Baby & Body: months 6 & 7 update

In not blogging for just over a month I missed an entire month’s update and cruised right on by the next one too – hence, the combined update. And you know, I can’t even be bothered to be apologetic about it because life has just been too damn much lately between travelling two weeks in a row and being sick twice in a row (one quick but brutal stomach bug, one bastard of a cold).

While Sloane thankfully missed out on the stomach virus, she was the one who gave me the cold, and a sick baby is no fun at all–less so when you are sick yourself. She’s been sleeping like crap because she can’t breathe through her nose (which means she also can’t suck her thumb to self-soothe) and (I’m guessing from my own symptoms) she’s also had a sore throat and headache. Good thing grape flavoured baby Tylenol turned out to be her poison.

Sickness aside, big changes these past two months include the arrival of the first tooth on November 6, followed up by the second one a couple weeks later for a cute little bottom middle set. Teething this time around didn’t seem to cause a lot of grief as both teeth sort of popped out as a bit of a surprise to me. At her 6 month check-up and vaccination appointment (which was actually right on her 6 month birthday) she weighed in at 17.5 lbs and 26 inches tall. I’d guess by now she is up to about 19 lbs and at least an inch taller.

She also became a highly proficient roller and wriggler and went from okay to leave unattended for a few moments to “can’t take your eyes off her for a second” in a matter of days. Like most healthy, red-blooded babies, she has a death wish and is magnetically drawn to hazards big and small. Current dark obsessions include pulling the floor lamp to the ground, yanking the CO detector out of the wall and/or sticking fingers in the now empty socket, scouring the ground for loose change and buttons to choke on, reaching fragile limbs into the mechanism of the gliding chair, rolling towards the top of the stairs, grabbing at cat whiskers, and sleeping face down in the mattress. Close to the 7 month birthday mark she made big strides towards crawling with a sort of rudimentary army-crawl, belly-slither technique that greatly increased her speed in reaching her death trap of choice. Fun!

Long story short, time inside the house can be a bit of a nightmare at the moment – with not a lot of safe space for her to explore before I have to redirect her from danger. Rescuing her every 20 seconds (and often pissing her off in the process) makes for an awfully long day and lots of running back and forth between rooms if I’m trying to do anything else. Imprisoning Safely securing her in a Jolly Jumper or Exersaucer is the only relief, but she only tolerates jail safety for small blocks of time. Although I’m not overly excited about returning to work, I won’t lie: there have been several days in the past couple of months where I have waxed nostalgic for my out-of-the-home job (what a break! how civilized! soooo easy! The grass is noticeably greener at my office!) Time outside the house is loads of fun though, as she’s always happy to be gawking at things and socializing with every passerby. Particularly if said passerby is a boy/man. She loves dudes and beards, so this whole hipster era is really working out well for her/us. We flew to Toronto to visit my brother and his kids and Sloane was happy as a clam to be out Bjorning or strolling all day long, riding the subways and streetcars and hanging out in restaurants. Similarly, when we took her to Banff shortly afterwards, the hotel, pub and outdoor swimming pool life suited her perfectly (until she got sick – and with the exception of the first night in the terrifying, rickety, possibly-haunted, hotel-provided crib).

The other big development was our slow-out-of-the-gate introduction to solid food. Because of her healthy size and appetite for boob, I had incorrectly assumed that she would be stoked to eat some real food at the recommended 6 month mark. Nope. She just wasn’t that into it. If I tricked her into getting some food in her mouth, she would begrudgingly swallow it, but she had no real interest and wouldn’t eagerly open her mouth for much. I have to say, this didn’t bother me in the least. If she had been being selective or picky it may have (I have issues with picky eaters and dread having one) but because she was just altogether uninterested, I figured she just wasn’t there yet. Every other milestone she’s hit of her own volition and in her own good time, and I figured when the time was more right she’d let me know. I still kept offering solids (kind of half-assedly) but it was more of a token effort to keep up the exposure than to actually accomplish any feeding. Then, right around the 7 month mark, she was suddenly into it. She’s still mainly a boob girl, but will pretty much try anything I give her and is definitely more excited about it all.

As for me, I’m tempted to take a pass on commenting at the moment. I went through a phase where I was feeling really good about myself (maybe the best I ever have) but now that I’m coming off of 3 weeks of travel, sickness and loads of one-on-one time with Sloane I just feel worn out. One of those “sick and tired of being sick and tired” kind of phases where it shows on your face, in your posture and in your attitude – but I know that it is just the sick and tired talking, not a lasting state of mind. Nothing a few good sleeps, a gallon of water, an industrial humidifier, a vat of eye cream, a lb of concealer, a babysitter, and professional lighting can’t take care of.

Baby & Body: Month 2 Update

This should have been posted on or around June 25, but as long as I manage to get it in before the 3 month deadline, I’m gonna go ahead and count it as a win.

