Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Going to the pros. . . questions about the 8 month old napping/feeding schedule

So I a few questions about the 8mo old feeding (bottle & baby food) and napping schedule. Thought I would go to the pros since all of you have way more experience than I do. Obviously ever baby is different, and what works for one will be different for another, but just thought I would poll other mommas out there to see what worked for you and your little one. Thanks in advance for all the input! (And don't worry - I'm not stressing about this stuff at all, just trying to gather info)
  • Is there such thing as a five hour schedule? Up to this point Clara has been on a 4 hour schedule but 1-I am constantly having to wake her up from naps to eat at the four hr mark and 2-she is not showing interest in taking a bottle at four hours. She might take two-three oz and then I end up giving her the rest of the bottle later, closer to her next nap. I am just wondering if I bump up to a five hour schedule if she will be getting in enough milk during the day. I'm thinking she won't. Thoughts? I have looked in the Babywise book/blog and can only find info on the four hr schedule. 
  • When you added baby food to your babies diet did you offer it immediately following a bottle/nursing session or did you offer bottle/nurse and then wait an hour or so to offer the baby food? Sometimes when I offer it right after her bottle she is not interested, probably b/c she's too full. I don't want to get in a habit of her snacking though if I wait an hour to offer the baby food. Thoughts on this?
  • How many bottles/nursing sessions was your baby getting at this point (8 mo) in a 24 hour period? Right now Clara is getting four bottles during the day (wake time, late morning, afternoon, bedtime) and maybe a fifth bottle during the night if she wakes. Some nights she does and some night she does not. 
  • Clara has been a bit unpredictable in her wake-time each morning. Somedays it is 5:00am (she's happy playing in her bed till 6:00am which is awesome, but this sets our day off with a super early napping and eating schedule). On other days it is 8:00am and I literally have to wake her up. Should I just not worry about having a set eat/nap times during the day? All the books I read make it seem so easy to have set times every day for feeding/naps at this age, but when her wake times are so varied I just don't know how to accomplish this? Thoughts?
  • I am using these storage bags to store frozen breast milk but having issues. I have a lot of frozen milk (so so so thankful!) yet when I go to thaw a bag, the milk SMELLS to high heaven. Like it smells rancid and when I try to give it to Clara she refuses to take it. I don't blame her.  I was very good about storing milk within a few days of pumping it, and I have kept it in the back part of freezer (not the door). Has anyone else experienced this issue?? I shudder at the thought of having to trash all this frozen milk, but so far I keep throwing bags away. :( 
  • Did anyone ever mix formula with breast milk? How did you do this/what ratio? Random question but just wondering. 
  • For those of you whose littles had reflux. . . can reflux come and go? Or once it's gone is it gone for good? Clara will go down just fine at bed and then wake 1.5-2 hours into bed unconsolable. Crying hard and it's a "I'm in pain please help me" cry. This has been the trend lately. At first we thought this could just be teething, but now we are wondering if reflux could be the culprit? Ex - Monday night she went down at 7:45pm, slept until 9pm, then was up until 12am crying and nothing would calm her. 
Clara has been lagging behind in development for a while, so please know that I take that into consideration when asking you these questions. I realize that what is normal for most 8 mo olds might not be normal for her for a little while, and that is ok. Still just trying to gather info.  

Thanks, friends for your input and helping a momma out! Ready, set go! 


  1. I'm not sure how helpful I will be, but I nursed exclusively - my kids laughed at bottles (or more accurately screamed bloody murder, but I like to remember it as them laughing!). I nursed on demand, around 8 months with my oldest I would probably nurse her twice at night and then 4-5 times during the day. It wasn't really a schedule as in I didn't look at the clock but it was usually something like wake up and nurse, nurse mid morning, nurse before nap, nurse around dinner time, nurse at bedtime (which was around 9 or so for her at that age), nurse at midnight, nurse around 4am. My youngest was very similar.

    Neither of my children had any interest in solid foods at 8 months. My daughter only would eat frozen peas and corn until about 15 months when she started eating a few more finger foods. My son started eating solids at 9 months, and I would give him the solids at our standard meal times (for the older people in the house), but would still nurse on demand. As far as I understand, solid foods at this stage are not really for nutritional purposes, and more for taste/texture, whereas breast milk/formula should be the primary nutrition until 12 months.

