She Says… “Working on it”

When I was in school, I was constantly working. Working on schoolwork, working on my a cappella group, working on some artistic endeavor on the side, working on a relationship. When I graduated I was working on getting fit and going to the gym, working on getting a job, working at that job once I got it, working on our fixer-upper house.

When Owen was born I remember “working on” things with him to. Working on stretching feedings to be further apart, working on getting more hours of sleep, working on eating more ounces, working on pumping, working on tummy time. My brain was constantly working, working, working on figuring out our next step or what we “should” be doing.

I love to work. It’s at the very core of my personality — always striving to be better. And while I get great satisfaction out of growing and changing through the work I’m doing, it also has the potential to leave me feeling dissatisfied or frustrated some of the time, when the work isn’t living up to my high expectations.

Recently I realized one of the biggest ways I have grown as a parent (and as a person) in the last few years. Less “working on” things. More appreciating where we are this very second.

With Emmett, I haven’t really “worked on” anything. He just… is. If he’s hungry, he’s hungry. There is no “well, he shouldn’t eat for another hour…”. If he’s sleepy, he’s sleepy, even if he just woke up 30 minutes ago. This clearly isn’t rocket science, but this mental shift is the impetus behind my new laid-back parenting style and it has had a huge impact on my general stress level. Don’t get me wrong, I still have the can’t-stop-won’t-stop-working-on-something side of my personality, I’ve just channeled it into projects like cleaning my office and creating Halloween costumes and making dinners from scratch. Things that, if they happen to get left off of the To Do list for the day, really have no impact on our lives. So I’m still “working on” things, but I’m not sweating if it doesn’t work out.

Despite this lovely zen-ness and acceptance, I think I may have found the first thing I need to “work on” with Emmett. Since he was born I’ve pretty much fed him every 2 hours during the day. In the beginning this was to pack on the pounds… but now I think it’s just habit. It just kind of works — he sleeps for 45 minutes, when he wakes I change his diaper and feed him, then he plays for 45 minutes. Lather, rinse, repeat. Eat, play, sleep. He’s super regular and yawns right at the right times and eats well at the right times. But as I think about sending him to daycare in a few weeks, I’m realizing that he’s probably (definitely) old enough to go longer in between feedings. And probably having a hungrier/fuller tummy will in turn help him consolidate daytime sleep to get some longer naps, which is obviously the direction we should be heading in, as restful, deep sleep is incredibly important for babies. However, I seem to have completely forgotten how this transition went with Owen. And, given his feeding issues at the time, it likely happened differently than it will with Emmett.

When did your children begin to stretch to 3 or 4 hours between feedings? How does that work with their sleep time? Did you try to help this transition along by holding them off from eating if needed, or does it naturally happen even if you’re feeding on demand/more often?


2 responses to “She Says… “Working on it”

  1. My daughter had the same schedule, eat, play sleep. What I noticed as she got a bit older was that the cycle stayed the same (eat, play, sleep) but the length between the feedings go a little longer. So from 2 hours, to 2 hours 15 minutes, to 2 1/2 hours, to 3 hours (closer to 7 or 8 months), then once she started sleeping longer at night she would eat more often during the day, so it went back to about 2 1/2 hours. Since I’m a full time stay at home mom I didn’t try and transition her, she just did it herself.
    If you want to transition him to longer stretches, then I’d say once he wakes up and you change him wait till he fusses for food to feed him, don’t just nurse him because it has been 2 hours, wait until he asks for it. You can also use formula to assist since it can keep him a wee bit fuller for a little bit longer.
    I also remember that once I started solid foods with my munchkin that pushed her eating times to a bit longer as well.

  2. My daughter ate every 1.5-2.5 hrs the first 3 months or so. At 8w she started daycare, and she just slowly extended her feedings out while she was there. Honestly, she ate every 2.5 hrs at 10 / 12:30 / 3 for a long time (as long as she was on 3 naps/day) and didn’t switch to eating at 11 & 3 until she was only napping 2x/day (they usually fed her upon wake-up from nap time at that point, though she wasn’t on a “schedule” by any means – I nursed on demand at home). I found that on her days home with me she would sometimes eat more often, but at daycare she got used to their routine too (3oz bottles every 2.5 hrs or 4 oz bottles every 3.5-4 hours).

    I really didn’t stress about forcing the time between feedings to extend – they just naturally did!

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