Casual Friday: Polly’s Sleeping, Eating and Schedule at 6 Months old

February 2, 2018

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Polly turned 6 months old yesterday and I found myself wishing I could enjoy her getting one month older while not trying to swallow the lump in my throat. Every day, I tell Chris, I wish I could pause time. Everything feels so perfect right now. 

I’ve learned, I’m a baby person. Parents will often tell you I love ___ (insert a certain age). And I love infants. I’m good with little babies. I strangely love those first hard months of figuring out sleeping schedules and nursing around the clock and where I just feel like I’m bonding with a little tiny person all day long. I feel important and loved–isn’t it amazing how much love a baby gives?

Polly just started reaching for me, and, ugh–it’s the sweetest thing in the world every time. 6 months is the best age, isn’t it?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about her sleeping and schedule and eating–because 6 months also brings about a lot of changes: the introduction to solids, the transition to 2 naps, the sudden disinterest in nursing?! Well, that one was new to me and, to be honest, I’m struggling a little bit on that front.

My older two girls nursed for an entire year, never wanting a bottle–which felt hard in its own right. But for the past 2 weeks, Polly has become disinterested in nursing, only snacking here and there–pulling off frequently. The strike has made her cranky between feedings, up at night multiple times and I found myself googling, “how do you know if you’re producing enough milk?”…while trying to swallow that lump in my throat again–because I kind of knew. All signs pointed to me not producing enough milk for Polly anymore. I don’t know why this time is different. Or why it has declined. But one day I gave her a bottle of formula just to see and she guzzled it and took a solid nap and so now we’re in the the process of weaning. It’s not what I expected, but I would never risk her losing those rolls over me trying to hold onto nursing longer. Not worth it.

At 6 months, we also have transitioned from the 3 naps she was taking to 2 longer naps. Her daily schedule looks like this now:

8am: Nurse/(This will eventually be replaced by a bottle but I still wake up engorged.)

9:15am: Breakfast! Polly has one jar of baby food. Usually prunes, bananas or sweet potatoes.

10am-12pm: Morning Nap

Noon: Bottle

1 pm: Lunch! She usually has a few bites of baby food here. Some days she’s not hungry but still likes playing with a spoon.

2-4pm: Afternoon Nap

4pm: Nurse/ (eventually will be replaced by a small Bottle)

6pm: Bath/Bottle/In her bed (crib) by 6:30pm.

And then, yes. She normally sleeps until 7:30-8am. Remember, sleep is kind of my thing. I need it and I make it a priority for our girls, too. They are happier–everyone is happier–when they are well rested. I honestly have been hesitant to share our in-depth routine because the last time I shared something about it, I feel like I may have made some moms feel lesser because their babies aren’t sleeping. I never want to do that. This is what we do. This is what we have done with all three of our girls and they are all really good sleepers. If it isn’t your thing or wouldn’t work for your family, then do what will work for you and your family. You know what’s best.

We start putting all of our babies on a schedule as soon as their umbilical cords fall off and they can take a real bath. Every night. It’s the mark of another 24 hours passing. It’s the signal, now it’s time for you to sleep your longest stretch! It doesn’t happen overnight, but a warm bath, followed up by a lotion massage (lavender lotion is really nice, but Polly has extremely sensitive skin so she gets Renew lotion and it works, too) eventually leads to a full night sleep. I’m a believer in cluster feeding before bed, too. When they are younger, that might look like nursing (or bottle feeding) an hour before bedtime and then after bath, too. Now that Polly is 6 months old, you see that I still feed her back-to-back before bed. It helps her tummy to stay nice and full.

After her bath, no matter the age, we don’t talk to the baby. The lights are dim, I actually normally nurse her in the dark for that last feeding, using only my phone’s flashlight face down so I can see a little bit of what’s going on. I turn on her sound machine (another sleep signal we use from day 1) and lay her in her crib still awake, but definitely drowsy. She goes on her side immediately these days, grabs her pacifier and zonks for the night.

Did you do any sleep training?

Yes. At around 4 months old, there’s a natural sleep regression in almost all babies. Polly went through it. Faye went through it. Greta went through it. With our first, Greta, we suffered for almost two months, waking up with her all through the night and rocking her and nursing her back to sleep before our pediatrician said there was no reason our 6 month old needed to eat–she needed to sleep! She was a healthy baby with lots of delicious rolls and he recommended we look into sleep training.

My friend, Molly, recently wrote a whole post about how they sleep trained their 6 month old, Arlo (he’s ADORABLE!) and I recommend reading that and the follow up Q&A post. They hired a professional sleep trainer to assist them on what to do.

