Six months with Jack is so much fun! He can sit up on his own. He smiles constantly. He giggles. He’s easy-going. We can take him to lunch or dinner. He’s sleeping well (and finally becoming a better napper!). And he’s just stinkin’ cute. I wish I could bottle him up right now! On top of all that… in the last month or so, we’ve really fallen into such a great little routine. As I mentioned briefly in my last post, Andy and I have never been about sticking to a rigid schedule with Jack. Instead we have always simply followed his cues which lends itself to a daily routine that is fairly flexible, and have found that this works well for us. We’ve always talked about how we want Jack to be flexible and go-with-the-flow, and he really is just that. (…maybe we just lucked out with an easy baby! haha.) I am definitely still learning as I go along and am by no means an expert, but I thought I’d share a bit about what has worked for us so far, particularly in the last month or so, and what our days have been lookin’ like! I’m just really enjoying this phase… especially because I know that, just like everything, things will change and before we know it we’ll be onto the next phase… and the next and the next.
Nowadays, the most important thing I do is pay attention to his AWAKE TIME. I picked up this tip after reading this blog post by a sleep expert and it’s really been a game-changer for us and is pretty spot on for Jack. In general, I know that he can go about 2-2.5 hours before needing a nap, and anywhere from 2-3 hours MAX after his last nap before bedtime. Awake times are super important, as is picking up on his hunger cues obviously. He usually goes anywhere between 3-4 hours between feeds. By following these general guidelines, I can usually catch him before he gets too tired or too hungry… which overall makes for a happy baby!
This is what a day in the life of six month old Jacky boy looks like…
7:00am-ish: We start our day! Jack usually wakes up sometime around 7am. Sometimes a bit before. If he wakes up a little bit early, we let him chat in his crib until 7am. We try not to go in before then! If he wakes up too early (like 5:30) I’ll go in and quickly give him his paci and hope and pray that he’ll go back until 7ish haha! Once we hit that 7am mark, Andy or I will go in and get him, change his diaper, and feed him a bottle! We’ve gotten into a nice routine where Andy typically does the morning feed. He likes to have this time with Jack before he leaves for training (and it means I get a few more minutes in bed!). After he has his bottle, those two hang out and play in the kitchen while Andy makes his breakfast. 🙂
8:00am-ish: Breakfast! *Since we’ve started introducing solids, we try to give Jack 2 meals a day. This could be breakfast and dinner. Or lunch and dinner. Depending on what our day looks like!
9:00-10:30am-ish: Jack goes down for his first nap. This is usually the longest of his naps. An hour and a half is ideal! But definitely doesn’t always happen. If he wakes up early from this nap, I leave him for a few minutes to see if he’ll go back or I may go in and give him his paci if he still seems sleepy!
10:30am-ish: When he wakes up from his nap, he is ready for a bottle. And then we play!
12:30-1:30pm-ish: His second nap of the day. This one usually isn’t quite as long. Maybe 45 minutes to an hour. Or if the first nap was a short one, maybe this one will be bit longer. All just depends on the day!
1:30pm-ish: Bottle. And then playtime! On a lot of days, we’ll all head out to run errands, get coffee, etc. when Andy gets home from training.
4:00-4:30pm-ish: His third and final nap of the day! This nap is really meant to just be a 30 minute-ish catnap (luckily jack is a pro at this 😉) to help him make it to bedtime! I try not to let this one happen after 5:30pm, as then it can kinda interfere with bedtime.
4:30pm-ish: Bottle. And then playtime! Or if we’re going out to dinner, we’ll go around 5ish (early-bird special ;)) because we know he’s happy and fed! And then that way we are home for bathtime & bed by 7:30ish.
6/6:30pm-ish: Dinner. This is usually around the time that Andy and I will have dinner, and now that Jack’s started solids, it is so fun to have him sit in his highchair at the table with us and eat a little dinner too! He loves it.
7:00pm-ish: After dinner, it’s usually straight into the bath. Before we introduced solids, we usually did a bath every other night… but now that we’ve got a messy little eater on our hands bath have become a nightly ritual 😉 and it’s a great routine. Plus he loves the bath and it really helps him relax before bed. After bathtime, we go into his room, put lotion on, a fresh diaper, pjs, + sleep sack.
7:15pm-ish: His last bottle of the night in his room. After I feed him, we cuddle for a few minutes 🙂 and then I put him down in his crib awake.
7:30pm-ish: Bedtime. Anytime between 7 and 8 is ok for Jack depending on what time he woke up from nap #3 and just picking up his cues and how tired he seems on that particular day!
*As much as I wrote times here, we really don’t stress too much about what time he goes down for naps, eats, etc. But instead, as I said before, pay more attention to awake time. As soon as he wakes up from a nap, i note what time it is… that way i can kinda have an idea when his next nap will be (in 2-2.5 hours from then!). But generally things end up happening in and around these times… ish!! 😉 Every day is a little bit different and that’s ok for us!*
A few things other things that I’ve learned along the way…
-Yes, bedtime and naptime routines are key. And when I’m home, I’m always consistent about this and as a result he knows what to expect. But, at the same time, I don’t lock myself in my house all day. Which sometimes means napping on the go… and that’s ok! It may mean his wake time is a bit longer because let’s be honest, we’re out and about and he doesn’t want to miss a thing ha! Or that his nap isn’t as long. All I do is carry on and try to get back on track with the next nap. The most important thing is getting in a nap whenever and wherever you can to avoid overtiredness.
-The timing of the third nap is key. And like I said, can be tricky! If it’s a bit earlier than usual, then we will push bedtime up a bit keeping his wake time in mind to ensure he doesn’t get too tired! So say, for example, his third nap of the day is from 3:30-4pm, then we will make sure bedtime is around 7pm that night so as not to exceed that three hour wake time window! We’re also starting to get to that stage where he fights this nap on some days… I’m sure at some point in the next few months he’ll be ready to drop this nap! But for now, we’re sticking with it so he isn’t falling asleep in his highchair by dinnertime haha.
-The Sprout App… get it!!! Since Jack was born, I have found it helpful to track what time he eats and sleeps throughout the day (you think you’ll remember and then you don’t! must be mom brain). And this app makes it soooo easy! And then at any time throughout the day, I can just quickly open the app to see how long it’s been since his last nap or feeding and know what’s coming next! This app keeps me on my mom game 😉
So there ya have it! What our days have been looking like as of late. I’m definitely enjoying these days and the routine we’ve been in, especially because I know it will change!!! In fact, I can already feel things changing slightly with nap times (that third nap is starting to become a battle!) and feedings (he’s definitely wanting more and more food/solids and not quite as much milk!). Looks like it’s almost time to adjust! Any other mamas feel like just when you get a hang of things and get in a good rhythm, things change?! Oh, motherhood 🙂