Kaia is five months old! I’m pretty sure this must be some kind of mistake because I was just in labor 45 minutes ago, right? It’s bittersweet to have packed away her newborn clothes, 0-3 month pants, and many of her 0-3 month bodysuits as the months have passed, but with each month comes a new set of developments in her personality and growth to get excited about. She is smiling, rolling, squealing, blowing raspberries, laughing, and making life more fun (and definitely more interesting) by the minute. Our immobile and sleepy newborn has morphed into an alert and active infant at warp speed. It is a privilege to watch her grow.
How we’re doing
Alex and I are doing well. While having a 5 month old is far harder than having a newborn (for us, at least), we haven’t been struggling too much. We roll with the punches, troubleshoot often, and do our best to embrace the season we are in. Some days are easier than others, and sometimes we find ourselves a bit overwhelmed by the responsibility of keeping a tiny human fed, happy, healthy, and sleeping decently, but the good far outweighs the bad.
Our favorites at 5 months
- Zipadee-Zip (a wearable blanket I’m thankful for!)
- Books that celebrate diversity and acceptance, and/or star individuals of all races, cultures, sexual orientations, abilities, and religions
- Books that celebrate women
- Uppababy CozyGanoosh Footmuff
- Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Sound Machine
How Kaia is doing
She is doing well: growing like a weed and developing new skills. Her doctor is impressed by her strength, vocalizations, and alertness, and so are we. While she is generally a very healthy baby, we found out recently that she has a milk protein allergy. This discovery initially led to the elimination of dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter, sour cream and the like from my diet, and more recently led to the elimination of foods containing milk protein altogether. Kaia’s symptoms (like eczema, for example) haven’t improved just yet (this can take around a month), but we are holding out hope that things get better soon.
Kaia is about 13.5 lbs and 26.5 inches long. She is a long and skinny baby, wearing 3-6 month bodysuits, sleep and plays, shirts and dresses. The length of her clothing is just right, though everything is a bit baggy on her. I am still able to comfortably wear her in my Solly (stretchy) wrap, though I definitely feel her weight when wearing her in the soft structured carrier. Because she is so long, rocking her and transferring her to her bassinet is a little bit of a challenge these days with her legs dangling, but we’re doing a better job of not accidentally jolting her awake when we put her down.
- Grabbing toys, our faces/hair, her feet, books, and anything else she can get her hands on
- Sucking/chewing on her Manhattan Toy Winkel rattle, her hands, our hands, books and anything else she can successfully grab and bring to her mouth
- Music (she is fond of “Love me Do” by The Beatles, “What’s Your Flava?” by Craig David, and “The Gnome” by Pink Floyd)
- Story time, looking at pictures, and doing her best to hold books and turn pages
- Em (our dog)
- Sitting up on our laps or in her boppy
- Tummy time
- Being outside
- Being worn in a stretchy wrap
- The doctor
- Being worn in a woven wrap (90% of the time)
- Loud noises
- Music being played on an erhu (Chinese violin) by a man at Pacific Place
- Being any distance away from Alex and me
- Being taken out of the stretchy wrap
- Being put down for changing or to be put in her Zipadee-Zip when she wants to nurse
- First time rolling from back to tummy
- First time sleeping unswaddled (currently sleeping in a Zipadee-Zip).
- First time splashing in the bath
- First time holding herself up in a tripod sit
- First time she has shown an interest in what we are eating, drinking, or holding
Kaia’s favorites at 5 months
- Baby Einstein Take Along Musical Toy
- Baby Einstein Octoplush
- Lamaze Freddie the Firefly
- Infantino activity gym
As you might have gathered from the last post, sleep isn’t exactly going amazingly these days. Sleep began to get worse when she turned four months old, and managed to get even worse when she began rolling and we dropped the swaddle. We begin her bedtime routine at around 6:30 with the intention of having her in her bassinet by 7:30. She generally sleeps anywhere from 1-2 hours after she goes down for the night, and this is usually the longest stretch of sleep she will get. She wakes very frequently for the rest of the night, and only nursing will reliably get her to sleep and keep her asleep. I hold her for 1-2 hours per waking, and when I get brave enough to try to move her to her bassinet, it involves immediately starting the process over again. As a consequence, I end up getting about two hours of sleep per night on average. Alex has taken to letting me sleep in from 6:00-8:00 AM to get some extra rest, which I really appreciate. We’re not sure that this sleep situation is going to improve, but we’re hoping for the best!
Kaia is still exclusively breastfed, and nurses every 1.5-2 hours during the day. If she takes a long (2 hr) nap, she will go as long as 4 hours between nursing sessions. Nighttime nursing is every 1-2 hours, and doesn’t extend past that these days. Frequent nursings mean that I have a very healthy milk supply, which is great. Next month she will be starting solids, and we plan on doing a combination of baby-led weaning and purées (which we will make ourselves). Baby-led weaning is appealing to us because it will allow her to explore food and eat on her own terms, but we are terrified of choking and gagging (the latter is normal but still frightening). Purées are appealing because there are no solid pieces to potentially get lodged in her throat — a comforting factor — though there is still a risk of choking. A study conducted by Fangupo et al. (2016) concluded that infants following a baby-led approach to feeding do not appear more likely to choke than infants who are spoon-fed, but here in the US where spoon-feeding is still the norm, going against the grain is intimidating. We are armed with the knowledge of infant CPR, and pray that we will never need to employ it. We are pretty nervous, but have a feeling that Kaia will enjoy herself.
Things I want to remember
- How she approaches me with her mouth open, making a “hoo” sound when it’s time for nursing
- The way she blows raspberries as her primary mode of communication
- Her big gummy smile when Alex comes home from work
- How she leans back in my arms to look at me when I talk to her
- Her little arms around my neck when I pick her up
- The squeals she makes when one of her favorite songs starts playing
- The way she smiles when she sees me
We love our girl so much, and love being her parents.