Questions on Eating & Sleeping

DenaMarch 2, 2014

How did you introduce solids? Also, does Roman sleep in his own room? And does he fall asleep during the night time feeding? Or do you put him back in bed drowsy? (As you might guess, I am trying to figure out the feeding and sleeping thing over here!)
–Cynthia at Living in Neverland

Last week I got these great questions from our friend & reader, Cynthia. I always love to receive questions from readers and try to answer them here in case my responses may be helpful to others.

Introducing Solids

Let’s start with the easier one (for us!) — introducing solids. Roman was always a good eater. I slowly started introducing him to solids at about 4.5-months-old. I realize that is quite young and many books/doctors will tell you that six-months is the right age to start solids; however, I believe that as mothers we need to listen to our gut more-so than we listen to books/doctors/etc. Roman always was (and is) a big boy. Breast milk has been good to him, but at 4.5 months, I could tell that he was still hungry. He started eying up our food and I knew that it was time.

The first three foods that I gave him were rice cereal, avocado, and banana. It was touch & go at first. Sometimes he would eat an ounce – an ounce-and-a-half and other times he would be totally uninterested and would spit it out. Since he was so young I let him lead the way. I loved the idea of baby-led weaning, but Roman was ready for solids before he was able to pick-up food on his own, so baby food it was and I have no regrets about that. After a few weeks, I started introducing new foods one at a time, always leaving two days between introductions just in case he had an allergic reaction to something.

By six months, I stopped feeding Roman rice cereal and switched exclusively to oat & quinoa cereal. I was giving him a variety of simple homemade baby food (mostly banana, avocado, and potato) as well store bought baby food, my favourite was Earth’s Best 1st Foods. By seven months, we started giving Roman teething cookies, rice puffs, and little bits of what we were eating. Today, at almost ten months, he gets a 50/50 combination of small pieces of whatever we eat and easily digestible baby food (stage one or stage two). I keep this combination to help with his digestion. I’ve found that too much “regular” food leads to constipation. The best foods to keep him regular are sweet peas, sweet potatoes, and pears — so I always keep pre-made jars of those three on hand.

Nighttime Sleeping

Unlike eating, sleeping was (and sometimes is) a serious challenge for us. I wrote a little about it here and here, but there’s a bit more to say. I’m going to try and give the Cliff’s Notes version of where we have come from and where we are now.

For the first eight weeks, Roman slept in my arms every night, all night. Simply put, nothing else worked and I was not willing to let him cry it out for more than five minutes at that tiny age. At around three months, he started to sleep in his swing and his car seat. So… we let him. I know that it’s not considered the safest — but really, what is when it comes to newborns!? Everything has risk associated with it and once again, I followed my gut.

Then, around four months, I was finally ready to start putting him in his crib. Since nothing else worked — and I flipping tried everything — I resorted to the Ferber Method (also known as “Cry It Out”). From four months to six months, it was difficult. He slept in his crib, but he was up often. I was up comfort/nursing him anywhere from three to six times a night. Many times, after getting up for the umpteenth time around 4 a.m. I would just bring him into my bed for a couple hours of uninterrupted rest.

Then on his six-month birthday(!) he slept through the night (in his crib) for the very first time. It was amazing!

Now, to answer your question — yes, Roman sleeps in his own room and in his crib. We try to follow a bedtime routine — a bath, some cartoons with Mama on the couch, into his room for nursing in the rocking chair, and finally into bed with his pacifier. I know that the books say that you should put a baby to bed drowsy vs. sleeping; however, I never followed that rule. I nurse him and then I put him in his crib in whatever state he is in. When he was smaller, he would often fall asleep nursing and I’d put him down that way. I wouldn’t dare wake him up because that could bring on a whole ‘nother round of screaming! Now, he’s too darned alert to fall asleep in my arms, ever. So I mainly put him down drowsy and he either cries and fights it for a little while and then passes out — or he just falls asleep peacefully. As for sleeping through the night, it’s hit or miss. I think it’s about 50/50 at this point where half the time he’ll sleep through and half the time he’ll wake once in the night to nurse. On rare occasions he’ll wake up multiple times to nurse, but that’s typically only if he is sick or teething.

Overall, we’ve come to a happy place regarding sleep. We still have hard bedtimes/nap times occasionally and I’m still up to nurse once a night — however, compared to where we started out, I’m in heaven now, no complaints!

* * *

I hope I’ve answered your questions about starting solids and bedtime, but please feel free to ask any follow-up questions in the comments. Additionally, I know there are a whole bunch of mamas reading this, so if you’ve got anything to add, please go for it! Our routine is just one out of millions. 🙂


Comments (5)

  • Erika Lee Sears

    March 3, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    such good advice. we were pretty consistent with a sleep routine with our daughter and it was the best thing we ever did. yay!

  • cynthia

    March 5, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you (again) for this!!
    We are making some progress with eating. Since my son was preemie we waited until 7 months to introduce anything other than breast milk (per the doctor). He has been great with baby cereal/food, and we’ve just recently started giving him other stuff (avocado, cottage cheese mixed into his cereal). He seems to be figuring it out. 🙂
    We just had our 9 month appointment yesterday and the doctor (kindly) told me we need to work on the sleeping routine! My son still sleeps in his bassinet next to me in our room. His head and feet touch the ends! I nurse him to sleep. He sleeps in the bassinet for a few hours, and then when he wakes (2-3 hours later) I pull him up into bed with us and we do side-lying nursing/sleeping for basically the rest of the night until I have to get up for work. Not a good routine, but it’s what has been “working” for us. I think if I didn’t go back to work I would have tried other solutions sooner but…I just haven’t.
    Like Roman, he slept in my arms for quite a while after coming home from the hospital, and has never been farther than an arms length away since. I get a little weepy thinking about it, but I am going to try to get him into his crib in the next couple weeks. Wish me luck! hahaha

  • Jen @ The Well Read Fish

    March 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    I just went and read all the baby sleeping posts you did. We have a five week old, so I’m scouring to find all the info and different experiences people have had.

    1. Dena

      March 6, 2014 at 11:49 am

      Best of luck and I am happy to answer any questions that you have!!! xo

  • Suzy

    March 5, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    I love hearing what other moms do: )

    We didn’t bring Sam into his room until he was about 6 1/2 months. I actually loved him sleeping in our room. After, our room never felt so big! I found the Happiest Baby sleep book helped me the most getting Sam to sleep. Every night I turn on the white noise machine, give him a warm bottle and then read Goodnight Moon. He usually sleeps through the night and wakes up bright and early about 6:30am.

    For foods Sam was bottle and just veggies up until 9 months. That’s when we started introducing some fruits, things like teething cookies and puffs. Last month we really focused on giving him finger foods rather than purees. He loves feeding himself now. And we started a little meat! We made a baby friendly turkey loaf that he loves. Although recently, he’s becoming very picky at dinner time and often has a tantrum (thinking a lot has to do with him being tired from daycare)

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