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Six Months With Baby Charlotte

by krismkoch

I cannot believe my baby is already six months old. I know I say this every month, but six month feels like a real milestone. Your baby is definitely no longer an infant — they’re almost a different human at six months. This is also when (at least for me), the newborn cloud begins to lift, and with that, so much changes. It’s like after just trying to survive and get some sleep, one day you wake up, and you realize you have an actual baby, not a newborn anymore, and that half a year has flown by and this is no longer new, and yet still totally new. I don’t know. I’m not explaining it well.

Six months is such a fun age, and as much as I want time to slow down, I’m excited to watch how Charlie is learning new things and developing new skills every day. She’s started sitting up by herself and it’s so exciting to see, or I love (and hate) how she can now grab things (and even throw them lol).

Now that we’ve made it half a year with Charlotte, I wanted to give you a six month update and answer a lot of the questions I’ve gotten in the past month since my last update.

Does Charlotte sleep through the night?

I get this question all the time, and I totally get why. It’s what every mom asks other moms. Charlotte was such a good sleeper right out of the gate, at least compared to James, but she hasn’t been the best sleeper in the 4-6 month period. I think it’s been a combination of teething, growth spurts, the fourth month sleep regression, and the countless colds our family keeps getting hit with. I am working now to try to get our sleep back on track both for her and for us. I am a zombie these days!

Have you sleep trained her?

Ok, so I have to admit something and shame me if you want. I cringe when I hear the phrase sleep training. I know so many experts, including doctors, recommend it and everyone does it, but it’s just about my least favorite thing. It feels like people are so judge-y about sleep too, and it’s really frustrating and makes it harder to talk about and get advice on because you don’t want to admit that your baby isn’t sleeping. People are really judge-y about sleep I’ve found.

But I’m confessing to you. We haven’t formally sleep trained her, partly because I’m a wuss and partly because she was sleeping so well out of the gate and then it seemed like she was constantly sick. But Charlie’s been cold/flu-free for the past couple of weeks, so I decided to start implementing some sleep-training in a way that I felt comfortable doing. She had started waking up in the middle of the night a few weeks ago. After a few nights of nursing her back to sleep, I felt like a zombie and was worried it was becoming a habit and I know that, by now, we should be teaching better sleep habits. So now when she wakes up in the middle of the night, I don’t pick her up or nurse her. I just put the paci in her mouth. At first, I also had to put my hand on her belly and “shhh” her back to sleep, but now I can just pop the paci in and she’ll go back down. She’s still waking up, but it’s progress. I would let her cry it out (well, probably not because I’m a wuss), but she’s still sleeping in our room and mama needs to get back to sleep so she can function at work the next day. I’m also trying to get her to drop the dream feed, so I’m putting her down after her final feed around7:30pm and trying not to nurse her when she wakes up at 10:30pm/11pm. It worked last night for the first time, so I’m hopeful we can get her sleeping 7:30pm-7:30am eventually.

Sadly, Daylights Savings has totally effed up her schedule and sleep, so this has been harder than expected. Charlie’s been waking up randomly at different times during the night and while generally, I can get her back down by just sticking the paci in her mouth, she’s started consistently waking up at 4:30am and is inconsolable until I feed her. Then she’ll usually go back down until 7/7:30am, but it’s hard on me. I either can’t fall back asleep or as soon as I do, James is up.

And just so any other mom out there who hasn’t nailed the sleep thing feels better, I also admittedly end up nursing her to sleep most nights. She cluster feeds at night, and I’ve been letting her in order to keep my supply up, but that means that after I put James down, she feeds again and typically falls asleep feeding. I know you’re supposed to put them down drowsy, so I let my nanny work on that during the days, but at night, it’s hard and I don’t have the heart or energy because I’ve missed her so much during the day and frankly, I’m exhausted. I feel guilty that I’m probably scarring her for life by not falling the put to sleep drowsy rule, but honestly, sleep training is not my strong suit, and I have decided to let myself lean into the help that I have and trust, and let them work on it with her, and I’ll work on getting her to stop waking up in the middle of the night and we’ll leave it at that for now. But, because being a mom is hard, I just read that the reason you should put your baby down drowsy is because they don’t like waking up and not being where they were when they fell asleep, so they cry and get upset rather than fall back asleep. So if they fall asleep on your boob, they want to wake up there. I get that and I guess it is a bit unfair to pull the bait and switch, and I’d freak out too. Sooo, I am now feeling the guilty push to put her down drowsy moving forward, and may try doing a final feed outside her room, putting her in the merlin suit, and then putting her in the bed. Ugh. Why can’t she just go back to sleeping through the night on her own?

