Baby O’Chunky has hit the sixth month mark and as a first time parent and Mum, I must admit that I am not only finding it incredibly hard. But, I am also struggling with the idea of having to learn new ways on coping and adjust to the new milestones being undertaken and learnt on a daily basis by Baby O. Just the mere thought of him being off a few months from being able to talk proper words like “Mama”, “Dada” or “Bubba”, crawling or grasping the lounge and making the motion of wanting to stand has me wanting to freeze time.
Or at least, plead to the various Gods and ask them to stop him from growing so fast because I want the time to slow down because I am afraid its going to end. All too quick. I am also afraid that I may blink and with that blink, time has not only been lost but I am expected to return to normal duties of being an adult and therefore, have to find the time to divide my attention between being a Mum and a working adult. If only I won Gold Lotto, I didn’t experience the daily flash of ‘Mum Guilt’ and the guilt that comes with having studied a degree and feeling obligated to use those skills towards paying my bills.
With this, here is what’s going on in Baby O’Chunky’s world these days:
BABY O’CHUNKY 6 MONTH UPDATE
Weight: 6.87kg / 15 lbs
Length: 68cm / 27 inches
Baby O was born with an easy go-lucky personality and would wake each morning, smiling at a week old and even at six months of age, he continues waking in the same way. However, the only thing that’s changed is the self-discovery phase of blowing “raspberries” or in adult terms, blowing spit over everything and giggling endlessly. As for the smiling at a week old, I thought it had something to do with the old wives tales of a newborn experiencing gas. However, my suspicions would be proven to be true when Lois, Baby O’s Godmother and myself were blessed with a beautiful and gorgeous little coo and smile.
At two and a half months of age, Baby O started showing the typical signs of teething and our laundry bill increased with the explosive blow outs. Thank the lord, I’ve got an impressive nurse’s stomach made out of steel because I’d have quit motherhood after the first blow out and the weight of how much a little newborn can fil his duds. Speaking of weight, our three hour feeding routine (see below in ‘Eating’) was terminated at two and a half months because Baby O gained every ounce of birth weight and more from being breastfed around the clock. That night, Baby O and I slept all night in perfect harmony. For the very first time since being discharged from hospital.
Three months arrived and much to my horror and dismay, Baby O’Chunky was now considered an infant and was now eligible for infant swim classes. After being informed that 1:5 children drown in swimming pools in Australia and as we have a swimming pool of our own, Mr. Darcy and I signed Baby O up for swim lesson and we spent our Sunday mornings, in a warm and highly chlorinated pool. Our Sunday sessions would continue until last week when Baby O graduated from his swim class and now, he can have cup of water poured over his face with some verbal prompts and he can hold his breath. I’m a very proud Mummy to say the least.
By four months, Baby O had bypassed the phase of gurgling at anything that tickled his fancy and had leapt at great lengths with his giggling capabilities. With some encouragement and demonstration from Mummy and Daddy, Baby O learnt how to grasp his favourite toys and when his toys were the cream of the crop, he’d make an entrée out of his hands. I suspect Baby O truly takes after me in the gene department as I showed no signs of wanting to roll at all as a baby; although there was a few suggestions of Baby O wanting to roll from his back to his tummy. Alas, no self-made motions of rolling at this present point in time unless Lois and I are showing Baby O how to roll.
The newest milestone achieved recently is Baby O reaching out and grasping any fingers in each hand and trying to lift himself up, sticking his legs up in the air as he’s recently discovered his feet and now its all about his toes and trying to roll over onto his side while holding onto them. These achievement of his, may have (did) led to a tear or two and the thought they wouldn’t ramp up any more. However, Baby O’s now discovered he not only loves standing up on your lap and will take a couple of steps before his legs collapse. Having said this, he’s been standing up with some help and doing this sort of jigging-on-the-spot dance from four months of age.
Yesterday, Baby O took it further by grasping hold of Kaffy’s fingers and walked across the carpet while I tried not to hysterically burst into tears. Maybe the scooting stage isn’t for him and he’s going to end up doing an Uncle Frodo and go straight to the running stage. Best put up my kombi collection and locking the sink doors.
