KLC: Eating and Sleeping Update

Hi friends!  I just took the very important “What Career Were You Actually Meant For?” test, and guess what?

Career

WHO KNEW?!?

Engineering, schmengineering.  I’ll be a famous blogger some day!  (BTW, I think this is the worst description of me/my aptitude in the history of time.)

KLC is 20 months now, and her eating and sleeping habits have changed quite a bit recently, so I thought (a few of) you would like an update.

Eating

KLC is a decent eater.  She’s not one to eat everything in front of her, but she does eat a variety of healthy foods.  A typical day of eating along with typical foods for her is something like this:

  • Breakfast (right after she wakes up, around 7:30): Plain Cheerios w/ whole milk or Peanut butter and jelly on toast or Steel Cut Oats, Some type of fruit if we have it cut up (watermelon, cantaloupe), Pancakes on Saturdays
  • Snack (around 9?): Whole-Milk Yogurt or Banana or Plain Bread
  • Lunch (depending on nap schedule, either around 11 or after nap): Chicken apple sausage, grapes, hamburgers w/ ketchup, salmon cakes, cheddar cheese, leftovers
  • Dinner (5:30 or so): Whatever we’re having, Noodles w/ cheese, Leftovers, Bread
  • Other Snack (whenever she gets hungry, depending on timing of other meals/snacks): Yogurt, Cheddar Cheese, Banana (usually when out for a walk or at the pool), Bagel, Apple, Raisins
  • Pre-nap and pre-bedtime: Breastmilk

As you can see, one deficiency in her diet is vegetables, and we could definitely cut back on her carb intake.  I don’t worry too much about the vegetables because she does eat them occasionally, especially in sauces.  She was totally scarfing a homemade spaghetti sauce that had big chunks of tomato, carrots, and celery recently (though she wasn’t interested in it when I served it again the next day).  She has also experimented with eating broccoli a time or two.  Also, I heard a really excellent talk by a European pediatrician about feeding solids to kids, and he pointed out that growing kids need lots of calorie-dense, healthy foods.  And vegetables have very few calories.  He wasn’t advocating never giving them vegetables, but he basically said we all need to chill out about it and trust a child to eat what he/she needs while avoiding highly processed and  clearly unhealthy foods.

KLC’s extended breastfeeding also helps reassure me that she’s getting the vitamins and minerals she needs one way or the other. Nursing a 20-month-old is not something I ever imagined I’d do.  One of the things I’ve appreciated about being in the Bahamas is that I don’t have a lot of social pressure to do one thing or the other in my parenting.  My friends aren’t all talking about weaning their toddlers because 1.) I don’t have friends and 2.) The friends I do have don’t have toddlers.  So, since KLC still seems interested in nursing, we have kept on nursing.  I have employed the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” weaning method to get us down to two sessions a day with an occasional bonus session when she seems extremely interested in the morning or afternoon (usually if she’s upset).  Traveling in July and all of our visitors this month have helped get us to this point because KLC continues to be social and interested in the world around her.  I thought nursing might always be her #1 favorite activity from the way she seemed to want it still around 12-15 months, but thankfully she’s finding other interests.

Additional tidbits about KLC’s eating:

  • She drinks 99% water (other than breastmilk).  Occasionally she’ll take a sip of milk or another beverage, but we have intentionally not given her juice to maintain her sugar intake at a reasonable level.
  • It took her until well past a year to drink much water.  She wasn’t that interested in drinking other things when she had mommy milk at her beck and call.  She finally started with a straw cup (we heard the tip of leaving it in the crib overnight with her so she could play with it and figure it out, which seemed to work!), and she’s OK at drinking out of an open cup (if you’re OK with her spills).
  • We try to refrain from giving her processed foods but make exception for a few things as noted above.
  • We don’t offer any sweets or fried foods, but we don’t strictly forbid them or get upset if we find out she’s been offered a cookie in the church nursery.  We also have allowed a french fry once in a blue moon if we’re out to eat.
  • We believe she has an egg allergy, so we either make substitutions or leave them out in recipes and avoid home-baked goods from others’ homes (convenient since we also try to avoid sugar).  We plan to get her tested and are hoping she’ll grow out of this allergy soon because eggs are delicious and make lots of easy meals.

