That Mac & Cheese Recipe + My Kid Won’t Nap

Hello, hello!

How’s your Wednesday going so far? We had a rocky morning here, but things have greatly improved!

Early-morning breakfast: English muffin with peanut butter and banana + iced coffee. I love this breakfast because I can throw it together in just a few minutes. And, of course, it’s tasty and filing!

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After his first feeding of the day, Quinn got cranky, which, unfortunately, has become a not-so-fun morning pattern for us. He hates napping and fights them so hard, so, inevitably, he gets overtired, which leads to more crankiness and the cycle continues all day long, so I really try to make him take his first nap of the day. And this means that we go for a ride in the car. (The stroller works too, but it’s too dark and cold to venture out in the early morning hours.)

When Quinn naps, he wakes up in such a great mood and usually has an easier time sleeping at other points during the day (or I just take him out in the stroller), so I guess this is our best solution right now. Some sleep is better than no sleep, right? I’ve tried everything to get him to nap during the day (swing, baby wearing, rocking, holding, bouncing, singing, white noise machine, nature noises, blackout curtains, swaddle, pacifier, nursing/feeding), but nothing works except for the car and stroller. Quinn’s pediatrician said using these two methods are totally fine and some babies just don’t like to nap. He also said around 6 months a lot of babies start to sleep better, so maybe he’ll outgrow this? I dunno. I’m just rambling. *sigh* I don’t know what else to do.

Anyway, he’s so darn cute.

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A positive spin on all of these early-morning car rides is drive-thru iced coffee! Haha! I went with a Hawaiian Chocolate Nut this morning.

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Mid-morning, we headed to the park for a little physical activity. The weather is absolutely gorgeous today, so I thought we’d all enjoy some time outside.

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And we did! We walked for about 45 minutes and then headed home. What a beautiful fall morning!

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And what you’ve all been waiting for… the best mac & cheese recipe ever!

Health News & Views

Now that the cold weather has officially arrived here in New England, all I want to eat is comfort food. You know what I’m talking about, right? Warm, creamy, and cheesy comes to mind, which, of course, reminds me of one of my favorite cozy meals: baked macaroni and cheese. I mean, who can resist such a decadent dish? Not me, that’s for sure!

Mac and cheese isn’t typically a low-calorie meal, but this recipe cuts calories and fat from the traditional recipe without losing out on any of the cheesiness, thanks to the bold flavors of Parmesan, Swiss, and cheddar. This recipe is so rich and cheesy, you won’t even notice it’s been slimmed down. But the good news is: A serving has less than 200 calories. Here’s how to make it.

Photo: Tina Haupert

Question of the Day

What were you like as a baby?

My mom said I didn’t like to sleep as a baby, so I guess Quinn’s nap protesting kind of makes sense!

70 Comments

  1. Oh wow, I’m so making that mac and cheese!! YUM!

    I was told by my grandma who babysat for me during the day that I was an excellent baby. Didn’t fuss, napped, pretty happy overall. They thought they got away scot free with terrible two’s when I saved up and unleashed on my 3rd birthday. Not a fan of sharing my big wheel I hear but then again, it was MY big wheel so…sheez. 😉

  2. My little ones were not good nappers at all and right around 6 months they began napping consistently. Hope that happens for you..or sooner

  3. Aww…so sorry to hear about the sleeping troubles! My Mom always reminds me how I loved to sleep as a baby so much that I wouldn’t even wake up to eat. My parents would have to wake me up to keep me fed. Funny thing is to this day, I’m the same way! I could sleep all day if I let myself.

