Many thanks for your reply
I'll admit, I'm a little disappointed that you haven't said "Aha! I know exactly what's going on/what you need to do!"
But at the same time, it's nice to know that we're not completely off track - I think I've lost all perspective on "normal" after 6 months of chaos and poor sleep!!Naps
I'm definitely not expecting to get two long naps - anything but the 20min catnaps that we were experiencing! 40mins-1hr is great for her, given past form, so I'm not looking to head back to the 2hrs+ naps she used to do (not until we hit and crack the 2-1 transition anyway)
In the past, her morning nap has always been the longer/better one, so we've been focusing on stretching out her morning A time until this hits the hour mark. That was working ok last week, but then she suddenly over the last two days she's started losing the plot around 3hrs A, taking a 40min nap at that time and then (so far) taking a longer afternoon nap. To be honest, that would suit me better in some ways, as most of the activities/ playgroups that my son might want to attend happen in the morning. I'm not worried about getting out for baby groups etc (also in the mornings!) when he's at nursery, but it's hell with both of them stuck in the house all day if I stay home to try and get her a good morning nap - won't be so bad once the weather warms up though!
So, given her variability, I'm a bit stumped...... If you'd asked me last week, I would have said "stretch the morning A and preserve that nap" but based on the last couple of days, she's now wanting a shorter A+nap in the morning and making it up in the afternoon. Which is fine as long as her afternoon nap doesn't start too late/go on too long I guess? Today she did the following:
S: 9.10 - 9.50 (40mins)
A: 4hrs 15mins (resisted nap at 3hrs 30mins and then got OT I think)
S: 2.05 - 2.35 (30mins, woke up screaming
S: 2.45 - 3.30 (45mins in my arms, had to really soothe her back off to sleep)
A: 3hrs 45mins
S: 7.15pm - now (a little fussy at bedtime as I was flying solo with getting her and my son to sleep. Think she was getting hungry and a bit OS)
So not a great day on the nap front...... I just wish that she would stick to some basic pattern/timing, with obvious adjustments 15-20mins either way depending on night sleep, activity levels, illness etc. Nights
Overall, our nights are soooooo much better
I can live with a night feed for now; as you say she might just be catching up on lost calories and, on a couple of nights, she has at least settled back in the cot for the rest of the night fairly happily. The only problem is that she's then not massively hungry for her morning bottle, although, to be honest, she's never seemed that hungry on waking, unlike my son who demanded his morning milk NOW, within seconds of his eyes opening! She just seems to want to see us and then get busy crawling all over our bed etc, rather than drinking
The early wake ups are more of a challenge than the night feeds really...... so disheartening to be awake at 5am, trying to settle her back down when I know both she and my son are likely to be up for the day less than an hour later. I have managed to settle her a couple of times (and sometimes she sleeps later naturally) but co-sleeping does buy us that extra hour or so before we start our day. So I guess we'll maybe leave tackling that for a little bit and see if her naps and overall nights settle down a bit more. Feeding
Usually when one milk feed is dropped it is replace with a small solids snack. So for instance if you drop the 11am milk you would offer a small healthy snack at that time instead, along with a sippy cup of water
I can definitely offer her a snack and water at 11ish instead of milk. She so far hasn't seemed to miss her morning bottle in the slightest and doesn't show signs of hunger until her lunch at 12ish, but would probably accept a solids snack more readily than a bottle!
Then the solids lunch (solids usually come about 1hr after the milk feed) still comes 1hr later so at 12 noon
Hmm, so I'm a bit confused I think...... If I replace her 11am bottle with a snack and then do lunch as usual at 12ish, where does a bottle come in? You mention that milk usually comes before solids, but it sounds like you are suggesting a solids snack at 11am and then solids lunch at noon? So does the snack totally replace the morning bottle and I wait until 3pm to give her afternoon bottle as usual? I had been bringing this one forward a bit (say to 2pm) although it's always a bit hit and miss with when she needs another nap (depending on when the first one falls and how long!)
Her previous pattern was:
Between 6 and 7pm milk (depending on naps and whether we're trying for an earlier or later bedtime)
Since she's shown less interest in her second and third bottles, we've been doing:
6-7 bedtime milk
To be honest, it hasn't upped her milk quantities all that much, although she's definitely more eager for just one bottle in the middle of the day. So she does at least drink it with enthusiasm, rather than me feeling like I'm forcing her, even if the total quantity doesn't much exceed the 11am+3pm bottles combined! We were obviously keen to increase her milk intake during the day to help phase out the night feeds, but we might have to do a dual attack on that and gradually water down her night feed instead maybe?
There is a slight chance that too much solids and not enough milk in the day could possibly be causing hunger in the night/early morning - but as I said it may be due to recovering from illness. There is also a chance you can change the solids food groups a little to give more fats/proteins or dairy foods if she is not so interested in taking more milk.
That's what we've been thinking, but she does also just seem insanely hungry at the moment!! So possibly still catching up lost weight from being ill, plus she is soooo active - literally never sits still, but is just crawling, standing, fidgeting all day
So I'm not surprised she needs more calories - I'm just have a hard job keeping up with her appetite (for solids that is... she doesn't seem to make up the shortfall with milk during the day)
I've started adding full fat cream cheese to her purees/mashes and plan to get in some double cream to mix through - I can recall doing that with my son when he started crawling and dropped off his weight curve. She already has cheese and yoghurt every day in addition to her formula, and loves lentil based purees which should be good for protein. I could definitely up her meat intake though, so that might be something to think about. I've got some minced beef and veg puree in the freezer and some fishy mashes, and she starting to like normal minced beef and strips of chicken breast so I can make sure I add them in frequently too.
Thanks for your input - it's reassuring to know that you don't think we're totally off track, despite my frustration at her unpredictability!!