Julia's almost six months now, and we're done with traveling and other disruptions for awhile, so I've been trying to tweak her eating and sleeping schedule to something a little more manageable for me long-term. At four months, she was snacking about every two hours and I was struggling to keep her focused on nursing for long enough to get a full meal. She was sleeping from about 7-7 overnight, with a wake-up for eating around 4:30, and napping for half an hour exactly about every two hours.
Her naps have naturally matured into longer ones, which is the good news. Now in the morning, she always sleeps for an hour, and sometimes I even get 90 minutes. She can stay awake for about 2.5 or 3 hours at a time now versus 1.75 or 2, and I usually get a long nap in the afternoon too. All nice developments, although her night sleep changes are the bad news. She now goes to bed around 7:30, and gets up around 6:30. She's moved her nighttime wake-up to 3:00, and is starting to occasionally wake up other times too (11 pm, 5:30 am, midnight, who knows anymore). And what I initially thought was a nursing strike seems to actually be her shifting her preferred eating times to something much more inconvenient.
She has been getting harder to nurse in the mornings (and heck, the evenings too), and now it looks like she's getting more and more of her nutrition during her relatively peaceful, efficient night feeds. I'm obviously not a fan. One of my books says it's normal for babies to have one night waking up to nine months, while another says that a six month baby should be able to go twelve hours overnight without a feeding. I tend to agree with the latter, since she used to go ten or eleven hours overnight, and I'm afraid I've trained her to be hungry in the middle of the night. Especially when I realized that she's going four and five hours between feedings in the morning - I think we've shifted her eating timetable, so she's hungry in the middle of the night and not hungry in the mornings. Ugh.
But I don't know what to do. Obviously I could just not feed her when she wakes up and let her cry herself back to sleep, but I just don't think I could stand that (yet - if this keeps up I might not care in a few weeks). I've been trying to limit the amount she's eating during those middle of the night feedings, but that makes her pretty angry and she ends up crying herself back to sleep anyways. I had some success last night only offering her my "bad side" (Yes, most nursing women have a good side and a bad side - I get 2-3x more milk from one side than the other - how strange is that, huh?). She protested a little but eventually sucked herself back to sleep and ate relatively well this morning.
We're also introducing some solids (a little rice cereal, and we're going to try peas today!) so I'm wondering how that's going to play into this.
Julia and Scraps and I are on our own for a few days since R is away on business, so I guess now is my time to experiment. Although I have a feeling I might be so beat that I'll just end up doing whatever's easiest in the middle of the night. We'll see. I know this is super-boring for everyone reading but it's good for me to sort things out in writing.
Photos to come later today so R can keep up. :)