But here’s what we did at 4.5 months–we let Polly cry. She cried for 15 minutes the first night. Then she slept until 4:30 am, I nursed her and she slept until 8. For naps, it was the same. And by night 3, there was no more crying and all the sleeping and she eventually dropped that 4:30am feeding. I remember Faye cried for longer. But we’d go in every 15 minutes, never talk to her or look her in the eye, but rub her back and tickle her head and it took about a week for her to learn to self soothe. Faye never took a pacifier or sucked her thumb and I think that that was a factor in it being harder for her to learn to self soothe.

Besides the nitty gritty details of schedule and sleeping and eating, which, c’mon, has felt like my full time job for the past 6 months, Polly is the sweetest caboose we could ever ask for. I think she might end up being our tallest one day. She’s long and chubby like Greta was, but quiet and observant like Faye. Her favorite place is just sitting on my lap with one hand on my hand. Occasionally she’ll look back at my face and I’ll kiss her forehead. Her eyes will follow me as I leave a room and she doesn’t like that very much. She’s very into rolling across a whole room, is learning to sit up and has brought her knees under her a lot, but no crawling yet (thank goodness!). 6 months with Polly has been a dream.

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What do you think?

  1. Kate says:

    Hi there – thanks so much for sharing! With a real little one (7 weeks) I’m curious to know if after putting Polly down at 6pm did you continue to feed her every three hours? So up again at 9pm, 12am, etc.? If so, I imagine those feedings were just feedings (low lighting, etc.) and then right back down? Also, did you use this quiet, low light technique for naps at that young age too? Huge thanks!

    • Julia says:

      Let me think back to that age. I would cluster feed before putting her down. So feed her and then read books, bath and an hour later feed her again and she would start going longer stretches. I never woke her to feed her in the night, and she’d eventually stretch longer and longer. For night feedings, I didn’t even turn on a light–I just used my phone flashlight, facing down on her dresser. Changed her diaper really fast (no talking. no looking at her), fed her and laid her back down. For naps, we still do blackout curtains, totally quiet with the sound machine.

  2. Anna says:

    Thanks for sharing your schedule! New mom here, and I love the real talk about daily routines. Could you share how your schedule changed from 2 weeks to one month, and so on? Curious how things shifted over time.

  3. Lindsey Stonehart says:

    I love your posts about your girls! I have my own almost 5 month old and she has been sleeping through the night (knock on wood) like a champ ever since 9 months old. And I have you to thank for some of that. After reading your post a few months ago and listening to your podcast about the routine you have with Polly, I started to implement my own similar routine with Rosie. And it worked! She gets about 11 hours of solid sleep every night. We are going to do sleep training shortly though because we still need to put her down for naps and bedtime asleep. Right now we do bath time, lotion, bottle, rock to sleep, and bed. She needs approximately 30 minutes from bottle to laying down or else she’ll spit up. Did you have issues like that with Polly at all? Or can she lay down shortly after eating? Thinking about possibly trying to move that last bottle to before bath time and then having bed time right after bath and lotion. Thoughts? Thank you for all your insight!

  4. Candace says:

    YAS SLEEP TRAINING!! Sleep is so important. It also makes you better parents. No one is their best on poor sleep.

    I do have a question: We have done very similar style sleep prioritizing, training, views, etc. But we have a 3yo who fights bedtime. Any experience with that? Any parent logic that worked?

    Appreciate it!

  5. Sarah says:

    This might sound like a strange question, but with the demands of a baby on a schedule (2- 2 hour naps a day, feedings, etc) how do you go about normal routines with your older girls? I have a five year old and a huge factor that stops me for trying for another child is how much change a baby would put on his typical day (going places for the day, movies, bike rides, etc). Is it hard meeting everyone’s needs?

    • Julia says:

      The best thing we ever gave our girls is siblings. There’s a large gap between our first two due to secondary infertility and our oldest got very used to doing everything and we were happy to bring her to the park, and to activities. But when we did have another baby, it was important for her to learn that the baby has needs, too. We still do fun things, and Chris and I take turns taking each of the older girls out on one-on-one dates every week, but we very rarely let other things trump nap time–even if that means one of us stays home with the baby while the other parent takes the others where they need to go.

  6. I so agree with you on the routine part. It’s been so important for us and even helped through the transition to a bed!

  7. Jay says:

    Do you bathe her every night as part of her bedtime routine?

  8. Kate says:

    Where is Polly’s mobile from? Looking for something similar to hang from the ceiling.

  9. LOVE reading about others schedules… our Kate will be 6 months on Friday, and it’s wonderful to read about others her age. While Kate is a great sleeper, she’s a horrible napper. Thankfully(?) daycare gets to deal with that! haha!

  10. Rebekah Richardson says:

    What sound machine do you recommend ?? Glad she’s sleeping so well for you ! Babies are the best!