  4. The no-nap thing must be frustrating! You didn’t mention nursing in your list of things to try – that was always my go-to method. Does Q not nurse to sleep? I could always guarantee that my daughter would fall asleep if I nursed her WHILE bouncing her on a yoga ball in a dark room w/white noise (it was our bedtime routine for almost a year!).
    As for car naps and stroller naps – if it’s not bothering you and if Q is happy and healthy, in my opinion you don’t need to worry too much about Q’s sleep matching some textbook baby sleep goals. (Of course with the caveat that you’re transferring Q out of the bucket seat once he falls asleep because of the increased SIDS risk.) My daughter always, always fell asleep nursing as I mentioned, and literally would only nap on my lap for at least the first 7-8 months. I did everything “wrong” – nursed to sleep, co-slept and bed-shared, never did any “sleep training,” was held for her naps, etc. and didn’t sleep through the night until she was over a year and a half. And you know what? She’s now approaching 3 and she LOVES to sleep, and will literally tell us when she’s tired, will go to her room, lay down, and put herself to sleep. She actually looks forward to bedtime. In fact I would say she’s a better sleeper than most of her peers!
    And research shows that sleep training has absolutely no long term effect on sleep patterns; by the time kids reach 3-5 years old, researchers have found that there is no difference in quantity or quality of sleep (or in any other behavioral or physical health markers) between those kids who were sleep trained and those who weren’t.

  5. Hang in there!!! We did sleep training for almost two months before it took, and it nearly broke my spirit. Mommy needs a bit of downtime! It’s amazing how the lack of sleep spirals everything. Everyone thinks it would make them sleep more later on, but it makes them sleep LESS! The coffee, whether at 4, 5, or 6am helps calm me down 😜 Sending you wishes of zzzz’s zzzz’s and more zzzz’s! (Time change doesn’t help either!)

  6. Driving in a car ALWAYS put me to sleep as a baby. In fact, it still does. On any long car trip I just need a quick 20 minute nap shortly after we start, or else I’ll just be so sleepy the entire time. It’s weird. (Also, thankfully, the sleepiness doesn’t apply when I’m driving!)

  7. Love a healthier alternative to regular Mac & Cheese! Great to have the comfort food but make it a little less greasy 🙂
    your son & pug are both adorable and put a smile on my face on my tea break! x

  8. When I was a really young baby, I was colicky, but after I got over that, I slept alright. Other than that, I was pretty calm and easy to get along with. (Just like I am now 😉 )

    Oh that mac and cheese looks amazing and so easy. Definitely on my list of to-make recipes! Thanks so much!

  9. My little man began sleeping 11 hours a night EVERY NIGHT literally right at 6 months. He woke up every single night multiple times before then so I was shocked he changed so quickly. He only naps 20 minutes a day now (he’s 10 months) but he sleeps AMAZING so I’ll take that!

  10. He is so adorable! I remember having so much trouble at that age for naps too; I actually began nursing her to sleep and it worked like a charm. (This is after I resisted for so long because ‘the books said’ I shouldn’t do it, I thought it would mean I’d have to nurse her before naps forever, blah blah blah.) She’s now 13 months old and goes down for a nap in her crib like a dream – and I stopped nursing her down for naps around 10/11 months old and it was no big deal! But if the car/stroller is working, DO IT. Whatever it takes to get him to sleep! 🙂

  11. I wouldn’t stress too much over the nap thing. I was pretty strict with naps for my 1st, but with the second and third it’s not even possible to do that if you don’t have a full time sitter (which I never did) so they always napped in the carseat, stroller, or carrier. They turned out fine of course 🙂 Over the course of the first year there are so many stages babies go through and they are each so different. It doesn’t help that they can’t tell you what’s wrong of course! Don’t listen to well meaning friends/family telling you he needs to do XYZ or that you’re doing something wrong. Do what works for both of you now and listen to your gut for what’s right. Hard to do with the first, but I figured I’d say it anyway.

  12. My little guy– who is two months older than Quinn is the same way! He is 7 months old and only now am I noticing a better nap “schedule.” He isn’t on a rigid schedule, but as he’s gotten older, he’s waking up at the same time and going down for naps around the same time. The naps are still only ~30-45 mins long but it is better than no nap! I was about to pull my hair out around 4-5.5 months — that baby REFUSED to sleep and was eating every 2 hours ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, but man, I sure am tired! 🙂

  13. I’m no mommy but a blogger I follow, eatliverun.com, swears by the website Mommy on Call for all things newborn and parenting. She loves them and uses there services. Check her site out and search for mommy on call.

