Little baby Jack Jack is 7 months old! And we are loving every single thing about him lately! He is super expressive, and the many different faces he makes in a matter of seconds cracks me up every time. He goes from happy to serious to mad to determined to silly to frustrated to excited.... and just plain old cute.
His current favorite things include: his crinkly ABC book, wooden puzzle pieces, Mark's computer mouse, bouncing, getting thrown in the air, blowing the loudest raspberries you've ever heard, sitting on Riley's little bus, and playing with keys. He LOVES being outside, going for walks in the stroller, hanging out in the backpack carrier, and if it's too cold to go outside, he's perfectly happy to look out the window.
He absolutely adores Riley. He watches everything she does, and he listens intently when she tells him stories or reads him a book. He likes when she sings and jumps around and dances, and his favorite... when he's in the jumper and she yells "go baby go!!!" and he starts jumping around like crazy. He definitely knows what he's supposed to do when she says "go baby go!"
His sleep has gotten significantly better, for the most part. He takes 2-3 naps per day. Typically, he wakes up around 6:30, is awake for 2-2.5 hours, and then he goes down for a 1.5-2 hour nap. For the most part, he goes down in his bed awake and puts himself to sleep with no crying. Occasionally he will cry and put up a fight, and I'll go in there and just rock him to sleep. He sleeps with his paci and 2 blankets, usually one in his arms, and one over his face. He looooooves to have a blanket on his face.
He falls asleep easily in his stroller, which is AMAZING because it means we aren't "stuck" at home just because I know he needs a nap in the near future. I can often put him in the double stroller and go for a walk, or put him in his car seat stroller and go for a drive to run errands and I'm confident he will go to sleep without a fight. Makes things so much easier!!
If he only takes 2 naps, he goes to bed around 5:30 or 6. If he takes 3 naps, he goes to bed around 7. Night time sleep is less than awesome, but manageable. :) He's usually up 3-4 times a night. Usually around 10pm, 1am, 4amish, then up for the morning around 6 or 6:30. I don't always know what time he wakes up as he's usually happy to play in his crib until we come get him!
He is one smiley little boy. In the morning when we come get him from his bed, he goes CRAZY kicking and flapping with the biggest coos and smiles. He's just the happiest little boy when he wakes up! He also gets so excited when I come into the room (at any point during the day), he gives me the biggest smiles every time. He also lights up for his daddy, and loves dancing around the room and singing and jumping with him.
He's getting really strong, and loves pushing up as high as he can go on his arms, but hasn't figured out how to get up on his knees yet. He can spin around and push himself backwards, but we're not close to crawling yet. We're still working on baby sign with him, although we're not as good about it as we should be.
Jackson is loving his solids these days. His favorites are definitely pumpkin and sweet potato, although he loves pretty much all fruits. He LOVES being able to hold onto a whole plum and feed himself. Now, we've been pretty careful with him and his solids as I think he's a bit more prone to food allergies than Riley was, and so far I think we have 3 potential things he MAY be allergic to. One day I gave him this teething rusk, and being sort of stupid, I didn't look at the ingredients. Well, the main ingredient was wheat, and it had some skim milk powder in it as well. DUMB. After chewing on it for a few minutes he got a rash around his mouth, but had no other symptoms. Then the other day I gave him a rice cracker with dinner, which he LOVED, but he was literally up all night crying and scratching his entire body. It was so bad that I basically ended up sleeping with him so I could block him from scratching and shush him back to sleep each time. So we're avoiding anything with any wheat, milk, and rice so far...
Jackson loves songs, and really likes it when Riley and I sing to him. He loves grabbing his daddy's hair and face. He still loves breastfeeding, and feeds verrry frequently during the day (and the night, for that matter). He rarely gets a bottle, but does okay with it if we have to give him one. He likes to chew on a sippy cup, but not drink from one. He much prefers a real cup!
He's got a little bald spot/patch on the back of his head, presumably from rubbing his head on his mattress when he sleeps. For a long time he preferred to sleep on that side, although now he rolls around and sleeps on both sides. He gets mad when I leave the room, he loves to snuggle, and he still doesn't have any teeth! He loves to throw his toys off the high chair tray and have us retrieve them for him.
He's just the sweetest, happiest little guy and we absolutely adore him. Love you to pieces little Jacky boy!
Wow, a lot has changed in the past 2 weeks with this little munchkin! As in, most of what I wrote in his 6 month update is no longer true. So I figured we shouldn't wait until the 7 month update, and we'll squeeze in a 6.5 month one!
Firstly- he rolls! Both ways, consistently, and frequently. Baby is on the move! He see what he wants and he maneuvers and squirms and arches his back and rolls around to get it. Which is great for him, not that awesome for me, as now I have to constantly be on the lookout for stray choking hazard sized toys that he might try and pick up. You know, things like Riley's marbles and coins and stray raisins, etc...
Another big change? His sleep. He went from being the worst sleeper ever (waking up so many times per night and staying awake and just crying despite rocking or nursing) to being a (relatively) pretty great sleeper during the day, and a manageable sleeper at night. Not a good sleeper at night, but at least something we are all okay with, for the most part. He can put himself to sleep with just a little bit of help from us, and, get this, he now sometimes naps for almost 2 hours!!! Now, if only I could get him AND Riley to BOTH nap for two hours at the same time. HAHAHAHA. I wish.
