Without a doubt, the comments we repeatedly hear from everyone who meets Chase center around his activity level. He is such a wiggly little baby and incredibly observant. He loves looking around, reaching for anything and everything, cooing and squealing and hammin’ it up with his big gummy smile.
Though I babysat as a teenager, I never took care of babies growing up and Chase is honestly the first baby I’ve really been around for a long period of time in my life. There’s definitely a learning curve associated with becoming a first-time parent and Ryan and I constantly talk about what we expected life with a baby would be like versus reality. In every way, Chase has made our lives better. We are both absolutely enamored with our son.
Truthfully, I kind of expected a baby to be a little boring for the first year or so, but Chase is so far from boring. I thought I’d struggle with feeling like we’re missing out on some of the freedom and spontaneity that goes out the door when a baby comes into the picture and while I think it’s natural to miss some things, there’s no denying that life with Chase is just the best. He makes me smile more than I ever thought possible and slow down and focus on living in the moment more than I have in years.
I already feel like Chase is a mini toddler with such personality! He’s incredibly joyful every day and I know he’ll keep me on my toes when he starts crawling and walking. It’s so obvious that he’s dying to walk already because he love to be help upright and push off everything with his tiny feet.
I’ve also never been as acutely aware of feeling love. I tell Chase all the time how much I love him. Even though he has no idea what I’m saying yet, I feel the need to give him so much love all the time. Kisses, hugs, cuddles, play time, silly songs, ridiculous noises and dancing around our living room are ways I try to convey to him just how much his mom cares for him, but I know he’ll never possibly be able to understand the way he makes me feel.
Something as simple as feeling his small hands tightly grip onto my sweater as we walk downstairs melts my heart. My whole body feels overcome with adoration and emotion when I hear Chase’s high-pitched joyful coos and giggles as I make silly faces in front of him. It’s a love that makes me feel almost weepy and so incredibly vulnerable at the same time. Every day I pray so hard for Chase’s health, safety, happiness and future. I want to give him the world.
When we last left off, I filled you guys in with some of my sleep woes at the four-month mark. Things have semi-improved, but we’re still far from achieving a good night’s sleep around here. I spoke with our pediatrician about Chase’s sleep habits and he said that given Chase’s smaller size and the fact that some of his very best feedings happen at night, I should continue with at least one of our two to three nightly feedings. He said I could work to help Chase drop his 4 a.m. feeding, but I’m still working on it since a lot of our sleep progress got a little fouled up with so many visitors and holiday-related travels. (Being away from home with a baby was admittedly a lot harder than I anticipated.)
I’ve been reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and feel like this book is the sleep-related book I identify and connect with most. I read a few other sleep training books last month and, to be honest, many made me feel like a big fat failure. I feel like the advice in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child seems realistic and grounded and more applicable for where Chase and I are right now. It made me feel like it’s okay for me to be feeding him once or twice a night right now if I need to when I feel like ALL I ever hear about are the billions of babies who have been sleeping through the night for months at this point. That’s not us right now and I believe that is okay, even if I am one heck of a sleepy mama. (Please know I believe other books and sleep strategies may be better for other moms/babies! I’m just trying to do my best for me and my baby and feel like this book aligned best with our pediatrician’s advice and Chase’s habits.) Our pediatrician said that once Chase is a little bigger and hits six months old, we’ll talk more about longer durations without feeding in the night and that sounds like a good plan to me.
I really, really appreciate the advice you guys gave me relating to sleep on my last post and the kindness you showed to me in your comments since this is obviously an area of struggle for us at the moment.
I have so many thoughts about breastfeeding. First, I must admit that when I was pregnant, I totally romanticized breastfeeding. I prayed it would go well for me and thought breastfeeding would be this magically calming experience marked with intense mother-son bonding. While the bonding part of breastfeeding rang true, I was surprised to find myself feeding a baby with sore nipples, soaked clothing and engorged breasts. It was far from stress-free in the beginning (due, in large part, to Chase’s tongue tie) but thankfully things got much easier as Chase and I adjusted to feeding, but then right around four months, it started to feel like a battle. Chase was always SO distracted.
(The above pictures were taken during an afternoon nursing session yesterday. Such a little stinker.)
Chase began coming on and off my breast during all of our daytime feedings and was 10,000 times more interested in the world around him than feeding. He would begin nursing and then all of the sudden it was like, “OH LOOK! THE FAN! LIGHTS!” and my boob was the least interesting thing in the world to him. It started to become quite frustrating to try to get him to latch and stay latched. I found myself going into his nursery and keeping the environment as calm and stimulation-free as possible to get him to eat. This distracted-feeding phase seems to be improving a bit, but at times it feels like the only time Chase gets a good, quality feeding is during our middle-of-the-night nursing sessions (hence why I am still rather hesitant to drop them). Apparently playtime is way more fun than meal time for him these days!
(Side note: I swear we do clothe our child even though he prefers to be naked. A lot of these pics were taken in Jacksonville during diaper changes over Christmas when it was 80+ degrees!)