    And as far as waking babies goes...for my first I woke her up until she was about 6 months, and then I stopped waking her up :-) And I let them sleep as long as often as they want. My kids are early risers though - as am I. Which seemed to be ok, it made the morning nap stay for a good long time! Now my kids go to sleep around 7 and sleep until 6:30 (they are 2 and 4).

    I have to stress that every baby is different, and what worked for me may not work for you. We co-sleep, practice baby-led weaning, and are pretty attachment-parenting types, this doesn't work for everyone, but it is what worked for us.

    My best advice would be to follow your daughter's cues. She will tell you when she is hungry and tired. That is something no one else can tell you :-)

    1. Thank you for sharing and giving your input!

  2. I would just feed her when she's hungry and let her sleep when she's tired. I have a 9 month old. There is no point in adhering to a strict schedule - it just doesn't work. Some days he wants to eat lots, other days he just picks around. Some days he takes 2 good naps, other days we are lucky to get a couple 30 minute snoozes. We try to do naps at 10 am and 2 pm, but of course that deviates depending on the day and what is going on. He does not have a set bedtime either since that depends on how well his naps went.

  3. Also, the smell in your frozen breastmilk is lipase. It is not harmful, and if your baby will take it, that's fine. The excessive lipase just breaks down the fats faster, giving it the Dove soap/spit-up smell. One way to get around this is to flash-pasteurize the milk right after expressing, letting cool, and then freezing. Our donor milk had excessive lipase and smelled awful, but it was still good to use. Hope this helps!

  4. Chris and I coined the term "8 month sleep crazies" after having 2 kids go through major issues at 8mo. So first, just know it's totally normal for things to be crazy at this age. Usually, it smooths out a lot (or some) by 9mo. It happens again around 12mo too.

    As far as the milk and pumping - I know that for some moms, their milk simply "spoils" very quickly after pumping. It's not true for everyone, of course, and it doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong at all - that's just the case. I personally either nursed or just did formula - I had no anti-formula feelings whatsoever and always felt worried about the milk spoiling once pumped.

    We did not mix breastmilk or formula since I didn't really pump, but once my kids were ready for bottles, they never seemed to care that it was formula in there - at least, not after a few days of adjusting. It was more the switch from breast to bottle that took some real adjustment for my kids.

    It was very important to me to have relatively set naptimes so as to have a consistent daytime schedule. Sometimes, even if they're sleeping enough total, the inconsistency of times can cause issues by this age - and we needed a more consistent schedule to match up with Elijah, anyway.

    So I woke them at 7am. If Kirsa EW at 6am, that was tough - I left her until as close to 7 as I could (I let her play or fuss, but not totally scream), then moved the nap a bit earlier. Often that was a rough day. Anything before 6am, I treated as a MOTN waking and fed a small amount and put her back to bed.

    (Once they drop to 1 nap, I let them sleep in a bit if they're still sleeping. Once they drop naps altogether, I let them sleep in as late as they want.)

    At this age, we made a major change, and it's worth noting. We no longer did EWS exactly. We fed solids after naps, and bottles before naps (we weaned to bottles between 8 and 10mo for Kirsa). So, when she woke at 5am and took a bottle, I kept it small and put her back to bed, then got her at 7am. Then she had solids at 7ish and another bottle before the first nap.

    1. This age, we also dropped to 4.5 bottles (the half being the MOTN one, as she often woke at 5am for it). It was just fine. It took her a bit after weaning from nursing, but then she started taking around 40oz of formula a day, plus eating solids.

      I creamed her up with diaper cream for EVERY nap, in case she pooped, and did not go back in to check for poops, ever.

      I offered water in a sippy with meals. She didn't drink much water until 10mo, when she started ALSO drinking about 8-20oz of water a day on top of the formula.

      Part of your issue with the 5 hour schedule need might just be the inconsistency in times - her body's metabolism is a little confused. Around this age, her meals should start to line up with yours.

      Around this age, you can worry less about "the four hour schedule" and more about the consistency from day to day in a regular routine with 2 (or 3 if she's still on them) naps, regular meals, etc.