He's thinking about dropping his third nap, but he can really only manage that if his first 2 naps are long enough, and he didn't wake up too early. So most days he still takes 3 naps, even if his 3rd nap is just a short one. At night, he goes to bed around 6 or 6:30pm, and is up every 2-3 hours after that. And yes, I nurse him back to sleep since that is the ONLY way he will go back to sleep. I have tried rocking him and soothing him every other way, having Mark go in there, and all he wants is to be fed. And to be perfectly honest? I really don't even mind getting up a couple times per night (well, by couple, I mean 3-4, but who's counting) to feed him... maybe it's a habit, maybe he's "too old" for middle of the night feedings, but i think that's more a matter of opinion. I didn't stop nursing Riley in the middle of the night until after her first birthday, and we all got along just fine!
Jackson does NOT like to be cold when sleeping, and he sleeps holding on to a lovey and/or cookie monster, and with a blanket over his head (put there himself). He does this almost every time he sleeps, silly baby. His ideal awake time during the day is 2-2.5 hours, but it's pretty easy to tell when he's tired. He buries his head into my chest and rubs his eyes. I sing him the same song and recite the same little rhyme to him before every sleep: "Goodnight little one, it's time for bed, so goodnight chin, and goodnight head. Goodnight cheeks, and goodnight nose, goodnight feet, and goodnight toes. Goodnight hands, and goodnight thumb, goodnight feet and goodnight bum. So goodnight little one, lay down your head, it's time for sleep, it's time for bed." Cute, right? And he knows that means it's sleepy time!
After he wakes up from his naps during the day, he requires at least 10 minutes of snuggles before he will let me put him down. And usually he wants to nurse right after he wakes up, even if he's not hungry... just a comfort thing. Then once we've filled his quota of snuggles and nursing, then he's a happy little dude! If we skip those steps, he is NOT happy to be put down! But funny thing is, when he wakes up in the morning, he doesn't even make a sound, he just plays happily in his crib! He is the most chill, happiest little guy in the mornings, sometimes we don't even know how long he has been awake, since he's awake playing happily and quietly in his crib when we wake up!
He LOVES his solids, and gets SO excited when he sees a bib and a spoon, he knows what's coming! But his food MUST be warm, he doesn't like it cold or even room temp. We try to give him food to eat on his own, but he gets really frustrated when he can't get it into his mouth fast enough! And he gets so mad if he can't eat whatever we are eating (say, a peanut butter sandwich, for example). He's also re-discovered his tongue, only on all new levels. It's like a little lizard tongue, he sticks it all the way out and then curls it up...
He loves chomping on everything and anything, but still no teeth! He loves playing with the all of Riley's toys, especially her blocks, puzzle pieces and her abacus. She mostly shares with him so far, so we haven't had many issues there. She also knows that all she has to do to get a toy from him is hand him a new toy and do a trade, which he doesn't seem to mind one bit. Not yet, anyway.
Other new developments? He's developed his first fears! He's never been one to startle easily, not even at loud noises. But just recently he's decided he's afraid of the vacuum! And occasionally he gets frightened of sudden unexpected outbursts. He's easily calmed with a quick cuddle, but this only started just recently! He loves books, but really only just eating them... the pictures keep him interested for maybe 2 seconds, and then the book goes straight in his mouth. Also if he's even remotely tired, he cries if I walk away from him. Poor little bubby!
He loves bouncing in his bouncer or his joey jumper, and would probably just stay there all day long if he was allowed. But he's not. :) He searches for toys when he's dropped them, and if he's become quite the distracted little nurser, and will crane his neck to see what's going on all around him if he hears even the slightest noise. He LOVES to be outside, and he loves dancing and jumping around while I sing to him.
He has just in the last day sort of started the think about new and different ways of getting on the move... i.e. taking is first "steps" towards the crawling motion. Oy. It's funny, with Riley, I think part of the reason she was sitting and crawling and walking so early was because we encouraged her to do so. With Jackson, well, I'm perfectly happy for him to stay put for a little while longer, but in the last few days I have made more of an effort to encourage him to try and move around himself, and he's picked up on it reallllllly fast. As in, he may crawl way sooner than I had thought.
It's the same with sitting... we started encouraging Riley to sit up pretty early on, but obviously in the early stages of sitting, you need to be spotting them and helping... well, it's a bit harder to just sit in one place and try and help a baby sit when you have a toddler running around from activity to activity. So Jackson spent way more time on his back than Riley ever did. But when we give the kid a chance... he's a pretty good little sitter!
He's also started "talking" a lot more. He spent an entire day saying "dadadadadada" the other day. As if he was so proud of himself for discovering this new sound! He loves the bath and I am dying to take him swimming, but I think we'll wait a bit longer as I think the pool water might do a number on his skin (see red eczema cheeks above...)
Anyway, I think that pretty much sums up the changes, can't wait to see what the next 2 weeks bring before his 7 month update!!
Half a year old. I can hardly believe it.
This past month has been... interesting. So many changes and new developments in pretty much every aspect. We'll start with a big one: He sits!
He CAN sit for quite a while on his own, but as soon as he spots something to one side of him, he basically just lunges for it or gets too distracted and topples over. But if he's looking at something in front of him, or holding on to a toy, he can sit for quite a while. Although if Riley is around he always tries to look at her and then he falls over, and she thinks that is SO SO funny.
