goodbye dream feed, hello food-food

22 weeks

I don’t want to brag or anything but you are amazing.

Last week, as you we struggled with some nighttime waking magically reversed by Baby Merlin’s Magic (they don’t call it that for nothing) Sleepsuit, we also were working to wean you from your “dream feed.”

Since you were born, we’ve been giving you a late-night feed to help get you through the night. Once we had you on something resembling a regular schedule, you were feeding at 11 (pretty miserable for all of us, especially since it was followed by feedings at 3 and 7 a.m.). When your pediatrician gave us the green light to stop waking you throughout the night to feed you and you showed us you were able to sleep more than four hours without waking, we moved that late feeding to 10 (better, not great). Eventually, we settled on a feeding at 9:30; this worked out pretty well, as it allowed us to eat dinner, clean up, shower, get ready for bed and tuck into the couch for some TV before we needed to wake you for that “dream feed.”

But eventually, we realized, you’d have to be weaned from that feeding and start going to sleep at a normal baby hour and not at 11 when we were going to bed. Interestingly, you started weaning yourself. You became more and more difficult to wake at 9:30 (after going down for your after-dinner nap between 7 and 8), and you’d take less and less food. Sometimes, you’d only make it through one breast’s worth of milk or sometimes you wouldn’t want to eat at all. But we were reluctant to give up the dream feed out of fear you wouldn’t make it through the night.

Last Friday, after prepping you all week by giving you half an ounce less of formula each night at your dream feed and by moving your “dinner” slowly back from 5:30 to 6:30, we put you down in your crib and in your MMSS at 7:45 and, holding our breath, we bid you an official goodnight. There’d be no seeing you at 9:30. Or rather, you wouldn’t see us. We checked on you before we tucked into bed, of course. You were still beautifully, blissfully sound asleep.

Much to our surprise–especially given your recent stint of night wakings–the next thing we knew, our 6 a.m. alarm was sounding. You hadn’t made a peep. I rolled out of bed and did a little jig. I woke you up and kissed you a million times. I’m so, so, so proud of you. Nothing, not since being cleared after your first month to stop waking you multiple times a night to get your weight up, has revolutionized our lives like bidding adieu to the dream feed. It’s like we’re normal adults again.

We’re going on a full week of dream feed-less evenings, and other than minor hiccups (a brief crying stint one night at 3:30 that was quickly fixed by popping in your paci), you’re sleeping straight through for 10-11 hours. And you’re going a full 11.5 hours between feedings. You. Are. Amazing.

Last weekend, we also attempted something else for the first time: We strapped you into your high chair (which I love; it sits on top of one of our dining room chairs and occupies hardly any room at all), and we let you try a carrot.

We’d done some research on introducing solid foods, and we really like the philosophy behind Baby-Led Weaning, which has made its way across the pond from the U.K. and, contrary to the American English interpretation, has nothing to do with weaning babies from, say, nursing. It’s about weaning them onto solid foods, and the beauty of it is that it involves no purees or single-grain cereals that have to be spoon fed to you. Instead, through Baby-Led Weaning, we’re letting you feed yourself with “normal” (non-mush) foods that you can pick up and put in your mouth yourself.

So that’s how we found ourselves staring at you as you reached for a boiled carrot and efficiently popped one end into your mouth. You seemed to like it at first–you kind of sucked on it–and then I think you couldn’t figure out how to get it out of your mouth. You made a stink face and started fussing. That was with a warm carrot.

We tried giving you a cold carrot–one that had been chilled in the fridge–and you seemed to like that more. I think it felt good on your gums, much like your chilled teething rings do.

We’ve tried giving you carrots several more times, and your reaction is always lukewarm. You tolerate sucking on it for a few minutes once you manage to get it into your mouth, you slam it down onto your high chair tray a few times and then you get tired of it. But the important part is that you’re learning how to feed yourself through hand-mouth coordination, and you’re starting to try out new flavors and textures. You’re getting zero calories from this food (which is fine–you’re still getting four-plus breast milk/formula feedings a day), but you’re having some fun with it. This weekend, sweet potatoes are on tap.


This Week in Guppy Growth

  • You’re starting to tuck your knees under you while you’re on your tummy in a kind-of early attempt to crawl (maybe).
  • You’re really starting to be entertained by your kitties (you study them intently), but nothing has made you squeal with joy like Roxy, your friend Anthony’s dog.
  • Mamma’s starting to wash your 9-month clothes because your 6-month stuff (footies especially) is getting pretty snug on you.

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