10 months old

What a fun little guy we have. I remember thinking at one point there was no way I could love another child as much as I love Theo. But everyone told me your heart makes room and grows for more children and they were totally right. Emmett is the perfect addition to our family and our lives are so much better because of him. He is so similar to T in many ways, but has his own quirks and personality, and well, we just love him to pieces. This is such a fun age.

Adjusted age: 7 months

Stats: 14.8 lbs and 26.25 inches. Still not a lot of growth with this little peanut, unfortunately.

Milestones: Crawling everywhere, getting better at sitting unassisted (but still topples frequently), standing pretty well while holding onto something, and almost pulling himself up to standing. He’s also eating more foods with texture, like Mum Mums and puffs.

Sleeping: For the last month he’s been sleeping horribly! Up 3-4 times per night and not settling as easily as he had been. But then just this last week we seem to have turned a corner (knock on wood). He now takes a while to settle initially, and might wake up a few times the first couple hours he’s down, but after that initial settling he’s been sleeping through until morning! I don’t know that I’d count it as sleeping through the night since he’s still up a couple times, but those wakeups are usually before I go to bed, so he’s sleeping through my night. I’ll take it. Naps are still hit or miss. Sometimes he’ll give us 2-3, one- to two-hour naps. Other days he crap naps for 30 minutes at a time. But he’s happy, so I’ll assume he’s getting enough sleep.

Eating: As mentioned earlier, we’re experimenting with different textures and he’s doing really well. He loves food. We haven’t really found anything he doesn’t like yet, and we’ve even begun venturing into some green vegetables like peas and green beans. We are seeing a nutritionist to help him pack on the pounds, and she is having us add butter (yes, butter!) to his purees to give him some extra calories. Maybe that’s why he eats his veggies with no protest. Everything is better with butter, right? For fruits, she’s having us mix with avocado for extra fat. Funny, I was talking to a coworker recently who has 16 year-old twins who were born premature. He said they were also instructed to add butter to their food to help them gain weight and to this day they still add butter to everything (and are still very petite). Nursing has gotten better again. He isn’t quite as distracted as he was, though I still find I have to take him somewhere quiet sometimes to get him to focus. He probably never will be the easy nurser T was, but I’m thankful we’ve made it as far as we have, considering preemies are notorious for having difficulty breastfeeding.

Personality: Always happy, and always moving. He is one busy guy, just like T was, and he’s very determined in all that he does. I like to think this “go getter” attitude will serve him well later in life.

Likes: Exploring, laughing, bathtime, big brother, eating! I’m especially glad he’s enjoying eating since he still needs to pack on the pounds.

Dislikes: Still hates his inhalers. I feel like I’m torturing him when I give them to him and really hope I’m not harming him psychologically.

Mama: I’m still stressing over my milk supply, though I have noticed with his increased stretches of sleep at night, I’m able to nurse him in the morning and then still pump more than my usual amount afterward. Interestingly, my subsequent pumps throughout the day have been higher volume as well. I’m sure I’m making the same amount but just pumping what I would have been nursing overnight when he was waking multiple times. But if nothing else, it’s a nice morale booster to see the higher volume. Though I have heard sleep is good for your supply, so it could be that these longer stretches of sleep have allowed my body to recuperate some and produce more.

The closer we get to his birthday, the more emotional and reflective I’m getting. I’m sad that the first year has almost come and gone and I haven’t been able to fully enjoy it because I’ve spent so much time worrying; willing him to grow; feeling like we were always trying to catch up. At the same time, I’m fiercely proud of him and how far he’s come this past year. He had such a rough start and he’s doing amazing, all things considered. I know we aren’t out of the woods on complications, and some things could possibly crop up in adolescence and early adulthood. I made the mistake of googling long term affects of prematurity and saw some scary stuff. But he’s just so amazing and bright and happy, that sometimes I can’t shake the feeling that he must be destined for greatness. I have these visions of him on some stage somewhere, someday, telling his story of how he overcame the odds. No matter what happens, he’s got a pretty amazing group of family and friends that love him and will cheer him on.

Drinking from a sippy cup like a big boy.

Do I have something on my face?

Smiling in his sleep.

With his buddy, TJ.

 

9 months old

Can we really be getting that close to a year old? Time is so non-linear when your baby has two ages and you vacillate between viewing him as a nine month-old (because that’s what he is, and he’s been in your life for nine months) and a six month-old (because he looks and acts like a six month-old and you’ve only had him home for six months). I will say, I’ve started just telling people his actual age when they ask, as I’m learning most people have no clue what a six or a nine month-old look like. Sometimes I’ll get a comment about how little he is (usually from other parents of young children), at which point I’ll say he’s a preemie and has some catching up to do. Sometimes this leads to a lot of questions I may or may not feel like answering, but a few times I’ve ended up connecting with other parents of preemies. In fact, just last week I met a woman whose baby was in the same NICU at the same time as Emmett! Small world.

