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
Thank you so much for providing these monthly updates! I have a 9 week old boy and reading your updates prepares me a bit for what is to come, as well as what products and toys may be useful in an upcoming month or two!
Hang in there!
Fellow sleep-deprived Momma,
Something that’s been super helpful for me to remember as parent is that every kid has SOMETHING, you know? For example, my 3-year-old is an amazing sleeper–she sleeps now 7 to 7 and will happily read books in her bed for a half hour in the mornings until I’ve had my coffee. However, she was a nightmare to potty train. After going at it for five months, she’ll only just now pee in the potty consistently (she still asks for a pull-up to poop!) My niece, on the other hand, is a terrible sleeper, waking a few times a night even now at 2.5, but pees and poops in the potty like she was born to do it. Each kid is a mixed bag who will grow you and amaze you on a daily basis 🙂
Love reading your updates! My daughter is 3 weeks younger than Chase and she is also small. I’m battling the exact same distracted nursing thing right now and know exactly how you feel. I get SO frustrated! I’ll feed her for 5 minutes then she comes off wants to look at me, coo, look at the lights, ceiling, whatever! I hope it gets better! I have actually been using a nipple shield since day 1 and it helped tremendously however she won’t nurse without it (which stinks) and in her distracted moments she rips it off constantly which she thinks is funny. Her sleep was really good at 3 months, she slept through the night for 3-4 weeks then we hit the 4 month regression and since she’s been up feeding twice at night. We had to stop swaddling which was really hard but we got the zipadee-zip and she’s doing really well with it. We also started sleep training just recently. It is so hard but it is getting better with each day and we’re already seeing improvement so I’m hopeful we can get her back to sleeping well again. You’re doing great! And Chase is so adorable!
Shannon in Tustin says
Please keep those night feedings going for a while longer. Don’t worry about ditching that. That is the romantic part of the nursing; just you and your baby with no distractions. It’s your time to stare, caress, dream, pray and probably cry a little bit over the miracle you are holding. I am the mom to a 17yo daughter and 14yo son who both nursed exclusively for 15 months. My daughter gave up night feedings on her own at 6 months when we moved her from our bed to her crib. My son gave up one night feeding at 10 months and the second one a little later. As frustrating as it was at the time, I really did try to relish in the miracle that I was holding. Let me tell you: is the ONLY thing about that phase I would do over. You will blink and he will be off to kindergarten. Just hold this time close to your heart and embrace it all. He’s changing every day and this too shall pass.
Katie @ Live Half Full says
Your thoughts on motherhood are SO true for me. I constantly remind myself that time is fleeting when I’m frustrated. It helps SO much!
Your little man is adorable and your Mom brain story is hilarious. My girl is 14 months and it just keeps getting better. Definitely not always easy but so worth it. Just wait until you feel those little arms snake around your neck and pull you in for a hug. It is the absolute best.
You’ve done such an amazing job describing the joys of motherhood here -I felt myself nodding along as you described all the love! I also thought breastfeeding would be so natural but also have issues related to a tounge tie. But it’s all worth it !
And yes that magical a Merlin suit is AMAZING!
I cannot say enough good things about jelly strands. http://www.jellystrands.com/. I am not affiliated in any way with this company. I just have four kids ages 6 – 11 mo and when they got to a place where chase was with nursing I couldn’t live without one of these nursing necklaces. It helps to have the baby have something to play with/be interested in so they almost forget about getting distracted and are like- hey! Pretty necklace. Plus when I’m holding my daughter she can also teeth on it. They really are amazing. Also I don’t know if you have a nursing cover but I found even in my house sometimes using a nursing cover cut down on the amount of distraction available if that makes sense. You are doing an amazing job momma and babies and sleep deprivation are hard. Keep up the great work!!
My son will be 5 months on the 10th and we are NOT sttn. So nice to know we aren’t alone 😉 Here’s to hoping it happens soon!
Aimee Tetu says
You are doing great Julie! Thank you so much for the updates. I love reading them, and Chase is such a cutie!!!