He can roll easily from tummy to back, and is so so so close to rolling from back to tummy. He goes from his back to side to back to other side, and aaaaaalmost completes the roll on to his front, but then decides he's actually quite happy on his side. When he's on his tummy he can scoot backwards (unintentionally) and spin in circles (intentionally) to get to his toys.
Speaking of getting to his toys... ooooh that boy has a temper!! If he drops a toy out of reach, he doesn't just complain, he screams about it until you help him get it back. Same for if he can't quite get something in his mouth the way he wants it. He also cries if you take something away from him, or if he wants something that we are eating that he isn't allowed to have (say, a cookie for example). Silly boy makes sure we know when he's not happy about something!
Two photos below by Rachael Brown Photography
This month (well, last week) we started solids (sort of). I talked about it a few days ago, we're taking it slowly, trying to follow his lead and not stress over it. So far he has had banana, avocado, apple, carrot, pumpkin, kumara, and parsnips. I think banana is the fave so far, although today he DEVOURED his pumpkin and kumara. I have a feeling this boy is going to be a good eater. Other than his few tastes of food here and there, he's still 100% breastfed. Which leads me to our next issue: breastfeeding.
Photo by Rachael Brown Photography
We have had zero problems with breastfeeding up until now. I've got what appears to be thrush, or something equally nasty, which basically makes each and every feeding incredibly painful. Like, 20 times worse than the newborn nipple soreness kind of pain. And he won't take a bottle, so I don't have a lot of other options. Especially since the child wants to eat every 2 hours, and lately has been wanting to nurse all through the night. This means pretty much constant pain for me. I'm hoping the medicine we've got will help clear things up asap!
Now... onto sleep. Ohhh sleep. Jackson has been pretty shocking this past month in the sleep department. Occasionally we would get good 90 minutes naps out of him, but more likely they have been about 30-40 minutes. At night, we MIGHT get a 3 hour stretch, but more likely he's up every 2, if not more. And very very frequently he is up for at least an hour in the middle of the night. This, among other things, made us realize we needed to do something different in terms of helping him sleep better, which I will cover in detail in a few days.
He's also starting to develop very clear preferences for his sleep, it seems. He sleeps with a paci, and likes to hold on to something furry- either his little bear lovey, or his cookie monster. He likes to sleep on his side with something touching his head/face (blanket/lovey) and another heavy blanket over his lower body. He likes to be rocked/bounced rather vigorously... no light rocking will do.
His perfect awake time is currently about 2 hours. His tired signs are super obvious... (1) he gets cranky and (2) if I'm holding him, he burrows his face into my body and sort of arches his back. If he does that, I know he's ready for a sleep. He is usually in bed for the night around 5:30 or 6pm which works pretty nicely for us since then we have a little bit of time with just Riley before we put her to bed for the night. He's up for the morning around 6ish, with multiple wake-ups in between.
He now cries in his car more often than not, mostly because he tends to drop his toys and then he gets mad. He loves going for walks in his stroller, but ONLY if Mark takes him. If I take him, he cries because he wants me to hold him instead. Same thing during the day... he's totally happy to play on the floor with toys for ages when Mark is looking after him, but if I come anywhere near him, or if I'm home with him (sooo... all week long) he will cry for me to pick him up and hold him and play with him! Boy loves his mama cuddles!
He still doesn't have any teeth (thank goodness, as I currently have enough pain in the feeding department, I don't need any more issues at the moment!). He loves books, chewing on foam letters, bouncing in his jumper, playing with Riley, the hand motions of itsy bitsy spider, being thrown high up into the air, being swung in our arms, bubbles, and being tickled. He's still SO ticklish. He loves having his face/cheeks massaged, being outside, standing up, and sitting like a big boy in his bath.
His eczema is looking better, but he still scratches his face all the time. I think now it might be more of a habit though, although there's no way to really tell. He loves sucking on his bottom lip (see below) and it gives him the cutest little chipmunk cheek look. Seriously, I'm not sure it gets any cuter!
Two photos below by Rachael Brown Photography
He loves his daddy, and he saves some really big belly laughs just for him. He loves to stand up, and can stand just supported by our fingers, although he will randomly start to jump so we've got to keep a tight hold on him! He puts everything in his mouth, and loves to give open mouth kisses. :) Nice a slobbery ones. He's quite the chatty little guy, and squeals and squawks and tries to say dadadada and mamamama. He is pretty good at manipulating his toys (grabbing them, shaking them, getting them in and out of his mouth so he can alternate eating them and looking at them), and he can take his paci out and put it back in all by himself. He can even throw it all the way across the room... literally.
He was totally thrilled about this photo below... not.
Sucking on his bottom lip and not happy about being on the ground.
We've started baby signs with him- "more," "milk," and "all done." He's starting to lose some of his baby chub, and is looking more and more like a little boy each and every day. He had his first "stranger anxiety" moment this month, but mostly he's happy to be around all kinds of new people as long as they smile at him. He's less than happy when his mama leaves the room, but does just fine as long as someone else is there to distract him. It is definitely clear he's becoming more and more attached to me!
Well, I think that about covers it... :) Happy 6 month birthday to my little man, we love you so so so much!
