Five months and we celebrated our first Thanksgiving! It was a small affair this year as much of my extended family was still in Taiwan, but a lovely meal (albeit typically Asian and not the traditional American kind). We also got to go to Drake’s school and attend his feast the school provided. Juliet was the hit of the party with all the other children coming to peer at her, fix her blankets, give her kisses, and try to give her her pacifier every time it popped out of her mouth.
We went back for a check up after Juliet’s weight had steadily dropped and got wonderful results. With the addition of solids to her diet, Juliet climbed from 10 lbs 6 ozs at her four month appointment to 11 lbs 11 ozs, so over a pound gain! While still on the lower end of the charts, she is staying steady on her own little curve and that’s theymost important part. Even more good news came in that her height jumped from the 25% to over the 50% at 25 1/2 inches. The doctor said with malnourished children their heights usually drop first, so the fact that her height has increased so well means she is indeed growing steadily and might just be genetically small. Her head circumferences was 40 1/2 cm and also on the 25% curve staying put where it has been since birth. Because of her success the doctor said that we no longer have to get her tongue clipped.
Juliet’s night sleep is really starting to wear on both Mr Chocolate and me. She still wakes up at least 3-5 times per night in intervals as long as 3 hours to as short as 1 1/2. After trying so many different methods including swaddling, swaddling and placing inside the Merlin Magic Sleep Suit, just the sleep suit, swaddling and placing inside the Woombie, just the Woombie… we discovered that Juliet prefers to sleep mostly on her side or tummy even. Many times at night she would wake up trying to flip herself on her belly but had difficulties with the different contraptions we used, so we let her have her way and she’s now just in a sleep sack, allowing her full range of motion to move as she pleases.
Even with that improvement she still wakes up many a time throughout the night. Sometimes she can be put back to sleep quickly with a pop of the pacifier, other times I feed her as I am leaking or too full because of the amount she has demanded the last few months with her frequent two hour or less feedings. Part of me thinks I created part of the problem as I was so worried about her weight gain or lack of in the past that every time she woke up I fed her. Because of that, perhaps she never drinks a lot at each feeding and is used to these multiple feedings throughout the day (on average she is at the breast no less than 8 times and most days it’s closer to 10-12).
I am not sure what I can do now though to break this cycle, as her extended times without eating is during the daytime hours as she is very nosy and curious about the world. