NICU day 61 and 2 months old

Today Emmett is two months old. And we’ve been here 61 days now. With any luck we’re about 2/3 of the way through this NICU journey.

I went into the office today so D was here most of the day. He seems to be doing better with his breathing and reflux, though they were having to chase his oxygen levels all over the place today. He’d desat and they’d turn his O2 up — and then he’d high-sat and they’d turn it down. They’re still having to suction him a fair amount, but he sounds better than he did the other day.

This evening I hurried back to the hospital after dinner so I could get here for his 8:30 cares and give breastfeeding another shot. I’m happy to say we had, by far, the most successful session to date. More about that below.

So here’s what’s going on at two months…

Adjusted age: 35 weeks

Stats: 5 lbs 5 oz and 17.5 inches. Like last month, I created the image below before they did his evening weigh-in. I figured like last month he’d maybe be an ounce or so off but wasn’t expecting him to put on a whopping 110 grams tonight!

Milestones: Getting moved to an open crib, stepping down to low-flow nasal cannula at 1 liter, beginning to breastfeed.

Sleeping: So far so good, but as I mentioned last month, at this gestation most preemies sleep pretty well. Within the next few weeks he should start showing his true colors.

Eating: 45 ML of breastmilk every three hours via NG tube, plus 26kcal of fortification added to my milk.  We got to try breastfeeding for the first time last week, and as of tonight I think it’s finally starting to click with him. I think it was a combination of him feeling better, simply getting bigger and more mature, and I think a lot of it was that I was more comfortable. For the past several days the lactation nurses had been telling me to hold him a particular way (“cross body” hold, with my hand holding his head), and I had been following their direction, even though it felt unnatural to hold him this way (I had always preferred to nurse Theo in a “cradle” hold, with his head in the crook of my arm). But since I had never fed a preemie before, I followed their direction. Tonight I did what felt natural to me, and was far more successful. Moral of the story? Listen to your instincts, mamas.

He still isn’t able to get much, but he was rooting around, opening his mouth and truly giving it his best effort. And several times he would latch and actually get in several good sucks before losing his “grip.” He probably would have done even better, but he got a vicious bout of the hiccups about halfway through and I could tell that just wiped all his energy. It was just such a relief to see him actually doing what he should, though, even if he needs more practice. I think the most discouraging part about the past few days is that he just didn’t seem to know what he was supposed to do. We’ll probably try weighted feeds tomorrow (where they weigh him immediately before and after to see how much he got), now that he seems to be actually getting a little. As he gets more and more by breast, they’ll start subtracting that amount from his tube feedings.

Personality: Like last month’s update, it’s still pretty early to see much personality shine through, but he’s certainly gotten more vocal about when he’s unhappy with something lately! Whether it’s reflux or those horrible eye exams he isn’t shy about speaking his mind.

Likes: Being held. His oxygen and heart rate are always at their best when one of us is holding him.

Dislikes: Reflux and eye exams. And boogers.

Mama: is down to pre-pregnancy weight but feeling pretty squishy still. I went to barre for the first time postpartum last week and am hoping to start making that a regular habit again.

I’m back at work now so that I can save the rest of my leave for when E comes home. It’s actually been kind of nice to be back. I only go into the office twice a week (usually Mondays and Fridays) and I work from the hospital Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I’m thankful to have such an understanding employer, and this schedule allows me to have two “consecutive” days in the office (Friday and Monday), but still lets me get 2-3 days of hospital time in between so I don’t feel like I’m missing E too much. I also have most of my standing in-person meetings on Mondays and Fridays, and all the others I can easily call into. I’ve discovered the kids’ play room on our floor is quiet, has a desk, and is rarely used (the only kids allowed in the NICU anyway are siblings and they’re probably spending most of their time in their brother/sister’s room), so it’s perfect for taking calls.

I’m still obsessive about pumping (even though I despise it), but I’ve been able to stretch it out to every three hours during the day and and 4-6 hours at night, while still increasing supply. Currently getting about 33-35 oz per day, which is way more than he’s eating right now and we’re running out of freezer space in both the kitchen and the garage freezer!

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Birth, one month, two months.

Birth, one month, two months.

NICU day 31 and 1 month old

Today Emmett is one month old. When Theo was a baby I wrote monthly update posts to keep track of milestones, and while this time around is obviously very different, I’ve decided to start those up again. I don’t have the energy to write a daily post and a monthly update, though, so as long as we’re in the NICU, the monthly updates will be combined with my daily updates.

First, the day 31 update:

Overall, Emmett had a good day, though he had a few more events today after a streak of several days with very few. It wasn’t enough to be concerning, but definitely noticeable. I’m hoping he was just having an off day and this isn’t going to become a trend. Dr. P visited today and let me know she didn’t plan on turning the pressure on his oxygen down for another several days, even though everyone thinks he’s ready. Like the doctor I had talked to yesterday (Dr. B), she too tends to take a more conservative approach. There are several doctors that rotate through the NICU and they all seem to have varying philosophies on how aggressively to proceed. Doctors P and B tend to be on the more conservative side. Dr. L is definitely the more aggressive one, and the others fall somewhere in the middle. I will say, at least right now I’m a lot more comfortable with taking a conservative approach that won’t wear E out and will let him focus on gaining weight. Speaking of, he’s up another 40 grams today and is now a full pound over his birthweight!

Now for the 1 month update:

Adjusted age: 30 weeks 5 days gestational.

Stats: 2 lb 14 oz (I created the image below before tonight’s weigh-in and don’t have the energy to change it) and 14.5 inches.

Milestones: Everything is a milestone at this point. Breathing via high-flow cannula at 21% oxygen is probably the most notable, though

Sleeping: This section will probably be one of the more robust ones subsequent months. As for now… he’s a great sleeper? But he’s supposed to still be a belly baby so that means nothing right now. Since T was such a terrible sleeper, I still have high hopes the universe will give us a good sleeper this time.

Eating: 25ML every three hours via NG tube, plus 28kcal of fortification added to my milk. Pumping still sucks but my supply is doing well.

Personality: Yet another section that will be more robust as time goes on. If it’s even possible to read anything at this age, I think he may be very social like his big brother. He loves being handled and whenever the nurses come around for cares, he gets very alert and stares up at them.

Likes: kangaroo care, sucking on his pacifier or hands.

Dislikes: having his blood drawn.

Mama: has had a really easy recovery. Guess that’s the silver lining of a small baby. Unlike with Theo where I couldn’t sit down for a week, I didn’t even feel like I had given birth the next day this time. I’m about 4 lbs. away from my pre-pregnancy weight, despite the fact that I’m completely ravenous and eating everything in sight. I was like this with Theo, too. Way hungrier while breastfeeding than while pregnant. Gotta love the extra calories making milk burns.

Writing down some of these milestones felt a little silly this early, but it will be good to have a benchmark for future months. I will say, starting these monthly updates made me excited for what’s to come, and for the first time since E was born I’m actually thinking about the future instead of just trying to survive the day.

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Theo es Uno!