  11. Ginny says:

    Thank you so much for this post!! We sleep trained our oldest and it was the best thing ever (he is 3 and sleeps so well still), but my almost-six-month old is having so much trouble…I was about to give up, but am reinvigorated by this post!!

    Also, where’s your top from? Love it!!

  12. Min says:

    This is great! My baby is 2 months and I’m so tired. Any tips to lengthen sleep time at this age? He wakes up every 3 hours to feed which is exhausting. Also, did you sleep train naps and nights at the same time or did you wait until Polly was sleeping thru the night first?

  13. Katy says:

    Hi Julia, thanks so much for sharing your experience! I’m a FTM and have been trying to navigate my way through sleeping. My baby is 3.5 months and does great at night. He sleeps from about 8:30-8:30 waking up at 4 am to eat. He is easy to put down but I struggle SO MUCH with naps. He will only sleep in 30 min stretches during the day. He will fall asleep for his naps easy but wakes up after 30 mins every time (almost to the minute it’s been like clockwork). I know he needs more sleep because he’s gets crankier as the day goes on and seems tired. Any advice on getting babies to take longer naps? I feel like I’ve tried everything and am so over all of these mini naps. He won’t go back to sleep after he wakes up.

    • Julia says:

      They call it the 45 minute intruder. (Or 30 minutes in your case.) It’s a natural sleep cycle for babies that they need coached on really. Try letting baby lay for 10 more minutes (even if they cry!)–they will usually go back to sleep.

      • samantha says:

        THIS!! One guide we read said to keep baby in their crib (or wherever) for their nap for 75 minutes. I’ve almost given up on so many naps and baby went back to sleep at minute 73. Life changing.

        Julia, your podcast a few months ago was so helpful in underscoring healthy sleep habits for our family. Our son is a few weeks younger than Polly. Thank you!

  14. Carrie says:

    Your cherubic Polly is adorable! Thank you for sharing your experience with low milk supply and weaning. I had complications with nursing and felt like a failure weaning at about 8 mo (I had planned to go to 1 year). After the fact, I wished I would have weaned even earlier as I realized how much I had stressed about the nursing and perhaps taken some of my joy away from just being with my daughter during those early months. It’s refreshing to hear honest stories like these from individuals that have the ability to communicate to a large audience of women. Hopefully it can help someone facing similar challenges right now!

  15. Tanya says:

    I am sure you have gotten a LOT of advice on this as well as done a lot of your own research, but this was my experience. My son is almost one and around 6 months I also started noticing a dip in supply. I saw all the most common advice like fenugreek, oatmeal, etc, but I found somewhere that starting your period (which I did around then) can cause a huge drop in your blood calcium levels and to supplement that. I started taking a calcium/magnesium/zinc supplement 3 times a day and with in 2-3 days I was back to my regular supply. I still take it at least once a day, and around my period increase to 3 times a day and it has kept my supply up!

  16. Kirsten says:

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU for sharing your sleep routine. We had our first little just a few weeks after Polly was born. We had no clue what to do about sleep and our baby seemed to HATE it, but I happened to read your post about a strict nighttime routine when they are very small. We started that around 2 months, and I think it has really been a positive factor in getting our girl to sleep. We just started sleep training a week or so ago (cry for 10 min, go in quietly and soothe, rinse, repeat) and it’s going really well (or it was until she got a cold a couple of days ago and we’ve gone back to lots of soothing to get her through).

    Anyway, Polly is so cute and I really appreciate you sharing your veteran-mom tactics for all of us newbies!

  17. Kate says:

    I just had to comment and say please don’t beat yourself up about your milk supply. Which I know is ridiculous because to be a mom is to always feel quilty about something everyday, big or little. I had a low supply with both my babies and it really bothered me with my first. I did so many things to try to remedy it when I should have just accepted the pros to bottle feeding and enjoyed my little nugget. But since alow supply isn’t something we consciously decide to do it’s so much, well, meaner. It’s alright to be sad but please don’t beat yourself up too much, it’s not worth it.
    And yes to making sleep a priority! I listened to your podcast episode about sleep and was yelling “yes!” to all of it. I’ve had had friends marvel that we got lucky with good sleepers and it drives me crazy. We made sleep a priority as well (and it took some work, medical issues with one baby interfered for a while unknowingly). Now if you have any advice for a horribly picky eater I would love that lol!

  18. Meg says:

    My little one is 3 months old this week. As a first time mom, your posts about Polly’s schedules have come at just the right times! I’ve been so thankful for your willingness to share what has worked for your family & I’ve found your advice so helpful as I navigate sleep schedules for the first time. Would you be up for sharing how your nap schedule has evolved from 3-6 months? My son usually takes 4 naps a day and wakes up around the 45-60 minute mark. Were your girls always long nappers? Or did you do something to help them stretch longer as they got older?