      The main issue with snacking is a newborn who wants to wake every 45-60 minutes and nurse for 10 and then go back to sleep. At this age, most babies eat a lot better if you divide solids and bottles/liquids. If they eat well together, then that's fine, but if not, most of us on the babywise forum just suggest starting to separate them.

      Now the issues to watch out for with snacking are non-nutritious foods (too many crackers). As she gets a little older, and gets a regular routine of "meals and snacks" then you will want to make sure snacks are kept small enough that her meals are still {usually} healthy and hearty. But right now, I wouldn't overly worry about snacking - you aren't in any danger of creating a sleep prop anymore (be careful not to nurse to sleep), and any issues with "snacks" (ie, goldfish) can easily be corrected by simply cutting those non-nutritious foods if she starts to resist healthy meals or bottles a lot.

      Depending if she's on 2 naps now, I might try a schedule like this:

      Before 6am - small bottle, back to bed
      7am - wake, solids
      8:30 - bottle, nap
      10:30-11 - wake, solids
      1-1:30 - bottle, nap
      3-4 - wake
      5 solids
      6 - bath, bottle, brush teeth, stories, bed by 6:30-7

      Or whatever seems to match up for you. Obviously if she's still on 3 naps, she'd have those naps moved a little earlier and a catnap in there in the late PM.

      I would look at these posts for guidance from here, if I were you:

      Hope that helps!!

    2. I think we also did a bottle around 3-4pm after she woke, but she rarely drank much from that one. By 10mo, I think I just stopped trying.

    3. Thanks, Katie!! I will probably read over this several times. I appreciate you typing it all out for me! And SO excited as you anticipate the arrival of your 3rd! :) Can't wait to "meet" her! :)

  5. First of all -- totally great questions and very normal issues you're dealing with in terms of feeding and sleeping. And, I'm so glad you clarified with "I'm not stressing" because I think so many moms are quick to jump in and say DON'T STRESS OUT when really, I'm just looking for advice... not stressing out at all.

    So let me take a stab at some answers:
    1) I sort of let the 4 hour hard schedule fall to the wayside when Cam was taking longer naps, sleeping through the night etc. I figured he was gaining weight, sleeping properly and eating enough that I wasn't going to stress about waking him up at exactly the four hour mark anymore. Instead, if he took a long nap or woke up extra early one morning, I just fed him as usual and let him sleep any extra he needed. Sometimes it was 5 hours between bottles, sometimes even 6. And some days it was 4. I really wasn't stuck on the timing of feeding him, but more the routine (see next answer!)
    2) When I introduced purees around 6 months he was NOT interested. Took him a full month to even take a bite and swallow. So hold strong and don't fret if she's hesitant. I do agree that giving it right after a bottle isn't the best idea only because they're not hungry enough to want to eat. So, what I did was Cam would wake up around 6:30 and get a bottle. Then an hour later (7:30ish) I would give him "breakfast" -- oatmeal and fruit. When he was 8 months old (and had been eating solids for a month) he was much more likely to take an entire jar of puree. But in the beginning it was a bite or two. Then he would play, nap and when he woke up he got a bottle. An hour later, I'd give him "lunch" and so it went on. I think giving a little time between bottle and food helped him because at least he was a bit hungry. It also set us up nicely for when we dropped bottles at a year old and moved to a breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner routine. I think your fear of "snacking" is valid, but remember, you're teaching her right now. Right now, the baby food is just practice -- there's a good saying I kept reminding myself every time I was worried about him not eating enough real food "Food Before One is Just for Fun". You're just teaching her right now. Cam now eats like a horse because he refuses to drink milk, so while he didn't eat a ton as an infant in terms of real food, that all changed when we said bye to the bottle.
    3)He had four bottles a day at 8 months. He slept through the night so there was no night bottle. Sounds like you are on track!
    4) I think you should let go of the set wake up times, etc. You can't control it. Like I said above, I was really more focused on the routine than the timing. Around 8 months though is when he starting becoming more predictable in that no matter what time he woke up (6 am or 7 am) he still didn't nap until 9 am. Some babies are like that. Others are more of the nap every 2 hours (or 3 hours or whatever). Go with your gut on this one and don't worry about the clock. I think it gets frustrating to go by the clock too much (at least for me!)

