Thursday, February 4, 2016

Life with Baby Update: Three to Six Months

Wow!  It's so hard to believe that it has been 6 months with this little guy already!  Time goes by so fast but at the same time each day always feels like a unique little time capsule to me.  It's usually not until I start thinking about it that I realize how fast it has all gone by.  

Micheal is such a sweet and silly little baby.  He has his cranky moments, but what baby doesn't?  It doesn't matter how irritated or impatient I become -- the second this wee little guy smiles or giggles my heart just melts and I want to hug and kiss him forever.

The past three months have been a bit of a rollercoaster ride.  Around 4 months he started sleeping through the night.  From 8PM until around 7AM.  It was fantastic!  Getting him to bed was so easy.  He would cry for about 5 minutes and then he'd be sound asleep.  Over the past three weeks everything changed.  His teething has gotten really bad and as a result he doesn't want to nap or sleep.  He will fight it and refuse sleep.  Of course, this just makes him grumpy and irritable.  It's almost impossible to get him into the crib most nights.  Not only that, but he has been waking up frequently overnight.  As a result I've been a bit cranky at work lately.  Cranky baby = cranky work mama.

Otherwise all is fantastic.  He's at an amazing age where he is just learning and picking up so much.  He's interested in books now and I just love watching him flip the pages and stare at all of the images.  He babbles all of the time and has even said what we think is his first word - "dada".  Well, it's actually more like, "a-da".  I noticed he's been repeating that one a lot and will hold his arms out to be held when he says it or when we're close.  The only thing is -- I think we're both "a-da" to him!  Silly little babe.

I've started learning more about baby sign language and a new goal of mine is to get him started on that in a few months time.

Speaking of goals, I just wanted to revisit some of my goals that I had way back during the pregnancy.

Goal #1 was to breastfeed.  I honestly never thought I would make it to 6 months with breastfeeding.  I am just so proud of myself and happy that I have stuck with it.  I was always just worried that something was going to happen that would interfere with my milk supply.  I'm completely confidant that if I made it to 6 months then I can make it the full year.  The hardest part of the past three months has been sticking with a pumping schedule.  I work 8 hour days, so I always have to make sure that Roibeard has enough expressed milk to get through the day.  That means that I have to wake up extra early, clean all of the bottles, prep everything, and pump.  I also have been pumping at work and occasionally in the evening.  Now that Micheal is on solids, I'm going to stop the work pump.  This has by far been the most difficult thing about breastfeeding...the work pump session.  We only get a 20 minute break at work.  For the first month I was skipping lunch and only using my break for pumping.  This was making me really sick though because not only was I not eating, but I also wasn't taking any time to get off my feet.  So I finally started eating first, but still only ever take 10 minutes to eat/relax and then the rest I spend pumping. It takes about 15 minutes to pump, so I'm always back from my break around 5 minutes late.  Now, I know it's the law that they have to allow me time for pumping (and they are pretty good about it), but it doesn't stop the comments that I overhear from people about me always taking extra long breaks or even just getting the "look" from my managers.  Since no one has ever said anything to me directly, I feel like I never get a chance to defend myself.  It just stinks because although I take a little longer, I'm only actually resting for half the amount of time as everyone else.  I am going to be so thrilled to not deal with that anymore.  

Goal #2 was to use cloth diapers.  At least while we were at home.  This one has been a bit of a bumpy ride for us.  When Micheal was first born he was a bit too small to fit into the cloth diapers.  We tried a few times to make it work, but it was a " no go" until about a month in.  For awhile we had a good run and were even at a point where we were mostly using cloth.  We didn't end up investing in a diaper sprayer due to the poor plumbing in our apartment.  Honestly though, a good pair of utility gloves and the toilet does the trick just fine and only takes a minute.  Oh, and it's really not as gross as it sounds.  The worst part is having to do the laundry every other day.  (And watching your quarter pile diminish).  After we hit our stride we had a few issues with our washing machine getting jammed up.  Not wanting to go to the laundromat every other day and get angry looks from the owners about trying to wash poop stained clothing we just stuck to disposables for awhile.  Our machine was repaired and all was going well until of course our giant baby out grew his prefolds!  We were really struggling to make them fit and it wasn't comfortable for him so we gave up and ordered the next size up.  Of course the next size up is more for toddlers so after we received them in the mail we quickly learned that they were too big. D'oh!  Again, we tried to make them work, but they were bulky, always leaking, and giving him a terrible rash on his tummy where the pee was getting through.  So, once again he was full time on disposables.  Another problem was that I was skimping on the wash cycle.  They are supposed to go through both a hot and cold cycle.  Instead of running them twice I started just doing one warm cycle.  Made sense to me, but it was resulting in less absorbant nappies.  Now that those kinks have been worked out I'm going to give them another shot.  One thing I would recommend to anyone thinking about cloth diapering is to put in the extra money and get All-In-Ones.  The prefolds require too many steps.  Which, usually is fine by me, but when you're trying to change a squirmy baby who has no problem peeing all over you it's just easier for everything to be one step.  We currently have two AIO nappies, but I'm hoping to invest in more.  Overall, I'm glad we have done cloth diapering.  Even if it's been a bumpy ride, the diapers have more than paid for themselves by this point.  Also, every time I use one I remind myself that's one less diaper/nappie that's crowding up a landfill somewhere!   

Goals #3 & #4 were to make our own baby food and to raise him vegetarian.  The vegetarian part has been a no-brainer at this point as he's only just starting solids and it has all been vegetarian anyway.  I think it won't be until peer pressure comes into play from school and neighborhood kids that vegetarianism could prove to be a challenge. 

Making our own baby food has been a lot of fun so far though!  We started him a little early (around 4.5 months) on rice cereal to help with his reflux.  It didn't really help much, other than make him constipated.  It has been fun watching him make a mess while eating though.  He loves his cereal!  I've started to put a bit of cinnamon in it to flavor it for him.

The photos below show the difference between the homemade and store-bought cereals:

The homemade version is definitely a lot more "ricey" looking.  It's chunky and looks a lot more appetizing.  The store bought stuff is obviously quicker to make and has a butt load of iron, which is nice.  It also has a butt load of other chemicals and stuff that he doesn't need.  Hehe, I just said butt load twice.  (Anyway, moving on...Cat, remember you're a grown up with a baby now!)  

Over Christmas he tried bananas and sweet potatoes.  He loved both, but the sweet potato really backed him up big time, so we have steered clear of solids until this past week.  Other than bananas and sweet potatoes he has also had prunes and pears.  The prunes resulted in an "ick" face, but he still ate them up.  The pears he ate, but only seemed to mildly enjoy.  I have carrots and zucchini ready to go in the freezer for him.  My plan is to take one day each  week and cook all his meals for the entire week and freeze them.  Also once he's able to mix ingredients my plan is to make a main meal for Roibeard and I and then give him the pureed version.  I just love watching his face overtime he tries new things!!