  14. My son was an AWFUL mapper and only napped on the go also. I thought it would never end and I was going to die… But things did get better and changed and he’s now 2 and a great napper. That time will come for you too!

  15. Have you thought about sleep training? We did right at 4-months & it was life changing. Naps took a little longer (about 1.5- 2-weeks) than night sleep (about 4-days!). It’s hard, but so worth it. Hang in there!

  16. Didn’t you say Quinn was starting to roll? Both my babies struggled with naps whenever they were learning something new.

    1. @Jessica: That’s how my 4- month old has been, too! When she first rolled over, I realized why she had been having trouble sleeping and nursing. Her last few nights have been tricky, too, so I’m wondering what else her sweet little brain is working on now 🙂

      I say, enjoy some extra lovin’ and cuddles while he is so young and having his fussy moments!

  17. I hear you with the no naps! I’ve got a 3-month old who also refuses them. If she does nap, it’s only for 30-40 minutes, and that’s after a 20-min ordeal to get her to sleep 🙂 I also hope she grows out of it soon…!

  18. My little one whose only about a week younger than Quinn really only naps in the carseat. But it’s funny because she will nap in it even if we are at home. She loves it. I say whatever works. And during the day I’m awake so I can make sure she hasn’t slumped over, buried her face etc. She’s my second anyways so all her naps kind of go with the flow because we have tons of activities each day. I just make sure every 90 to 120 minutes she can nap if she wants to. Hang in there. Babies are constantly changing and despite our best efforts can sure make life a little difficult at times 🙂

  19. 2 things that helped my guy sleep when he was tiny….

    balance ball…the only way I could get him to sleep at first was a gentle bounce on the balance ball.

    swaddle…we did not get the hang of swaddling right away but once we did and could swaddle him nice and tight he took some 4 hour naps to catch up on all the naps he refused to take. Glorious.

  20. Tina I am so glad that you wrote this post! My baby girl just doesn’t like napping either, and right now she will only nap in her carseat, and occasionally in her swing. She is 9 months old, and has never been a great napper, so I am glad that I am not alone. I am however sorry that sweet Quinn doesn’t like to nap either 🙁 You are doing awesome though, and he is such a cutie!!!

  21. Oh my goodness- I have been reading your blog for a while now and never commented. Your son’s sleep patterns remind me so much of my nugget’s sleep stuff. My guy is 10 months now and the only way I could get him to nap was stroller or car, but something happened at 6 months and he did start to become a better napper. I promise it gets better. 🙂

  22. This may sound kind of cooky but here goes. When I was pregnant, my yoga teacher told us to find a song that made us calm and listen it to while relaxing often. Relaxing releases serotonin in you and thus in your baby. I can’t say I did that exactly but I did really enjoy rocking out on my commute home from work as a way to destress. My poison was Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker. Definitely gave me feel good feelings. My daughter came along in August and one night I was beside myself because she just wouldn’t stop crying and I was so so tired. I remembered this and thought what the heck? Wouldn’t you know, it worked! Before the first chorus, she had stopped crying! From there, sleep is right around the corner. I only bust this out in emergencies but it’s works every time. (I realize I sound crazy.) Can you think back, was there anything you did a lot when you were pregnant that made you feel really good and relaxed that you can bust out on Quinn now? Good luck and hang in there!

  23. My daughter would never nap as a baby. The only thing that worked for us was vacuuming while she was strapped to my chest (facing me). Very clean carpets during that time period, lol.

  24. Yes he is pretty darn cute! My first didn’t nap very well until he got a bit more mobile between 6-8 months. They were always really short but then once he could wear himself out a bit more he started napping better. Napping does improve!

  25. Read Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child. Baby stays up a max of 2 hours. The schedule is very freeing in that everyone (including baby) will be happy and most importantly well rested!!

  26. I use the 5S method works for my little guy when he is fussy. I was actual surprised it worked. Swaddling, placing the baby on its side or stomach, using “shushing” sounds, swinging and sucking.

