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Creating routines in chaos

It's been about a month since my last post and WOW how things have changed. My husband and I have been working from home since March 12th and our schedules have been totally flipped upside down. In the absence of a specific schedule, it has made me realize that in general, Taylor hasn't had much of a routine established to help him navigate each day. This has made the last few weeks pretty challenging for my husband and I - we have a 9 month old who isn't napping regularly or in the same place every day, who is still eating mostly formula and on demand, who struggle to go down at the end of the day, and who consistently wakes up at least 3 times a night - more recently, we've been spending hours awake in the middle of the night.

My concern is that we're overfeeding him throughout the day to help him get through nap time and into bed at the end of the day and that once he is down, its causing him discomfort in the middle of night as well as making him feel like he needs to be feeding throughout the night since he has that "routine" throughout the day. Additionally, I worry that the lack of routine is making it difficult for Taylor to anticipate and prepare for what's coming next, including bed time.

I know we have a gassy baby, so that's something we're trying to work on separately, but my hope is that by "limiting" formula throughout the day and replacing it with proper meal times along with a routine schedule, we will finish the day with a baby who is happy, full but not overfed and who is mentally ready to get some sleep.

As of yesterday, we've start implementing a routine that looks something like this:

7am: wake up and feed formula (4oz)

8am: breakfast - protein + high energy + fruit/veggie

9am: formula (4oz) and nap time

11 am: wake up and feed formula (4oz)

12pm: lunch - protein + high energy + fruit/veggie

1pm: formula (4oz) and nap time

3pm; wake up and feed formula (4oz)

4pm: snack

5pm: dinner - protein + high energy + fruit/veggie

6:15-6:30pm: start bedtime routine; formula (6-8oz)

7pm: asleep

His first day of meals was really exciting for me to plan and prepare. I referenced the book Born to Eat which provides guidance of portions and a list of foods that are high protein, high energy, and fruit/veggies. You pick one from each category to ensure they have a balanced meal. This took the stress out of choosing what he would be eating and inspired me to get creative! Yesterday alone, Taylor ate salmon, green beans, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, blueberries, and pineapple!

He went down easily for his first nap, but actually skipped his second nap (maybe due to all the new high energy foods??). I was worried he wouldn't be able to make it until bedtime, but we slowed things down for the remainder of the day and read books, slowly made our way through dinner, gave him a bath and finished the evening with to rounds of his favorite book, Steam Train Dream Train with little fuss. By 6:30pm, he was wiped, and instead of risking an over-tired baby, we decided that this was a sufficient bedtime and put him down. He was asleep IMMEDIATELY. It was amazing! Normally, Taylor requires about 40 minutes from the time we get him in his crib until when he is actually asleep.

He still woke up twice last night, but it was all due to gas and once we were able to clear that, he was much better and went right back to sleep with little fuss.

It's still too early to say for sure how this new routine is going, but what I can say is that it was immensely helpful for my husband and I and at the end of the day, we had a happy baby who was ready to go sleep and who required way less resources last night than nights prior. I wish we had prioritized this sooner, but now that we're home for the foreseeable future, I plan to stick with it!

How have you established routines for your baby? Any advice you'd recommend to other?

Love, Linny

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