on their own.
Ok, so that’s probably all bored you. But maybe somebody likes to know.