    • Julia says:

      At that age, 45-60 minutes is perfect so it sounds like you’re doing everything right. Around 4 months, Polly would nap from 9:30-11, 1:30-3 and 4:30-6 with a 7:30 bedtime. But around 5-5.5 months, she started dropping that third nap and that’s when we moved her bed time up to 6 and went with the schedule outlined here

      • Meg says:

        Thanks for the encouragement & the quick reply! Advice from other moms has been such a huge blessing!

  19. Heather says:

    Such a great post. I really appreciate the transparency in feeding and sleeping schedules, babies are so different! I have a quick question. I feel my 7 month old doesn’t sleep enough. She gets roughly 10 hours of sleep at night, enturupted by nursing sessions every 3-4 hours and only take 1 nap during the day. That nap is typically in the mid morning and is about 1.5 hours, then she is up until 8:30pm! My son was a dream and such a good sleeper! Anywho, onto my question. Did you use the “cryout” method for naps as well? I feel she needs that second nap, but we really struggle to get her down. Like Faye, she refuses a pacifier or thumb so self soothing is difficult.

    • Julia says:

      Yes. It will take longer for naps but it’s so necessary. Sleep begets sleep so I bet once she gets a taste of it, she’ll be a much better sleeper all times of the day.

  20. Veronica says:

    This was so sweet! Thank you for sharing. We are big believers in sleep training too and I’m always so happy to learn about how others do it.
    I love your family!

  21. Kendal says:

    My first daughter (who is 2) has been an excellent sleeper since day one. The most I was ever up in the night was twice, and by seven weeks old she slept 8-10 hours at night and napped well, too. She currently takes one 3hr nap during the day and sleeps 10 hours at night. We also have done the exact same routine every night since she was born, no exceptions, even on vacation or through illness, etc — bath, massage with oils, jammies, noise machine on, bottle (she’s always been bottle-fed). We never had to do any sleep training. We are trying for our second child and have been a little scared that we won’t get such a great baby the second time around — what if we’re pushing our luck? Thanks for sharing your experience with three great sleepers! Maybe great sleepers are made not born? Maybe we need to give ourselves a little credit…

  22. Jamie says:

    How do you recover good sleep habits after baby has been sick? My girl is 5 months and was sleeping through the night until she got sick. Now is up every 2 hours…

  23. Kerri says:

    I’ve been on the edge of my seat reading your post and the comments because you tackle two really contentious issues in motherhood (sleeping and feeding)! I really admire your approach of being both flexible with whatever each child brings and also open about your feelings about it. I have felt shamed by other mothers so many times since becoming a mother, over my struggles with sleep deprivation (and subsequent sleep training) and struggles with low milk supply (yes, true low supply, relating to medical issues and not to be helped with oatmeal or fenugreek, as I’m so often advised). So thank you for this post, it made me breathe a sigh of relief that there are others out there like me!

    • Julia says:

      That is always my hope in being open. I love to hear others stories and I’m so glad there are other moms that chime in from other walks of life. We’re ask just doing our best.

  24. Sarah Beth says:

    I just want to comment on your strength and willingness to give Polly supplemental milk. I had my first baby a few months after Polly was born, and we struggled with breastfeeding from the beginning. I’m not sure where we went wrong, but I have never had enough milk. I remember seeing your insta story while breastfeeding and thinking “man I want that so badly.” I struggled with the idea of supplementing for months, and I tried too many times to cut out the bottle and increase my supply. Looking back it was a mistake. It always ended with a crying, hungry baby. Fed is best, and I admire your courage to share with the world your struggle. We live in a society that makes you feel like you’re failing if you don’t breastfeed. Hang in there, I’m sure weaning your last baby is rough.

  25. Caroline says:

    I love this! We sleep trained our first at 6 months and put sleep as a priority. Our second is 4 months and sleep still comes first! A lot of family and friends will get on our case, but I’m such a better mom if I’m rested and they’re rested! Thanks for getting into this <3

  26. Dani says:

    I remember reading that Polly slept in a rock n play in her own room due to reflux. When did you transition to a crib- any tips. Same question about napping in the mama roo during the days. What’s your thoughts on when to stop using these for sleep and how?

    • Julia says:

      We transitioned her to her crib around 3 months! I also cut out dairy from my diet for 4 months and that helped her reflux quite a bit! She probably only napped in the mamaroo the first 6-8 weeks, when they still sleep ALL DAY.