Here’s what’s happening at nine months:

Adjusted age: 6 months.

Stats: 14.6 lbs and 25.75 inches. Not much growth since last month. It may just be his continued illnesses and increased activity, but we’ve started seeing a pulmonologist for his wheezing and she referred us to a nutritionist because she wants him to start packing on the pounds. His lungs will grow and get stronger as he does.

Milestones: Eating solid foods! So far we’ve tried sweet potatoes, avocados, apples, bananas and peas. He still pushes his tongue out more than he swallows, and so more ends up on his shirt and tray than in his stomach most nights, but his OT feels good about how he’s doing, and the important thing is that he enjoys it. Right now solid foods are less about nutrition (he still gets everything he needs from breastmilk), and more about introducing flavors and textures. He is also so close to crawling, but hasn’t quite made any forward progress. He gets up on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth, and sometimes goes backwards, so I’m sure it’ll happen any day now. Update: I had drafted this post last night, and he officially made his first forward crawl tonight.

Sleeping: We’re dealing with a little bit of a regression. After getting used to just one wakeup per night, he’s now usually up two to three times per night. But he’s been nursing less during the day (more on that below) and I feel like his middle of the night feedings are his most productive, so I’ll take any opportunity to get some extra calories in him. As tired as I am, I know it’s temporary. Theo was the world’s worst sleeper as a baby and he’s great now. I’ll sleep again someday. For now, coffee.

Eating: Solid foods once per day (at dinnertime so we can all eat as a family), four to five 4-ounce bottles at daycare (fortified with NeoSure), and nursing whenever we’re home together. As I mentioned earlier, he’s been nursing less, though. He’ll often latch for 3-4 minutes and then pop off and fight me if I try to relatch him. I think it’s mostly an issue of him being easily distracted, as he does this on the bottle too, but will focus and eat better if we go into a quiet room. He also eats really well when he’s sleepy and relaxed. The rest of the time, he’s got a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out). I’m hoping this is a quick phase, because it’s incredibly frustrating, and my supply is already struggling and it worries me when he goes several feeds in a row without eating much.

Personality: I sound like a broken record, but he’s just so HAPPY. Smiles at everyone and is incredibly social. So far no stranger danger, though I know that often kicks in around this time. He also loves other babies, which is funny because I didn’t think they typically noticed other babies at this stage. Maybe it’s because he’s used to being in daycare with other babies, but when we get together with friends and we put the babies on the floor together he stares and smiles at the other babies — and then usually tries to grab their face.

Likes: Being tossed in the air. I get the biggest belly laughs out of him when I toss him up. Also laughs and laughs at big brother, sometimes when he isn’t even trying to be funny. Which causes Theo to whine and tell us to make baby Emmett stop laughing at him.

Dislikes: His inhalers. As I mentioned earlier, we’re seeing a pulmonologist to get his wheezing and coughing under control. He is now on a twice daily steroid inhaler, and an albuterol rescue inhaler as needed. They come with a special mask that goes over his mouth and nose so you can puff it in and he is not a fan. Especially since you have to hold it over his face until he takes 5-6 breaths… and then repeat. Sometimes if I catch him in a good mood and talk to him in a high squeaky voice while I give it to him I can avoid a freakout, but most of the time he screams and cries and tries to fight us.

Mama: I’m … surviving, I guess. As I mentioned last month, I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed, like I’m failing in all areas of my life. It hasn’t really gotten any better, but it hasn’t gotten any worse, either. I’m madly in love with this little man but also feel like I have a hard time just enjoying him because I’m always worried and stressed. I’m sure the stress is one factor in my diminishing milk supply, which in turn also makes me stress out (it’s a vicious cycle). Thankfully we still have a huge freezer stash. He’s getting about half fresh and half frozen at daycare because I can’t pump enough in a day to send with him the next day. At one point I had an oversupply and managed to completely fill two freezers with milk. We’re blowing through that at an alarming rate, though. At some point he’ll be eating more solids and drinking less milk, but at the rate we’re going, we’ll probably have to supplement with formula at some point, unless I can increase my supply. I’m pumping as much as I possibly can during the workday, nursing as much as possible at home, taking fenugreek, eating oatmeal and trying to up my water intake, but it’s not making much of a difference. Not that formula is the end of the world (and we’re already fortifying anyway), but it makes me sad sometimes that we don’t have the (relatively) easy breastfeeding relationship that Theo and I had. The fact that this is our last baby and so much of it hasn’t gone how I’d planned makes me mourn that aspect so much more.

Whew. Okay. As consolation for making it through my therapy session, here are some cute baby pictures.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sweet potato face.

Baby in a bar!

All ready for a walk in the snow.

Tummy time with cousin Bellamie.

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