After weeks of being totally off schedule, hanging out at 3 in the morning, and being exhausted, he finally put himself back on track. I’ve read about “Wonder Weeks” where babies are suddenly much more fussy and become difficult sleepers for a couple of weeks, and he definitely fit the description. Also, people kept telling me to keep him up later so he’ll sleep through the night, and Dylan works later so I wanted to try it out and it completely backfired. He was awake at odd hours and napping way too late in the evening. He is in his crib for bed at 7pm every night now. He sleeps until 7am, waking to eat a couple times during the night. Now that I have figured out his 7 month schedule, he is the happiest baby ever! When he is awake, he’s all smiles and content with everything. This has been such a relief.
His schedule is mainly baby-led. I listen for his cues and write down his sleep and awake times and feeding times for a few days to see the pattern. When he was 5 months old his awake time was 2 hours. This was the longest amount of time he could stay awake (at 3 months it was only 1.5!) Now he is awake for 2 hours until his first nap, 2.5 hours until his second nap, and 3 hours until he goes to bed! The rest of the day is parent-led, I plan walks, story times, swim lessons, independent play times, and other activities when he is awake. Throughout the day (when I remember) we work on saying “Da-da” and “Ma-ma” (he hasn’t said any words but babbles a lot!) He responds to his name and is learning so quickly!
We are currently focusing on reading lots of books. Liam is amazed by his books. When he sees one he immediately crawls and stands to get it. When I read to him, he focuses on everything, on the pages and on my expressions and voice. He makes eye contact with animals and people and anything with eyes. He coos and smiles and gets excited! He even helps me turn the pages. We try to read at least 10 books a day if not more. Most are short baby books, but we have a few long ones that he loves to read too. His toys don’t keep his interest for very long and causing mischief around the house can only go on for so long, so we keep entertained by reading!
After his first nap, I keep all electronics, tv, Facebook, WordPress ;), and my cell phone off or away. (I usually keep my phone on in case Dylan calls or for emergencies, but I don’t use it and it is put away). I am someone who worries all the time so these worrying thoughts can be distracting and when I make an effort to stop worrying and just enjoy the day and relax, I feel so much better (I try to do this all day long, not only during ‘no electronics’ time.) The tv and computer aren’t always on and I’m not always on my phone, but are these distractions ALL put away at the same time for a long period of time every day? I realized that without being conscious, I probably didn’t go more than an hour a day with all electronics put away. Now for about two or so hours everyday, I make sure I turn off the background tv or music even if I’m not watching or listening to it. I don’t use the computer or my phone and I focus on Liam and the animals for the whole time. I enjoy our time together by hanging out in the backyard, going for walks, reading stories, and appreciating all the things in our life. This is so peaceful and one of my favorite parts of the day!
I’ve also began to appreciate breastfeeding more. In the beginning, I was nursing him SO much. Every hour- 1.5 hrs and it was so exhausting! Any minute not breastfeeding was a relief. Now at almost 7 months old, he doesn’t nurse as often and when he does it is for a shorter period of time! I wanted to make this short time we spend together more special. We go to our rocking chair in a quiet area and relax. I keep water with me so there are no distractions or reasons to leave. I just focus on the moment, nurse then burp him, and give him a BIG kiss! I have been nursing him for around 210 days and only have so much longer to go. This has been a very spiritual journey for me because everyday (for 210 days or more) for multiple times a day I’ve had to sit down, relax, and feed my baby for as long as he needed. Whatever I needed or wanted to do at that moment had to wait. Now that I’m not doing this every hour, I can REALLY relax, appreciate and enjoy it (although I did even then anyways). The months keep flying by and soon he won’t be a baby anymore.
Here is his official schedule: (His awake time in the morning varies by a few minutes, he naps 2 hours after he wakes for 2 hours, then is awake for 2.5 hours, naps for 2ish hours, is awake for 3 more hours, then goes to bed 12 hours later from his awake time.)
7am wake up, change diaper, feed and let outside dogs, Jonah, and feed the chicken
730am-830am play time with his dad before he leaves for work
830am-9am read stories/walk, change diaper
9am Nap time in crib for 2 hours.
11am nurse, change diaper, independent play time, walk, read stories
12pm eat lunch(organic, homemade purees), swim lessons
1pm walk, read stories, change diaper
130pm Nap time in crib for 2 hours.
330pm-4pm nurse in dim, quiet room
4pm change diaper, read stories, independent play time
5pm long walk with dogs
6pm eat dinner (organic, homemade purees), feed all animals dinner
Dim all lights, turn off tv/music, put white noise sounds on (plug-in fans, bathroom fans, noise machine, humidifier)
Let Jonah outside at 630pm, he comes home at 630am.
630pm bath time, read stories, lotion, pajamas, say goodnight to the animals and the house
7pm Bedtime in crib.
830pm wakes up to nurse then refuses to be rocked back to sleep and put down in his crib. I lie down with him in my bed for a few minutes until he is asleep, then sneak out to hang out with Dylan! Ha ha 🙂
(He wakes up a couple times in the middle of the night to be re-swaddled or eat, then goes back to sleep.)