Sharing a 5 month Olivia update with details about how she’s sleeping and what our typical daily schedule looks like.
Whoa! I just realized that my last Olivia update was my newborn essentials post back in January! Time has flown by and it’s hard to believe that Olivia is almost 6 months old now. She’ll be 6 months in one week, on May 8th.
These last few months have been such a journey… from open heart surgery and feeding issues to a sweet, smiling babe that loves eating, playing and going on walks. We’re so in love with her and we’ve been soaking up all the little moments, especially during this quarantine. She’s brought so much joy to our lives.
The question I get asked most about Olivia, besides the standard “How’s she doing?” is “How’s she sleeping?”. It’s the question everyone always asks new parents, right? “How’s ______ sleeping?” It’s a genuine question, but it can also be annoying, especially if your baby isn’t sleeping well. Our circumstances with Olivia have been a bit different since she didn’t come home from the hospital until she was 3 weeks old. She was also on a feeding tube until she was about 2 months.
To be honest, we were in full-on survival mode during those first two-three months and although we followed a feeding schedule (feeding every 3 hours…even throughout the night) it felt crazy because we weren’t able to listen to her hunger cues (she didn’t have them). The feeds were long and we were holding her upright to prevent reflux. She was also having trouble gaining weight, being weaned from pain meds and overall, just recovering from open heart surgery. I need to write a full post on our breastfeeding journey, but long story short, things have settled down quite a bit and she has more of a typical routine now.
So when it comes to sleep, I did a few things to prepare. First, I took the Little Z’s newborn sleep course and read the Mom’s on Call book. The course was a great foundation to learn about baby sleep patterns, as well as, tips and tricks for soothing, while the Mom’s on Call book was super helpful for setting up a schedule and routine.
We never purchased a bassinet so from the beginning Olivia has slept in her nursery and she started sleeping long stretches (like 6-8 hours) at night around 2 months, when she came off the feeding tube and started taking bottles. But each night was a little different and we were going in her room a lot to soothe and/or pop her paci back in her mouth. We also used the Nested Bean swaddles for the first few months and loved them!
When Olivia was about 2 months old, we upgraded to a Nanit monitor and it’s been a total game-changer. I love that Isaac and I can both have the monitor on our phones and that we can access it even when we’re out of the house (not that we’re going anywhere right now). We also really like having the breathing band to monitor her breathing throughout the night.
I personally love getting the little summary each morning and watching the videos. The insights were especially helpful in the beginning, on the nights that were a complete blur and neither of us could remember who went into her room to soothe and when.
Now, she consistency sleeps 9-11 hours every night without us having to go into her room to soothe. There will be an occasional night where we might have to go in, but they are few and far between. Bedtime is between 7:30-8:00PM and she usually wakes up between 6:00-7:00AM.
That said, just remember that every baby is different! We are following our schedule pretty strictly… which I’m sure has been helpful, but I think we’ve also been blessed with a good sleeper. My parents always said I was an amazing sleeper as a baby so I think she might take after me.
Since the beginning I’ve tried to follow the typical schedule(s) outlined in the MOC book, but I’d say we’ve been really following it for about 2 1/2 months and we’ve tweaked it a bit to make it work for us. Of course, every day isn’t exactly the same and we listen to Olivia’s cues.
I should also note that Olivia is almost 6 months old, but we’re still following the 4 month MOC schedule, mostly because it’s still working for us and we haven’t introduced solids yet. I’m not sure when we’ll introduce them. I’m going to ask about it at our next pediatrician appointment and see what her doctor has to say. I also want to do a little research about baby led weaning to see if that makes sense for us.
So with all that said, here’s what a typical day looks like for us right now:
Most days Olivia wakes up and gets out of her crib around 6:30AM. Occasionally she will stir earlier, (like 5:30AM) and if this happens we usually go in to soothe her and see if she’ll go back to sleep for another hour or so. Most of the time this works.
When it’s time to get up, Isaac usually goes in to get her, changes her diaper and brings her to me so I can breastfeed her. Sometimes I feed her laying in my bed and other times I take her downstairs and feed her while watching the news. After eating, I get some coffee and she plays for a bit until she gets tired and is ready for her morning nap.
Like clock-work, she starts to get fussy around this time. We go up to her room, I rock her for about 5 minutes and then transfer her into the crib. Sometimes she’s fully asleep when we do the transfer, but we’ve been trying to put her in the crib when she’s just starting to get drowsy so she will get used to falling asleep on her own. Most of the time she sleeps for about one hour with this nap.
For this feed, I usually nurse her again but sometimes we give her a bottle. Because of reflux (which is sooo much better now!), we still keep her upright for about 20-30 minutes after she eats. She loves to hang out in her bouncer during this time, but we can also hold her or sit her upright with assistance. She plays until nap time.
She’s usually showing signs of being tired around 11:15AM and goes down for her nap easily. We do the same routine of rocking her for a few minutes before putting her in the her crib. This nap is usually around 1 1/2 hours. If she’s still sleeping around 1:00PM… we go into her room and gently wake her up.
With the MOC method, they say not to let the baby nap over 1 1/2 hours at this stage. If they sleep longer, it will likely affect their nighttime sleep. We follow this, but also give it a little wiggle room. Most of the time she does wake up on her own, right on schedule!
For this feed, I either nurse her or she takes a bottle. It just depends on the day and how busy I am with work.
We do the same routine for this nap as the others. And this tends to be her longest nap of the day, around 1 1/2-2 hours. If she’s still sleeping at 4… we go into her room and gently wake her up so she can eat.
For this feed, I either nurse her or she takes a bottle. She was mostly doing bottles at this feed, but lately she’s been nursing more.
Most afternoons, especially since being quarantined, we go for a walk around this time. Sometimes the walk is short, just around the block and other times it’s 2-3 miles. It all depends on what we have going on and what we’re in the mood for. For these walks, we’ll occasionally put Olivia in the stroller, but most of the time I carry her in the Ergo baby carrier. I love my Solly Baby wraps for indoor use, but I like using the baby carrier for longer walks because it’s more supportive. I also prefer to use the baby carrier over the stroller because I get a little bit of an extra workout. It’s almost like wearing my weighted vest.
This is one part of MOC that I wasn’t so sure about because I thought giving her a bath every night seemed like a lot. To be honest, it was at first, but once we got into the routine of it, it got much easier. Giving her a bath only takes about 15 minutes from start to finish and she really enjoys being in the tub. Once she’s out I take her upstairs and put her on her play mat while I lotion her up and get her pjs on.
The timing of the last feed just depends on her hunger level. Sometimes she’s ravenous come 7:00PM and other times we have a bit of time to play and read books before we feed her. We pretty much always give her a bottle before bed and this is something that they recommend in MOC. It’s helpful for a couple reasons 1) If mom ever wants to go out at night, baby is able to take a bottle from someone else at night. And 2) You know exactly how much milk the baby is getting so you can be sure they’re eating enough to keep them satisfied throughout the night.
After eating, Olivia is usually drowsy and ready for bed, so we rock her and she falls right to sleep. If not, I’ll read her a few books before rocking her. It would be ideal to feed her, read and then put her in her crib for bed, but because of her reflux we hold her upright for the 20-30 minutes and rock her to sleep. Her reflux is so much better now so we’ve slowly been cutting back the time we hold her upright and hopefully soon we’ll be able to put her in the crib when she’s drowsy, but not fully asleep. That said, I love rocking her before bed so I know I’ll miss it.
After she goes to bed, Isaac and I eat dinner and hang out with each other for a bit before putting ourselves to bed. Then we wake up and doing it all over again. 🙂