  27. Stefanie says:

    I am going through the same thing with my 7 month old baby girl. I nursed my two sons the full year but my supply for some reason this time is just not there. We are having to start the weaning process too. Unfortunately she is not a fan of the bottle. Thanks for sharing. We are still great moms. :-)

  28. Colleen Burton says:

    I love this post and information, our caboose just turned 7 months yesterday :) Polly is so so so sweet :) I just want to make a quick comment to say that if you don’t want to wean there are LOTS of ways to raise your milk supply. I know you started working out recently, correct? That can temporarily drop your supply. Also, if you’ve gotten your period back that can contribute. I would love to email you more information if you want it. Babies getting “busy” and nursing less around this time is very common. I know her sleep (and your sleep) is suffering during this time, but you will get it back on track whatever you decide. Let me know if I can share more ideas. You are doing great, mama!

    • Julia says:

      I’m one of those “lucky ones” that never loses my period while breastfeeding. And this is way TMI, but part of my postpartum issues this time around has been severe bleeding for months straight. I am under my doctor’s care, but lots of things feel different.

      • Tracy says:

        Have you been evaluated for retained placenta? (You likely would’ve noticed a problem with supply sooner, but it can cause decreased milk supply).

      • Julia says:

        They did check that. It’s sad I was hopeful for that.

      • Tracy says:

        I understand what you mean by sad… you probably felt like then at least you’d have an answer, and subsequently a route to a solution. You’re doing and have done a wonderful job growing your baby. And as an IBCLC I like to tell the mom’s I see who are struggling with milk supply and may be nearing the end of their breastfeeding relationship — remember, love is not measured in drops of milk! <3

  29. Christie says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for this post! I’m currently in the thick of trying to figure out a regular nap schedule with my 3.5 month old, and I’ve just about lost my mind. She goes down well at night, but fights me with all she has during nap time. It’s so much harder than I expected! I’ve read that, at 3 months, babies aren’t quite capable of self-soothing so I’m counting down the days until she’s 4/4.5 months so I can try sleep training.

  30. Caroline says:

    Thanks for this information! Just curious, are you putting Polly to bed before the older girls? And are they playing while you do that or helping? Can’t figure out how to help multiple kids get ready for bed by yourself!

    • Julia says:

      Polly gets ready for bed at 6, is down by 6:30. Then we get the older girls ready at 7 and down by 7:30. They can help give Polly a bath, or sometimes I just send them down to get jammies on and sometimes that takes an hour. Hahaha.

  31. SRC says:

    I don’t know many people with kids older than mine so I never thought to find someone to ask until you posted about this! I have 2 good sleepers (the first AMAZING and the second decent) and like you, we have a priority on sleep because they need what they take, and my husband is a sleeper as well. We generally wake up between 7-8 and roll into daycare/preschool around 8:30-9. The older one will be going to kindergarten next year and I’m already stressing about how to adjust to earlier schedules. Any tips for what you did for your oldest?

    • Julia says:

      I’m not sure what bedtimes look like, but our oldest gets ready for bed at 7 and is in bed, lights off by 7:30. Her school starts at 8:05 (we live around the corner, so we usually bring her at 8) and she wakes up at 7-7:15. She still absolutely needs 12 hours of sleep, so we adjust bedtimes accordingly.

  32. CH says:

    I think genetics matters too when it comes to the amount of sleep we need – some babies just need less sleep than others (unfortunately for their exhausted parents). We tried EVERYTHING with our first child and nothing would get her to nap during the day or sleep past 4:30 am in the morning. To this day, at the age of 14, she still can’t fall asleep at night easily and always wakes up at 5:00am every morning! Her dad and I also were not good sleepers as children and still have trouble staying asleep for long. With our son, we did everything the same and he slept straight for 12-13 hours every night and still does at the age of 7 – the only difference is that he is adopted so obviously did not inherit our “bad sleeper” genes!
    I just wanted new mamas out there to know that if sleep schedules and sleep training etc, don’t work, the issue might be your child’s natural sleep needs, which unfortunately you can’t do much about, but knowing it’s not your fault can at least relieve some of the stress.

    • Jeni says:

      Yes, I agree 100%! My 3rd baby was a different animal, and I would look at her and think “this is YOU, not me!” (because my other 2 were on perfect schedules and slept a LOT!) We still love her, despite the fact she dropped her morning nap at 8 months, and now, at 2, only sleeps occasionally in the afternoon ;)

      • Caroline says:

        My second napped less than my first, and my third napped even less than than my second. I think partly it’s that the younger children get hip to the idea quicker that life is being lived and fun is being had by everyone else while they’re expected to be sleeping. :)

  33. Dana says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences, successes, and struggles. I’m currently expecting our second child and our first will be nearly five when this one arrives. I’ve been feeling anxious that I’ve forgotten how to do life with an infant. Reading this helped me remember how we sleep trained our first (sleep, eat, play, repeat!) and recall my own struggles with breastfeeding. You’ve helped me remember that this baby will be different and things will certainly not go as I plan them… and it will all be okay in the end. Thank you, thank you. Xo.

