Monday, December 29, 2014

9-Month Old Baby's Daily Routine

A year ago, I was sitting at home in hot, pregnant leisure idly writing or not writing, depending on how I felt. I didn't have much of a routine and life was splendidly spent planning the arrival of baby E.

This year, not so much.

E is an active, inquisitive, and wilful but relatively calm 9-month old who makes the adage, 'babies thrive on routine' seem like the truth that Fox Mulder and Dana Scully wasted 9 seasons looking for. At 3-months and 6-months, I couldn't really follow clock time with her; her routine was more fluid and consisted of watching her for signs of tiredness or hunger and responding accordingly.

At 9-months of age, E eats solids three times a day eliminating the need for nearly 5 daytime milk feeds and has dropped her evening nap. Dr. Weissbluth the not-so-benign guru of infant sleep predicted the end of baby's evening nap by 9-months. As is evident, our routine is still heavily influenced by Dr. Weissbluth's recommendations (if, as a new parent, you haven't read the book yet, please do).

Morning

E wakes up between 6 to 7 AM and plays with her father till about 8:30. As part of my process to re-bond with the fuzzball, E no longer accompanies us on our morning walk. Once I get back, we play fetch with the fuzzball for a bit, before starting her morning nap ritual of diaper change, nurse, and then crib.

This nap has elongated to 90 minutes now that the evening nap has disappeared. She wakes up no later than 10:30 AM in order to "protect the afternoon nap" Weissbluth fans will understand, and we have our breakfast together. She eats some cut fruit (watermelon, orange, apple, persimmon or sapota but oranges are her favourite) as well as little bits of my breakfast (idli, dosa or french toast).

Until a few weeks ago, I would also give her some puréed veg but she's been pushing my hand away in her eagerness to feed herself. In any event, she needs to learn what a full stomach feels like when she's feeding herself. I'm also teaching her trying to teach her to STOP DROPPING FOOD but she finds it thrilling and the fuzzball has finally accepted E as the benefactor of all that is lovely and tasty on the dining table.

At least we don't have a cat. Yet.

She's usually done by 11 AM, and we either play fetch with the fuzzball or E helps me out with my chores before she has her bath at 12:15. Once she's in clean clothes, I nurse her and place her in her crib by 1 PM.

Afternoon

When she was in the process of dropping her evening nap, the afternoon nap was of varying duration. Somedays she would be up after 45 to 60 minutes, thereby requiring an evening nap, and on others it was 90 minutes, which meant no evening nap.

A week after her 9-month birthday, we went to Kerala for a few days and when we got back, I unilaterally decided to stop the evening nap. This resulted in a lengthening of both the morning and evening naps to a consistent 90 minutes each.

Once she wakes up around 2:30, we have lunch together. She has some vegetable and lentil purée as well as some steamed vegetables or unsalted cooked pasta. I also give her little bits of my lunch (a little bit of rice or some veg). Sometimes and especially when we have to go out, I skip the purées and give her 40 to 60 ml of banana+sapota+homemade yoghurt smoothie in a sippy cup. Yay, a non-messy lunch on the go!

After lunch, I try to engage her in as much independent play as she'll tolerate. When we got back from Dubai, she had gotten so used to being entertained by someone that I had a tough time doing anything else. Over the last few weeks, she's gotten less clingy and will play by herself for twenty minutes as long as I'm nearby and don't make any sudden movements or noises.

If I can't be sitting down, she's usually in the same room as me, doing a variation of whatever it is that I'm doing. If I'm doing laundry, I give her a few clothes to "fold." If we're cleaning out a cupboard then she plays with a few mouth-able items in that room (clean, rounded edges, no loose parts). If we're in the kitchen, then a big stainless steel vessel filled with wonders like whisks, measuring spoons, tiny steel plates, plastic lids etc. will keep her occupied for at least an hour.

As long as I'm talking singing to her somebody shoot that old man playing knick-knack; srsly just put him out of his misery and pushing her "toys" towards her once in a while, she'll sit and play. Sometimes, she's in an adventurous mood and will quickly get onto her belly and commando crawl towards her objects of wonderment and general amazery wires, slippers, and an unsuspecting, sleeping canine.

Now that we no longer worry about an evening nap, we have a larger chunk of the day for outings. So it's actually possible for us to do lunch at a restaurant or go to the supermarket between 2 and 5 PM. E loves going to the supermarket and sitting in the trolley, trying to flick things off the shelves.



Evening

If we're at home, E still gets mildly irritable around 4 PM a few months ago, she'd be taking her evening nap so I use this time to canoodle with her on our bed. Sometimes she wants to comfort nurse and I let her but she's usually happy to just point out my mole, mouth, and teeth yes, it's the most adorable thing ever. A few bottles of water and some crinkly toy will hold her attention for quiet play that we do for the 15 or 20 minutes of downtime that she needs at this time.

Once that's done, we dress warmly, and head outside at 4:30 PM for our evening walk. E loves these outings and forgets her bad mood when we feed a few street dogs, watch the fuzzball do her potty, and point out flowers and leaves. E also gets to see children play, and she's absolutely fascinated by the 3- to 4-year old set.

We're back by 5:00 and I serve her dinner of powdered and cooked multigrain oatmeal mixed with some fruit or vegetable purée her favourite combination is oatmeal+avocado+banana in front of my laptop screen and in front of her doting grandparents. I find that powdering the instant oats before cooking makes it less gloopy than if I cooked it and then puréed it.

She also has some of her lunch leftovers of steamed veg or pasta or even little cubes of cottage cheese. Or I totally cheat and give her some Waitrose multigrain loops mildly sugared that I picked up in Dubai.

Bedtime

Now that the evening nap is gone, we've advanced bedtime by an hour. By 6 PM, it's 'goodnight everybody' and into our bedroom for a rinse under warm water, short massage with lotion, me singing Coldplay's Magic still! while I help her into her sleepsuit. We then nurse for around 10 minutes, before I lay her in her crib and she's asleep by 6:20 PM.

Some nights she'll sleep all the way to 1 AM, nurse, and go right back to sleep, waking up again around 4 AM for a feed before waking up finally at 6 AM. I love these nights for obvious reasons. Usually, we get a week of this nighttime loveliness and false confidence and then two or three nights of disturbed sleep because  2 AM is the best time to practice crawling, standing, and babbling.

Still a dream.


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