I look back at my old blog posts from when Riley was a baby, and I definitely sugar coated some things. I wish I had written some more honest posts, some more "real life" posts. You know the ones, not just cute pictures (although cute pictures are nice), not just fun outings and activities, but real every day life. So, while this post will surely still have pictures of my cute kids, it will also be 100% honest. About life with these two little munchkins at 6 months and 25 months.
I would say this past month has been the hardest month so far since Jackson was born. A huge part of that was the sickness that invaded every member of our household. It disrupted schedules and sleep, it put everyone all out of sorts, and significantly added to my sleep debt. But we have finally made it through, we're all healthy, but some of us are still not sleeping. The little ones have been all over the place with sleep lately. We'll start with Riley:
She was doing really well with sleep right up until she got really sick. Then she started waking up at night, and because she was so sick, we brought her in our bed so we could keep an eye on her and comfort her. I'll be perfectly honest... after co-sleeping with her for most of her life, I actually REALLY enjoyed having her back in our bed for part of the night. And she clearly loved it too, evidenced by the fact that she has had a very hard time going back to her own bed for the full night. Pre-bedtime routine has gotten longer and longer. More delay tactics, more demands. She doesn't want to fall asleep all on her own anymore. She wants me to lay with her and tickle and snuggle with her until she falls asleep. And she only wants ME to do it.
Now we know in part she's sort of abusing the system. She knows how to delay bedtime, she knows how to get what she wants, and she will scream the house down if she doesn't. BUT, she's also only two years old, and she just wants to snuggle with her mama. And yes it's a little more effort on my part, yes sometimes I have work to do, but the thought of letting her scream because all she wants is to snuggle with her mama? I don't know, just seems so WRONG to me at this stage. So a lot of my evenings these days are spent snuggling with her and telling her stories and watching her breath get slower and deeper as she falls into a deep sleep snuggled right into me. There are worse things in this world. :)
The trickier thing, is when she wakes up in the middle of the night. It doesn't happen every night, but I'd say maybe half of the nights she wakes up at some point. And can you guess what she wants? One thing. To come in mama's bed. Now again, I actually have no problem with her coming in our bed. She's super snuggly, she goes right to sleep, and get this... SHE SLEEPS IN when she comes in our room. Like, she sometimes sleeps until 7am (rather than 5am). So what's the problem, you ask? Well, we have this other little bubba named Jackson...
Often times when Riley wakes up, I'm either feeding Jackson, soothing Jackson, or he's already in our bed. And the ONLY time Riley gets jealous or sad about me holding Jackson is in the middle of the night. All she wants is to snuggle with me, and she is NOT happy if I am tending to him. Which, as you can imagine, is extremely difficult if I'm feeding him or if I've just spent an hour getting him to sleep, only to have her start crying and wake him up. Then we have two crying little people, two awake adults, and likely a rough day ahead. So middle of the night's can be challenging.
Now- Jackson's sleep. I seriously never know what I'm going to get with him. That might be the most frustrating part... I just can't figure it out. Some nights, he's near impossible to get to sleep. Despite all my rocking and shushing and nursing, he just cries and cries until we finally find the right combination of jiggling/bouncing/squatting that puts him to sleep. Some nights it takes me all of 5 minutes to get him down. Some nights he likes to sleep on his side in his crib, other nights he needs to be swaddled in his rock n play. Some nights he'll sleep for a few hours without making a peep, other nights he's up 5 times in the first 2 hours, requiring rocking back to sleep each time. Sometimes when he wakes, he goes right back to sleep after a feed, sometimes he's up for over an hour. I seriously never know what I'm going to get. And I've tried all the usual things- making sure he's not overtired, but also that he is actually tired enough... not overstimulated, not too hot/cold/hungry etc etc... And as far as I can tell, there's no rhyme or reason for his unpredictable sleep behavior. Well, I'm sure there IS, but we have no idea what it is.
Lately also, the only thing that can get him back to sleep is nursing. And that boy is stubborn, so no amount of rocking and walking will soothe him if he's decided he wants to be nursing. And of course it would figure that I'm battling some serious thrush at the moment, which basically makes breastfeeding EXTREMELY painful. Like, bite-my-lip-and-clench-my-whole-body-so-hard-I-almost-get-a-cramp kind of pain. So while I used to be able to lay with him and nurse him in bed while half asleep- currently that is out of the question. And he pretty much refuses a bottle, so I don't really have the option of giving my boobs a break and giving him pumped milk instead.
And then there's naps. We have made one major leap forward... he has managed to move past the single sleep cycle naps (sometimes). He still often wakes after 40ish minutes, but usually for one nap a day I get an hour and a half to and hour and 40 minutes! Sometimes I have to go in quickly and shush him for a minute, but then he can actually get back to sleep! Hooray! But then sometimes it takes me quite a while to get him to sleep, and he no longer ever just falls asleep on his own in the crib, he always requires rocking or bouncing of some sort.
The hardest part for me right now with his sleep is that he is really seeming to be affected by his lack of sleep during his waking hours. He's more fragile than normal, he's quicker to cry, he wants to be held more. He cries when I put him down or leave the room (although he doesn't do this for Mark!!). It's frustrating to know that he's overtired during the day, and not sleeping well at night, and I can't find a solution to get him sleeping better.