I’m way late on the last monthly post, considering Theo is 14 months old tomorrow.

Things have been crazy busy lately — the usual work and daily life hectic-ness, along with an unexpected death in the family, and the monthly recap just sort of got put on the back burner. I knew I didn’t want to rush this post – it’s such a huge milestone! – but it’s just been really hard to find the time to write.

Theo is one. My baby is one. My baby is no longer a baby; he is a toddler. It’s exciting and scary and sad all at once.

I love the little man he has become. He is so funny, and he is all boy. He climbs on everything, gets into everything, loves to take apart/knock down/destroy everything, thinks farts are funny, the whole nine yards. And he loves his mama. Everyone said having boys is amazing because of how much they love their moms, and while I don’t have anything to compare it to, it’s pretty awesome.

We ended up having two birthday parties for him, to keep the crowd a little more manageable. We had one party for just immediate family (Theo’s grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles), and then a party the following weekend for our friends. We did a Cinco de Mayo theme since he was originally due on May 5 (but was 4 days late). Both parties were nearly identical for easy planning purposes, and I had a lot of fun with the details (more on that below, in photos).

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Stats: 20 lbs., 6 oz. (13th percentile); 30 inches (50th percentile). Definitely not a big kid, but the doctor wasn’t concerned

Milestones: Walking everywhere now – running, in fact. Four teeth (two on top and two on bottom). Not really talking yet, which the doctor noted, but isn’t “officially” concerned yet. She said most kids usually say “mama,” “dada,” and one to three other words by now. If he still isn’t talking by 15 months, she may have us see a speech therapist. In the meantime, she wants us to narrate everything we do. He’s quite the chatterbox, but doesn’t really say anything understandable yet.

Sleeping: He’s down to one nap a day usually, around noon(ish), which lasts for an hour or two. Sometimes he’ll do two naps on the weekends. Night sleep is pretty consistently 7:30 or 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. During the week, the early wakeup isn’t a big deal since we’re usually up around that time anyway, but on the weekends, I so wish he’d sleep in a little! But it’s such an improvement from just a few months ago that I can’t complain much. Some kids are great sleepers and some aren’t. It’s really the luck of the draw and we got the latter. Maybe our next one will be a good sleeper!

Eating: We have officially packed up all the bottles and he’s drinking whole cow’s milk from a sippy cup, but he doesn’t drink as much as he should, and the doctor wants us to keep working on that. I do notice that he drinks better from his sippy when I’m not around. I’m still nursing him first thing in the morning and last thing before bed, and occasionally to get him down for a nap. Maybe he isn’t drinking as much from his sippy because he’s holding out for the good stuff? Thankfully he’s a great eater when it comes to solid foods. He loves carbs, fruit and dairy (yogurt and cheese, especially), and does okay with meats and vegetables. They’re hit or miss. Lately I’ve been steaming frozen mixed vegetables — corn, peas, carrots and green beans — and he loves those. Not a big fan of broccoli. We’re working on getting more green in his diet!

Likes/Dislikes: Now that the weather is nicer we’ve been taking him outside to play more and he loves swinging on our play set. I’ve taken him for walks around the neighborhood too and he seems to like that okay, though sometimes I think he gets bored and wants to get out. He’s been better about riding in the car lately. He still fusses a bit when we put him in his car seat, but he doesn’t usually outright scream anymore unless he’s tired, in which case he’ll pass out after a couple minutes anyway. I think he’ll enjoy the car a lot more once we can face him forward, but the latest safety guidelines say kids should be rear-facing until they’re two years old.

Other likes include empty water bottles, remote controls, our cell phones, toilet paper rolls, lotion bottles, dad’s shoe… basically anything that’s not actually a toy is his favorite toy. I’ve mostly quit buying him toys since they’re a waste of money.

Mama: I am officially done pumping! I pumped for the last time the day before his first birthday. As mentioned above, we’re still nursing occasionally, but we’re at the point where we don’t really NEED to. There have been a few nights where I’ve had to miss putting him to bed because of a work event and D put him to bed, so he didn’t get nursed to sleep. I’m a little full and uncomfortable in the morning when I don’t nurse the night before, but it’s nice to know I can make it 24 hours between nursing sessions if needed, and that he didn’t need to nurse in order to fall asleep. I will admit, though, nursing him to sleep is one of my favorite times of the day. It’s just so peaceful and relaxing, and it’s the only time he’ll let me snuggle him. I think that will be the last session to go. Next step in the weaning process will be cutting out the nap fix, followed by the morning nursing session. I never saw myself nursing past a year, but a lot of women are doing extended breastfeeding these days, and the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding up to age two, and beyond. I don’t think we’ll go that long – in fact, I have a work trip coming up in September and I’ll be gone for five days. Since I am not pumping, we’ll need to wean before then so I don’t explode. I am noticing my weight is starting to creep up again now that I’m not burning as many calories, so I need to keep an eye on that. I’m still below my pre-pregnancy weight, but not as skinny as I was a few months ago when I was nursing constantly. Baby bonding and nutrition aside, I can totally see how some women get addicted to nursing for the calorie burning! 😉

Okay, I’ll wrap this up with the usual photo dump. This will be my last monthly update, and I’m hoping to start blogging more frequently with short one-off posts to capture milestones and memorable stuff. Maybe I’ll procrastinate less if it’s not such a long daunting post I have to write!

 

Swinging in the park.

Swinging in the park.

Bathtime hair salon.

Bathtime hair salon.

Birthday cake.

Birthday cake.

All set up for Theo's first birthday fiesta!

Family party – all set up for Theo’s birthday fiesta!

Slide show playing on the TV.

Slide show playing on the TV.

First taste of birthday cake!

First taste of birthday cake!

Playing with his new bike from Grandma and Grandpa.

Playing with his new bike from Grandma and Grandpa.

Party guests at the friends birthday party one week later.

Party guests at the friends birthday party one week later.

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Alison was about to pop!

Alison was about to pop!

Party guests on the newly built deck.

Party guests on the newly built deck.

Brooke and her boys swinging on the swingset.

Brooke and her boys swinging on the swingset.

Me and my baby.

Me and my baby.

Dad got to close to Mr. Stickyfingers.

Dad got to close to Mr. Stickyfingers.

Kiddos and the pullstring pinata.

Kiddos and the pullstring pinata.

Cousin Ryder and buddy Declan. These two are the same age, if you can believe it!

Cousin Ryder and buddy Declan. These two are the same age, if you can believe it!

DIY photo booth.

DIY photo booth.

Cousins Ryder and Theo.

Cousins Ryder and Theo.

Family photo booth fun.

Family photo booth fun.

Mustache straws.

Mustache straws.

Mexican flag strawberries.

Mexican flag strawberries.

Waiting for brunch on Mother's Day.

Waiting for brunch on Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day at the Mariner's game.

Mother’s Day at the Mariner’s game.

Watching the ballgame.

Watching the ballgame.

With daddy.

With daddy.

Well, we made it 8 and a half innings.

Well, we made it 8 and a half innings.