Fiona MacDonald says
Love these updates, our little guys are about a month apart so it’s fun to see the view from another mama. I loved Healthy sleep habits happy baby. I just liked that he made it all seem okay. Like that it was NORMAL and not crazy for a baby to be hungry in the miiddle of the night and I loved the emphasis on the care of the mom and making sure she is taken care of and a lot more involvement from dad. Oh and the nipple shield SAVED my life, I had never heard about them and I had flat nipples and my baby was tongue tie (which was fixed but I don’t think helped) and it helped me get through the tough phase of breast feeding. Unfortunately my little one wasn’t very quick in his eating habits so now I pump and top up with formula when needed but I swear I bought all my soon to be mom friends a nipple shield just to help even with easing some of the pain and cracked nipples that come along with breastfeeding! you’re doing awesome mama keep up the good work, Chase is such a cutie!
I am in the same place as you with our sleep situation. My daughter is 4.5 months old and still regularly wakes up every 3 hours to nurse. Despite what all the books/doctors/etc. say, I can’t bring myself not to feed her. It breaks my heart thinking she might be hungry at night and I’m ignoring her. If you have any solutions that work for you, I’d love to read them.
Tiff @ Love, Sweat, & Beers says
What a doll! He is so cute! My little man just hit 4 months, and he’s very small for his age too, which is odd since his toddler brother is quite tall. Despite all the sweet ba!by smiles he gives me, he’s really a horrible sleeper. Ugh – these boys need to give their mamas a break! Oh well – at least he’s not cranky!
My baby will be a year old next Saturday. It goes by so fast, doesn’t it!? She breastfed every few hours for the longest time. I went to a breastfeeding group and it helped me relax that it’s completely normal!! At 6 months my pediatrician (and my mother-in-law) said she should be sleeping through the night but she wasn’t ready, nor was I. She continued to wake 2-3 times to feed. About 9 months is when she didn’t need to feed for hunger/nutrition but it became a habit for her nursing to sleep so I started a routine without breastfeeding (she would nurse on the couch first and then we would do bath, story, bed) only then did she sleep longer. She still wakes up around 5 sometimes 4 amd feeds and sleeps again until 7:30. Could I drop that feed, probably, but it doesn’t bother me yet. So… It’s up to you in how often you want to get up with him. There’s no problem until you feel there’s a problem. No right or wrong. When she was 9 months old and still waking frequently I felt in my spirit that it was “time.” You’re doing a great job. Motherhood is hard and a blessing. Thanks for these updates its fun to read back to how she was a few months ago.
Also, I know this is getting long but a thing that has helped me is just to ‘stop’. Stop researching, stop comparing, stop trying to make her fit a schedule. Once I relaxed and prayed and trusted God in my parenting then it got easier. My baby didn’t ever follow the books or schedules. So after I let it go I could be more in tune with her and what she needed. I’m glad you found a book that has helped you. Just keep working toward a goal that works for your family. It does get easier and more fun and then new-different challenges will arise and we can take it when that comes too!
This is excellent advice! Thank you!
Hello, hello! Though I’m a long-time follower of your blog (the BEST – one of my daily reads), this is my very first comment. 🙂 I had our sweet baby boy (Nicholas) just 12 days before you and Ryan welcomed Chase, and I swear that we are living a double life (especially with the whole sleep debacle). At this point, we have accepted that though we might have an active and curious baby on our hands, we also have a not-so-great sleeper. I like the Merlin suit, especially for naptime, and I’m going to checkout the book you mentioned in today’s post. As for dealing with the sleep deprivation, I try to catch a power nap during his late morning nap and it makes a WORLD of a difference. We both wake up happy and refreshed, then I do some dinner prep and laundry while he bounces and catches an episode of educational baby television. It is what it is, right?! And how in the world have we been parents for almost half a year already?! xoxo
I think you are doing exactly what you need to be doing! Every baby is so unique and while we did some sleep training at 4 months (my son was 97% in weight and 94% in length and did not “need” to eat in the middle of the night), you have to do what’s best for your baby. With Chase’s size, I think you have the right plan (you always know what’s best based on your gut feeling)! I loved that particular book as well. I think it’s the one that describes the “4th trimester” which really helped me to understand colic/the need to be held to sleep for most of the first 3 months! There are always struggles…my son is struggling with naps at daycare (does not want to miss out on life and gets startled by movement/action), yet is sleeping from 5:45-6:30 at night. While that sounds amazing, I don’t get to spend any time with him except quick feedings so we have some work to do! At the same time, I know he needs that rest so I’m trying to recognize that I’m doing the right thing by letting him get the rest he needs at night! One thing I might suggest to get you a longer stretch during normal sleep hours is a dream feed…it doesn’t work for every baby, but wanted to throw it out there as it worked wonders for us until about 6 months when he dropped it (every book says 10-11pm but we just did it right before I planned to go to bed which was closer to 9:30). Keep it up!