He's taking 3 naps a day, but it's rare that I get him and Riley both asleep at the same time for more than 20 minutes, which means I never ever get a nap/rest during the day. I am pretty much flat out exhausted. The crazy sleep habits of these two little ones combined with the fact that Jack refuses a bottle means I rarely ever get more than an hour or two of sleep in a row. My best sleep is on the weekend when Mark lets me sleep in from around 5:45 or 6:00 am to 8:00 or 8:30am. Yes, my husband is the best.
Anyway. Life is a little challenging these days. In addition to the lack of sleep, Mark is working in overdrive trying to finish his thesis, I'm trying to pack up our entire house, run a photography business, and be the best mama I can be two my little ones. So. That's our real life right now.
Jackson turns 6 months in 2 weeks. And he is changing daily, turning into such a big boy.
Jackson's eczema has been up and down, but at the moment is not looking good at all. A few weeks back I saw a naturopath, who had some good recommendations, and since then I have started on a completely dairy-free diet, and a (mostly) wheat-free diet. I say mostly wheat/gluten free as I still have the occasional wheat snack. I thought things were improving and I was pretty excited we may have found a solution, but then BAM it got worse again. Now, I've read that anything that triggers an immune response can cause an eczema flare-up, so the fact that Jackson is pretty sick could be what is causing his eczema to be pretty bad at the moment. Immunizations can also cause flare-ups and he just had his 5 month shots last week.
The above pictures were taken a few days ago, and since then his cheeks have turned bright red, his skin is dry and red and itchy, and he is CONSTANTLY trying to scratch his face and head. The combination of his cold and his eczema has led to some terrible sleep and a very sad and overtired baby during the day. As a result, he does not want to be put down. He's pretty much only happy if he's being held, or sitting in his bouncer. I actually don't like putting him in there for very long, but at the moment it's the only way I can put him down for more than 2 seconds! Although he thought bubbles were pretty fascinating... that bought me about 10 minutes while I gave Riley a bath.
Now back to sleeping- for a few weeks he was up CONSTANTLY. I was lucky to get 30 minutes out of him. We have since started swaddling him again and putting him in his rock 'n play rather than his crib, figuring keeping him slightly elevated will help with his cough, and keeping him swaddled will keep him from scratching. Now we're back to some fairly decent stretches, although it's pretty hit or miss. He's usually asleep for the night at 5:30 or 6, and is up for a feed around 10 or 11. He rarely sleeps that whole time, usually requires some rocking back to sleep in there somewhere. Then sometimes he's up for HOURS in the middle of the night. I'm hoping that after he comes right from this cold that he'll settle into some better sleep patterns, but that might just be wishful thinking.
Other things- since he's been sick and not wanting to be put down, he's decided that he hates tummy time, and has made no progress on trying to sit up, but he can stand with us just holding his fingers. He prefers to be sitting upright or standing and trying to jump constantly. The boy goes NUTS in the bouncer, he's as happy as can be in there! In fact, one day we decided to take advantage of a decent winter day and play in the backyard, so we brought his bouncer out and he was as happy as can be.
As we get closer and closer to the big 6 months, we get closer to starting solids. I was pretty adamant about not starting solids until 6 months, but today we were all sharing an apple, and he was going nuts trying to grab it, so we let him gum it and suck on it. The boy LOVED it. But you know who might have loved it even more? Riley. She couldn't stop smiling and shouting "he's EATING it!!!" He would drop it, and she would help him get it back in his mouth.
I'm thinking of going with the baby led weaning approach with him, mostly because I can't stand the idea of having to steam and puree foods, and it will be so much easier than spoon feeding him. Problem is, we don't have a high chair for him at the moment. Guess I still have a few weeks to figure that out. We're going to be pretty strict about what foods we give him as I worry a bit about food allergies, but we'll start with some pretty basic ones so hopefully we won't have any issues.
He still doesn't have any teeth but I can feel his 2 bottom ones right under the gums. Sort of dreading having those little chompers come in since he has started biting me while nursing already, and it hurts with no teeth, and I know all too well how much it hurts WITH teeth!!
Oh yeah, forgot to mention naps. Up until 2 days ago, he slept no longer than 40 minutes. Every. singe. nap. If the timing worked out, sometimes I could get him and Riley to nap at the same time, and then after he woke up 40 minutes later, I could bring him in bed with me and nurse him to sleep for another hour or so. But the stars don't always align like that, so mostly he was taking a bunch of cat naps during the day. Then all of a sudden yesterday he busted out with an hour and 40 minutes sleep. Twice. No interventions required. Then today he had an hour and a half sleep, but then two of his standard 40 minute ones. So who knows what tomorrow brings in terms of naps. :)
Oh yeah and? He still LOVES his big sister. Big time.
So that's the latest on our little Jack Jack...
Jackson is 5 months old today! I forgot to take his "chair" photo, so I'll have to do that tomorrow, but I took plenty of other cute ones. :)
Okay so, here we go with the updates:
Sleep (night time): I didn't think it was possible, but his night time sleep has gotten even worse in the last month! In the last week, he's been waking so many times a night I can't even count. If I'm lucky I MIGHT get a 2 hour stretch out of him. And I've tried so many different things trying to figure out what works best for him (swaddled, unswaddled, laying on side, extra layers, fewer layers, with paci, no paci, and on and on...) As of right this moment, he seems to need to be swaddled still, but he can break out of all the traditional swaddle blankets. He also likes to be slightly propped up, and seems to like a heavy blanket over him. He's likes a paci to fall asleep, but flat out refuses to take it from me at night. I'm still trying to make little tweaks and changes to see if we can find the right combination of things to get him to sleep well.
