As AJ grows, I see the percentage slowly changing from Mostly Baby to More and More AJ. Of course there is a lot of baby left, and I'm not in a hurry to lose that! But she is an ever-evolving creature. It's hypnotic, astonishing, and sometimes almost terrifying to watch. What have we unleashed upon the world? How can life surround us prodigiously, and yet be so unique and miraculous at once? We weren't and aren't entitled to this experience. Infertility taught us that. But we haven't done anything to deserve it either. I'm left saying: the only answer to life is to live.
What's new this month:
- Babbling! AJ started with Da-da-da-da ba-ba-ba-ba in the middle of May. The first week of this was almost frightening. They aren't words exactly, but AJ babbles with such conviction and expression it does seem like she is getting a message across. Her grandparents swear she has said entire sentences to them. I wouldn't go that far, but it does feel like a giant leap forward. I feel like she will start giving me her opinions on politics, culture and ideas soon. I better get up to speed so I have something intelligent to say back. Boobsie-woobsie-poopsie-poo just won't cut it anymore!
- Sitting on her own, at least for a little while (still will topple after a minute or two). But she has learned some balance techniques, and she can sit and play with a toy, and if she drops it will reach for it.
- Steadily holds an object in her hands to chew on.
- Holds two small objects in her hands and bangs them together. I joke this is a precursor for knitting. AJ has many knitters in her extended family (I include my close friends here).
- Hands and feet are coordinated together. So for example if she wants a toy and it's out of reach, she will try to kick it into reach
- Definitely getting separation anxiety: AJ will frequently protest when I leave the room, or even I try to put her down in the (assumed) expectation that she will be able to amuse herself for a while. She also doesn't like when we walk away from her for some reason! AJ does still play on her own for periods of time, but she also is insisting on interaction more frequently. In the big picture of things I am glad to see her being a social being and asking for what she wants!
- AJ is now sleeping nights in her crib! I loved having her next to me at night so I was not looking forward to this at all, but I managed to cope by just putting her in the crib one night without too much planning or anticipation. Also I'm sure AJ is much more comfortable in the crib, because she is a big girl now and needs room to stretch out and move. Knowing that it is better for her makes it OK for me. The baby monitor helps a lot too. I can be anywhere in the house and still keep an eye on her. So far we have all adjusted quite easily. Also, AJ still can fit in the Halo and I'll put her in it sometimes if I need to put her down and the bed isn't made. Actually packing it away might make me more sad. It was the first baby item I bought.
My favourite "I outgrew the Halo" photo
- I'm cautiously hopeful that with the transition to the crib, sleep patterns are getting more consistent. AJ did start waking more frequently between 5.5 and 6.5 months. I think she was having a growth spurt, and the cold she got as well as the fact she was outgrowing the Halo probably didn't help. I don't think I've ever been seriously sleep deprived but there were some days I was dazed and dragging myself around. Lately though AJ seems to be doing more 4 and 5 hour sleep stretches. We're even managing to get her to bed around 9pm instead of 10:30 or 11:00pm. It does take some planning and discipline to maintain a consistent bedtime, instead of letting AJ stay up watching TV with us. In our case it's more parent training rather than sleep training LOL.
- AJ is eating solids twice a day, roughly corresponding to "breakfast" and "dinner." Her first meal is usually the two of us, at least on weekdays. I often give her fruit such as apple, pear or banana with oatmeal. I bought steel-cut oats since they are supposedly healthier. We have also introduced quinoa. The cereal gives the fruit a more interesting texture, I think. In the evening the 3 of us eat together and this is when we introduce new foods (because if there is some allergic reaction I want Mr. Turtle to help deal with it LOL.) Her favourite "dinner" food so far is lentils with a vegetable blended in, e.g. carrot and/or sweet potato. We've tried meat (beef, chicken, turkey) both pureed and finger food but she isn't as keen on it, though she will try it. Mainly she likes to drop it into her lap. Lately AJ also wants to play with her spoon/bowl/food more and will fuss if we try to push "our" agenda; in other words she can be less cooperative about being fed although she still seems to enjoy it most of the time.
- Solids mean pooping is less frequent, then happens in bigger quantities. I don't think this is a problem but when she hasn't pooped much in a day or two I wonder where she is keeping it all.
- AJ also enjoys sipping water from a cup (which we always use at home during meals) and from a sippy cup (which I use when out and about). In fact she is fascinated with water in general. She likes to watch the faucet be turned on and off. In the bath she enjoys splashing and if water splashes in her face she sticks out her tongue to try to catch it. (Just when I think she can't. possibly. be. cuter SHE STICKS OUT HER TONGUE.)