  34. Morgana Gelb says:

    Hi Julia,

    I love this post – thank you for sharing! My little lady Lucia is a month old tomorrow and I’m going to start putting her on more of a schedule + incorporating a bed time routine per your suggestion. Question for you: what kind of bath do you use? I have something that allows me to prop her up in a sink or tub but does not enable me to submerge her body in water. I would love your tips on this.

    Thank you!

  35. Michele says:

    Hi Julia! I love your schedule, and see a lot of similarities in our babies. Similar ages too – Lucille will be 6 months in a few weeks and she just dropped her 4am feed! It’s amazing. Quick question, how many oz is polly getting at her bottle/nursing sessions? We are trying to get on the 8,12,4,7 (for us) sched as well!

    • Julia says:

      I have no idea how much she gets when she nurses, but when I introduced a bottle, she can’t drink more than 4 oz right now! Which I know is low–another hint that I’m probably not producing enough and her stomach is probably getting smaller.

      • Meredith says:

        If she’s breastfeeding/drinking expressed milk, that’s a pretty “normal” amount to consume. I know formula amounts are somewhat different.

  36. Katie says:

    I love all your Polly updates! My caboose is just over 5 months old (albeit he was a month early, so he’s a bit further than that behind Polly). It’s like you’re giving me an update on what’s to come. I’m on the lookout for the 4 month sleep change, which will probably be coming along any day now given his adjusted age.

    And to all the mamas jealous of the sleep… every kid is so different! My first didn’t sleep more than 3 hours in a stretch for her first 18 months. My second did well until that 4 month mark and then was up at least once a night. She’s 4 and still ends up in my bed halfway through the night more often than not. And my last little guy has slept through the night since 6 weeks old. Some of that is from our efforts (swaddling at night but not during the day, dark at night but not during the day, etc), but most is just his temperament. He’s an easy-going guy. So continue to work at it, but just know that sometimes that early stage is rough beyond measure, but it’s still just a stage and will eventually pass.

  37. Sara says:

    I’m pregnant with my second and hoping this one is a better sleeper! I read all the sleep books because, like you, I need lots of sleep. My son had other plans despite having a set bedtime routine, no nursing to sleep etc. He ended up getting nine ear infections his first year, so any time we made progress he’d get sick. It was awful. But we got his ear tubes and at 2 he is now an amazing sleeper. He goes to be at 7:30-8 and he sleeps until 7 the next morning without a peep. He naps for 3ish hours every day, sometimes longer on weekends when he doesn’t have the daycare distraction. Polly is so precious. As someone who had a small baby, who struggled keeping up supply for him, I know all of the feelings that you’ve likely been experiencing. I also wanted to lend encouragement that there’s no reason you can’t both nurse and bottle feed. Good luck with whatever works best for you guys!

  38. Lauren says:

    Thanks for the update! We are at 5 months here, so it’s great to hear about 6 months! What kind of formula are you using? I cut out dairy to help with reflux so struggling to figure out which formula to use for supplementing… the alimentum smells awful and my little guy hates the taste and pushes it away…

  39. Susan Terrell says:

    Hi Julia, no judgement here for continuing with nursing or not. I just had a similar experience with my second child. (I’m a mom of four.) When my milk supply dropped, a lactation consultant suggested fenugreek. It’s a supplement for moms that boosts milk supply. You would want to talk to a professional to find out dosing. This didn’t work for me, but I know friends who did have success with it. The other useful tip I learned from the lactation consultant was being over-hydrated can slow milk production too. I was really conscious of drinking a lot of water b/c you always hear about not being hydrated enough when you are a breastfeeding mom. So, again, no judgements, just passing some info along. I’m a lover of the baby stage too, but my youngest is now six.! (Gasp!) Soak it all up with sweet Polly!

      • Ginger says:

        It sounds like you are ready to wean and Polly is happy to take a bottle but I just want to share my amazing experience with fenugreek in case any other moms are in the same boat as I was when my son was 5 months old. My milk dried up and my little guy refused a bottle and wasn’t eating anything. For 2 days I tried force feeding him formula with one of those medicine droppers and he was crying all the time since he was so hungry. It was the most stressful thing and I was crying right along with him. I found online about the fenugreek and after only one day of taking it, the next morning I woke up and was able to nurse my boy. Although I never had a ton of milk production after that the fenugreek, I believe, helped me have enough until I could properly wean my son.

  40. Jen says:

    Omgosh, I couldn’t help but notice in the pictures of the girls on the downstairs sofa that Polly is looking just like the enlarged wall photo of baby Faye! How cute!