With buddies Cody, Declan and Ella.

With buddies Cody, Declan and Ella.

Wheeeeeee!

Wheeeeeee!

Spaghetti monster.

Spaghetti monster.

My angel.

My angel.

Doggie jailbreak.

Doggie jailbreak.

Hanging with the older ladies at Kara's birthday party.

Hanging with the older ladies at Kara’s birthday party.

Baby gate fail. (climbed under the railing)

Baby gate fail. (climbed under the railing)

My little bed head.

My little bed head.

Helping dad in the yard.

Helping dad in the yard.

Hiking with dada.

Hiking with dada.

Helping in the kitchen with Boppa and Grandma Hoffman.

Helping in the kitchen with Boppa and Grandma Hoffman.

Obsessed with hats. Wants to be like dad, I guess!

Obsessed with hats. Wants to be like dad, I guess!

Kisses from Stewie.

Kisses from Stewie.

 

 

Eleven Months Old.

The countdown is on to a year. Where has time gone and what happened to my little baby? Hard to believe in just a couple weeks we’ll officially have a toddler (sniffle). It’s really bittersweet; while it’s so much fun to see what a little big personality he’s developing, and watching him learn and grow every day, it’s sad to look back at how tiny he once was and know we’ll never get that time back. Even if we have another child, those precious first days, weeks, months will just never be the same as they were the first time around.

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Stats: 21 lbs! He’s put on almost two pounds in the last month, which is good, since he’s always been such a little guy.

Milestones: We officially have a walker! He took his first unassisted steps a couple weeks ago… while his aunt and uncle were babysitting him, so I missed it. Sad face. Thankfully they got a video and he’s done it several times since then. He still prefers crawling as his mode of transportation since he’s so fast, but he’s been gradually walking more and more. Knowing this kid, he’ll be running in about a week. We now have three teeth – two on the bottom and one on the top – and the second top tooth is about to poke through any day now. He’s clapping his hands, waving bye-bye and his latest achievement is giving hugs. Melts my heart when he does that. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s never been much of a snuggler since he never sits still, but now at least he’ll pause for a sec and give me a hug before he’s off and running again (and by “running” I mean crawling at warp speed).

Sleeping: Sleeping is going great. He’s very consistently sleeping from about 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. He’s down to one nap per day at daycare, which is required for him to transition to the toddler room, but at home I notice he still does better with two naps most days.

Eating: Kid loves to eat. He’s able to take bites of things now that he has two teeth on the bottom and one chomper on the top. Last night I gave him a pickle, which was hilarious. He’d recoil and shiver with each bite, but then go back for more. He loves fruits, carbs (bread, pasta, rice, cereal), yogurt, cheese and meat. Vegetables are hit or miss. He loves zucchini and carrots, but when it comes to most green veggies I can only get him to take a few bites before he starts turning his head. We’ve started introducing whole cow’s milk, which he’ll sometimes drink a little of, but isn’t crazy about. We’re also working on getting him better at using a sippy cup. This is another milestone he’ll have to reach before he can make the transition to the one year-old room at daycare — drinking cow’s milk from a sippy. I can’t remember if I mentioned this already, but D has a new job which makes our old daycare location really inconvenient for dropoff/pickup, so we’re going to transfer T to a different daycare. In order to minimize the number of transitions, we’ve decided to make the move at a year of age, when he’d be moving classrooms anyway. But since he can’t move until he hits certain milestones, we’ll have to keep him in the infant room (which, in addition to being out of the way for D is about $75 more per WEEK!). Needless to say, we’re eager for him to “graduate!”

Likes/Dislikes: Still loves bath time. Thankfully his little phase of pooping in the tub seems to have passed (knock on wood!). He has developed a fascination with putting his mouth in the water and blowing bubbles — and occasionally sucks in, causing him to cough and sputter! Hopefully he learns his lesson soon that he can’t breathe water! I REALLY want to get him into swimming lessons, but they always fill up before I can sign up. He really loves the water and I want to take advantage of this and continue to build his comfort in the water before he decides he doesn’t like it. That’s one thing I’m learning quickly about this age – nothing is a given. He may love something one day and hate it the next, or vice versa. He’s been going through a phase now where he HATES the car, for example, but I think we’re finally turning a corner there, as he hasn’t been as bad in the car the last week or so. Last weekend was Easter and we took him to the in-laws’ farm for an egg hunt. That was his first time in the grass (ours has been so wet lately), and it was really funny to watch him. He didn’t like the poky feeling on the palms of his hands and refused to crawl anywhere. The terrain was a little too uneven for him to walk, so he just scooted around on his knees a lot.

Mama: I’m coming to the end of my breastfeeding journey and I have mixed feelings. I’m definitely looking forward to not pumping anymore, but I’m starting to realize just how dependent I am on nursing him. For better or for worse, nursing has been a pit of a panacea. Hungry? Instant meal that’s just the right temperature and no bottle parts to clean. Fussy? Here, this will calm you down. Need to go to sleep? It’s like these things are filled with Nyquil and he’s out in 5 minutes. And I’ll admit, a small (vain) part of me is going to miss burning an extra 500 calories per day while eating whatever I want and continuing to lose weight! 🙂 Then again, my appetite has been enormous while breastfeeding (even moreso than when I was pregnant), so maybe that will subside once I wean. I just hope he’s able to make the transition to a sippy with cow’s milk in the next few weeks. My plan all along has been to be done pumping by his first birthday. I’m already reducing my pumping sessions at work, so I’m supplementing an average of 4 oz per day from my freezer stash. At the rate I’m going through my stash, I should have about 85 oz left by his first birthday, so even if he isn’t fully on board with cow’s milk by then, maybe I can do some mixing of breastmilk and cow’s milk to ease the transition. I may still nurse morning and night for a while if my body will keep producing, just because I enjoy that time we have together, but I’m otherwise planning on retiring the boobs in just a few weeks! I really am thankful to have made my goal of breastfeeding for a year. It certainly hasn’t always been easy.

With that, I’ll leave you with some pictures from the last month…

Shopping with Mom at Costco.

Shopping with Mom at Costco.

Swinging in the sunshine.

Swinging in the sunshine.

Loves the dishwasher!

Loves the dishwasher!

Playing with his favorite new toy on Easter.

Playing with his favorite new toy on Easter.

Easter egg hunting with cousin Molly.

Easter egg hunting with cousin Molly.

Easter eggs.

Not sure what to think about the poky grass.

Not sure what to think about the poky grass.

Egg hunting with dada.

Egg hunting with Dada.

Theo and his Boppa on the farm.

Theo and his Boppa on the farm.

Baby selfie.

Baby selfie.

All worn out from egg hunting.

All worn out from egg hunting.

Playing with his new Easter toys at Grandma and Boppa's.

Playing with his new Easter toys at Grandma and Boppa’s.

 

Nine Ten months old.

