Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Six Months

Monday was Lily's half birthday! Six months already. Goodness gracious.

It seems that she has had a big growth spurt this month. She hasn't changed a whole lot personality-wise in the past four weeks, but she has definitely gotten BIGGER. The other day I tried to dress her in an outfit she had worn a week or two earlier and it was way too small. I could barely snap it around her neck. Just last night her daddy tried to put her in a favorite pair of pajamas, and I swear she was an inch or two too long for them. She is growing rapidly, which I'm sure has a lot to do with the changes in her diet this month.
Here's the rundown:

Lily started rice cereal the day she turned 5 months old. It was slow going that first week as we were practicing and she was learning a new skill. We stuck with only rice cereal once a day for the first two weeks as she got more and more confident about eating from a spoon. I mixed the cereal with breastmilk, thickening the mixture up a bit each time. By the end of the second week she was doing great! The third week I started her on oatmeal as well, and she had 2-3 tablespoons of that in the morning and about 4 tablespoons of rice cereal in the evenings. By week four, we were ready to start fruits and vegetables. Following the four-day wait rule (to watch for allergies), I slowly introduced bananas (mashed with a fork) and pureed carrots over the next couple of weeks. Because I wanted to keep her "regular" with all these changes and the additional iron in her diet, I started giving her pureed prunes as well. This has seemed to help a great deal with her digestion. This week we added barley cereal for the first time, and by the end of the week we will introduce another veggie -- I think sweet potatoes.
I'm so proud of Lily for being such a great little eater. She hasn't refused anything and seems eager to try new foods. She takes a cautious taste of the first spoonful and then eagerly opens her mouth for a bite until her bowl is empty! She especially likes the carrots and bananas at this stage.

Right now a typical day of meals looks like this:
6:30 AM: Breastmilk only
10:30 AM: Breastmilk, 4 Tbsp oatmeal, 1/3 mashed banana OR 1/2 container pureed prunes
3:00 PM: Breastmilk, "snack" of pureed carrots OR mashed banana
6:30 PM: Breastmilk, 4 Tbsp rice cereal OR barley cereal, 1/2 container pureed carrots
9:00 PM: Breastmilk only
(These are approximate times, but she follows this schedule pretty closely on a typical day.)

Lily is still getting most of her nutrition from nursing at this point. I nurse her before every solid food feeding and use expressed breastmilk for mixing up her cereals. This has been fairly easy to keep up with for the first month, but I'm finding it more and more difficult to keep a supply of pumped milk available for mixing with food. Early on I tried mixing her oatmeal with formula once but she didn't eat well for that meal. I gave up on that for a while, but I tried it again for one meal this week and she seemed to not notice a difference. Hopefully I can start doing this more often now to get her used to the taste and to give myself a bit of a break.
Overall, I'm very pleased with how well she is doing with the introduction of new foods. One of her favorite things in the world is when she finishes a meal and I say "All done!" and her daddy and I clap and cheer. She LOVES it and responds with the biggest smiles!

This week I tried my hand at making some homemade baby food. I cooked and pureed sweet potatoes and pears, and pureed some fresh papaya, storing it all in the freezer to try later. It went pretty well and I'm eager to see how she'll like them. I plan on trying to make my own applesauce, and steamed and pureed green beans and peas as well. I probably won't make everything Lily eats (I have no problem giving her store-bought baby foods), but I think it's worth giving it a try. My husband and I were able to work on some of it together, which ended up being kinda fun.

Pureed pears & papaya

Mashed sweet potatoes

Sleeping: There really are no big changes in Lily's sleeping patterns since last month. One thing that I started doing differently, though, is after her early morning feeding, instead of returning her to her bassinet, I've started bringing her into the bed with me and we both sleep until about 9:00. I absolutely love this sweet time for the two of us to snuggle and rest together for an hour or two before starting the day. I consider that her first nap, although it could be more of a continuation of her nighttime sleep. She naps again after lunch (around 12:30) and again in the evening (around 5:00). Those naps last anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours.
Lily is usually ready for bed by 9 PM if not a little bit sooner. She either falls asleep while nursing or I rock her to sleep. It's not uncommon for her to wake up once during the night, but if she does, her daddy rocks her back to sleep and it usually takes only a few minutes.