  41. Carey-Jane says:

    Love this! We are expecting baby #3 and my first two are terrible sleepers so I’m reading all the blogs and all the books…mamas neeeeeed sleep! Did you ever do an in depth routine or schedule post? I would love it!

  42. Anee says:

    Thank you thank you for sharing this! I’d love for you to keep doing these updates – at 36 weeks and as a FTM, I’m lapping up all this information. Did you co-sleep initially and then transition to crib?

    • Julia says:

      We never co-slept. Polly was in our room, in a basinet, for the first 7 days while I got used to the sound of her cry. And then she went in her own room on day 8 and immediately started sleeping better.

  43. Jamie says:

    Thanks for the post! I have a great formula recommendation for you if you’re interested! Search for organic german formula on eBay! It’s probably the highest quality formula in the world and people sell it for relatively inexpensive there. All brands are great….Holle, Lebenswert, Hipp….just thought I’d pass along the tip (I don’t sell it, just seen many babies thrive on it)!

  44. Bethany Lutz says:

    Hey! If you don’t want to wean let’s chat. If you do, then go on and do it girlfriend!

  45. Debby says:

    Hi, totally unsolicited advice here ???? When I stopped nursing my first before the time I expected to, I didn’t realize what a loss that was for me. And with my last baby (my fifth), I just nursed forever. If breastfeeding is something that you’re into (which you seem to be), you can always do both. You don’t have to wean if you don’t want to. You could use a supplemental feeder, where she is still latched on, and gets some breast milk, but there’s a little tube attached to you so she also gets formula. There are many benefits of this system. If that’s not your thing, you could just sometimes give her a bottle, and sometimes breast, and she can learn to accept both. The breastfeeding might become more of a comfort thing than a nutritional thing, but like you said, whatever works for you. Just know, that even with low milk supply, you can continue to nurse if that’s what you want (and there are many many ways to augment your supply). Good luck navigating this journey!

  46. Veronica says:

    I love babies too! Enjoy those baby years… My youngest is 6 yrs old and I look back at baby pictures with the rolls and the non existent wrists and I do miss it. Polly looks so sweet.

    I think the key is to try to be present to where they are now.
    People always say the hours are long but the years are short and they really are.

  47. Anna says:

    I’m having my second in a few months and am curious about how you handle the time between baby in crib and falling asleep until they get the message that that’s bedtime. With my son he fell asleep for his long stretch until at about 9:30pm until he was a few months old when it switched to 7:00. Or what if the baby is on the awake all night, sleep all day schedule after birth? I feel like my son’s early days are all a blur but I’m imagining that if the baby doesn’t fall asleep after you put them down at 6:30, they’ll eventually cry or fuss. I love sleep and am nervous for resetting our lives back to newborn sleep patterns. You’re giving me hope but I want more details! ;)

    • Julia says:

      Those first few weeks vary from baby to baby. Faye and Polly both had their days backwards when they arrived. As soon as their umbilical cords fell off, we started a schedule of sleeping, eating and “playing” then taking a nap. If you start not nursing to sleep from the very beginning (even though they are likely to fall asleep while nursing no matter what those first precious days) then that sets them up for self-soothing success down the road. In the beginning, at nights, we swaddled and nursed until they were drowsy and with the inability to flail their arms around, they usually went straight to sleep when I put them in their crib.

    • Carey-Jane says:

      Congrats with baby 2! I’m currently reading “the baby whisperer” by Tracy Hogg (cheap on amazon!) and it sounds very similar to the schedule Julia sets up! Also has a lot of answers to common questions by age….check it out, it’s the best I’ve read! (I’ve read a lot, two terrible sleepers and I’m determined number 3 will be a good sleeper!!)????

  48. Debbie says:

    Fabulous post! My baby just turned 18 and it’s so true, the days are long but the years are short ????. Savor every moment you can!

  49. Marie says:

    Does Polly still sleep in the Merlin? If not, what does she sleep in/when did you have her sleep with her arms free?

    • Julia says:

      She no longer sleeps in the Merlin. It’s great for transitioning out of a swaddle, but once she started rolling over easily, we packed it up. Now I just put her in a onesie and warm jammies.

  50. Dani says:

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing this with us. I care about sleep a lot too but I’m a first time mom and don’t have all the tricks under my belt. So when other mom’s like you can share a little about what works it helps so much. I couldn’t tell you how many times I listened to your first post – one thing in particular you said was “some nights go better than others”. I have a lot of anxiety about getting our babe to sleep every night but I tell myself “some nights may go better than others” and that helps me relax.

    We have done your routine since 7 days old, and our 8 week old is sleeping one 7 hour stretch at nights (she’ll only sleep an hour at a time after that, can’t figure that part out yet). So we haven’t had quite your outcome but I’ll take it!!!