- Two (at last count) bottom front teeth coming in! I think AJ is handling it quite well. She likes to bite things but that is nothing new; just now her bite feels like a little piranha. I can't really tell if she's cranky about the teeth in particular.
- I haven't given AJ any baby cereals, other than a package of rice cereal that we received as a sample. She wasn't keen on it so we never bought any more. As far as I can tell the only reason that baby cereals are recommended is because they are fortified with iron, which is important for 6 month+ breast fed babies. I'm not over-particular about food; we (the adults) eat all kinds of food including processed foods. But it seems logical to me that AJ get her iron from a variety of foods rather than enriched cereals. I do think it is a life-long advantage to have a varied diet and be open to all kinds of different tastes, and it seems to me it's never to early to start introducing variety and "real" food. But I do sometimes worry about the iron. Any feedback on how others are handling this?
- AJ is back in the stroller for most walks, as the front carry is feeling too confining and sweaty. I still use the carrier for schlepping AJ in and out of the car: No thanks to hauling around 15+ pounds of baby in the bucket seat! I would like to try a back carry but haven't worked up the nerve yet.
- AJ is wearing 9mos+ clothing sizes (the exception being Car.ter's which seems to make longer onesies). Anyone else think that companies size baby clothes small to get you to buy more? LOL. I have to remember to take some of AJ's current clothes when shopping for her to make sure I'm actually getting bigger sizes.
7 months post-partum:
Much the same as last month.
- I'm bringing back more items from my pre-pregnancy wardrobe, but only tops. The only pants that fit are the stretchier bigger sizes that I bought when I was a little bit pregnant. I really doubt I'm ever going to fit the smaller trouser sizes of a previous life. But I haven't brought myself to give anything away yet.
- I never had a lot of hair fall out. Everybody talks about losing hair and I wonder about it every time I get a hair cut: what if they cut and thin my hair and then it all falls out?! But I have not noticed anything.
- Pumping has been more of a challenge lately. I have to work really hard to express a decent amount of breastmilk, and the fact it's so irksome makes me avoid doing it, which probably makes the matter worse. AJ seems to eat as much as ever, so maybe my body is just very good at making exactly what she needs.
- The period came back again last month (about a 30 day interval)
- Update: I wasn't sure if I should include this but after talking with MIL I think I will. A few nights ago I got up in the middle of the night to feed AJ. After she was back in bed I went to get a glass of water. I got it from the frig and it was quite cold. I gulped a bit too much too fast, and probably swallowed some air too, with the result that I got a sharp pain in my chest. I remember taking a few deep breaths, putting the glass down, and thinking "the pain is getting better." Next thing I knew however I was lying on the floor in a stupor and Mr. Turtle was talking to me! I had fainted. He called the ambulance and I was checked by the paramedics. Everything looked fine and luckily I did not have a concussion, although I had an achy head and queasiness for a few hours (some time in bed helped).
- I have fainted from pain before, so I was inclined to dismiss this as freakish bad luck. However MIL talked to a dietitian/lactation consultant who had this to add: "Calorie requirement post delivery is 18 calories per pound of body weight with an additional 400-500 calories for nursing moms. Water requirement is 1.5 ounces per pound of body weight. [Consultant] tells me it is very common to see new moms depleted by 4-6 month mark because you have consumed all of your excess stored energy. Another suggestion is to use a bottle for snacks or comfort and breast milk for meals and one more tip, feeding baby a snack rich in protein and or fat (avocado or legumes) later in the day will help sustain her through the night."
- I never calorie count, so I'll have to do some extra math to figure out if I am meeting those requirements. However, I do know that I sometimes go hours between meals (just forgetfulness). And same with water. I was really responsible during pregnancy but not always now. So it's possible I'm depleted. I wanted to put that out there for other moms, especially since we often focus on weight etc. but it's important to remember to take care of ourselves after pregnancy too. Also the bit about protein is true too: AJ had a big serving of lentils last night and slept through the night for the first time in weeks!
I blogged about my work situation a couple of weeks ago. It's been on my mind a lot this month. I have applied for a year's extra leave. I do not know if it will be approved but I was told the application would at least be considered, and so I wanted to take advantage of that possibility if I could. I retain my contract status while on leave so I will still be placed in a job next year, and be able to apply for other jobs under the same contract. If the leave is not approved I will start a new job in September, probably one I am assigned or another if I am lucky enough to have other choices and be accepted. I do hope the leave is approved, but in any case it has been good to work through things and think about what I really want. I probably wouldn't have done that if I hadn't been surplused from my other position, so who knows, I may well have been unhappier.
Here is this month in pictures. Wishing everyone the best for the rest of the week!