Where has the time gone? Emilia is already 7 months old!
She is quite the firecracker of a baby, has a huge personality, and definitely keeps us on our toes. I’ll be honest at the beginning adding a second to our family was really hard. It was definitely hard adjusting to splitting my time between two kiddos when one clearly needed more attention than the other. With Nicholas not talking it makes it even harder to know if he really understood what was going on at the time, and all the mom guilt would creep in.
We made a point in the beginning to take Nicholas out on special outings just for him, get a baby sitter for the afternoon and just spend time with him. His grandparents take just him to go do things often and I think this has really helped me feel better about things overall. Now that Emilia is older and finding some indepence, on a nap schedule, and we’re falling into a smoother routine a lot of that guilt has dimished.
As I’ve talked about before pretty openly, we were struggling quite a bit with getting Emilia on a solid sleep schedule. She was not sleeping through the night and would only nap in twenty minute increments if we set her down. After her 6 month appointment I decided I was going to take a more straight forward approach to sleep training and really just let her try to figure things out on her own. This is what I did:
1. For naps: I watched for signs of tiredness aka fussiness, yawning, rubbing her eyes etc. and would just take her to her room, turn the sound machine on, set her down, and walk away. The first day she cried for about 10 minutes then fell asleep and took about an hour and a half nap. By the third day she was no longer crying to fall asleep for naps.
2. We changed her feeding schedule: we started solids for one thing AND we changed how we were doing it. I was breastfeeding then waiting an hour and giving her some purees, or smashed up random foods to try. I wasn’t thinking of her solids as a meal. BIG MISTAKE. Our pediatrician told me to aim for 100-150 calorie meals for her 3 times a day and space it to be at or around the same times we breastfeed. This is what our schedule looks like:
7:00 AM Wake up, breastfeed
7:30 AM Breakfast
10:00 AM Wake from nap, breastfeed
11:00 AM Lunchtime
1:00 PM Wake from nap, breastfeed
2:00 PM Snack (puffs, teething crackers, etc)
4:00 PM Breastfeed
5:00 PM Dinner
7:00 PM Bedtime bottle
3. Nighttime Sleep: I stopped getting up as soon as I heard her cry. This is hard for some parents to imagine doing, and honestly even though Emilia is our second and we’ve gone through this method before it was harder with her. She cries louder, and sounds much more upset about it than Nicholas ever did. We of course watched her in the monitor and paid attention to see if she did need us, but at the end of the day she really didn’t so we let her cry herself back to sleep if she did wake up. She was waking around 12 AM and 2 AM every night. I used to go in and breastfeed her both times because it was quick getting her to fall back asleep. The first night it took her about an hour to fall back asleep the first time, and she did not wake a second time. By the fourth night of not going in to feed her she was down to waking the once and back asleep within ten minutes. We have now been doing this for three weeks, and she does not wake anymore.
These first seven months have been challenging, happy, tired, exciting, fun, and filled with love. I think the first year with any child is a huge learning curve; you’re nurturing a child’s confidence, happiness, and life. It takes a lot of work, but I truly believe it’s some of the best work out there.