The one thing, Baby O has truly hated with a great passion from birth would be tummy time. While I’ve been repeatedly educated about the benefits of it “strengthening a child’s neck and chest muscles as well as encouraging them to lift their heads for preparation of crawling”, there is nothing more sinister than the sound of bloody murder coming from his mouth. There’s been several times where I’ve considered if I should have another child if he/she is going to be like Baby O and hate tummy time.
Baby O has a rather profound fondness for anything water related and really lives up to the reputation of being a pisces at heart. Whether it be the warm waters of a swimming pool, bath and being sung to in the shower, he loves being splashing and kicking his little legs, while squealing in delight. Outside of the water, Baby O loves being read to and is a fan of a great plot line and will happily sit/fall asleep in your arms; while clutching onto Oli, his orang-utan and Wolf. The current longterm story being read is Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone.
Regarding breastfeeding, I had a rather difficult and slightly traumatic introduction to the concept of having my baby latch on and suckle for endless hours of the day. This came as a result of Baby O’Chunky being born four weeks prematurely, not having grasped the concept of latching and sucking whilst in the womb and would ultimately lead to be Baby O loosing12% of his total birth body weight in a matter of a day or so. All the while, I struggled for engorgement as my breastmilk came in a day after having given birth, learning how to “breastfeed” after having had a caesarean and how to latch a baby on properly.
Nine days postpartum, we were discharged from the hospital with a new routine of having to feed Baby O every three hours and a slightly plumper newborn. Although he was still a tad underweight but had gained just over 700gs from when the three hour feeding routine was established. As for latching and breastfeeding, it was as if the brain light suddenly switched on when I got home and settled into my own environment and as a result, I breastfed Baby O for thirty minutes and was able to fully deflate my breast. Rather than having to rely on pumping/expressing my breastmilk for relief. As for the three hour feeding routine, that was soon ceased at approximately two and a half months because Baby O’Chunky had gained every ounce of birth weight and more.
This knowledge of being able to ‘breastfeed on demand’ continued until recently; when Baby O’Chunky decided to go on a nursing strike in the middle of last month and at five months old. The nursing strike lasted for eight days and I can honestly say, it felt like it was never going to end and I was completely and utterly miserable as heck during that time. If it looked like it had a female nipple attached to it and responded to the name ‘Eliza’, he wasn’t having a bar of it. It eventually ended when Baby O casually slipped onto my nipple as I had been walking around virtually topless for those days as I’d read a blog post that said a woman should reintegrate the breast as something based around food and merely offered as comfort, while gaining the trust back from the baby/toddler. Just like that *snaps fingers*, it worked.
As for solids, Baby O had his first few teaspoons of apple puree at four and a half months old. Although he didn’t appear to appreciate the taste nor texture, going by the look on his face at the time, I decided to pack it in for a day.Before deciding to continue slowly onwardswith a few teaspoons of food at a time whilst making incredibly silly voices. Thankfully, it’s only been Mr. Darcy at home when I do this or myself, Baby O and Seven (our fur baby). It’s only been more recent that Baby O has shown an interest in wanting to have solids for either lunch or dinner and to further encourage this, we’ve started popping him into his ‘big boy seat’ (otherwise known as his highchair) and allowing him to play with various toys and spoons. I cannot fathom where we will be regarding food in the next six months. However, I am anxious and yet, incredibly excited about opening his palette to spices, different tastes and textures.
From birth to six weeks of age, Baby O’Chunky was waking or having to be woken every three hours to be fed. With a quick burp, nappy change and snuggle with Mummy or Daddy, he was back in his bassinette and fast asleep until the next feed time. However, at six weeks of age and after the feeding routine had finished, Baby O was sleeping through the night and three times a week, he’d wake for a 3 am feed if he were hungry or I needed to relieve the girls. As we’re not ones for having a full blown military bedtime routine at six months, we’ve established that Baby O’s bedtime is between 8-9pm (depending on teething and pain situations) and he wakes up at 7.10am every morning, on the dot. He also wakes with a grin on his face and has recently discovered blowing “raspberries” which ultimately leads to you being covered in spit.
