Amalia turned five months old on Christmas Eve so I’m a week and a half late here, but better late than never, right? These posts are my favorite ones to write each month so I’m trying hard to stick to them for the whole year.
I feel like I’m going to say this a lot, but this was my favorite month yet. Amalia has really developed her personality and we have so much fun together. The stress of “will she sleep?” or “how much will she eat?” is pretty much gone, and we’re all a lot more relaxed.
She’s also hilarious. She knows how to get a laugh out of us and doesn’t hold back. I have a feeling she’s going to be a little class clown.
We had three major milestones this month:
- She started day care earlier this week (more on that below) after she turned five months, but I’m going to include an update on that anyway because it’s such a huge milestone for us.
- Another big one is that she started on solids in December! It’s been fun to cook her baby food and have her try and discover new flavors.
- The last unexpected milestone was that I had to travel for two days and leave her at home with her dad. It was my first time away from her, and while it was just awful, it forced me to rip the bandaid and I now know that she’s totally fine, which makes me less stressed about a work trip I have coming up this month.
Our first Christmas her was pure magic. Seeing the holiday through her curious eyes was heart melting. She loved everything from the lights on the trees to the children’s pageant at church to spending lots of time with my family to getting so many new toys to play with. Obviously she didn’t really know what was going on, but she knew it was all kinds of fun. I can’t even wait for her to understand the concept of Santa!
I could write about month five all day long, but let’s get into the meat of how it’s been going with my cheek-forward little love. Total side note: It’s really hard to get a good photo of a five month old baby. I had to try shooting this photo on three separate occasions to get just one shot that wasn’t blurry where she’s looking at the camera. There’s no smile but I think she looks just gorgeous in this photo, so I was willing to compromise.
THE BIGGEST LESSON I’VE LEARNED THIS MONTH
As a mother, always listen to your gut. They call it the “mother’s instinct” for a reason. Sometimes a friend or Anel will suggest something for Amalia and deep down I know it’s not the right thing. Whether it’s transitioning her out of her Sleep Suit (I knew she wasn’t ready yet) or feeding her certain foods, whenever I go against my gut, it’s a disaster. I’ve vowed to always listen to my maternal instincts when it comes to what I think is best for Amalia.
Below is an ideal day which happens like 50% of the time, but it usually looks pretty close to this…
7:15am- Wake up and hang out until she gets hungry. We usually let her play/roll around on her play mat because that’s what seems to make her happiest.
7:45/8am- Feed 1 (8 oz plus probiotics and Vitamin D)
8:15am- Playtime. I’ll put her in the bouncer, read some books, or do tummy time.
9:00am- Nap 1 (If it’s a day care day (see below), she heads to school and takes her first nap there.
10:30am- Wake up and hang out/play.
11:00am- Eat solids (see more below)
11:15/11:30am- Feed 2 (6 oz)
12:30/1pm- Nap 2
2/2:30pm- Wake up and hang out/play/go for a walk until she gets hungry.
3pm- Feed 3 (6-8 oz)
3:30pm- Playtime on mat or in her bouncer.
4/4:15pm- Optional nap 3 depending on how much she slept during the first two naps. It’s clear when she needs a third one, but isn’t everyday!
5:00pm- Eat solids
6:20pm- Feed 4 (9 oz), then right to bed
10:00pm- Dream feed (3 oz). We’re weaning her off of this now and taking it down by an ounce each week.
It’s unreal how chill this baby is considering I am a fairly anxious person and Anel was a crazy child. Every new person who meets her comments on that within a few minutes. She has the perfect mix of our good qualities, thank goodness. She’s very very active, constantly kicking, bouncing, movin’ and shakin’, but if we sit down with a book, she can sit still and read with me for a long time. If she has a toy she loves in front of her, she can play with it without moving for about 20 minutes at a time too. But if she’s on her play mat or in her bouncer, watch out world! She’s a little savage. I’m seeing a serious athlete in our future.
On the other hand, she’s also forming way more of her own opinions, which is great, but if she’s bored with something or ready to change it up, she lets you know! We’re also seen her have what I think is a fear for the first time. When another baby cries loudly, she starts to cry hard, something that she never does unless she’s exhausted. Day care is definitely going to help her get over this, but right now it’s just heart breaking because she looks so terrified.
She’s always laughing and smiling, yet refuses to do so if she’s having her picture taken. Quite the ball buster as Anel likes to call her!
We are officially completely weaned! I was really nervous about the process but I took a full month to wean her so it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. When I finally dropped the last feed, that is when the hormonal drop hit, and I was weepy for about five days, but besides that, totally fine. About a week later, I got my first period so it could have been related to that too. My original goal was to breast feed for six months, but while there were some amazing moments, it made both of us frustrated which made it difficult. I did a lottttt of pumping, especially in the last month, and I really hated that too. Once I realized that Amalia was totally fine and healthy on the formula we had already been supplementing with, I decided to start weaning.