Has she gotten sick a lot? Are you worried about the coronavirus?

Yes, Charlotte has gotten sick and to me, it’s seemed like a lot. In fact, she has a cold right now. James never got sick, probably because he wasn’t exposed to very much, so it feels like since he’s started school, they’re constantly passing things back and forth. With that said, we’ve had nothing serious so far, so I consider ourselves very lucky. I have lots of friends who have had to make some scary trips to the ER, and knock on wood, we haven’t yet. But as I’ve mentioned before, part of the reason I’m still breastfeeding is that I’m hoping its giving Charlie antibodies to fight off all the flus and colds and viruses that have been going around.

Um, but yeah, like everyone else, I’m freaking out about Coronavirus. I wasn’t actually at all, but then with schools closing down, subways being cleaned, travel restricted, and it spreading like wildfire, I am starting to freak out. I’m comforted by the fact that it seems to be most severe in older people, and not so bad in kids, but it’s still scary. I am trying to get James to be better about washing his hands constantly, and working on bulking up their immune systems by feeding them lots of fruits and veggies. James is still going to school, but I am not sending them to their classes for now. There was an outbreak in Westchester county and now they’re closing some schools in Connecticut and there have been cases in NYC, so I’m doing it out of an abundance of caution. Also, if they get a small cold, I feel like it can make them more susceptible, but honestly, I don’t fully understand the whole thing. I have started stocking up on groceries and other things, and my birthday is this weekend, but we’ve decided to self-quarantine because I’m nervous to go out. I do think it’s a good excuse to spend more time outside, where I’m hoping fresh air will be safe, so hopefully, the weather will cooperate. Like all of you, I’m really hoping this stops spreading, but I don’t think that’s the case, and worst case scenarios a la Outbreak are playing in my head constantly.

Is Charlotte crawling?

No and although the overachiever in me is like should she be, most of me is not ready for a mobile baby. Once they start crawling, it’s game over, and it’s just chasing them around for the next few years. I’m enjoying that for the time being, when I put her down somewhere, she stays there (for the most part). She is rolling but not that much tbh. She’s pretty chill but she’s sitting up a bit on her own (before toppling over), and it’s exciting to see her a bit sturdier and becoming more aware of her surroundings — she’s grabbing for EVERYTHING and enjoys throwing things.

Are you still breastfeeding?

Yes, but tbh, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll last. It’s been a lot with working full-time, and this week, my supply really took a hit. Usually my supply will bounce back after a weekend of cluster feeding, but I’m just so tired these days and pumping is taking up so much time that I’m going to start cutting back. We’re going away at the end of the month without the kids (cue the freakout) and she’ll be seven months by then, so I may let that be the end. We’ll see. Every time I’m about to give up, I change my mind, and now with Coronavirus, I am worried they’ll run out of formula and food and I won’t have a choice (told you I was freaking out).

I would love to breastfeed it for a full year, like I did with James, but I also supplemented with James starting pretty early so there was less pressure on me to constantly be feeding and pumping. I also want to give my body a bit of time to regulate and I don’t think that’s going to happen while I’m breastfeeding — my hormones are still all over the place and I don’t get my period while breastfeeding. I have a stockpile of breastmilk in the freezer, but it’s starting to deplete and I’m not sure I can make enough to last a year without continuing to breastfeed for a few more months. I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time giving it up and putting so much pressure on myself about it, but I am trying to just take it one month at a time.

How often is she feeding?

Since she’s still drinking breastmilk exclusively, she eats a lot, or at least it feels like it. I’m going to share my pumping/nursing schedule soon, which generally mirrors when she eats, and we also introduced solids at five months, so she’s eating twice a day as well.

