Thursday, March 6, 2014

Gabriel: 7 Months

+JMJ+

I think I say this every month, but can you believe it's been 7 months already? Seven. Often I hear things about "the first 6 months," which makes me feel as if getting beyond that point is really monumental (and developmentally speaking, it sure is). Now we are well into the second half of his first year! I can barely wrap my head around it. He's still so tiny and young but 7 months sounds like such a grown up baby - if that were a thing.

I'm also really happy to report that even though I have had two different colds since his birth and Michael had one, Gabriel has yet to be sick. Apparently most babies get their first cold between 4-6 months...yet here we are at 7 months (in the coldest winter the Philadelphia area has had in years) going strong. I'm sure most of that has to do with him not being in daycare and having been in nice Florida weather the first half of winter, but I like to think that (along with God's mercy and blessings) it's partially because I boosted his immune system so much by nursing him when I was sick. ;) I know it's healthy for children to get colds and build their immune system (and we intentionally do not sanitize his things unnecessarily because our understanding of immunology teaches us that germ exposure is good), but at this point in time I'm kind of in awe and very thankful our little guy hasn't had to go through this yet.

Here's a picture of us yesterday on his "seven-month-day!"

Clearly we hadn't been to Mass yet for Ash Wednesday +:)

On with the updates!

Eating
  • We have given up on the bottle entirely. We have moved on to the sippy cup, which he hasn't quite mastered but...I'm hopeful he can do this soon (apparently there are several babies out there that refuse bottles and skip right to sippy cups which makes me feel much better).
  • We introduced the single grain rice cereal and the verdict is: he doesn't really like it. He was taking more and more each day I fed it to him, but since then he realized what was on that spoon and he does NOT want it. So this week begins the baby oatmeal!
  • We attempted the pureed green beans and sweet potatoes: so far it's a "no" to the beans and a very skeptical "maybe" to the sweet potatoes. Until he begins taking the oatmeal on a regular basis, though, I'm in no rush to introduce anything else. Slow and steady wins the race, right?
  • Michael and I have been discussing when we think we should start weaning and begin supplementing with formula (because when I imagine myself still nursing him at 12 months I just feel...blah. And if we don't figure it out soon he will be 12 months before I can blink my eyes!). 
  • The initial breastfeeding plan was to nurse "the first 6 months and then see how it goes." Honestly, I think I have wound up enjoying breastfeeding more than I could have imagined and I don't want to stop too soon. I really do love it! I just don't want to do it forever and ever...and him never taking a bottle and not having mastered the sippy cup is probably taking its toll on my desire to continue much beyond the next couple of months. Any tips from you other mamas out there? How and when did you decide to wean?

Nap Time
  • It's officially Lent so I must refrain from using that joyful "A" word, but oh, Lord. Thank you for making "longer naps" a regular part of Gabriel's daily routine!
  • Currently he takes about 4 naps a day (morning, early afternoon, late afternoon, evening) and they range from 30 minutes to 2 hours but average about an hour. If one nap is 30 minutes, he'll usually need a 2-hour nap later and vice versa.
  • Much to the dismay of this avid "rule follower," Gabriel still will not nap in his crib. I know it's the safest way for a baby to sleep, but for some reason I have never been able to lay him flat on his back at nap time (I've occasionally continued trying...unsuccessfully). It lifts my spirits knowing that it also took my nieces several months before they would nap in a crib. By 7 months, though, I'm completely done being worried or caring if anyone else will judge me for letting my child sit in his swing for naps. You do what you've gotta do (and do it as safely as possible, of course). At any rate, he has never had issues sleeping in the crib at night - so I'm not concerned by all the research that makes it sound like your child will just be ruined at bedtime if they nap in a swing. Not true for this little boy!

Bed Time
  • We slowly transitioned him to an earlier bedtime this month and have been quite successful (hooray!). Before he naturally went to bed around 10:30pm. He slowly starting getting more tired around 10pm and then began sleeping later in the morning. Once this happened we decided to start his bedtime routine a bit earlier. The result? He goes to sleep by 9:30pm and gets up for the day between 7-8:30am. No complaints here.
  • He does still wake at night and is still teething (no teeth yet!), but on most nights he is back down to only waking 1-3 times.