    1. (continued...)

      5) I have heard of other moms complaining of sour breastmilk once frozen and have heard it's something to do with the lipase or lactase in the milk and how it separates. Here's an article: I've heard if you scald the milk before feeding it helps?! No personal experience here but if your pediatrician or OB has a lactation consultant on staff I'm sure they can help! It's common though!
      6) Reflux -- ARGH! We felt that once Cam's reflux went away it went away. That being said, think about adults with acid reflux -- when they eat certain foods it flares up. At night, it flares up, etc. I think it's reasonable to assume that it would be the same for babies. I don't think it would hurt to ask your doc if she's comfortable with you trying her meds again and see if it gives her comfort. If the meds help, then there's your answer.

      I hope this is helpful (And not overwhelming!!) and I am always willing to chat more if you need to talk it out further!

    2. So helpful. . . thanks!

      "Food Before One is Just for Fun". - good to remember

      Thanks for giving me permission to let go of the wakeup times at this age. Clara's wake times varies between 5-8am (somedays it's 5, 6, 6:30, 7, 8, haha). I have not been stressing about wake times but just thinking on it. I do notice that from wake to first nap she is only good for about 2.5 hours. So if she wakes at 6 I just know that her first nap is going to fall about 8:30. I guess I will just keep going with the flow!

      And thanks for that article. Y'all are all so educated on smelly breast milk. Obviously I had no clue, haha.

      Thanks, friend!

    3. How's it going today?!? Been thinking about you... isn't hard to just "go with the flow" when we are wired to be Type A control freaks!?!? Hoping today is a good day for you guys!

    4. We had a great day. Trying to go with the flow and see what happens. :) This resulted in a three hour morning nap and a one hour afternoon nap and bed as usual about 7:30pm.

      I was joking with my friend Ashlie that motherhood is slowly peeling back my control freakish tendencies one layer at a time. Ha!

      Thanks, friend!! Talk soon!

  6. Hey! Not sure how helpful my comments will be since we did things a little differently, but this was our experience.

    I only nursed Aedan because he refused to take a bottle, and I nursed on demand more than on a schedule, but there were definitely times at that at that age where he would go 5-6 hours between feedings. I do remember though, that if he went longer between feedings, he tended to eat more. So maybe you could offer her more in the bottle? I don't know how that would work. If that's when she's acting like she's hungry though and she's getting enough to eat--which she definitely looks like she is because she's healthy, growing, happy etc--I'd just go with it. :)

    We offered Aedan food first at 6 months and he was not interested at all. We tried for a few weeks, took a few weeks off and then tried again at 7 months and he was much more interested in it. I started with "dinner" and would always offer after nursing him. I would rather him get full from milk and not want to eat then the other way around. However, I wouldn't do it directly after nursing--maybe 30 minutes-1 hour. We then gradually added in breakfast and then lunch and it wasn't until about a year that he was eating all 3. He just wasn't super interested in it and at that point, breastmilk was still his main/sole source of nutrition really--food was just for fun and to teach him how to eat.

    I've never woken Aedan up in the morning--I just went with it whenever he woke up and stuck more to our routine, once it developed, than specific times. That being said, on his own he began generally waking up around 7-8am everyday, which is close enough for me. But, there is the exception--like today, he slept until 930am. I always just figured, if he was sleeping later, he must need a little extra sleep and adjusted our day to that.

    I never mixed formula with breastmilk, so I'm not going to really answer that, but I've heard different ratios from different people, so I would guess that you can choose. :)

    And poor Clara! I don't know much about reflux in babies, but I know adults who have it and it comes and goes based on the time of day, what they eat, etc., so I guess it could be the same in babies? Praying for you about that--that stinks! :(

    And--I just read your previous posts too and I want to do the Beth Moore scripture memorization challenge too--maybe we can hold each other accountable!! I just looked it up last night so I'm a little late, but I think I can catch up! Are you still wanting to do it?

    1. Still helpful!! Thank you!

      And yes I am doing the Beth Moore challenge. I commented on her Jan 1st blog post and my first verse is Psalm 65:11 "You crown the year with your bounty and your carts overflow with abundance." YAY I totally just wrote that from memory!! :) Let's do it together!