As I mentioned before Daylights Savings has totally thrown everything to shit, but typically in the pre-DS days, she’ll wake and feed around 6/6:30am, go back down until 7/7:30am, and then feed again before I leave for work and before she goes down for her morning nap around 8:30/9am. Then she’ll have a bottle around 11/11:30am and then have solids (veggie and fruit purees — usually we make them but we’ll also buy the pouches sometimes) for lunch with her brother around 12/12:30pm. She goes down for a nap after that and then has a bottle when she wakes up around 2:30pm. She’ll go back down around 4pm and then have solids (again more veggie and fruit purees) when she wakes up around 5pm. Then she’ll either have a bottle or if I make it home in time, she’ll nurse at 5:30pm/6pm. Then she usually cluster feeds from 6:30-8pm between bed and bath routine. We get her down around 8pm and then sometimes she’ll dream feed at 10:30/11pm. Recently, I’ve cut out nightly feedings and when she wakes up (which she’s been doing suddenly at 2am, I’ll just give her a pacifier as I’m trying to help her connect her sleep cycles and go back down on her own).

What are you feeding her?

With James, I or my nanny would make all his baby food. I haven’t been the best about doing that this time around, but we’re mostly sticking to veggie and fruit purees. I try to avoid cereals and rice and focus on introducing fruits and veggies to start. She’s eating a large variety, some we’ve made, and some are organic pouches (I just check to make sure the ingredients are just the fruits and veggies and nothing added). I am also slowly starting to introduce little pieces of food because she’s extremely interested in what we’re eating and always grabbing for it. I hadn’t intended on doing baby-led weaning, but it kind of feels like that’s what she wants. The other night I gave her some tiny tiny pieces of bread, and soon I’m going to try egg, salmon and potentially a nut butter. I may also give her mum mums or puffs to help soothe her teething. And her most recent favorite is when I mash up a banana and raspberries, so we’ve been giving her some of that while we eat breakfast.

What is your must-have gear for this age?

We are about to bring back the Jump-a-Roo, a favorite of James’s. We’re currently using the Bumbo seat for feeding and it’s been great and easy, especially since James uses our Stokke highchair as a chair now. This is the bib I use and the spoons. She also loves this chair, this bouncer seat, and even this swing, although she’s not that into any of them for too long. We love this playmat, which she’s really into — she loves grabbing things overhead. This musical toy is a huge hit, as is this teething toy. She is really particular about pacifiiers, and will only take this one and this new one I recently ordered.

For sleep, we have switched to the Magic Merlin Suit and it’s been a lifesaver. It’s worked like a charm for both her and James. I’m still carrying her everywhere so I love this baby carrier, and now she can face out and see the world, which she loves.

When it comes to diapers and wipes and even diaper cream, I’ve been so much more cautious this time around regarding what I’ll allow to touch her skin. I am really cautious about the chemicals I’m exposing my babies to. For wipes, I like these and these. And this diaper cream has been working just as well as the rest without all the not-great ingredients.

How do you handle naps and a schedule with James’ school and classes etc.?

Honestly, Charlie’s schedule isn’t that rigid. She has to just go with the flow, because well, second child? I have one nanny, so when I am at the office all day, she has to take Charlotte to pick up and drop off James at school and take her with him to his classes and playdates. That means sometimes Charlotte gets woken up from her nap, has to nap on the go, or doesn’t get put down when she should. But she’s a total trooper, and that’s just how it goes. If I can work from home, one of us can take James and the other can stay with her if she’s sleeping or about to go down, but for the most part, she just has to go with the flow. We try to stick to a schedule based on James’ school and classes, but some days, it works better than others. I try not to stress over it too much, and so far, it’s been fine. However, I do wonder if maybe some of her recent sleep troubles are because sometimes with all the shuffling around, she isn’t getting enough sleep during the day. I’m trying to make sure we’re better about getting her a certain amount of sleep, but her naps have been really off recently, so I’m just hoping we’ll adjust back post-Daylights Savings.

Is she still sleeping in your room?

Yes. I think we’re going to move her soon, but we’re still waiting for her room to be finished. Our renovations aren’t complete, and we’ve hit a few snags with some electrical issues, which happens to impact her room. I like having her in our room because I don’t have to worry if she’s breathing or get out of bed to get her if she’s crying, but I think it’s probably not helping get her to sleep from 7/8pm to 7/8am, which is what I’m working toward. And it’s also hard to always be tip-toeing around.

But our room is in its own wing, further away from the kitchen and living spaces, so it’s a lot quieter and more conducive to putting her down early while we’re still up, whereas her room will be a little closer to the action, so idk. Hoping her room and our renovations will be complete by the end of this month, and I guess we’ll go from there…

I think that’s all the questions and milestones. Send me more questions and I’ll answer them next time! Hopefully, you find these helpful. I love answering them!

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