While it does appear to be peaches and cream thus far, Mr. Darcy and I have experienced the sleep regression phase when Baby O hit five and a half months. Although he would sleep throughout the night (I am thankful for this!!), he’s daytime naps went from being roughly around an 1-1.5 hours to 20 minutes at midday and taking multiple 10 minutes in the afternoon and shortly before dinner. Least to say, I’ve nipped the nap prior to bedtime in the bud and are encouraging longer sleeps during the day as he’s a grumpy little boy if he sleeps for 20 minutes. Cue the temper tantrums and me saying, “You need to stop doing a Devlin.”
One of my favourite and most used baby product that has been repurchased a few times is Aveeno’s baby shampoo and wash and baby moisturising cream. Baby O has never had a reaction to the product as he was not only born with sensitive skin (definitely takes after me, poor kid!) but also, it doesn’t contain Aloe Vera. Which is an ingredient put into most products sold these days and has proven by a nasty chemical and allergic reaction that Baby O, alongside Lois and I, is allergic too. I love this product so much, I’ve currently got several bottles of it in my bathroom cupboard as we often tend to go through a bottle every three weeks.
Other products that don’t contain Aloe and have been tried and tested from birth include Huggies Ultimate‘s for nappies and Gentle Wipes. However, I was informed recently the Gentle wipes are being discontinued for an unknown reason and after scouring endlessly on the internet and Googling various baby wipe product ingredients, I’ve discovered the Gentle wipes, Water Wipes and Curash’s, Simply Water wipes are the only wipes available on the Australian market that are Aloe free. Aside from the dry wipes available.
A recent family purchase has been the Oil Garden vaporiser and humidifier and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made for our little family. With a few drops of lavender oil to calm any nerves or anxiety and a few sprinkles of eucalyptus oil for scaring away the common cold, I’ve had the most pleasant sleep at night and I know its helped a lot with Mr. Darcy’s snoring (just kidding!) and Baby O’s stuffy nose as a result of changing weather. Regarding some of my most highly recommended and frequently used ‘mother’ products, I cannot speak highly of Hydrogel Breast Discs and a form of nipple cream (my personal preference was Lasinoh Nipple Cream) because they helped with my painful and slightly cracked nipples.
For a Mama-to-be or New Mama: Put Hydrogel Breast Discs into your fridge for a minimum of 24 hours to chill. Prior to applying, spread a thick layer of your favourite nipple cream and apply Hydrogel Breast Discs on top for instant relief. If pressed for time: pop them into your freezer for 15 minutes and continue with nipple cream and discs.
My remaining favourite products used on a daily basis include my Medula Swing breast pump, which I started using and highly fell in love with after my Philips Avent breast pump decided to die one fatal evening. For those who are wondering what one they should go with in Australia: both, in my personal opinion, are fabulous pieces of equipment to have and I recommend investing in one. Especially if you are planning having more children in the future.
However, I am leaning more towards the Medula as you can have multiple bottles available, parts can be easily accessible and brought online or in store (try Baby Buntings!) and if the flanges are too big/small, than you can purchase those as well. Speaking of breastmilk, my go-to disposable breast pads and my A L L time favourite ones are Lasinoh, Advent Philips and the bamboo ones from Woolworths. So. Comfortable!
As someone who considers herself to be somewhat tech savvy and yet, not really a professional at all, the recommended apps for any first time and all mamas’ are the Baby Tracker Pro. If you’re in the market for an app that records when your baby was last fed, how many hours they slept for and when they last had any medications or vaccinations, than Baby Tracker Pro is the app for you. Only downside is: you have to pay $7.99 (AU) for it but on the bright side, you can add as many children you have to it. Lastly, ever heard of a ‘leap phase?’
I had no idea what a leap phase was and to be honest, I had never heard of it at all. In fact, I thought it was a medical condition that had been recently discovered and yet, I was proven to be incredibly wrong. In fact, you can find out what a leap phase and the 10 mental leaps a baby will go through, here. This is where The Wonder Weeks app comes in handy as it’ll highlight the not so bright phases of your child’s growth and development and it’ll even pre-warn you when your child will change from the angelic delight to the horrendous nightmare from Elm Street. Like the Baby Tracker Pro, you have to pay for The Wonder Weeks app but, you can add additional children as well. It has helped a lot for me and answers my forever asked question of, ‘what’s making you like this?’