IMG_2605IMG_2788Welp, I procrastinated long enough that I’m just going to combine the 9 and 10 month updates. Thankfully, I’ve been pretty good about at least taking the photos on time. Theo turned 9 months old while we were in Hawaii last month, hence the beach towel photos. I’ll probably put together a separate post about our vacation, and things I learned traveling and flying with a baby for the first time, but in general, it was a really fun trip and we got some great photos.

Stats: 19 lbs. (16th percentile), 28.35 inches long (39th percentile). He eats great, but he is so active that he just burns everything off. I also have a feeling our short genes are starting to manifest themselves. Sorry, bud.

Milestones: We finally have teeth! Two bottom teeth popped up within about a week and a half of one another last month, and I think the top ones are starting to come in now, as he has been extra fussy and his gums have been swollen the last few days. Teething sucks! He had his first major fever last month, which was pretty scary. It got at high as 104.8 at one point. I called the doctor, who told me not to worry until it got over 105 (uhh… isn’t that close enough?!). She also said that how he was acting was a better indicator of how serious it was than the actual number. Aside from being a bit crankier than usual, he was still cruising around the house and getting into things like his usual mischievous self. Thankfully he got better after a couple days. He’s babbling a lot now but doesn’t seem to be assigning words to anything. He also blows raspberries and makes this funny popping sound with his mouth. Sort of a cross between a “p” sound, but nearly silent. It’s hard to explain, but funny. He climbs stairs like a champ and walks with a walker! I’m sure actual walking is just around the corner…

Sleeping: Sleep continues to improve. Every once in a while I have to get up once with him, but he’ll usually put himself back to sleep if he wakes, and most nights he sleeps from about 7:30 or 8 p.m. until 5 or 6 a.m. On weekdays we just get up at that time, and on weekends, we pull him into bed with us and he’ll usually let us get a few more hours. His favorite way to sleep? With his butt in the air. So cute.

Eating: He’s doing awesome with solid food and eats pretty much everything now, as long as it’s relatively soft. Sometimes he’s randomly picky about what he eats, but if you feed him something he knows he likes, he’ll eat and eat and eat forever. I swear the kid has a hollow leg. He’s showing less interest in nursing, which is both freeing and a bit sad. During the workweek I only nurse him briefly in the morning and at night before bed, and on the weekends, he’ll nurse maybe two other times. One thing he’s started doing lately is biting me when he isn’t interested in nursing. Especially now that he has teeth, that HUUUURTS. Not cool, buddy. I really wouldn’t be surprised if he self-weaned from nursing before a year, even though I am hoping to nurse for a year. I would even consider extended nursing beyond a year, just in the evenings maybe. But I have a feeling his lack of interest will dry up my supply here pretty soon. Our doctor doesn’t really want us to switch to cow’s milk before a year, but it also seems odd to introduce formula for just a month or so. I’ve got a nice freezer stash, so even if my supply tanks completely, we’ll at least have a couple weeks to talk to the doctor and decide what to do.

Likes/Dislikes: My little babyzilla loves knocking things down. He has these little stackable toys, and he will haul himself across the room to knock them over if he sees you stacking them. He’s also obsessed with opening drawers and cabinets, so we’ve had to install cabinet latches on everything. He’s developed some MAJOR separation anxiety lately and doesn’t like to be held by anyone he doesn’t know well. Heck, even if I leave the room and D is with him, he starts screaming. I’m flattered, but it’s exhausting to feel like I have to be joined to him at all times when I’m home. Despite his attachment to me, he isn’t much of a snuggler, except for the time he was really sick. He really does not like to sit still. Lately he’s developed a fascination with taking off his shoes, socks and pants. The first thing he does when we put him in his car seat is take off his shoes and socks. He’s even resorted to taking off other kids’ socks at daycare! He has also taken his pants off at daycare a few times. Thankfully he hasn’t started taking off other kids’ pants! Still loves bathtime – probably his favorite time of day, and mine too! He’s just so cute splashing around, babbling and playing with his toys. Although, just in the past week he’s pooped in the tub almost every night! Hopefully this doesn’t become a habit…

Mama: I got my first postpartum period last month. I’m grateful breastfeeding was able to keep it away for as long as it did, but all good things must come to an end, right? The return of my cycle has made me realize we could try another baby if we wanted to, but neither of us is ready for that quite yet! Maybe we’ll revisit the idea in 6 months to a year…

Okay, I’ll wrap this up with a few pictures from the last two months.

Who needs toys when you've got a beer box?

Who needs toys when you’ve got a beer box?

A little fever can't slow down Batman!

A little fever can’t slow down Batman!

Watching the Superbowl with Cody.

Watching the Superbowl with Cody.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Theo loves cousin Ryder.

Theo loves cousin Ryder.

Out for Sushi.

Out for Sushi.

Eight months old.

Little man likes to move it, move it. Crawls at an alarming speed (can’t take your eye off him for a second), pulls himself up to standing, climbs on EVERYTHING and cruises along furniture now. He even briefly stood unassisted once. I know walking is right around the corner, which is both exciting and terrifying. A side effect of all this moving? The inevitable wipeouts. He managed to give himself two black eyes in the week leading up to his eight-month photos, and yet another one just the other day. Poor guy.

IMG_0010Stats: 18 or 19ish lbs., according to my super scientific method of weighing myself on our bathroom scale holding him and not holding him. We’ll get an exact measurement at his 9 month checkup next month.

Milestones: As I mentioned above, he is very mobile. He’s also been teething, though he still has yet to have anything break through. It’s strange – he was so uncomfortable for about a week and a half. His gums were inflamed, he was gnawing on everything, and we had to give him Tylenol multiple times per day. I could see his bottom two AND his top two teeth through his gums… and then everything seems to have stopped. There is still a translucent layer of gums over his teeth, but they haven’t broken through and don’t seem to be bothering him anymore. From what I’ve read, this isn’t uncommon – to slow and stop like this before finally breaking through. Still, I’m anxious for them to just cut through already. Oh, and he claps his hands now, which is so cute! Still not doing a ton of babbling (with consonants, that is – still mostly “aaah” sounds).

Sleeping: I’m excited to say, sleeping is going GREAT! We had a bit of a regression during the worst of the teething (and he has also battled frequent ear infections, which sucks!), but once he got over the teething discomfort, he settled into just waking up once per night, and the last three nights, I haven’t had to get up with him at all! I’m almost afraid to type that – I’m sure I just jinxed it. It’s been great, though. A couple of times I’ve heard him wake through the baby monitor, and he’s either fussed for a bit or just babbled and played in his crib, but in both scenarios he’s put himself back to sleep on his own without me having to go get him! I hope this keeps up. But a wise woman once told me to never trust a baby. So we’ll see…

Eating: Eating is going so much better now that we’re in a new daycare (that in itself deserves its own post). He is mostly finishing his bottles, and has even explored some new solid foods. Just yesterday at daycare he ate turkey, cheese and crackers. Seriously! At home we’re still mostly feeding purees (still making my own baby food which is super easy), but he does like to eat rice crackers (Mum Mums), and also really likes yogurt melts. He’s still getting the hang of perfecting the pincer grasp. Most of the time he just fists the yogurt melts and then tries to shove his whole hand in his mouth to make the transfer. This results in a lot of drool and melty yogurt dripping all over his chin and clothes. We usually time dinner to coincide right before bathtime just for this reason! 🙂

Likes/Dislikes: Speaking of bathtime, he still loves it. We’ve made the transition from the infant tub to just putting him in the actual bathtub. He kept trying to climb out of the infant tub and since he’s good at crawling and sitting up on his own now, we figured the real tub was pretty safe. There was one incident where he flung himself backward and hit his head on a toy, and another time where he slipped and dove headfirst into the water (which scared both me and him!), but overall he’s doing great. Not many dislikes, though he is starting to show just a little bit of separation anxiety when I leave the room or drop him off at daycare. And when I come home from work and he’s crawling on the floor, he gets really sad if I try to put my things away before picking him up. He’ll chase me down the hall, crying after me. It’s both sad and cute.