The thing is, I think a big part of the sleep problem is his eczema. He wakes up trying to claw at his face, and if you hold his arms down to block him, he gets SO mad. His skin gets all red and dry and seems itchy, and I just feel so bad for him because I don't know how to fix it. But his eczema issue is a whole different post entirely.
Sleep (day time): Hmm, this one is tricky. We've had a bit of a rough week, but that's mostly because Jackson had a cold and wasn't feeling so hot. But on average, day time sleep is... just okay. He takes short naps, and I can't seem to get him to extend them. I'd say on average his naps are 35-40 minutes, but occasionally only 15 or 20 minutes! Every once in a while I will get an hour out of him, but never longer. His ideal awake time is about 2 hours, but if he only takes a tiny nap it's much shorter. He still needs to be rocked to sleep, but sometimes we can put him in his crib and shush/pat him to sleep. If all else fails, he will almost always fall asleep in the car or in the stroller.
He's still mostly a VERY happy baby during the day. He wakes up in the morning with a big smile on his face, even though he usually did not get a good night's sleep. He's extremely chatty and is making a lot more different sounds, even saying "mama," although usually when he's crying/upset.
He still likes his play gym, but gets frustrated that he can't pull the toys off and put them in his mouth, since he's past the "batting at toys" phase. So we usually just abandon the play gym and go with a blanket and some toys on the floor. He wants everything in his mouth, and is fascinated with toys. Loves looking at them, holding them, shaking them, tasting them, and gets MAD when he drops them or can't get them in his mouth the way he wants.
He doesn't roll, but he tucks his knees up under him and tries to scoot around. And he's getting closer and closer to sitting on his own. He can sit by himself briefly, and with a little support, but I wouldn't just leave him sitting there for an extended period of time. He scoots backwards when he's on his tummy, and he loves to push off of something and move around when he's on his back or his tummy. It's funny, with Riley, I was so so excited for her to start rolling and crawling. With him, I'm perfectly happy for him to stay still as long as possible! Although I'm super super excited to see Riley's reaction when Jackson becomes mobile, I think she's going to LOVE it!
He likes to talk and screech, chew on everything and anything (including my fingers, and man can that boy bite hard!). He can blow raspberries, and grab his toes with his hands. He hasn't yet figured out his toes can go in his mouth, but I'm sure it's not far off. He loves to be held and talked to and played with, and he absolutely ADORES his big sister. We can see it more and more each day, how much he watches her and just seems to be fascinated by her. Lucky for him, she thinks he's pretty cool too.
He still likes the car and going for walks in the stroller or in a carrier. He has absolutely no problem with strangers, and is happy as long as someone is talking to him and holding him. He laughs the most for his daddy, but will smile for pretty much anyone. He thinks it's so funny when you laugh, and certain words and sounds get him to laugh almost every time.
He's still exclusively breastfed, eating every 2-3 hours during the day. I don't think he's ready for solids, which is just fine because I have no plans to introduce them before 6 months anyway. His eczema makes him slightly more likely to have food allergies, and I'd really like to try and get his eczema more under control before we start him on solids! Again, I'll save all that eczema-related info for a separate post.
He's mostly pretty happy to lay on the ground on his back or his tummy and play (especially with Riley around!), but he has just recently started to cry when I leave his sight. Not always, but he is definitely constantly aware of where I am, and if he's even the slightest bit tired or feeling at all fragile, he will cry if I go out of his sight. Although, if Riley is there with him, he doesn't cry!
One absolute FAVORITE activity right now is jumping. Just like his sister, apparently. He LOVES to be in his bouncer just jumping away and trying to manipulate all the toys. If you hold him on your lap he will jump and jump and jump. His legs are constantly going, and his arms are also constantly moving and waving and flapping unless he's using them to hold a toy or put something in his mouth.
He likes music...my singing, Riley's CDs, or some of his toys that play music- a crib mobile, a stuffed octopus, fisher price seahorse... pretty much anything that makes some music! He loves books, his lovey blanket, pinching mama, sticking his fingers in my mouth, getting leg and tummy tickles, having his face lightly rubbed/tickled, leg massages, and bath time. He does NOT like being cold, arm massages, when Riley cries, or having his nails cut.
He's the cutest sweetest little blue-eyed 5 month old and we just love him to pieces! Can't wait to see what the next month brings (hopefully a little more sleep!!!) :)
4 months old. Pretty hard to believe!
The last few weeks have been crazy. Lots of changes, ups and downs, new developments, and basically horrible sleep. Yeah, we'll start with that one. Sleep. How could this happy little dude have any sleep problems???
