Wednesday, March 26, 2008

In Action: Adjusting Schedule as Needed

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You probably remember that a couple of weeks ago the kids and I were very, very sick. It was bad. Both of the kids lost significant weight (and I only a little, what is that about? ;). For several days, neither child would eat much of anything. Kaitlyn nursed and Brayden drank, but only water or pedialyte.

Several days after they started to feel better, they got their appetites back. They came with a vengeance! Here is where the adjusting schedule as needed comes in. Both kids ate breakfast and lunch at normal times, though they ate extra food. The evening is where they needed their adjustment. Here is the normal schedule for us:

3:30--Kalltyn gets up and nurses and then has independent playtime. She will then eat some finger foods while I make dinner. It usually isn't much, just a snack to hold her over.
4:30--Brayden gets up.
5:00 or 5:30--we eat dinner. Kaitlyn eats food with us. Again, this isn't much--it is basically so she can practice eating, be with us at dinner, and try out "adult" food.
7:00--Kaitlyn nurses and eats baby food.

When the appetite returned for the kids, they had some serious catching up to do. Kaitlyn was down to 18.1 pounds at 11 months old. She weighed more than that at 8 months old. Brayden was down to 31 pounds. Nearly a year ago, he weighed 30.5 pounds. So that gives you an idea how much weight they lost.

Brayden would eat dinner at 5:00/5:30. He would eat a HUGE dinner. He ate about as much as I did. Then, like clockwork, at 7 PM he announced he wanted dinner. The first night he did that, I instinctively within myself thought, "no, you have had dinner." But I quickly thought it through and realized he ate a huge dinner, doesn't ask for food usually, and was likely finally hungry and trying to get his weight back. This was not a case of him not eating dinner when it was time and wanting it later. He would then eat another HUGE dinner at 7. For you LOTR fans, I referred to it as "second dinner." This only lasted 4-5 days, but he has definitely made up for his lost weight. Currently, he is still eating more at meals than he used to, but he isn't eating two meals anymore.

Kaitlyn shifted her schedule basically by having an eating marathon. She ate a lot after independent playtime. She would have a short break between that and dinner, then would eat a lot at dinner. She would then have a short break before her official dinner and eat the normal amount for it (except one night she was too full by the time we got to the last course). Nearly a week ago, she was up to 20.5 pounds, which I was so happy about. She has more make up work to do than Brayden did. She is still eating more, though maybe not as much more.

I post this to assure you that if your child needs you to adjust the schedule for sickness (or something else), you can definitely do it. You are the parent; you always control the schedule. Remember that Babywise is Parent Directed Feeding (PDF). That means that you use your intelligence to decide what is best for your baby at the moment. So don't get discourage during sickness. Sicknesses happen, and happen a lot. Some will disrupt your schedule a lot. Others will come and go with few, if any, disruptions. Don't worry, you can always go back to normal. Remember, your schedule serves you, you don't serve your schedule.


GledBlog said...

I would love some of your advice on our scheudle, night time sleep and on the sleep-eat-wake cycle.

We have been doing babywise since my son was born... He started sleeping through the night at 11 weeks (8 hours). He is 8 months old now and I just decided to drop the third nap (as his wake up time was getting earlier and earlier). He didn't nap yesterday and slept in until 6:30 today (he is usually up at 6)... so we'll keep doing the no third nap thing! His bed time is 8pm and this is the longest night we've ever had - he seems to only need 10 hours at night - is this ok?

His new schedule without the third nap(sleeping/eating only) is:
6.30 - up, 6 oz bottle, downstairs for solids at 7
9 - 10:30 - nap
10:30 - 6oz bottle
1:30 - 2:30 - nap
2:30 - 6oz bottle, solids
5:30 - 6oz bottle
7:30, solids, then 8oz bottle by 8 and to bed

So one issue is that afternoon nap... My son can easily go 3 hours awake with no issue after his morning nap - but then that makes his afternoon nap only one hour. Have you had any experience with feeding prior to that nap? I am so afraid of messing up the sequence because it has worked so well for him. I'd love to extend the length of the afternoon nap, especially now that we aren't doing a third nap - but am not sure how to do it.

Any advice on this would be appreciated - or any other advice on our schedule.

Thanks for your blog - it has been so helpful!


Plowmanators said...

Yes, 10 hours at night is perfectly fine. I would wonder if that waketime before the afternoon nap is too long. 3 hours seems pretty long for the middle of the day for an 8 month old. Have you tried shorter waketime? See this post:

Easy Nap Fix:

Felicia said...

Hi Valerie,
I would love your advice on my Noah's schedule. He is 4 months and here is his schedule:
6:00 nurse
7:15 nap
9:30 bottle (breastmilk)
11:00 nap
1:00 bottle (breastmilk)
2:30 nap
4:30 nurse
6:00 nap
8:00 nurse
9:00 nap
10:30 nurse-dreamfeed
10:45-6:00 sleep, no waking up for last 3 weeks

Of course, I'd love to drop his dreamfeed. He's usually pretty sleepy but still eats for 15 minutes. After reading your blog I realized that I should have probably kept him on a 3 hour schedule but I returned to work when Noah was 9 weeks and didn't want to miss 3 feedings. How can I fix his schedule so that his last feeding is around 9:00 without extending any time b/w his feedings to 4 hours? I don't think he's quite ready for that yet. Also, is he napping too much during the day? His naps are usually about 1.5 hours long. He wakes up for his a couple of daytime naps and wants to play a bit before eating.
Thanks for the help!

Plowmanators said...

First, when he goes down at 9 PM, that would be considered bedtime, not a naptime. So he has four naps a day.

At his age, most are ready to drop the 4th nap (which is at 6 PM for him). If you think he is ready for that, you can do that. See the blog label "dropping naps" for guidance on that.

The only way to push a feeding an hour later without extending time between other feedings at all would be to start the day an hour later.

I would just focus on dropping the dreamfeed if he is ready. See the blog label "dreamfeed" for more with that. Good luck!

nicolewynne said...


My baby is 9 weeks (born 2.5 weeks early) but has been sleeping between 9.5-10 hours a night. We are on a 3 hour schedule, but feed at 2 5 hours starting sometime after 3. Both my husband and I have a cold currently but were slowly working on extending our daughters night time sleep. We think its backfired. She is suddenly waking up in the night. She typically has 4 naps of about 2 hours each during the day. When I look at day sleep averages her day sleep seems very high. But how do we extend that without making her overtired and continuing with the. 3 hour schedule?


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