One new-to-me thing I began to use this past month was a nipple shield. I didn’t use the shields initially because I assumed they were only used to help moms with inverted nipples, but when I read something online about how nipple shields can help slow the flow of breast milk, I knew I had to give it a shot. My letdown seems to happen VERY fast and would often leave Chase coughing as he struggled to feed fast enough to keep up with the seemingly rapid flow of my milk. And then if Chase came off my breast in the first few minutes of feeding, he would end up being sprayed with breast milk as it continued to flow! The nipple shield has worked wonders for us and helps a TON with controlling the flow of breast milk and keeping Chase latched longer. (<- When something awesome like a ceiling fan isn’t distracting him, that is.) I don’t use a nipple shield most of the time, but when my breasts are particularly full, the shield does seem to help!
Despite the challenges that come with breastfeeding, there are moments that happen during nursing that I wouldn’t trade for the world. (When Chase’s eyes lock with mine and he starts cooing and smiling when he’s done eating, my heart may just burst.) It may sound cheesy, but there are times during our 2 a.m. feedings that I’ll find myself overcome with emotion. The thing everyone says to new mothers about this time being so fleeting often comes to the forefront of my mind and I know that one day I’ll yearn for a 2 a.m. feeding session with Chase. It’s during these feedings, when it’s just the two of us, cuddled up in quiet calm, that I’ll realize in the moment just how strong and intense my love is for my son. It makes any frustration I experience related to motherhood beyond worth it.
How I’m Doing
I’ve heard people talk about “Mom Brain” and, you guys, I totally have it. I’m attributing it to five months with no uninterrupted sleep of longer than four(ish) hours, but man, it’s real. My worst “Mom Brain” moment happened last month when I went to grab a mug out of our kitchen cabinet to make my morning cup of coffee and there was already coffee IN it. WHAT!? Apparently I put away a full mug of coffee the day before when I was putting away clean dishes. Fail.
Fitness-wise, I feel great. I cannot say how much I love my almost-daily Burn Boot Camp workouts and on the days we don’t make it out for a BBC workout, I look to walks around the neighborhood or at-home naptime circuits for exercise. I think Chase really enjoys getting out of the house and I also like when he’s around people other than just me and Ryan for socialization purposes, so that also keeps me motivated to make it to Burn Boot Camp regularly. Plus, it’s the only 45-minutes of the day when I don’t feel like I’m in full-on mom mode and really appreciate the time it gives me to recharge a bit.
I’m still struggling to juggle working from home with parenting Chase, but I am hoping some of my efforts to streamline certain aspects of my blog-related work will help alleviate some of this stress. I am just trying to center my attitude on gratitude rather than focusing on everything I’m not accomplishing as I juggle working from home and caring for my little man. I am so grateful to all of you for reading this blog and giving me the gift of being able to work from home and be with my little guy every day.
- Standing upright (assisted, obviously)
- Pushing off anything with his legs
- His bare feet
- Reaching for everything
- Watching Sadie
- High pitched voices
- Playing airplane
- Bath time (Chase’s initial hatred for bath time has totally transformed! Now he loves kicking and splashing around in the water. Thank goodness!)
- Playing in his jumper
- Cooing, squealing and chatting
- Low voices
- Being held like a baby (unless he’s sleepy)
- Getting dressed
- Cleaning his ears and eyes
- Being loaded into the car seat (once we get going, he’s fine, but the loading process is always a joy…)
Five Month Favorites
- Tagies Monkey
- Baby Einstein Octoplush
- Oball (His absolute favorite toy!)
- Baby Einstein Activity Jumper (I swear by this and don’t know what I would do without it! Chase LOVES “being free” and jumping around, so when he’s over being held and seems to crave a tiny bit of independence, this jumper is great.)
- Baby Einstein Take Along Musical Toy (This has helped prevent a handful of meltdowns when we’ve been out and about. The lights mesmerize Chase!)
- Chicco TRE Stroller (Fantastic jogging stroller! My favorite for day-to-day use and long walks. This one is also Ryan’s favorite.)
- Chicco Bravo Stroller (I keep this one in my car at all times. It folds up so easily and is perfect for travel and errands. It’s also great for walks around the neighborhood.)
- Pottery Barn Stroller Blanket (I received this as a baby shower gift and use it every single day. It’s warm and cozy and the perfect size for the stroller. Plus, it’s beautiful.)
SLEEP + EAT
- Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit (I go on and on about our love for this sleepsuit in this post. If your baby loves being swaddled but it’s time to drop it, I cannot recommend this sleepsuit enough. It saved us.)
- myBaby Sound Machine
- Motorola Baby Monitor (I’ve had a few people ask me what baby monitor we have and we have this one! It’s great and allows you to hear and see the baby in the day and at night, communicate over a microphone – which Ryan does to terrorize me more than communicate with Chase – and is easily adjustable. I do wish the battery lasted longer when it’s unplugged, but if you turn it off between sleep times, it’s not a big deal.)
- Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.
- Hands Free Pumping Bra
- Nipple Shield
Past Baby Updates