I’ll be honest in saying I’m emotional Mama this morning as I wake up and realize that my baby is now 6 months old! I feel like this is may be the most important birthday. Let me tell you why…
I didn’t rock pregnancy. There’s a reason why it’s been 13 months of her existence, and I don’t have a single “pregnancy” post. I carried great, and although I was diagnosed with a short cervix at 24 weeks (and was at risk of preterm labor), there were no complications with my pregnancy or labor. (You can read our Positive Birthing Story here.) I just didn’t much like being pregnant.
GETTING TO KNOW ME || As a toddler myself, I loved playing with dolls and then bossing around my sisters when they came along. But as a teen, I had decided that getting married and having babies wasn’t for me. I didn’t grow up obsessed with “cute babies”, in fact, my sisters were much more interested than I, in small babies and kids. It wasn’t until I met my husband that we would even consider getting married. He too didn’t think there was much reason for it. Until 2015, after six years, we kind of just started planning the wedding and before we knew it we were calling in the troops and making reservations for our 3 day wedding in the woods! When a roommate had a baby, I began babysitting while she worked and I fell in love. I got baby fever so, so bad. Or so, so good. Because I remember rolling over in bed one night, and looked into my loving husband’s eyes when I said with a cute grin, “I want to have a baby, Baby.”
His reaction was unforgettable. He smiled at me, that huge, loving smile with his eyes lit up, “Okay Baby, we’ll make a baby then.” And it was that simple! We had decided in that moment, that we were going to try for a baby.
It wasn’t hard. We had lots of “practice” so far (if you know what I mean). And I think spiritually, physically, mentally, I was ready. In that moment of validation and decision, I became a mother.
I didn’t know then that I wouldn’t have any complications with pregnancy, labor or her first six months. I didn’t know then what she (or he) would look like, be like, sound like! I didn’t know if she’d be disabled or healthy. Part of being a mother is worrying about the little things that COULD happen. This “preventative” parenting started right away. My whole life changed.
Here are a few posts that describe the kind of dramatic changes I myself have made, in just 14 months:
How To Have A Routine (Even if you’ve never had one before!)
So as I sit here thinking about what my 6 month old daughter has taught me, and what she has learned to do. I think about who she is and whom she’s going to be. I still worry and will make efforts to keep my baby safe and protected in every way I can.
I sit her in gratitude and peace because I have been blessed thus far with a loving, smart, healthy child. I couldn’t have imagined how beautiful and perfect she is, even if I had tried. I’m an optimistic person, but this child blows me away every day. What amazes me more is the perfect blend of HIM & I, that she is. I see so much of her Daddy in her, and these days I’m seeing so much of myself in her stubborn, independent ways. Yet, there’s something still so new, so fresh about her spirit that I’ll spend the rest of my life getting to know!
Well, enough sappy love stuff. Let’s get down to her developmental update for my six month old baby girl, #CJBowden! (Please note that CJ is a nickname to protect her security. If you know us personally please call her CJ on the blog or any pics/vids you may choose to share on social media. Use the tag #cjbowden when posting on any social media accounts. Thanks!)
She recognizes people she knows versus strangers. Although we don’t spend a lot of time with people whom she doesn’t see often, we are extremely social people. There’s always someone else around to interact with.
CJ definitely prefers Mama to almost anyone, unless I’m absent. She does better for other people when I’m not in the same room with her. If I’m in sight, it won’t be long before she wants back into my embrace.
She smiles and flirts with other people a lot, she doesn’t shy away or attempt to hide.
She physically leans towards her desired person. And if sitting alone, she raises her hands to indicate she wants to be picked up or moved.
I’ll admit, she’s definitely got some emotions following now and she’s ready and willing to make them clear. It’s easy to see when she’s happy, sad, frustrated or hurt.
CJ can he sensitive to other people’s moods and energy level. I actively try to remove her from high energy conversations or environments. Not that she becomes angry or cries, but she becomes hyper-focused (like I do). And since I’m also affected by this energy, I can feel it too. When we remove ourselves, even if just to another room temporarily, she quickly bounces back into optimism.
Which, she has retained. Even in her frustration with trying to be more mobile and working on her body control and balance. CJ tries hard to focus and try again, without getting angry. Finally, she’ll give in and protest, swinging her arms and hitting it. I then assist with whatever has her bothered and distract her. Sometimes she chooses to continue her attempts, but most of the time she chooses some other activity instead. Smart girl, read more on this in Decision-Making section below.
My 6-month-old baby girl has hit every single expected milestone so far, ahead of time. But I think communicating is more average at this age that other areas such as Physical and Social Developments (where I know she is way above average).