Mama: I’ve been bathing suit shopping lately, which is NOT fun postpartum. We’re supposed to go to Hawaii in a couple weeks (though there’s a chance the trip could get postponed due to the health of D’s grandma – more on that another time). I’ve lost all the baby weight – in fact I’m actually down below my pre-pregnancy weight, but my body is just different. I always assumed my midsection would be the part I’d be the most self-conscious about postpartum, but while I’ve got a tiny bit of a pooch, it’s really not that bad. Interestingly, for the first time in my life I’m totally self-conscous about my boobs! It seems like no bathing suit top will contain these puppies, and they just seem kind of big and floppy now. I miss my perky C cups.

Speaking of boobs (it’s amazing how much of my brain space is occupied by boobs these days… that and poop), breastfeeding is still going well, and I’m still pumping at work. I got new insurance this year, so I was able to take advantage of the fact that breast pumps are 100% covered, and I got myself a second pump to keep at work. It’s nice to not have to lug the pump back and forth every day now, and my new one (a Medela) is a lot more efficient than my old one (an Ameda). I can get just as much, if not more output in about half the amount of time. So it’s nice to keep the new one at the office and then I just use my Ameda on days I work from home, as well as the occasional morning pump. With T sleeping longer stretches, I find myself pretty engorged in the mornings now, and he isn’t always interested in eating much when he first wakes up, which means I have to work pumping into my already busy morning routine those days.

So that’s about it. I’ll save the stuff with D’s grandma for another post, and I also have a long post I’ve been working on to talk more about our daycare situation. It’s been quite the roller coaster, but the short story is that we’re really happy with the new daycare, which makes the incompetency of the old place even more glaring. With that, I’ll leave you with some photos from the past month…

Bathtime buns.

Bathtime buns.

Watching the Cougs play in the New Mexico Bowl with cousin Ryder.

Watching the Cougs play in the New Mexico Bowl with cousin Ryder.

Napping with Grandpa.

Napping with Grandpa.

Uh oh... time to lower the crib mattress!

Well, hello there… guess it’s time to lower the crib mattress!

Christmas morning.

Christmas morning.

Climbing on cousin Molly.

Climbing on cousin Molly.

Christmas nap at Grandma and Boppa's.

Christmas nap at Grandma and Boppa’s.

Teething baby who wouldn't go down for a nap until I wore him around the house.

Teething baby who wouldn’t go down for a nap until I wore him around the house.

Hanging out with Mr. Penguin.

Hanging out with Mr. Penguin.

Climbing and pulling himself up on everything.

Climbing and pulling himself up on everything.

...and I do mean everything.

…and I do mean everything.

Eff naps!

Eff naps!

With his friend Cody.

With his friend Cody.

First time in the big boy bath.

First time in the big boy bath.

Bathtime babe with a black eye. :(

Bathtime babe with a black eye. 😦

Loves to clap!

Loves to clap!

Watching the Seahawks beat the Saints!

Watching the Seahawks beat the Saints!

Seven months old.

Where is time going? Our little dude is 7 months old now, and so much fun. I love him more and more every day, and every age is “the most fun age.” I’m sure that’ll stop at some point (not the loving him part – the “this is the most fun age part”) – maybe at the terrible twos? I can’t wait until he can start talking to us. He is so funny and full of personality and I can’t wait to understand a little more about what’s rattling around in that little brain of his.

IMG_0003Stats: 17.5 lbs and 28 inches. Even though that seems huge to me, he’s dropped quite a bit, percentile-wise, which has me concerned. I know some ebb and flow is normal, but I can’t help but worry whether he’s eating enough. He doesn’t seem to eat as much as other babies I know, and he doesn’t always finish his bottles at daycare, which bothers me (more on that in another post). But the pediatrician didn’t seem concerned, so I’m trying not to be either. Easier said than done…

Sleeping: Hallelujah, we have finally turned a corner on sleep. He’s waking up once or twice per night these days, and only needs to nurse back to sleep about half the time. The other times, if we let him fuss a bit, he’ll usually put himself back to sleep, and often without even full-on crying. He mostly just whimpers and whines and rolls around, and then it just stops and he’s out cold almost as soon as it started. To be honest, though, I don’t really mind getting up with him once per night. I feel like I see him so little during the workday, so the middle of the night nursings are sort of our special time. I sit in the rocking chair in his room and we snuggle while he eats. On the weekends he usually wakes up around 5 or 6, which is when we get up during the week, so I just bring him into bed with us and he’s happy to roll around in between us for a while (usually slapping our faces and trying to get us to play!), before he’ll conk out again. Most weekends we sleep in until around 8, and we’ve slept as late as 10 on occasion! I feel sort of spoiled and know it won’t be long before he’s an active toddler, raring to go at the crack of dawn!

Eating: With the exception of Thanksgiving, we’ve just been introducing one new food per week. This last month he’s had bananas and squash, and we meant to introduce pears last weekend, but the pears we got at the store still don’t feel very ripe. As soon as they ripen more, I’ll mush them up for him. So far the only thing he’s not crazy about is avocado, but I find if I mix it with something else like sweet potatoes he’ll eat it up. He didn’t like squash at first either, but after a couple days he started eating it. Our next green veggie we’re trying is green beans next week. We’ll see how that goes! I’m tempted to start giving him finger foods since he’s developing the motor skills for picking up small objects, but I’m terrified of choking. I know I’ll have to get over that fear eventually. He can’t eat mush forever. Still doesn’t have any teeth.