Bath Time
  • Not much has changed this month. 
  • He continues to love his little whale above all other bath toys and will try diving and grabbing it when it gets free - so we wised up and began giving him the whale to play with after we are completely done bathing him. :)

Play Time

  • This past month he began to understand that my reflection in the mirror isn't literally me - so we have lots of fun with him glancing back and forth at my reflection and back at me. 
  • Currently he loves the sounds a dog and a lion make (woof woof and roooar). Previously he only liked monkey noises, but lately the dog and lion can make him laugh so hard.
  • Because he can sit and play in the Bumbo seat for much longer than last month, I have started placing his little bag of toys next to the chair for him. He can occupy himself for quite some time sorting through the toys, reaching for the ones he wants, playing with them, accidentally dropping them, and then going back to the bag to pick out a new one that's within reach. This is pretty much the greatest thing ever when I need to get something done or shower (because once he hit 6 months I could no longer leave him alone on his play mat without him rolling all the way to the other side of the room).
  • He really likes this panda squeaker that my dad gave him as part of his Christmas gift. He wasn't too interested in it until the last couple of weeks; this week he figured out how to make it squeak - and is so delighted with himself. :) Now he loves it!
  • When I read to him he still mainly enjoys hitting the book and feeling the pages, but that's to be expected. He did seem deeply interested yesterday, though, as I read him Winnie-The-Pooh and Some Bees for the first time. :)
  • He loves doing the "airplane" on my shins, being bounced/tossed in the air, etc.

Growth/Development
  • He understands that my reflection isn't literally me in the mirror.
  • I didn't know it at the time, but when I mentioned how he loved to reach for my face last month that was because he is now learning that we are separate beings. Because of this, he has been obsessed this entire last month with touching my face and reaching for my cheeks or mouth whenever he is in my arms or lap. He often takes breaks from nursing only to stare at me - then suddenly reach up, pat my cheeks, smile, bounce his arms excitedly, and return to nursing. It melts my heart every.single.time. It's like an even more endearing version of how he would stop nursing temporarily to stare and smile at me when he was 3-4 months old. :)
  • He seems to really like music and/or dancing lately!
  • He can do the tripod sit and/or sit on his own, unsupported, for maybe a minute or so before he lunges for some toy and wobbles. Because of this I can't leave him sitting alone yet (nor would I want to, because he will probably crawl soon after that!), but he will sit in the Bumbo for about 30 minutes before wanting to get out.
  • He can roll all over if he so chooses.
  • He has started rolling onto his stomach in his crib each morning after he wakes up. I come in to get him and he is working on those baby push-ups like no other (thankfully he still sleeps on his back the whole night!).
  • He has figured out how to turn his body around in circles when he is on his back OR on his tummy. Sometimes I look away for ten seconds, turn back, and am caught off guard to see him completely facing a different side of the room. He is really working those legs so he isn't that far from crawling....
  • He continues to babble and really favors the "M" sounds still. He "says" Mama all the time but, of course, is just saying that to make noise.
  • He has had zero stranger anxiety. He has been around lots of people in different scenarios - sometimes when he is well-fed and well-rested, other times when he is extremely sleep-deprived from refusing to nap or hungry from refusing to eat - and the result is always the same: he rises to the occasion and loves being around people. 
  • His love of being social actually makes it difficult sometimes because he will be so interested in what's going on around him that he will completely skip meals or naps; if we are out too close to his bedtime this results in him waking several times because he won't eat enough before bed.
  • He currently wears 6-month, 6-9, and some 9-month onesies and wears some 6-9 month and mostly 9-month pants. Crazy! He continues to be relatively tall for his age.
  • As I write this he is whining because he wants so badly to crawl and is trying so hard, but he just can't do it quite yet. Look out, world!

"A baby fills a place in your heart that you never knew was empty."
-Anonymous

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