With that being said she’s repeating sounds such as mama, baba, dada, and papa. Although not always on purpose, there at times where I’m questioning if she actually is saying Baba because she wants a bottle. Or me, if she tries for Mama.
This morning though, she was squealing at the dogs to get their attention, I said, “Dog-Dog.” And oh my goodness did she almost say it back, after a short pause! She looked at me for approval and I was stoked, “Yes! Dog DoGGG”.
If I was to guess what her first words would be they are:
- Dog dog / doh doh
- Daddy / Da-dee
- Pop Pop (For the recovering live-in grandpa, as we nicknamed him Pop Pop when she was born, he’s obsessed with his granddaughter!)
If I was to guess when it would be soon. Any day I’m expecting her to repeat calling me Mama enough times in a day that I’m convinced she knows. Any day. And I’m so excited for this, much more excited than this next section…
Such as standing, hands, and body control
From the time she was born, she had excellent head control. It was tiresome to try to keep her from wobbling to and fro all the time. She’s always excelled a good month or more ahead of schedule. I fully expect that she will be crawling within a month and walking within three (or sooner).
She already has the strength for both, yet she lacks the balance and body control so far. I’m having to watch her very closely now, as she is constantly trying to interact with anything that is nearby. She thinks she can get there already. And has taken to “lunging” forward for things. Ugh. She’s been a lot more of a handful now that she realizes she is an independent human.
I’m thankful for this though as I want to bond closely to my child, without her being clingy. It’s okay to rely on us for food, security and her daily needs. But, I want her to know that she can do things (or try and fail at things), with and without help. I’d love her to ask for help, before offering it. I’d like to be able to warn her of danger and have her trust me. I’m not going to be that parent that says “because I said so”. If I don’t have a valid reason, then she shouldn’t be punished for asking. If she asks a question that she knows is against the rules, then I’ll explain the rule and why it exists. I’ll never make it a habit of letting her take the easy route if she doesn’t ask if there is one!
That being said, I let her “fall” when she’s practicing walking. (By “fall” I mean, gently but quickly put her on the floor, even if it’s face down because she lunged. If she had really fallen, that’s where I try to place her). I kind of want to slow her development in this area down because I’m selfish and she’s only 6 months old. But I do t think it’s working. I thi k what I’ve been doing is just helping her learn quicker.
Either way, I’m in so much trouble soon guys. This active girl is going to keep us all busy, and trying to keep with HER is going to be a serious challenge…
PROBLEM SOLVING, MAKING DECISIONS & ENVIRONMENTAL DISCOVERY
There are some serious benefits to being a stay at home mom, let’s just admit that it’s the greatest thing ever to be able to see every minute of your child’s abilities and traits develope, every day. At least, I think so. There’s nothing else I’d rather do now. And honestly, there’s hardly room to do anything else anyways!
That being said, knowing also that we plan to provide Homeschooling for her ourselves, I kind of role play not being a mom sometimes.
Why? Because the mom in me wants to do it for her. The human in me, says to sit and watch her try. So I do a fair bit of both Moming and Teaching.
Here’s what I know about my 6 months old decision-making ability:
- She does have a preference for certain toys
- She has a preference on which toys she likes at which time of day (quiet morning, quiet toys) and place (when outsides, she doesn’t want toys, just something to gnaw on absent-mindedly).
- She may choose to *go* to another person my leaning towards them.
- She can choose to be upset, for very little reason behind it at times. Usually changing the environment or room we are in, helps. (Boredom, which in itself a choice, right?)
Once a decision is made, she is capable of trying to get it (even if she physically can’t). I’m always trying to read her body language and sounds to figure out what in the environment she wants. If she can explore it safely, I let her. Today we spent 40 minutes crimping a large piece of paper into a small ball and then unwrapping it. By the end, she was attempting to squish it together, and pull it back apart.
If I had to choose just three words to describe Baby CJ’s personality they would be:
Optimistic – she’s happy 90% of the time more than any other baby I know.
Silly – The sillier the play, the better. No surprise here, Daddy & I are pretty goofy characters ourselves. Honestly, this kid is a hoot and I expect her to be extremely playfully, silly and spontaneously hilarious.
Sweet – My social butterfly is a fan of close interactions, touching faces, sloppy kisses, and oh the cuddles! She’s also very kind to the dogs and has a lot of fun giving and receiving their attention.
Bonus Round words would be: Independent, rhythmic, and hard working.