Likes/Dislikes: Kid likes to MOVE! He is crawling like a champ now and looooves to be on the floor. We’ve had to watch the dogs a little more closely because of it. We had an incident a couple weeks ago where Stewie growled and snapped at him when Theo got too close while Stewie was chewing on a bone. I, of course, FREAKED out. I would never get rid of my dogs, but I also could never live with myself if something happened. After talking with the president of the rescue group I volunteer with, though, she assured me it was completely normal. That dogs will correct babies/kids, and that if Stewie had wanted to bite, he would have. It was a warning, and we shouldn’t punish him for warning, because if you extinguish a dog’s ability to warn, that’s when you get dogs who seem to snap out of nowhere. When that happens, it usually isn’t out of nowhere, but the dog had been taught not to warn and so the dog doesn’t act until he just can’t take it anymore. So we make sure all bones and dog toys are picked up when Theo is on the floor, and we make sure Theo doesn’t disturb the dogs in their beds. Our rule of thumb these days is that we allow the dogs to approach Theo (as long as they don’t totally molest his face off), but we don’t allow Theo to approach the dogs. We’re just playing things safe until they get more accustomed to each other. Apparently this is very normal once crawling starts, and things may get a little off again once he starts walking. It’s our job as parents to ensure everyone is safe. Wow – that got long and detailed. It really isn’t as big of a deal as I felt it was at the time. Just a good reminder that dogs will be dogs and we need to respect them and not put them in a position where they feel the need to defend themselves.

Other likes continue to be mostly the same – bathtime, meeting new people, going grocery shopping, etc. There isn’t a ton that he doesn’t like these days. Still not crazy about getting strapped into the car seat, but he doesn’t fuss as much as he used to.

Mama: Breastfeeding is still going well for me. Pumping is still annoying. I went out of town on a business trip last week, and pumping and scalding my milk was quite the hassle since I didn’t have access to a stove. I had to scald my milk in a bottle warmer from the hotel room (using this method). I found the bottle warmer method to be quite a bit slower than just dumping everything into a pan on the stove and heating it – and trying to pack my pump, cooler bag, bottle warmer and two days’ worth of clothes into a carry-on bag was like playing a really frustrating game of Tetris – but it’s nice to know I have an alternative way to scald my milk when I’m out of town, and I was able to bring back more milk than he drank while I was gone, so I didn’t fall behind on maintaining my freezer stash. In exciting news, I’m getting a new pump! Since I have new insurance, I figured I’d take advantage of the fact that breast pumps are 100% covered now. I’m not crazy about my current pump (Ameda Purely Yours), so I ordered a Medela, which I had heard good things about. I’m really hoping I like this pump better than my old one, but at the very least, it’ll be nice to have a backup in case one breaks, and also this way I can keep one at the office and one at home instead of lugging it back and forth every day.

Okay, I’ll wrap up this already long post with some photos from the past month…

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Watching the Apple Cup.

Watching the Apple Cup.

Apple Cup. Cougs were losing, hence the scowly face on dad.

Apple Cup. Cougs were losing, hence the scowly face on dad.

Christmas tree shopping in the pouring rain.

Christmas tree shopping in the pouring rain.

Christmas tree shopping is exhausting.

Christmas tree shopping is exhausting.

...or a laundry basket. Seriously. No need for fancy toys this Christmas!

A kid and his laundry basket. Seriously. No need for fancy toys this Christmas!

Snuggling and sleeping in on the weekend.

Snuggling and sleeping in on the weekend.

Hanging out with his buddy Travis at our friend's holiday party.

Hanging out with his buddy Travis at our friend’s holiday party.

Six months old.

What a fun age. Everyone says that about six months, but it’s so true. Theo has become less cranky and whiny almost overnight, smiles and laughs all the time, and is almost CRAWLING. Dear God, help us. I am so not ready for a mobile baby.

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Stats: I’d guess around 17 lbs. I dropped the ball on making his six-month appointment and wasn’t able to get him in until next week and he’ll be almost seven months old by then. But when we took him in for an ear infection a few weeks ago and they weighed him, he was around 16 lbs.

Sleeping: Sleeping is finally getting better. I finally broke down and we started sleep training a little over a week ago (“Ferberizing”). I read two sleep books with opposing views: one – the Ferber method – is more traditional on letting them cry it out a bit, and the other one bills itself the “no cry sleep solution,” which is more in-line with attachment parenting style. I consider my parenting style to be somewhere in the middle. Since I was morally conflicted about how I felt about letting him cry (I didn’t want him to feel abandoned), I tried the no sleep version first. As I mentioned last month, I picked up some good pointers, but in the end, I wasn’t seeing the results we needed. So as painful as it was to listen to him cry, we embarked on a stricter sleep plan. At the end of the day, it’s important for his health to get more sleep.

We had two primary issues to deal with: teaching him to self-soothe, and getting him to eat less during the night. He’s old enough now that he shouldn’t have a physical need to eat during the night, but he had gotten used to it and so it was hard to break that. To teach self-soothing, Ferber recommends responding to his cries at increasing intervals of time, without picking him up. The idea is to let him know you’re there (shush him, pat his back, talk to him, etc.), but he should ultimately soothe himself without you and fall asleep on his own. So the first night you go in after 3 minutes, then 5 minutes, then every 10 minutes until he falls asleep. The second night starts at 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 12 minutes… and so on. Simultaneously, to reduce night nursing, we made him wait at least 2 hours before nursing the first night, 2 1/2 the second night, 3 hours the third night, and so on. So according to our sleep plan, if he woke and it had been enough time to nurse, I would. If not, we’d do the waiting intervals. Most nights he falls asleep again after only crying for 10-20 minutes, so we usually only have to go in once before he puts himself back to sleep. By the time he wakes the second time, it’s usually been enough time that I can nurse him. So we’ve been averaging two wakeups per night — one where we let him cry and put himself back to sleep, and one where I feed him. Oh, and did I mention we decided to put him in his own room/crib when we started this process? We figured it would be easiest to make the transition all at once.

We still have a ways to go before he’s sleeping through the night, but at just two wakeups per night, we’re in a much better place than we were just a couple weeks ago, and it really is nice to have our room back to ourselves.

Eating: Theo is really enjoying “solid” food (read: mush). We’ve been introducing one new food per week in order to keep an eye out for allergies or sensitivities. So far he’s had baby oatmeal cereal, avocado, carrots, sweet potato and peas. We may break our “one food per week” rule this Thursday on Thanksgiving and let him sample a few of the softer things from our plates. We’ve also introduced a sippy cup of water, just for practice. He still gets the hydration he needs from breastmilk, but the sippy cup is fun for him to learn on now, even if he’s not getting a lot out of it. He really loves it though! Nursing is still going well, though now that we’re trying to shift some of his caloric intake from the night to the daytime and sending him with more in his daycare bottles, I’m finding I’m having a harder time keeping up with demand when I’m pumping. I’m working to try to increase my supply, but in the meantime, I’m thankful I’ve been able to rebuild my freezer stash so we can dip into that as needed.

Likes/Dislikes: He is quite the social butterfly and loves anything where people are paying attention to him. Trips to the grocery store are essentially giant flirt-fests for him. He’ll stare at people until they look at him, and then crack a huge smile, which usually gets people cooing at him. He just eats it up. What a ham. Not crazy about his car seat or going on car rides these days. I don’t think he likes not being able to see us. Unfortunately, he’ll be rear-facing for quite a while longer, due to car safety guidelines. He fusses a lot when we first get in the car, but then he usually calms down after a while.

