Six Month Checkup
Somehow the beautiful, tiny little baby I birthed seemingly just yesterday had her six month birthday a few days ago. She is the sweetest pea I know, and our hearts have burst out of their icy cages since she came into our lives.
Here's a little checkup of where we are and how far we've come:
Height and weight. She currently weighs 19 lbs even. I have friends whose one-year-olds are in her weight class, so she's no delicate flower despite being under seven pounds at birth. We'll have her length checked at the doctor's office next week. (As for me, I'm four pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight -- not bad for having worked out only about five times -- but I am positively gelatinous and in desperate need of exercise. My height has remained the same since junior high. ☺)
Eating. We breastfed exclusively for the first six months, and I'm thrilled with that accomplishment -- because it truly feels like an accomplishment. I am prone to painful plugged ducts and mastitis, and I have wanted to quit several times along the way. But I would not change my decision to breastfeed or to continue breastfeeding during the tough times. So worth it for both of us.
Starting solids. Starting about two weeks ago, we've been giving her a little rice cereal mixed with breastmilk a couple times a week just to get her used to eating from a spoon. She had her first vegetable (squash) when she was six months and one day old. She was uncertain and unimpressed, and it took her four days to finish the tiny 25-calorie jar.
Plans for weaning. My original breastfeeding goal was one year, but I don't know if we'll be able to go that long due to potential travel on my horizon. (I simply don't have enough milk frozen to get us through the two potential trips I'll be taking.) I plan to start giving her one formula bottle a day starting in a week or two, and still pump twice a day at work and add one of the bottles to our frozen stash. That way she'll get used to formula and at the same time I'll build up the amount of stored breastmilk she'll have access to while I'm gone. I plan to continue pumping on my trips so that we'll be able to try to resume some nursing when I return, and we'll do our best. Whatever happens, I will be proud of how far we've come and do my best to not feel guilty about the inevitable weaning.
Work. I went back to work part-time when Johnnie was eight weeks old, and then back to full-time four weeks later. I blogged about the transition here, during the early days. I'm happy to report that things have gotten dramatically easier! We found our rhythm and have gotten pretty good at adapting when she decides to switch things up on us. Of course Johnnie's continual development and increasing predictability helps, plus we've gotten more savvy at reading her and at being organized. That said, I won't discredit the power of deciding to go to bed at 8:30 every night! Sleep... so important.
Sleep. These days she's in bed by about 8pm and usually wakes once to eat before getting up around 6am to be shipped off to Gramma's for the day. She takes a 2.5 hour nap in the morning, and sleeps more than an hour in the afternoon. Lately I think she's been ready for bed a little earlier, so we're trying to follow her lead. Though I'd love if she slept through the night more often, I'm okay with where we are right now.
Milestones. She can sit like a champ, leaning all directions and balancing herself for really long periods. (She's built like a little Weeble after all.) Rolling is another story. She can roll, and has, but she'll tell you herself it's not really her thing. (See photographic evidence below.) We've been told that heavier babies are often not willing to make the effort. This makes sense; when ol' Lazy Bones gets tired of lying on her stomach, she'd rather throw a little fit than just roll over. Whenever she does roll over, we clap and cheer as though she just found a golden ticket. Maybe that's why she clapped for the first time yesterday. In the past couple weeks she also starting reaching for the person she wants, and when you're that person, well, little angels burst into song in the dusty corners of your heart.
The past six months have been such a whirlwind of fun and misery. Some people say they can't remember what life was like before they had kids. I'm not at that point yet. I remember sleeping in, making progress on the house, going places on a whim, eating beans, having time for reading magazines and going for long jogs. I can't pretend I don't miss some or all of those things. But I've gained so much from this experience that it all balances out. And, six months later, our new normal is actually starting to look a little bit like our old normal as we learn to fit her into our lives instead of the other way around.
So are we ready for number two yet?
Oh heavens no.