June was crazy y’all, complete with a triathlon (Andrew, not me), an extended visit from the Newfoundland contingent of grandparents, a business trip to Washington D.C (again, Andrew, not me), a trip to Revelstoke B.C for a friend’s wedding, a vet trip for Twitchy (let’s call it butt-explosion preventive maintenance), and finally my 6-week check-up (actually closer to 8 weeks) with the OB-GYN who delivered Sloane.

I believe I have adequately covered all of my excuses. On with it then.

Sloane continues to amaze on a regular basis. She is so smiley and happy, it’s really quite absurd. I’m trying to remember when she started to – for the most part – sleep through the night, and I almost can’t remember a time when she didn’t. Mommy amnesia is for real. For maybe the first 3-4 weeks she was going down around 10 or 11, waking to feed somewhere between 1 & 2 am, then up again around 4 or 5, and up again around 7 or 8. But from 5 or 6 weeks she started pretty consistently going down at 10 and sleeping until 6. Occasionally, she’d still wake for a 3 or 4 am feed (maybe every 3rd or 4th night) and now I can’t remember the last time she did that. A normal night was a solid 10 pm to 6 am stretch of bassinet time. We tried to put her to bed sleepy but not sleeping, and she’d wind herself down in her bassinet for a while (cooing, kicking, sucking her soother, looking around, searching for her thumb) before going to sleep. This could actually take quite a while, sometimes up to an hour, but she seemed quite content to just hang out until she was tired enough to close her eyes. And in the morning she wakes up in the best mood ever. I rarely wake to her crying, I just hear noises from the bassinet (sometimes gurgling or babbling, sometimes farting or pooping) and when I peek into the bassinet she is all smiles and giggles. Nothing makes her as happy as that first morning diaper change.

She grew like a weed in month 2 – I’m dying of curiosity to see how much she weighs at her next appointment. I’m betting it’s close to 15 lbs. She also gained more head control (less bobbly-headed) and began to seem more focused when looking at objects and people. She is a great eater, and still eats a ton during the day (I think she compensates during the day for that long fast at night) feeding on-demand every 2 or 3 hours – sometimes less frequently if she has long naps in the day and more frequently in the evening as bedtime approaches. During this month she still had a bit of a witching hour, becoming pretty fussy between 7 and 9 pm. Some nights more so than others. Never anything too crazy. The biggest change this month was that we started to get to know her and be able to tell what kind of a mood she was in, when she was getting tired or overtired, what might soothe her and when she just needed some space – it seems weird, but we learned that sometimes she just wanted to be left alone – this, I get.

As for me, I was surprised to find that I pretty much started to feel like myself again. I had expected this to take quite a bit longer, having always subscribed to the “9 months in, 9 months out” school of thought that it takes about as long as you were pregnant to totally recover from pregnancy and birth (and I’m sure it technically does – I just found that I felt pretty good, pretty fast). When I finally weighed myself after 5 or 6 weeks (out of negligence rather than avoidance) the baby weight (32 lbs by the very end) was gone, but I actually know (women always know) that it was gone after 2 or 3 weeks. The old-school advice goes that if you “take care of baby, the baby weight takes care of itself”. And while that sounds a little too good to be true, it has proven accurate in my case. I believe now that if you are able to pour your energy into caring for your little one and breastfeed on demand, that’s really all the workout you need in the early days (months). I’m still not my personal “ideal” weight. And I still don’t care. Frankly, this kind of vanity is a little bit off my radar right now. The things that currently concern me about my body are keeping my nipples from falling off (lanolin ointment is your friend), when and how much milk to pump, and eating well and often enough to avoid the dreaded “hanger” which I’ve always struggled with and has hit me extra hard post-natally. I walk a lot, which I think is really beneficial for both Sloane and me, but that’s about as much exercise as I can get my head around for now. Pilates keeps popping into my head and I know that it’s a GREAT idea for ab, hip and pelvic recovery, but for now, that is where it has stayed – in my head.

Breastfeeding continued to be a work in progress in month 2. If I had to give it a grade, I’d give it a B. Luckily, I was able to iron out the serious problems very early on with the help of  a really great doctor at my final appointment with the maternity clinic and a lot of YouTube videos. Seriously. I just had to google around until I found the right advice that clicked for me to sort out my shitty latch issues. Yet still, it wasn’t entirely comfortable all the time. I understand why a lot of people would give up at this point, especially if baby seems to fuss and not enjoy it either, like some of the moms I know. What kept me going was that even when it sucked for me, Sloane really loved it and that encouraged me to persevere. I’ve come to accept that although they say “breastfeeding should never hurt”, you’re still going to have to deal with a certain amount of soreness and discomfort (what normal humans who don’t work for La Leche League would call pain) for a while until your body totally adjusts. Just like breaking in a new pair of shoes. But with nipples. That’s probably as good of a place to sign off as any.