Mama: Not a lot is new with me. Doing well with my weight, but still soft around the middle. I have a crazy appetite these days. I’m way hungrier breastfeeding than I was pregnant. Thankfully breastfeeding burns so many calories. I’ll really miss being able to eat whatever I want once we wean! Still hoping to make it to a year breastfeeding, though if I can keep up my freezer supply, I’d love to give up pumping if my stash could carry me to the year mark and just nurse in the evenings and on weekends. I really do enjoy nursing for the most part, but would like to take my pump out into a field somewhere and beat it, Office Space style.

Here are some photos from the past month, including some professional family photos we had taken last weekend.

Avocado face

Avocado face

Feeding himself with his mesh feeder.

Feeding himself with his mesh feeder.

Watching the Seahawks win.

Watching the Seahawks win.

Sippy cup.

Sippy cup.

Trying to feed himself with a spoon. Needs practice...

Trying to feed himself with a spoon. Needs practice…

Mmmm... peas!

Mmmm… peas!

SFH_6696 SFH_6706 SFH_6718 SFH_6777 SFH_6790 SFH_6875 SFH_6893 SFH_6899

Five months old.

(Make that, 5.5 months old)

I can’t believe we almost have a six month-old. It sounds so old! But I am loving watching this little guy become his own person. Every day is something new. It’s funny how I used to think we had an easy baby. I definitely do NOT think he is an easy baby anymore. To the contrary, he is proving himself to be quite the little handful, but I still love him just the same. I think he is going to be very smart, inquisitive, and will probably be the type to test his boundaries, if I had to guess from his personality. He will be keeping us on our toes, for sure!

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Stats: Somewhere around 16 lbs. It will be interesting to find out for sure in a few weeks when he has his 6 month checkup.

Sleeping: Ugh. Just… ugh. It’s getting progressively worse. I read a book last month called The No Cry Sleep Solution, as I had hoped to help him develop better sleep habits without letting him “cry it out.” I picked up a few good pointers in the book, but I think I’m moving on to a more aggressive approach, and I just downloaded Solve Your Child’s Sleep Programs by Richard Ferber on my Kindle. “Ferberizing,” as it’s commonly known, does require some crying, but I think it’s for the best, as it’ll teach him to self-soothe. I’m learning through reading, though, that it’s not quite as brutal as I initially thought. You don’t just ignore them and let them cry alone for hours on end. You go in at longer and longer intervals to assure them you’re there, without just resorting to picking up and nursing, which is the one surefire way to instantly calm him.

That’s the hardest part about this whole thing. It’s like, would I rather just give into him so I can get some sleep tonight? Or should I be strong, so I can get more sleep in the long run? I know the latter sounds like a no-brainer, but when it’s 3 a.m. and I’m exhausted and I’m up with him for the third time that night, and I have to get up in two and a half hours to put in a full day at work, it’s just so much easier to pull him onto the boob so I (and he) can fall back asleep.

One thing we did start doing a few nights ago, is we got rid of the Magic Sleep Suit. It was super helpful for the transition from the swaddle, but I think we reached a point where it was keeping him from putting himself back to sleep when he would stir, as it kept him in one position on his back. Think about it: when you wake up in the middle of the night, you probably change positions, roll over, and fall back asleep. Since he couldn’t get into any other position than starfish flat on his back, I think it made him fussier. I’ve noticed a slight difference since we got rid of the sleep suit … though I’m afraid to even type that out, for fear of jinxing it! But I’ll occasionally hear him whimper through the baby monitor and if I wait it out instead of going to him immediately, sometimes he’ll roll over and then fall asleep on his own.

Eating: Oh, one thing I forgot to mention in my previous paragraph, that I think may be affecting sleep, is the fact that he is definitely eating a lot at night. I previously thought he was nursing just for comfort, but I went out of town for a couple nights two weeks ago and D was on his own with Theo for the first time overnight, and Theo drank EIGHT bottles between 7 p.m. and 4 a.m.!! So clearly he is taking in a lot more calories at night than we previously thought (reverse cycling). To help this, I’ve been slowly increasing the amount I’m sending him in his bottles to daycare, in hopes of getting him a little more full during the day.

We also tried solid food for the first time last weekend! I was originally going to wait until he officially reached 6 months, but I figure any extra calories I can get into him during the day can only help. And he’s also been totally eyeballing our food whenever we eat, so he was ready. We’re starting with just one feeding per day of baby oatmeal cereal, and this coming weekend we’ll move on to pureed veggies. I picked up some carrots and avocado this weekend, and I’m planning to start making my own baby food. I’ve heard from some people that it’s better to start with veggies instead of fruit, so they don’t learn to only like sweets… and I’ve heard from other people that you should start with fruit instead of veggies because it’s an easier transition and is sweet like breastmilk. As with all things baby, there is SOOO much conflicting advice out there! So I figured carrots and avocados were a good compromise. They’re veggies, but they’re on the sweeter side of things (unlike broccoli, which can be a little bitter). We’ll see. So far he loves oatmeal, although more food ends up all over him, the floor, the dogs, etc. than in his mouth. But he’ll figure it out.

Likes/Dislikes: As I mentioned earlier, he is developing quite a personality, and is not shy about telling us what he likes and doesn’t like. Still loves bath time. Seriously, I’ve never seen him so happy as when he’s in the tub. It’s incredibly cute. He goes bonkers in his Jumparoo, and is starting to like tummy time a lot more, now that he can move. He isn’t crawling yet, but that’s coming very soon. He does pushups, rolls, inchworms and scoots around in circles. He’s also starting to get better about sitting up. I can balance him and he’ll stay for a few seconds before toppling over. He loves looking at any kind of screen, so we’re trying to be more careful about not letting him “watch” too much TV. This screen fascination has made middle of the night nursing a bit more difficult since looking at Facebook or playing Candy Crush on my phone was previously the only way I could stay awake. Now it’s often way too distracting for him, though, since he’ll pull off and crane his neck to look at my phone instead of nursing.

Mama: I’m down below my pre-baby weight. Hooray! I actually weigh less than I have in years, though my midsection still needs some work. I’ve had to give up running for the time being, simply because I haven’t had the time. I’m hoping to pick that up again soon. I’m still pumping at work, though I’ve had a few days where things have gotten busy and I either haven’t had time to do it as often as I should, or I just simply forget. I almost never get that “full” feeling anymore when I need to empty, like I used to. So it’s way too easy to go longer than I should between pumping if I’m not watching the clock. I’m trying to be better about this since I don’t want my supply to start dropping. I’m almost halfway to my goal of breastfeeding for a year.

Okay, that’s about it for now. Here are some pictures from the past month:

This is what happens when Daddy dresses him. Yes, that is a nightgown he is wearing as a shirt.

This is what happens when Daddy dresses him. Yes, that is a nightgown he is wearing as a shirt.

Bathtime!

Bathtime!

Doing pushups for his girlfriend Ava.

Doing pushups for his girlfriend Ava.

Mastering the art of the selfie.

Mastering the art of the selfie.

Theo and Ava.

Theo and Ava.

First Sounders game.