Your post makes me miss having babies so much. Please, please be kind to yourself. I am the momma of three kids. My two older (both boys) didn’t sleep through the night consistently until they were almost two years old. My third (girl) was sleeping through the night pretty well by six months old. Each kid is different. Something that helped some, was that my husband would go get the kids for me in the night and bring them to me to feed and then take them back to bed. I felt somewhat guilty about that, but he told me “We had this baby together, you are breastfeeding and I can do my part to help with that.” You are doing a great job!
He is absolutely adorable! I have a 3 month old (as of today!). It is so much fun to look at sweet Chase and see what is to come for my son. We just might have to get the oball-I think he would love it!
I have tiny 6.5 month old twin girls. We are down to one nursing session a night and I feel SO MUCH BETTER than when it was 3-4 times. Lots of people think we should cut out all night feeds but much like you I still feel they are too tiny to go that long without food. Not every baby is a chubby sumo wrestler! I’m planning to keep it up until they are eating a substantial amount of solids (and hopefully they stop waking up for it!!).
Do what works for you guys. If you can drop one feeding waking for the others will feel much easier! Keep up the good work, he’s a cutie!
I just want to say that Jay was born July 27th and I feel your pain with sleep. I feel that so many other mom are ghost feeding and have sleeping babies. Just last night, he was up every 2 hours. We just have to do what is best and keep trying things that work and don’t work. Maybe one day we will sleep again!
Julie my son JJ is almost 11 months and up until just recently, there were many nights when I was still using nursing as a way to soothe him back to sleep. I finally realized that if I’m going to start weaning him soon, I have to get him to learn that he can’t expect to be fed everytime he wakes. But sometimes I think cutting back is harder for mama than it is for baby lol! You do whatever it is that works for you and Chase. You are doing great!
Becky Young says
Chase sounds a lot like my 4-month old Maisy! I just started sleep training her this week and have been reading a ton of information. It comes down to – you gotta do what YOU feel is best for YOUR baby and YOUR family! I still get up and feed Maisy once a night and that’s fine with me!
And every baby is different. Heck, my 2-year old son (who has special needs) still sleeps in bed with me, while the 4-month old is in her own room. Trust your instincts mama, that happy boy means you’re doing great!
Amy H. says
Chase sounds a lot like how my baby girl was at that stage (she’s 9 months now). Just wait for the crawling–he will be getting in to EVERYTHING, so be prepared by taking things off coffee tables and other baby-height furniture! Our things are much more interesting than her toys once she pulls up on the coffee table!
The distracted feeding is totally normal at this stage, so don’t worry! Eventually they just learn to eat super fast so they can get back to their adventures:) only at bedtime will my daughter nurse for more than a couple minutes these days (10 months). 5 months was a big one for us… She started crawling a week after turning 5 mos, and then walking at 9 months, ahhhh! Once they’re mobile, it’s a total game changer. Enjoy this stage!
Hi! First time reader here. Just stumbled across your site. Chase is SO adorable! When I was reading about your breastfeeding journey I could totally relate. My son had a tongue tie too and he started going through that distractable stage at around four months. Once my son was weaned and I had more time on my hands, I invented a product for moms like us! It’s called the ONEder Cover nursing cover. I think it would be great for you because you can configure it so that it doesn’t cover baby (if he resists covers) or so that it covers him but he can’t pull it off AND he can make eye contact with you the whole time (so you can also see what you’re doing with the nipple shield). Also, the whole back of it is cotton velour, which is really absorbent and soft–perfect for cleaning up when you’ve got a lot of milk coming out, so your shirts won’t get all stained. I have a demo video on my website so you can check out how it works. http://www.milkandsugarbaby.com Best to you, mama!
My baby girl was born in late January 2016. It was a 50 hour labor and Two hour delivery. Dr. told us in labor that it would be a long pushing process because it was supposed to be a big baby. Wrong! She weighed 4 lbs. 3 oz. We were all very surprised! she had very large bruises and skull dis formation but she is the best thing that has ever happened to me.