This is something that I’d usually write about in Jenson’s monthly updates but as we all know I can be a little hit or miss with those. A month may not seem like a long time but so much can happen and quite often I forget about Jenson’s changes early on in the months and focus more on where he’s at at the time of writing.
So with that in mind I wanted to share a huge change in Jenson’s routine that we’ve had. I’m really hoping that these changes are here to stay and even continue to improve but do pop back in a couple of weeks for his 7 month update as it may be too good to be true!
When I wrote his 6 month update he was having 5 bottles of 6 ounces during the day plus 2-3 bottles of 6 ounces during the night and 3 meals during the day. That’s a whopping 8 bottles totalling 48 ounces plus 3 meals when the recommended amount for him was only 20-25 ounces of formula a day! Now I know that guidelines are only guidelines and every baby is different but I did feel that having double the amount of formula and still waking 3 times in the night wasn’t working for us!
I made a few changes and within a couple of days they had such a positive impact and I just had to share them with you guys! Of course we’re not 100% there yet; Jenson isn’t sleeping through the night but when you read his new routine you’ll see it’s a huge improvement and I’m hoping we’re heading in the right direction!
1 – Massage and quiet time
I took part in the JOHNSON’S 3 step bedtime routine (this post is not associated) and as part of that I introduced both baby massage and quiet time to our evening routine. This seemed to really calm Jenson before bedtime which although didn’t make a huge difference to his sleep initially (see post here) it did help him to settle for longer and made the bedtime routine so much more enjoyable for both of us.
2 – Giving milk at beginning of routine
One piece of advice that I was given from the JOHNSON’S bedtime sleep app was to give Jenson his last bottle of the evening at the beginning of the bedtime routine rather than using it to get him off to sleep. On nights that I give Jenson a bath, I give him his bottle straight after before I give him a massage and get him dressed and on the nights that he doesn’t have a bath he has it after his dinner before we go upstairs to start the bedtime routine.
This has worked really well for a few reasons. Firstly, when I lay him in bed he drifts off without a bottle; he does have a dummy but some nights he’s so full and tired that he simply drifts off whilst looking at the stars projected on the ceiling. This means that when he wakes in the night he’s less likely to need a bottle to get back off to sleep and usually popping his dummy back in his mouth works.I know this is still a sleep association but it’s a quicker one that making a bottle and feeding him. Secondly; because he’s having his bottle before I put his nappy on for bed he tends to have a wee first meaning he’s less likely to wake up from a full nappy during the night. Lastly; Jenson has never really needed burping but he does occasionally get a bit gassy after his bottle and this used to make him wake up soon after finishing his bottle. Giving him his bottle earlier gives him a chance to digest it and get up any burps he needs to before I lay him down.
4 – Spreading out feeds
We were so stuck in a routine of daytime feeds every 3 hours that it was no wonder he was then continuing the pattern and waking every 3 hours during the night. Quite often, even if he wasn’t showing any signs of being hungry I’d make him a bottle anyway, so I decided to try and spread his bottles out a bit more. This has definitely had a knock on effect in the evenings as he now goes longer between night feeds!
5 – Offering food first
Because I was offering bottles every 3 hours Jenson wasn’t getting hungry enough to eat food. Alongside spreading out his bottles a bit more I started to offer him food first so that he’d realise food could replace milk (to an extent) and he’s now started eating proper meals rather than the odd mouthful here and there.
6 – Introducing a cup
This is still a work in progress but I’ve started to introduce a sippy cup for Jenson’s water during meals times. He still has a bottle for his main feeds but I’m planning to switch those out slowly so that he won’t associate them with comfort and wake for them in the night. I’m not majorly fussed by this one as Jasper used a bottle at bedtime up until recently (almost 3 years old) and that was fine by me but I’m kind of experimenting and wondering if this will work.
Now I know that on their own none of these changes have made a huge impact but collectively, they’ve done wonders and helped Jenson to get into the following routine:
Wake between 6:30-7:30
8:00am 7oz bottle
10:00am Nap 1-2 hours
1:00am 7oz bottle
2:00am Nap 1 hour
6-6:30am 7oz bottle
So to summarise, he’s having 3 7oz bottles spread out at 5 hourly intervals; he’s also having 3 large meals, normally a whole food pouch and some snacks and he’s having a long morning nap and a shorter afternoon nap. He’s not sleeping through the night yet but for the past few nights he’s dropped from 3 night feeds to 2 and last night he went 6.5 hours straight which was blooming wonderful!
I know there’s still a way to go but I’m loving the more structured routine in the day and the longer stretches of sleep during the night. Having breakfast, lunch and dinner timings makes it easier to plan our days without taking a load of bottles in my changing bag and Jenson eating so much more is really helping him to feel fuller for longer!
How is your little one sleeping? If you have any tips or advice I’d to know and I hope that you can take something from this to help your little one (and you) get some more sleep!
Thanks for reading,