  7. I feel terrible because I want to give you helpful feedback, but I honestly can't remember the specifics of life with Davis at that age! It's amazing how quickly you forget those things that once consumed your brain... anyway, sorry to not be of more help, but hopefully some other mamas out there will have good advice!

    1. No worries :) And yes it is amazing how quickly you forget! There are parts about the newborn phase that I cannot even remember!!

  8. Hey! I'm trying to remember what was going on with us at 8 months, so I'll fill you in on what I can remember...

    1. By 8 months, I wasn't really a stickler for the timed schedule that we had been on in earlier months. He generally woke up around 7 AM, give or take 30 minutes. Like Aja said, if he slept a little later one morning, I figured he just needed a little extra sleep that morning and took some time to enjoy the quiet and have my coffee :). I think he was drinking 7 oz bottles 4 times a day. There were days that he would want more/drink more than others and I just went with it. I know everybody makes a big deal out of babies having a certain number of ounces each day, but we had lots of days where he was obviously hungrier than other days and vice versa.

    2. I probably didn't introduce food correctly, but whatever. I'll tell you what we did anyway...We started him on solids at 5 months. The formula was no longer keeping him full and he was very interested in our food, so we went ahead and started him on baby food. Our pedi (at the time) wanted him eating 3 meals of baby food by 7 months, so by 8 months, he was eating cereal mixed with fruit for breakfast and some combination of meat/fruit/veggie for lunch and dinner. Parker has always been a very good eater though and loved solids from the beginning. He took morning and afternoon naps and would have a bottle at each naptime, one at bedtime, and we were still doing a "dream feed" around 11:30 pm. Occasionally he would wake in the middle of night for a bottle, but that was usually only if he hadn't eaten well during the day or during growth spurts. Basically, once we started solids, the bottle was given as part of the nap/bed routine, plus the extra at night to help him sleep through the night.

    3. I kinda mentioned this already, but we never stuck to a hard schedule. He generally went to bed about 8:30 (now it's closer to 7:30) and unless he woke up super early (before 6 AM), I just went with it and adjusted our day as needed. I do remember at that age that Parker was a little unpredictable in his wake times for the day, but I just let it go. It was easier to adjust our day than try to figure out how to make him wake up at the same time every day. I also don't believe in waking a sleeping baby - for the most part. Once we got the ok from the pedi about letting him sleep longer stretches, we quit waking him up and would just feed when he woke up. I think that helped us be more on his natural schedule rather than the clock.

    4. The only time we mixed formula with breastmilk was when I had to stop breastfeeding because of the horrible recurrent mastitis and his milk allergy. We worked our way to the formula slowly starting with just an ounce or two mixed with my milk and then every 2 or 3 days would increase until he was fully taking the formula. We're doing the same thing now as we try to get him off of formula and on to milk.

    5. We never dealt with reflux, but Parker does the same things you're describing when he is cutting teeth. He will go to bed just fine and wake up a few hours later screaming and is very difficult/impossible to put back to bed. I know nothing about reflux, but it could very well be teeth.

    Hope some of that is helpful. Basically, it's a bunch of trial and error and figuring out what works best for your baby and your family/schedule. The good thing is that as long as our baby's are eating, growing, and being loved on - things generally work out just fine! I'm always willing to answer questions and tell our take on things just for reference!

    1. Hey! Thank you for writing out all of this.. . I am sure you have lots of better things to do! I remember us talking about some of this vaguely (I'm sure you think I am a crazy person for asking these types of questions all the time, sorry if I am THAT annoying mom friend, haha).

      I didn't really clarify in the post but I have started not waking her up from naps unless it is just going REALLY long. But like if she is due to eat at 11 and she's still napping I will just let her sleep. Unless it's like 1 or something then I wake her up. But I'm not like on the clock waking her at 11am, if that makes sense. The only time I wake her in the morning is if she is sleeping past 8am. But maybe I need to just let that go and see what happens.

      Thanks again. Very helpful!