First Sounders game.

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Go Sounders!

Yum, oatmeal!

Yum, oatmeal!

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Meeting cousin Ryder

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Happy Halloween!

Four months old.

Mr. Theo is now four months old (actually, I’ve put this off so long that he’s closer to 5 months now). I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I can’t believe how fast he is growing up. He is really developing quite the little personality and is starting to look more like a little person every day. I couldn’t pick a favorite picture this month, so here’s a mini-collage from his photo shoot. I think it perfectly captures how active he is. He just does not sit still!

4monthsStats: 15 lbs (52nd percentile), 26.26 inches long (90th percentile!). Our boy is long and lean — who knows where he got that from, since those aren’t terms I’d use to describe D or me. It’s funny how he doesn’t weigh that much in relation to his length, yet everyone always comments on what a chunky baby he is. He does have a lot of rolls and the most adorable chubby thighs. 🙂

Sleeping: He is going through a pretty bad sleep regression, which, in talking with other moms seems to be pretty normal for this age. Some have referred to it as the 4 month wakeful period. Essentially, a lot of babies get so distracted by everything during the day that they don’t eat as much as they should, and then at night when it’s dark and quiet and there are fewer distractions, they choose that time to eat. He’s also been dealing with a cold for about 4 weeks now, so the frequent night wakings could be just because he doesn’t feel well. I’m starting to really get tired of the sleep conversations, though. It seems like whenever anyone finds out I have a baby, their first question is, “how is he sleeping?” And when I say he still wakes up 2-3 times per night, it’s like I can hear their silent judgment. Or maybe I’m just imagining it. But really, why does everyone seem to expect that babies this age should sleep through the night? Sure, I’d love to get more consecutive hours of sleep, but I just have to remind myself that babies who sleep through the night are the exception, not the rule, at this age.

I did start reading a book on sleep habits, called The No Cry Sleep Solution. I’m not quite ready to do any official sleep training at this point, and I waiver back and forth on whether I believe in letting babies “cry it out” (which is what’s involved in traditional sleep training methods). This book is more about understanding baby sleep habits and finding ways to support healthy sleep without letting them CIO. One thing we are doing is trying to get him into more of a bedtime routine, and are putting him down earlier than we were. Whereas before we were just taking him to bed when we went to bed (usually around 10), we realized that he was pretty cranky in the evenings and could probably benefit from an earlier bedtime. So now we try to get him down around 8, and that seems to be going much better. It doesn’t make him sleep any longer, but he’s not quite as fussy in the evenings, and it gives us some time to relax sans baby, or get stuff done like dishes or a little bit of work. I call our routine the “four Bs” – bath, book, boob, bed. I’m hoping the repetitiveness will help him to fall asleep faster over time, and the book I’m reading says a good bedtime routine is crucial. I do worry sometimes, though, that the bath and book rev him up instead of calming him down. He LOOOVES bath time, but that usually involves a lot of squealing and splashing. And he gets really excited when I read to him, and tries to turn the pages himself and everything. So I’m not really convinced it’s a relaxing activity for him. We’ll see how it goes after a few more weeks, and if we’re not seeing any improvement, we may experiment with a different routine.

Another new development on the sleep front since last month, is that we ended up getting that Magic Sleepsuit I mentioned last time. It’s wonderful! Again, it doesn’t make him magically sleep through the night, but it does seem to help him to fall asleep faster, and he doesn’t flail around like he was with the swaddle, and I’m not worried about him rolling over and ending up face down in the mattress like I did when he was swaddled. He is a rolling machine these days, which made swaddling unsafe.

One thing we are struggling with a bit now are naps. He takes a pretty good nap in the mornings, but really protests his afternoon nap. I’ve been working with daycare to try to get him into somewhat of a consistent routine that we can carry over on the weekends, but he is just such an active baby that he really doesn’t want to miss anything. It’s something we need to work on, because he gets pretty crankypants in the evenings when he doesn’t get an afternoon nap. But napping is another thing that book is supposed to help address. I’ve just started the book, so I’m hoping we’ll learn some new tricks.

Eating: Still loves to nurse, and is taking a bottle like a champ. Only complaints in the eating department are that he likes to nurse a lot at night now, and he is starting to get a bit more particular about the conditions in which he nurses. He doesn’t like being covered, which means when we’re out in public he tries to rip the cover off, or will sometimes fuss and not latch on right away. But it’s manageable. It’s funny how I always thought we got such an easy baby — but really he just hadn’t grown into his personality yet. He’s definitely not shy about telling us what he likes and doesn’t like! Which brings us to…

Likes/Dislikes: He always wants to be upright these days, and only likes the swing for naps now. He likes to sit in his Bumbo seat, and I think we’ll get him a high chair soon, even though we won’t be starting solid foods for another month or so. He always wants to be right in the middle of the action, so we need somewhere to put him while we’re in the kitchen or eating at the table. He doesn’t like his pacifier much anymore, which is a bummer since it means I’m his pacifier, but I suppose that’s one less thing we have to break him of later. He LOVES the ceiling fan, and has also started noticing screens lately – our phones, iPad, laptops, TV, etc. He loves to watch football (just like daddy!). I think the different colored uniforms contrasted with the green field must be fascinating to him. Yes, we let our baby watch TV with us. Surely we must be rotting his brain.

Mama: I can officially say I’ve lost all the baby weight – yay! My stomach skin still looks all loose, though, and I still have a bit of a pooch, so I certainly won’t be rocking a bikini anytime soon. Good thing it’s almost October. 🙂 We’re going to Hawaii in February, and I’m hoping my body will have bounced back by then. I recently started a Couch-to-5k running program and I’m hoping that’ll help me build some muscle tone and maybe shed a few more pounds. I’ve also been taking Stewie running with me, and I think that’ll be good for him. He’s always been sort of a nervous dog, and I worry that his nervousness could make him less tolerant to a grabby toddler when the time comes. I worry a lot about the dogs in general, to tell you the truth. They have pretty much ignored Theo for the most part, though Maggie grumbled a little bit last night when Theo was on his blanket on the floor and turned to face her. She got up and moved, which was the right thing to do — and I hope to teach them that walking away when they’re tired of the baby is always the right choice — but it did bother me to see her do that. I’m not one of those people who gives up on their animals when a baby enters the picture. (I do dog rescue for crying out loud – how hypocritical would that be?) But I never could have prepared myself for the love I would feel for this tiny human we’ve created and just how protective I would be with him. I hope we can continue to work on building the dogs’ tolerance of Theo and making him a positive thing to them. We’ll certainly have our work cut out for us once he’s mobile, though!

Okay, that’s about it. Next week he’ll be 5 months old, and I’ll try to be a little more timely with that post! Here are some of my favorite photos from the past month.

Hanging with Uncle Robbie

Hanging with Uncle Robbie

With Auntie Danielle

With Auntie Danielle

Fishing with Dad.

Fishing with Dad.

Go Cougs!

Go Cougs!

My boys.

My boys.

Watching the Seahawks.

Watching the Seahawks.