    Thanks again for sharing. Good luck with the weaning. You may want to look into the Baby Brezza for formula bottles. It’s like a Keurig for babies!

  51. Bethany H says:

    I loved my son in baby stage, but toddlerhood has been my jam so far. Singing songs, stomping like a dinosaur and exploring the park. So much fun.

    We did sleep training, too, and so happy we did.

    Random question for anyone: When did you give up the white noise machine in your child’s room?

  52. Julie S says:

    Awww! Almost makes me remember those days with fondness but I am so not a baby person (I have been known to visit a friend with a newborn and chat with her the whole visit and at the end remember that I’m supposed to admire the baby) but I love age 1-2. I always did a schedule for my sanity more than for the girls, and life revolved around regular naptimes. My supply was totally fine with DD1 but dropped off around 5 months with DD2 – it was so sad to realize I’d been starving her, because I was so lost in the fog that I didn’t even register she was dropping weight for a while and for some reason she never got fussy about it, just accepted the low volume she was getting.

    I agree with a previous commenter that there’s no reason to wean if you don’t want to, and that supplementing at the breast (with a SNS – I made my own inexpensively with help from a youtube video) will maximize the amount of breast milk you are making and she is getting, as babies quickly reject the breast when they can guzzle formula with less effort. Not sure how crunchy you are food-wise but I was soooo glad to find this recipe for excellent real food formula rather than commercial weirdness. I always like to throw that out there just in case people want another option though plenty are horrified that someone would make their own ;-)

  53. Meg says:

    Great read; thanks for sharing! Nursery design question – that mobile is amazing. I have been watching West Elm for a few weeks now and it’s still out of stock. (Shoulda bought it when I saw it the first time! Arg) In your experience with West Elm, do they typically rotate items such as these back into stock and/or do you have a recommendation for something similar that you’ve seen elsewhere? Thanks as always!

  54. Anna says:

    We actually don’t have kids yet, but we talk about it a lot as we approach adding a baby to our family. But, I loved reading this post. I think what’s important is knowing what’s important for your baby and for you. I hope I can remember this when we have a child too. Thanks for being honest and genuine!

  55. mary says:

    Aw. Brings back memories. My last baby was my sweetest and I can still remember it all even though he towers over me now. Your reflections are lovely.

  56. My favorite age is 9 months! I love when they start moving around a little bit. And sleep is a huge priority in our house, too! I am a believer in sleep training. Enjoy your time with your sweet baby girl.

  57. Charlotte says:

    I loved the baby stage too :) And your schedule reminds me of ours at that age. After introducing solids I felt like all we did was eat and sleep!
    We made sleep a priority too, and it’s definitely not for everyone. Oh, that birthday party is at such and such time? Sorry, we’re not going to make it….but man did it make for happier babies!
    thanks for sharing, this brought back happy memories of babyhood.

  58. Corine says:

    You are such a beautiful writer. I see it when you write about your home, but then you knock me over with love when you write about your girls.

  59. Kelly says:

    I <3 our pediatritian who told me at 1 month to start sleep training. I ignored her the first time (because babies are SOOOOO cuddly) and at the second month she was like you do what you want, I just want you to know it will be easier if you do it now. I love that woman every day because she was 100% right. My kids are now 2 and 4 and while the older one may give us trouble going to sleep, because 4yo, both sleep till 6:30 or 7 every morning.

    • Kelly says:

      Hi Kelly! (From another Kelly). We never sleep trained, it just didn’t work for our family. Our now 7 year old son would sleep until 8 every morning if you let him and will tell us he’s ready for bed early when he’s had a hard day. And has been like that since he was a toddler. I’m so grateful he’s such an easy kid but it has little to do with anything we did. That is to say, if something isn’t working, don’t beat yourself up over it, do what works for you and know that a lot of sleep, like everything else, is out of your hands.

  60. Kerry says:

    Hi Julia. Don’t feel the need to give up the nursing. Why not nurse and supplement, both? She’ll still get plenty of nutrients from your milk. I remember having a similar experience with my second. Right about six months I thought I wasn’t making enough milk. He was having a growth spurt. I ended up just putting him to breast as much as possible to encourage as much milk production as possible. Somehow we got through it! My first born was different: we had to supplement the whole time because of underproduction.
    And your sleep routine is fabulous! Good sleep hygiene goes so far. xoxo

  61. Kristen Johnson says:

    Thanks for sharing your schedule and glimpses of life with Polly. My youngest is about to turn 8 months and it really is bittersweet, loving to see him grow but wishing he could stay little for just a bit longer! I also LOVE the baby stage!

  62. I love babies best too! I had three kids who sleep trained with no problem and one who did not. You can’t make a sleeper out of a kid who doesn’t want to sleep – don’t force the issue too much. Eventually everyone sleep through the night :-)

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