Ever since she stopped breastfeeding, we’ve both been so much happier! The pressure is off and we bond in many other ways like cuddles, play time, reading books, and just hanging out. I thought I’d feel immense guilt, but I don’t which makes me think that it was the right decision for both of us. I’m working on a post about how I weaned her that should be up next week.
FYI this is the formula we use. I did a lot of research and it ended up being the best option for us.
Two weeks ago we started feeding her solid foods… Although they’re pretty liquid so I’m not sure why everyone calls them solids, haha. I’ve been making most of her food in the Babycook and so far she’s a big fan of the sweeter veggies like sweet potato and squash, but wasn’t so much into peas or spinach (if you use organic spinach you don’t have to worry about nitrates fyi). Apparently she has a sweet tooth like her daddy! So far we’ve only given her vegetables and apples (which she didn’t like) but will introduce baby whole grain cereal at some point soon. Read more on my solid food philosophy here.
As I mentioned above, Amalia started day care earlier this week. She will be in a babies-only room two times per week for now, and we’ll add more days if we think we need them later. Child care is insanely expensive, especially where we live, so we’re trying to keep the costs as low as possible while still giving her the best care possible. We also still have Madison our babysitter come for two hours on Mondays and Fridays. So now I have a lot more time to get work done (like finally writing this post!) and finally feel like I’m not treading water for the first time since she’s been born.
I definitely miss her while she’s gone and drop off was tough the first time, but I really believe in the socialization of day care and think it will be great for her in the long run. Read more about our childcare decision in today’s post over on my motherhood page.
HER FAVORITE THINGS
Jumpers– She’s still into her door jumper but the real star of the show lately is this Baby Einstein jumper that my dad and his wife bought her for Christmas. We call it her “office” because there are three areas where she can play and it looks like she’s at a desk. We’ve since learned that she shouldn’t be in it for more than 15 minutes at a time (because of hip development) so we have to limit her time in it, but those 15 minutes a day are so much fun
Play mats– Although she still loves her play mat, it’s been knocked down a few pegs by her jumpers. She likes to kick, flip, turn, and “chat” with the toys hanging from it. It provides hours of fun. We also got her a kicky piano playmat from Santa which is covered in colorful animals so she flips more on that for tummy time which is great.
Airplane– She loves to fly through the air (in our arms of course), laughing the whole time.
Chewbeads- Our friend and babysitter bought her a set of these for Christmas and she’s completely smitten. She chews on them, hits at them, kicks them, and plays with them all day long. They’re great for teething babies!
Screaming- The girl has certainly… found her voice! She loves to scream for fun. She smiles while she does it and thinks it’s just hilarious. I’m just hoping she doesn’t do that on the plane when we fly to LA with her next month. Everyone will for sure hate us.
Boots– I mentioned this last month but now she’s even more obsessed with the dog. She likes to pet him, look at him, and “chat” with him. She laughs hysterically watching him play, and won’t take her eyes off of him if they’re in the same room. It’s so sweet!
Sadly, there were a few horrible moments this month. The first was when my grandfather was passing away and my whole family wanted to be by my side while he did. I’m so glad that I was there for the end of his life, but I had to jump on a plane to LA last minute to do so. I put her down for a nap and squeezed her tight for about a hundred years (probably two minutes) with tears streaming down my face because I knew when she woke up I would be gone. I had this horrifying thought that she would think I left her, but she couldn’t have cared less and was totally fine at home with Anel. Thank goodness it was over a weekend.
Even worse than that was on our drive up to New Hampshire for Christmas. It was snowing really hard and there wasn’t much visibility on the icy roads. It took two hours longer than we had anticipated and by the time we had an hour left, it was past her bedtime. She understandably started melting down and got so hysterical that she swallowed some extra saliva which she ended up choking on. I was in the backseat with her and was literally watching my baby choke with big, scared eyes. Although it was probably the most dangerous thing I’ll ever do with her, I pulled her out of her car seat while we were driving (we couldn’t pull over, but Anel was going literally 15 mph and there were no cars around us) to pat her on the back so she could cough it up. It was one of those decisions that was impossible because if I had left her she would have continued choking, but I didn’t want her not to be strapped in.
As soon as it was over, I strapped her back in the seat and she eventually passed out, but it had me and Anel shaken up for a full 24 hours.
There were so many fun times with the holidays, but my favorite moment was the Thrusday night before Christmas. Anel’s clients were all already out of town, and he was home with us in the evening, a rare event! We were sitting by the tree, listening to Christmas music and all kind of just cuddling (including Boots of course!). It wasn’t a special event or anything planned, but my heart was so full of love for my family and I truly felt like I was ending the year feeling whole and complete for the first time in my entire life.