Sleep (night time): Wow, I don't even know where to begin. If you have ever had a 4 month old, then you have likely heard of "the 4 month wakeful." And if you haven't, well, you are very very lucky. This little guy is in full 4 month wakeful mode. His night time sleep has been absolutely horrible lately. As in, I went three nights in a row of getting no more than 45 minutes of consecutive sleep. And only about 3-4 hours total. Basically, this little guy is wanting to go to sleep for the night around 6pm. Sometimes he fights going to sleep (which just requires extra rocking/walking) and sometimes he goes right to sleep with just a few rocks and shushes. But then he wakes up anywhere from 10-30 minutes later SCREAMING. And all he wants is to go back to sleep. Then we get him back to sleep, and he wakes up again. And again. And again. Sometimes the only way to get him back to sleep is for me to lay with him and nurse him on the bed or on the couch, and wait until he is in a DEEP sleep to transfer him into his bed. Otherwise, he wakes again. These days, his longest stretch of sleep is MAYBE 4 hours if I'm lucky, usually no more than 3. And after that? Oh man he's pretty much up all night. Only way I can get even a little bit of sleep is to bring him in bed with me, and even that is hit or miss. I'm praying he gets through this little phase without deciding it's fun to keep waking up 10-15 times a night, or wanting to stay up for hours at a time at 3am.
Sleep (day time): Now, funny thing is... his day time sleep has seemed to improve. We're still struggling with extending naps past one sleep cycle, but that's mostly because I can't drop everything to rock him or shush him or nurse him or do whatever it takes to get him back to sleep. He is sleeping in his crib for most of his naps, except for his midday one where I usually hold him (since Riley is also sleeping) in hopes of getting in at least one good long nap during the day. In his crib, he usually naps for 30-50 minutes, with his longest nap so far being an hour. He likes to sleep on his side, snuggling a security blanket we just introduced to him. He LOVES it. Obsessed. He strokes it and clutches on to it between his arms, it's pretty darn cute. He occasionally puts himself to sleep all by himself, as long as he has his paci, his blankie, and his fisher price seahorse to look at. He's taking 3-5 naps a day, depending on what time he wakes in the morning and how long each of his naps are. (Below right... how he falls asleep for all his naps. Cutest thing ever)
Personality: Jackson is a totally easygoing little dude during the day. He is happy being held, or laying down, or sitting in his baby seat, or chilling wherever we are and doing whatever we're doing. He smiles pretty much as soon as I look at him, and loves to watch every little thing I do. He's a chatty little guy, and loves to have conversations with anyone who cares to have a chat with him. He's super ticklish on his tummy, legs, back, and sides. He loves his paci, and he gets mad when it falls just out of his reach. He also lets out little cries of frustration when he can't quite get something into his mouth due to lack of coordination. He loves his playgym and goes nuts kicking and flapping his arms and yelling at the toys while he whacks them.
He has no problem with new people holding him or talking to him, and gives out smiles pretty freely. He is pretty happy in his car seat as long as he has a paci or something fun to hold onto, and he hasn't fallen asleep in the car in quite a while. He likes being outside and riding in the stroller, but we don't get out all that often since it's just so darn cold. This little guy does not like to be cold, and like his sister, does not like the wind on his face.
Milestones: He has started really trying to roll from back to belly, although he only gets as far as his side. If he's on his side, he tries to roll onto his tummy but can't quite get his arm out of the way, and sort of gets stuck face planting into the ground. He seems to have no interest in rolling from tummy to back anymore (he only did it once). He's totally figured out he's got hands, and stares at them very intently. He's also figured out that he can grab toys AND bring them to his mouth, which has opened up a whole new world for him. His favorite thing to suck on is still blankets or any kind of cloth. He is constantly trying to grab my fingers and pull them into his mouth. He has also started sucking on his fingers, which I think at this stage, I would love for him to become a finger sucker rather than a paci-a-holic like Riley, but we'll see.
He is constantly trying to do little baby sit-ups. He can sit-up briefly all on his own, and loves to stand up and bounce with some support from us, although not for too long as his little legs buckle without warning. We introduced him to a door frame jumper (daddy's idea) and he's pretty darn cute rockin' his little body around.
Feeding: Still doing well with breastfeeding, no problems whatsoever. Mostly he's on a good eat, awake, sleep routine, but sometimes if his awake time is too long, he refuses to sleep without being fed again. And you will KNOW if he wants to be fed when he YELLS when you try to give him his paci. He's not fooled into thinking something delicious is coming out of that! He's not so good with a bottle, in fact, the most he'll really take at a time is about 2 ounces before he gets fed up and won't take any more. And I know it's not because he's not hungry, as he'll nurse for quite a while right after he's offered a bottle. But at least he'll take enough so that if I go out somewhere (which is not often), I know he won't be starving! He loves grabbing onto me and pinching me while nursing, and his little karate arm goes nuts swinging all over the place.
He still LOVES Riley, and she is enjoying having him be a little more interactive these days. He seems to like being naked, which I discovered now that I have to strip him down to keep him moisturized so frequently. His eczema is looking better now that we've switched to everything 100% cotton, but his skin still gets pretty dry and requires special care to keep the flare-ups at bay. I'm convinced his itchy skin is contributing to his horrible sleep, since he looks like he's constantly trying to scratch himself. We're still trying to figure out how to get it all under control!