  27. I was a difficult baby–threw up all the time and had “colic,” and allergic to dairy. My mom now knows I was a reflux baby. I didn’t do much sleeping til kindergarten she always jokes! My two were refluxers with food issues too. I can relate to lack of sleep and poor naps. Hang in there! It will get easier! Sleep begets sleep so do whatever you can to get naps in. As they get older, it gets easier (at least for my kids). I nursed and bounced on yoga ball to get them to sleep if we were at home. I stuck to a more predictable routine after 6 months. Both napped better when dropped to one nap by a year.

  28. My son fights naps and bedtime like no one’s business!! We did the car/stroller thing for a long time too. He still fights it, so his naps and bedtime are usually later than I’d like (bedtime as moved to 9:00 Pm) but he sleeps through the night so that’s what we go with.

    My mom said as a baby, I was the same way. So my son is me. She’s enjoying the sweet payback. She also said that she’d put me in the car carrier, and then place it on the dryer and turn the dryer on and the buzzing/vibrations would knock me out so that might be worth a try, at least on days the weather is really crappy and you don’t want to venture out. Sometimes patting the butt works, sometimes..

  29. Yes! The napping/sleeping saga! Our little one is 7 months and has had the same issues. She fights naps like it’s her job! Always has. I guess at 6 months she started to go down easier…maybe? But she never sleeps as much as they say is the normal (usually around 30-45 minutes a couple of times a day). I drove myself crazy for a while trying to figure out what we were doing wrong. We tried it all- I read it all. The only thing that helped for me was accepting that nothing was wrong! It is who she is and since I just said “OK” we have all been much happier. Every baby is different an nobody will be able to tell you exactly what your baby should be doing. If he needs a stroller/car nap for now I say go for it! It won’t last forever (as much as it seems to sometimes!)

  30. My mom told me that I never slept much during the day because I had two older brothers and always wanted to do what they were doing. However, I did sleep through the night (besides bed wetting when I was older). I just woke up early with my dad every day around 5 or 5:30 🙂

  31. Maybe because you are so stressed, your milk is somehow not as good as normal? I don’t know anything about breastfeeding, so maybe that’s totally out to lunch, but I did see someone else say to do some relaxation techniques before feeding to help pass on seratonin.
    I hope you feel better soon, and your baby might be just going thru some sort of phase that will pass.
    The mac and cheese sounds good, thank you!

  32. I am having the same issue! I tire myself out trying to get my little boy to nap that I’m ready for a nap after I fail miserably. I have learned that after 10-15 mins of trying if he’s still not asleep I give up and throw him in the stroller. I do find that when he has a bad nap day he falls asleep really fast at bedtime. White noise works wonders in calming down the fussies, we use the sound sleeper APP on the iphone on the vacuum setting. You are not alone! Good luck

  33. I love mac and cheese, thanks for the recipe! My baby girl hates napping too and always has. She won’t sleep in the car or stroller. She sleeps in her car seat with a blanket over it while we carry it around the house. We have to keep the vacuum going for white noise! She needs to learn to sleep by herself because she is getting heavy. Every baby is different I guess!

  34. don’t feel bad. My little sister’s first baby would ONLY ever sleep in her car seat even at night time. she felt HORRIBLE. eventually she outgrew it.

  35. I have found with my 10 month old baby that when naps start to become a total nightmare it’s possibly time to drop a nap. We seem to cycle in and out of periods of great napping and then not so great napping right around the time to drop one. Is Quinn around 5 months? Right around there I think we dropped from 4 naps to 3. I love the baby sleep site (link below). It has great sample schedules based on baby age! Good luck and just know that sleeping patterns are constantly changing so if he’s not sleeping well right now it won’t last forever! You’re doing a great job! Hang in there! 😃

    http://www.babysleepsite.com/schedules/5-month-old-baby-schedule/

  36. Hi Tina…my daughter is 6 1/2 now but she was a horrible napper/sleeper and was colicky all the way up until her first 4-5 months. It is SO tough and sleep deprivation and a crying baby do not make a good combination. Hang in there and keep up the positive attitude, as hard as it can be at times.

  37. Aww, what a sweet sleeping face. My boys (I have 3) all settled down & napped MUCH better once they were mobile and expending more energy during the day. Hopefully Quinn will too!

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