Although Baby O is six months and I’m fortunate enough to sleep several hours each night, I often find the most difficult periods of time to be the ones featuring the dreaded ‘Mum-fog’. Having spoken to other mums’ regarding their fog-like moments, when it comes to breaching the surface and taking a breath of fresh air, I’ve realised time has simply, flown past me. As a result, I often find myself becoming saddened at the thought of time whizzing ahead and its one of the many reasons why I wasn’t able to write Baby O’s quarterly update as I had originally planned on doing.
Even though some women joke about it impacting upon their capacity to remember their child/rens names, this mum-fog has had a serious and sometimes, implicating, affect upon my Dyslexia and overall, sense of wellbeing.
There has been more days than I care to count where I’ve either hysterically burst into tears because it feels like I can’t do anything “normal” and often find these periods, overwhelming and incredibly upsetting as I am stubborn and hate asking for help. Or, I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum and when reaching out for help, I don’t want it to end. When times are incredibly hard and I cannot remember simple terms like ‘fridge, oven, bottle’ or even my son’s name; I’ve found small ways to cope with my Dyslexia. One coping mechanism is writing my son’s name onto a piece of sticker paper, in black bold print and putting it on his shirt and jumper.
Merely so I am prepared in case a stranger asked me what his name is and I’ve got the answer. Sometimes, I’ve been asked as to why Baby O is wearing a sticker and I pretend like I’ve just popped down the road from having attended a baby related playgroup activity and forgot to take it off. I often resort to this manner as the fear of being judged or stared at because it would appear like I haven’t gotten my “shit together” only fuels my Dyslexia and my anxiety of been seen as a “bad mum”.
When not contending with ideologies regarding mum guilt, having to appear like super woman (you shouldn’t feel pressured into feeling as if you’ve got to be super woman!) and having minimal time to myself, I often turn towards music played from my childhood days and immerse myself holistically in ‘quiet time.’ These self-appointed periods of winding down from social media, handing Mr. Darcy a baby and a bottle containing expressed breastmilk and simply walking outside and sitting on the grass or tending to my plants have taught me a great deal about myself. But also, the importance of respecting one’s self, the requirements for continuous personal growth and development as a human being and individual.
More importantly, I have established, created and further enhanced various relationships between those of my family members and myself, spending more time getting to know my Sister-in-Law, Goffie and encouraging the blossoming relationship between Godmother and Godson. The past six months has also highlighted the importance of Mr. Darcy and I needing more time for ourselves as a couple and therefore, we need to start introducing weekly or at least, fortnightly date nights.
I guess the moral of the story is: the past six months have merely hinted at what the future has entail for me and how far, I have truly come. To think, I was once upon a time, a nervous wreck when it came to the thought of holding onto a newborn and spent countless nights dreaming about things that went ‘boo’ in the night and researching endlessly about SIDS, parenting modules that don’t exist and trying to schedule my life into steps. As to the present, I’ve learnt to take each day as they come and have some sort of a roughly-established routine regarding nappy change, breastfeeding and not stressing about the minor details in life.
Lastly, I really should stop reading books and loosely evidence based posts on why holding onto your child and cuddling them will result in them being spoiled later on in life. As my mother would say: “I’m calling bullshit on this one and if you’ve got a crying child, than you best pick that child up and hug the crap out of them.”
Just to think, there will come a time where we will find ourselves reflecting back on the past, memories we’ve created along the way and wonder if we’ve done a good enough job as parent/s. Hopefully when that time occurs, Baby O will still want to be seen in public with me, will want to be kissed on the cheek and hold in a cuddle that lasts beyond ten seconds and will tell me that I did the best I could do as a parent.
As for my hopes and dreams regarding the next six months and Baby O’Chunky’s development and milestones: I’m hoping Baby O will continue being a happy, naturally bubbly little boy while I’ll be loving life even more, in the sunshine and we’ll be able to update you on the next stage of life in a few more months.
Lots of love,
Eliza & Baby O xx