DAILY LIFE WITH A 6 MONTH OLD BABY CJ
As you’ve probably read these posts on cosleeping, you know now that I have been bedsharing since the 4 Month Old Sleep Regression. This has finally ended and she’s going to sleep easier. We’ve really had to hone in on the routine. But sometimes, you just gotta let the kid hang out until their tired and good and ready for bed. Some nights it was 9:30 pm, that’s 2.5 hours longer than the bedtime yo!
Thankfully though, the hubby has stepped up is baby-game and we stayed fairly unstressed throughout this phase.
Although bed-sharing has limited our adult cuddle time, we’ve still managed to keep the love alive! (If you know what I mean.)
We have begun to try single solid foods, and she loves it. We’ve had no bad reactions or allergies to speak of. CJ’s favorite is Avocados! She also enjoys Sweet Potatoes and Mixed Veggies. The only fruits she’s REALLY enjoyed are apricots, plum, and purple seedless grapes (mashed or purree of course). So far she’ll pretty much eat (or try) anything and has yet to refuse anything. Even if she didn’t make a pleasant face, if offered she’ll try multiple times before closing her mouth in a quiet decline for more. And I don’t force it. She gives it a lot of attempt before finally deciding she doesn’t like it. When offered the same thing a few days later (like the mixed veggies), she then LOVES it! So we’ll just keep experimenting with foods and offer lots of variety. Never to completely remove a food option completely, unless she is alergic.
BREAST MILK & FORMULA
This is probably my biggest struggle: breastfeeding. I’ll do a new post soon but in short, my supply is pretty weak. I’m able to nurse her before and during naps and at night (bedsharing helps a ton). But I still am nowhere near discontinuing formula. Unfortunately.
Since I hate pumping, although I do have 3-4 sessions of power pumping a week. I have been hand expressing milk every time I give her a bottle. The progress is slow, but I do feel like it’s what makes the difference in my production. I feed her what I have expressed before her last night time bottle (in a bottle). And I have noticed (and so has she) a better, faster let down lately! So I may still have a hope of removing the bottle completely when she begins to eat solid foods for meals (that’s a whole out yet though).
PRODUCTS I USED & WOULD RECOMMEND FOR INFANTS 0-6 MONTHS
Baby Carrier vs KTan Infant Sling || I now use a more ergonomic baby carrier instead of the K’tan Sling. It’s easy to put on, and the weight of her is better suited on my hips and shoulders, versus my neck and shoulders only. (And I’ve managed to lose my K’tan, and I honestly got the other backup carrier out of desperation only to find that it was better suited for me now that she’s older.) She’s still up against me.
Babywearing is how I survived much of her sleep regression at 4-6 months old, honestly. Especially to get in naps throughout the day when she fights them so hard. One minute she’s wide away okay with my dreadlocks or a carrier strap. The next she’s passed out, unable to resist the rocking or walking around. When they are THAT tired, they’re pretty out. I could just sit down, and enjoy the cuddles of her on my chest as she slept for as long as she could. Sometimes it was 10 minutes, sometimes it was an hour. But at least, she slept!
Rock N Play Baby Bed || I’m so sad that we are saying goodbye to the Rock N Play already! When she learned to sit up on her own, we could keep an eye on her in it. Now though, she can pull and lean over the sides. Mostly trying to reach the dogs as they pass. The rock n play wouldn’t tip over, but she could lunge her way out now. I’ve decided to pass along this amazing baby bed to CJs cousin, who is due next month!
Amber teething necklace! || Not just for teething but any growing pains or physical discomfort. These necklaces release a natural oil through their skin enough to ease their anxiety. Increasing their ability to calm down. Which leads to cuddles, appetite, and eventually sleep. (Just make sure to take the necklace off when they sleep, ride in the car, or are not being watched closely in general.) We only had to give her baby Tylenol once, in this whole six months.
Teething Toys || A good variety of toys to chew on for teething included things that are hard, soft, squishy, rubbery, cold, etc. Anything really, but lots of textures and options have helped. She would bite pretty violently when teething, helping her by holding toys and offering a variety was key to allowing her a comfortable way to deal with her teething. Her bottom two teeth came in at 4 months old (a bit early if you ask some people, but some babys are born with teeth so, no I’m not shocked by this being “too early”). I thought for sure her top two would come in at 5.5 months but her teething has subsided temporarily and did not come through. I imagine the next hard teething cycle she has, she’ll be cutting through pretty quickly.
POSTS I WANT TO WRITE ABOUT THESE MONTHS ARE:
- How to handle the 4 month sleep regression as an attachment parent
- What it means to be a positive parent and why I associate with attachment parenting styles the most.
- It takes a village to raise a child!
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