Since starting solids at 6 months, Ashlynn is total hit or miss in her interest. This doesn't bother me in the slightest since I'm a bit in the camp of "Food before One is Just for Fun!". I know she's getting her main and necessary nutrients from nursing. However, I don't plan on nursing forever. Ideally, I'd like to wean around her 1 year mark. So keeping that in the back of my head, I know we need to start reducing our feedings and letting her interest in solids grow.
For the most part, I'm an "on-demand" parent. I nurse on demand and let her nap when she's tired. We don't adhere to a strict schedule, which works for and against us. I didn't want to be tied to a set in stone nap time and be pressured to run out of appointments, errands, or get-togethers in fear of a nap time meltdown, but it also means it's hard to make plans not knowing when she'll be napping each day.
This has also explained the up to 8 daily nursing sessions and sometimes three, even four, 30 minute naps. I started reading Bringing Up Bebe around the holidays and had some game changes almost immediately. To coincide with the whole, we are going to need to start the weaning the process soon so I don't just quit cold turkey - as I think that would be torture to us both - I want to cut back on the amount of times I nurse. I like the mindset of the French where it's common place for children to be fed at 8am, 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm. Otherwise known as breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. I mean what a novel idea, apparently Americans' common sense get's thrown out with the placenta!
Within a few days I was able to stretch her nursing time to 4 hours, one day she even went 4.5 hours without ever complaining. On average now our schedule looks something like this:
4-6: Morning wake up fed (if she wakes before 6 she goes back down, if after it's usually up for the day)
7:30: Breakfast - Baby Oatmeal mixed with Fruit
1:00 Lunch - Veggie puree, puffs
3:00: Nurse and Nap
5:30: Dinner - Veggie, Puffs, and trying to add proteins
7:00: Nurse and Bed
And I'm still feeding her around 1-2am for a middle of the wake up.
That brings us to 6 solid feedings a day. And the best part, the feedings are no longer short distracted ones, they are serious "give me a meal" deals. I hope once we move into the new house to drop the 4am one first and get her to sleep until 6:30-7am daily. And maybe a month after that drop the middle of the night. That brings us to 4 (daily, as in during the day) feedings by 10 months old. At that point, if we can begin to wean the afternoon session and replace with a snack, by 1 year I hope we can swap the "meal time" feedings with whole cows milk, or almond milk if she still shows intolerance to dairy. This could all be wishful thinking, but I think having some sort of goal or direction is needed at this point. She's getting too old for this to be a free for all and getting acclimated to our family schedule is important. We want to operate as a unit and not to a dictatorship of a infant.
I have to say, since getting this schedule underway, she's been eating solids better and taking longer naps. I'm still not rigid on set times, but I try to keep the routine the same and doing things within a 30minute-ish window. It's only been a week, so I know this could change tomorrow, but I'm really pleased so far.
For the experienced moms out there, how did you transition from a baby or bottle schedule into a toddler schedule? Do you still feed your child separate meals from the family meals or does everyone eat the same thing at the same time?