Jackson likes stories and songs, and gets to hear lots of big sister's favorite stories every day- lucky little boy. He also gets to hear whatever songs Riley requests... really though, as long as someone is saying SOMETHING to him, he's happy. Even if it's Riley yelling all kinds of stuff in his face. :)
His growth seems to have slowed a little, he now weighs about 16 pounds, and is mostly in 6 or 6-9 month clothes. He still loves bath time, although not quite as much as before, since due to his eczema we make his baths quite a bit cooler than before. He splashes like crazy and kick kick kicks the whole time. He only poops once a day or every other day, but when he does poop, it gets everrryyyyywhere! He likes to suck on his bottom lip and does it all the time when there isn't a paci in there (see below right).
He's just the most precious little boy in the entire world and worth all the sleepless nights!! Happy 4 months little boo boo!
It's world breastfeeding week, so I thought it was only appropriate to finally publish this post that has been sitting in my drafts folder for about a week. Sorry, no pictures because, to be honest, I don't have one single picture of me nursing my baby, which makes me a little bit sad actually.
About a week ago, I nursed my baby for the very last time. 13 whole months. I never planned to breastfeed for this long, but it just sort of happened this way, and I'm so glad it did. When I was pregnant with Riley, I knew I was going to breastfeed. Well, I knew I was going to TRY and breastfeed. I had read so many horror stories about how hard and painful and awful it was at first, and I was more than a little bit freaked out. So I just wanted to share MY story, in hopes of maybe helping at least one freaked out mom-to-be that might be reading?
Anyway, despite reading and hearing all the horror stories about breastfeeding, I tried to remain optimistic. As soon as Riley was born, I tried to nurse her. And, she wasn't interested! First nursing attempt = fail, but I tried not to stress. I had gone to a breastfeeding class, and they had told me that after I gave birth, if I wanted to shower that was okay, but not to use any soap because they baby needed to smell ME and not whatever soap/shampoo I decided to use. So I listened to that advice. I then tried to nurse Riley again, and she was having trouble latching. And it didn't help that all she wanted to do was sleep. The good thing was, in New Zealand, in the hospital there is a TON of support for breastfeeding. I had midwives helping me the entire time I was in the hospital (2 days) and they would not let me leave until I felt confident that Riley and I had got the hang of breastfeeding. I thought we had, so off we went.
I don't have any horror stories to share. I think relatively speaking, I had a pretty good breastfeeding experience. But I did have a few issues. (1) Oversupply. Some people don't have enough milk, but I had way too much. Which meant I could become really uncomfortable quite quickly, and Riley was often drowning in milk. And, I leaked through so many breast pads and shirts it was insane and a little, umm, embarrassing when it happened in public! Not the most fun thing, but better than not having enough milk! As for the pain? It really wasn't that bad. I put on that Lansinoh cream after every feed as a preventative measure, and around 5 or 6 weeks I stopped using it and was pretty much pain free. My biggest problem was that for some reason, for a really long time, Riley would only latch on to one side. So I had to pump from the other side in order to not lose my milk entirely. Super annoying, but not the end of the world. And on the upside, I got a sweet freezer stash out of it!
But eventually, all these issues worked themselves out. The pain lasted the least amount of time, then around 3 months Riley started nursing from both sides, and the oversupply issue took the longest to regulate, but eventually we got there. And then? Everything just became so much easier. So natural. And I started to really love it. Also? I had read that you shouldn't introduce a bottle or pacifier early on because it will confuse the baby... Riley got a pacifier on day 3, and a bottle of breast milk at 3 weeks, and we never had a problem. Although I wasn't very good at giving her regular bottles, so some time around 7-ish months she started to refuse bottles, but that wasn't really a huge deal since I wasn't going back to work or anything.
Then sometime around 8 months Riley started to get teeth, which means she started to experiment with biting. It didn't last long, but it was painful and stressful and I contemplated weaning. But we stuck it out, and the novelty wore off and she stopped biting. But around this time she also got sick and starting waking up at night, and I made the mistake of nursing her back to sleep for about a week, which then became a habit that would prove really really hard to break.
For MONTHS she was waking up multiple times a night, and often times she was wanting to nurse. I knew she was way too old to be nursing in the night, but I couldn't bring myself to just let her cry, and she wouldn't take a bottle, and so I just kept nursing her. Then around 11 months she started biting again (she would often bite when her teeth were bothering her), and I felt like this was it, we were going to start weaning. But she stopped biting pretty quickly, and we carried on. I wasn't ready to wean her at all, and neither was she.
And then, right before she turned one, I found out I was pregnant. And my milk supply took a big hit. I knew it was the beginning of the end of nursing, so I started cutting out a feed a week. We cut out the morning one, then the afternoon one, then the one before bed. So she would still wake either in the middle of the night or early morning for a feed. Then, on her own, she started sleeping through the night, and I would nurse her first thing in the morning. And last week, I dropped that last feed. I nursed my baby for the very last time. And she didn't even cry. And I've had no pain, no engorgement, no problems whatsoever, and I think that's due to the pregnancy combined with the month-long weaning process.
13 months is longer than I ever thought I would nurse her. And if I wasn't pregnant, I'm pretty sure we would have continued on. But I'm also pretty sure that she started sleeping through the night more frequently as a direct result of the weaning. I'm not saying that that was the only way to get her to sleep through, we could have done sleep training, but I didn't want to do it that way. And I wouldn't wean her just to get her to sleep through the night, it's just an added bonus. :)