  9. i have no wisdom on solids and as you know we are still working on sleep! but i do know you can mix breast milk and formula in any combo you want. just make the formula like you would normally (you can make as little a 2 oz at a time) and mix with any amount of breast milk. nutritionally they are very close (formula at least ATTEMPTS to mimic breast milk although of course nothing is QUITE the same) so you can think of it as giving her a glass of OJ, for example, that is two different brands mixed together (or tangerine juice w/ orange :) ).

    annabel had mixed milk for a while when i was still pumping but not quite enough for the day and had already gone through my freezer stash. she never minded it!

  10. 1. By the time they are on solids there milk intake goes way 16-24 ounces per day in most cases. So 4-5 3-4 ounce bottles is perfect! As she gets closer to a year you want her to be getting most of her nutrients from food and the milk strickly covering the thirst. Our pedi actually has us start offering whole milk at 9mo with meals instead of water to help them slowly change over to whole milk those last 3 months. Of course they are still getting the bm or formula to a year though.

    2. As for solids. I typically wait at least 30 minutes but sometimes it's an hour or two. They are indendenent of each other though. I nurse her at 5am (dream), up for day at 7:30 nurse, breakfast 8am. Nurse at 11am, Lunch at 11:30/12pm, nurse 2:30 snack 3/3:30, Dinner at 5/5:30 and nurse before bed (6). Always offer bottle first then the solids. I think it helps to wait 30min-1 hour to let the milk kind of digest a bit. Since they are taking foods and milk it's not uncommon for them to take less milk as they get older and more food.

    3. Audrey nurses at 5 times per day (9mo) but I think she still does the 5am feed bc my milk is practically skim at this point. The other kids did 4 in a 24 hour period.

    4. The early morning wake up is normal. You can either leave her until designated wake time or offer a quick feed and try to put her back down (this is what I do right now) so she will finish out her night sleep. If this happens I wake for the day by 7:45 so we aren't too off schedule. First nap is 9:30 second nap is between 1-2pm depending on how long first nap was. She tends to stay awake 2-3 hours at a time right now. Bedtime still 6pm. Up for day 7:30

    5. The smelly milk is pretty normal for frozen milk. With my first I thought they were all bad but they actually still taste sweet if you can get past the smell (yes I tasted it I was desperate to make sure it wasn't bad). It supposedly is a lipase issue and can be fixed by scalding the milk. I never did this as my kids never rejected it but it did smell!

    6. I haven't done formula but I do know you are "suppose" to mix them although I do a lot of things you are't suppose to do. If you did mix I would do the formula that the liquid to powder ratio is correct then top it off with breastmilk.

    7. Yes reflux can come and go just like it does with adults! Diet can be a big factor. There may be things either that you ate (the frozen milk she is drinking) or type of formula or even certain foods that just don't agree with her. I noticed with my first 2 that reflux seemed to get better around 5 mo then suddenly picked WAY up after we started solids but since they were sitting upright so much more it was only a bother when they were laying down (unlike in infancy when they are always laying down so it's almost always a bother. That being said teething is THE DEVIL! I swear by the amber teething necklace. Audrey is a different child with it on (they don't actually chew on it the Amber is suppose to be calming). Maddie took the necklace off her the other day and I didn't know it and all day she was so cranky! I went to give her a bath and realized her necklace wasn't on and put it back and she was back to normal the rest of the night. Go figure. Maybe i'm crazy or maybe it's the placebo effect but either way it beats giving meds or having a cranky baby every time they cut a tooth.

    1. Makes perfect sense about the reflux. Duh Britt. Ha :)

      I might need to check out that necklace!!

  11. Just one quick comment on the breastmilk smell. It is definitely lipase and not the bags. Different moms have different levels. Austin refused to drink any of my frozen breastmilk, even after I scalded it. Unfortuantely most of mine went to waste. Ashley didn't mind as much and was willing to drink it as necessary.

    For the other feeding topics, I tend to agree with Ashlie B.

    1. Thanks, Melissa. I guess I had no idea about the lipase so this is very helpful. I actually thawed a bag of milk yesterday and it was the first bag in a while that had NO smell once I thawed it in the fridge. Yay for that! Everyone has been mentioning scalding the milk before freezing. . . um. . . how exactly do I do that? :)

      Always love your input so thanks!

      Hope you guys are doing well!


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