Sleeping

Sometime around June, KLC stopped waking up for a feeding in the middle of the night and slept 11-12 hours straight through.  She had slept through the night off-and-on since she was 6 weeks old (6-8 hrs back then, which was glorious), though she was more off than on.  Now, waking up is the very rare exception, even when we were traveling.  I didn’t mind giving her one feeding per night, which was the norm from 10 months up until around 18 months.  She would nurse and go back to sleep in her crib with minimal fussing.  I was still anxious over whether she was eating enough, so I was more than willing to give her the extra night-time calories.

Despite our best intentions, KLC is a somewhat particular sleeper.  We have two bedrooms in our apartment. Our room has a king-sized bed, and her room has her crib and a futon.  We intended the futon to be the guest bed when needed, but we haven’t been able to find a suitable arrangement of beds and the baby to keep her sleeping through the distraction of a person coming into the room or leaving.  One night, we tried sleeping on the futon in the room with her while giving our guests our room.  When we came in, she woke up and wanted to nurse.  I put her back in the crib, laid down, and then she REALLLLLLY wanted to nurse.  “WHY ARE YOU LEAVING ME HERE WHEN  YOU’RE RIGHT THERE?????”  I nursed her again, put her back in the crib, and slept on the couch.  T stayed in the room and tried his best to act dead so she wouldn’t realize he was there.

Nap time is also usually much, much better lately.  Around 15 months, I finally gave up with 2 naps/day because she hardly EVER took the afternoon nap.  She’d be so tired for the morning nap, would wake up around 11, and then be up for hours and hours and hours until bedtime.  Finally, I started pushing her morning nap later and later, and she did awesome for several months of me nursing her to sleep and then transferring her to the crib for one solid 2-3 hour nap.

And then it stopped working.  I would nurse her to sleep, which took longer and longer, and then lay her down.  And she’d WAKE UP.  and SCREAM.  And NOT GO BACK TO SLEEP.  So I’d have to try it all over again another hour or two later.

Finally, I tried the old “soothe until drowsy and then lay the baby down” method, which had never, ever worked for us.  And it worked. I would soothe her by nursing her for 5-10 minutes until she started closing her eyes.  Then, I would sing or hum “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to signal that I was going to move her.  I would then lay her in the crib, and she’d cry for about 30 seconds, sometimes less.  And then…she rolled over and went to sleep!

Bedtime at night then became a big battle where she never would fall asleep.  SO! After a few weeks of thinking “whatever shall I do?”, I tried the same “soothe until drowsy” routine.  Yeah, it worked again.  And suddenly our bedtime routine length went from 30 mins-3 hrs, depending on the night, to about 30 minutes every night.  I specifically remember when we first started this in June.  We had just been visited by our friend JO, and I was really craving french fries one night.  We had lined up a babysitter, and we were set to go out to a seafood restaurant.  But she would not go to sleep.  We canceled the babysitter, and the guys went out without me while I dealt with a cry-fest.  Why didn’t we try soothing her only until drowsy earlier?  Well, we have found that what works for day sleep doesn’t necessarily work for night sleep.  For some reason I thought night sleep would just be harder or we’d have to find some other trick.  I’m so glad I was wrong on this one.

Sleep isn’t all roses and peace around here now.  It’s still one of the most likely times for her to throw a fit of some sort, especially at night.  She also has had two days where she refused to nap at all, and she occasionally plays in her crib for a full hour before zonking out (she did this today).  And now when we DO have a night waking, who KNOWS what’s wrong.  Two nights ago, she woke up at 3:30 screaming and screaming and wouldn’t go back down until 5.  Please, God, please don’t let that be a new phase.  We felt so helpless.  But still, a baby who takes a fairly regular 2-3 hour nap and sleeps through the night?  I’ll take it, and I hope I’ll be up for whatever the next phase will be as she continues to grow up.  (Just please don’t start climbing out of the crib…I’m not ready for the toddler bed transition.)

If you read this whole post about random mom-baby stuff, I hope it was at least 1% interesting.  Who thinks I’ve got a career cut out for me???

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