Milestones: This month Lily is getting better at sitting up on her own. She can do it in the "tripod" position, supported by her hands and arms while leaning forward, for several seconds at a time. I've noticed that her fine motor skills are improving, and she is learning to reach out and grab things that are close by. I have to be careful not to hold her bowl too close when feeding her! She can also reach out and find a toy that she has dropped if it's close enough.
Just this week I can hear her forming some new sounds when she babbles. I've heard a few "ba" and "ma" sounds, and that is definitely something brand new.
Every day I look in her mouth and run my finger along her gums to check for teeth, but there aren't any there. She has been chewing and drooling a lot over the past two months but nothing has happened yet.

Lily will have her six-month checkup and shots in a couple of weeks. I'm dreading it, as always! Those shots still break my heart. I'm always eager to hear a good report, though, and see how much my girl has grown. I think she'll be tipping the scales this time, that little chunk!

Thanks for keeping up with my girl and following along with us as she grows. We had some portraits taken of her at Target last week, and I know we're biased, but we think they are pretty adorable! I'll have to share some of our favorites with you soon.


Rebecca said...

She gets cuter every day! I can't believe she's 6 months already! I like reading your detailed posts about her development, you can tell through your writing that you simply delight being her Mama! What a lucky family!

Happy 1/2 Birthday Lily!!!

Rachel said...

Hi Stacey! We are having a lot of the same experiences---isn't it fun! I have been making Oliver's babyfood too and this is a first for me since I didn't do that with the other two. I LOVE IT!!! Love it!!! All the different recipes and combos you can do and I love the feeling that I made it for him. I did that. He kind of has the same sleep pattern and milesones as Miss Lily too, guess they are destined to be together. haha. In all seriousness though---let me know when you feel like getting out and going on a play date with us. Make it a Tues or Thurs so I just have Oliver and the babies can sit up and look at each others. Babies LOVE looking at other babies at this age. Just a thought, and, oh yeah I AM DYING TO MEET YOU! That girl is so beautiful beyond words and I am just so happy for you and love watching your experience through your eyes. I also have experienced such heartbreak, such loss that every little thing feels like the world and feels like the best thing ever. I hope that makes sense. Happy 1/2 birthday sweet girl!

A said...

wow, it sounds like she is doing awesome! good job, mama!

gg said...

adorable as always. before you know it she'll be talking soon. way to go on making the baby food. i made Rayna's and had so much fun with it. since i couldn't nurse her, i filled that nurturing need by making her baby food.

Birdie said...

Lily's on such a good little schedule! She's a doll, Stacey. I'm so happy for you. I know she has got to be so cute trying all those new foods for the first time! Little Guy is only 3 months old, but I'm already thinking of how fun it will be when I get to try him on some food or cereal. :)

Jo said...

So nice to see you all going so well Stacey. She is certainly a cutie. I just love the pic of her with the towel hood on her head and the big grin! Starting solid foods is such an interesting phase. It makes you taste foods differently yourself too I think. I remember giving Xavier apple for the first time and him screwing up his face like he was eating a lemon. So I tried the apple and tried to put myself in his position. It was like "oh wow, there is a tang to apples that I have never noticed before" lol. We get so used to food tastes we take them for granted i think :)

twondra said...

She is sooooo precious! I can't believe she's already 6 months! Wowzers!!

Connie said...

Oh Man! I love and miss that girl so much! XOXO

andreajennine said...

The picture in the flower field! And the one in the bath towel! Squee!
Glad solids are going so well; it's a fun stage I think. You can mix the oatmeal and rice cereal with water if you want; that's what I do for B, unless he had leftovers in a bottle. I think the recs to mix with breastmilk/formula have more to do with giving baby a familiar flavor. She's getting plenty of nutrition through nursing still, so adding milk to her solids is optional. Just thought I'd mention it in case it frees you from pumping extra.

Deni said...

Lily is such a cutie pie! Just wanted to say that and that I'm glad you're enjoying her and mommy life so much, you deserve it and it makes my heart smile really big!! God is good!

Anonymous said...

I love the pic of her in her hoodie towel! What a great big smile! :) I can't believe she's 6 months already!

Sharon said...

They grow so quickly! Enjoy this special time Stacey!
I miss the little baby phase but I'm so excited that we have started the adoption process again and I'm hoping and praying we will soon have another baby!

Ro-bear said...

So cute! Thanks for the update. (FYI, we mixed cereal with apple juice as well and both our kids seemed to like it. Not sure if that's kosher though.)

Amber said...

Happy 6 months! She is getting so big and just adorable!

Jennifer said...

Could she be any cuter!?! I know I am way behind on commenting but just had to finally catch up. I love the pics and the update. I also want to make my own babyfood. What type of containers did you use for storing it? What did you use to puree it all? I hear so many different things and I'm trying to get it all figured out by the time Ellie starts on food. :)
She is absolutely adorable!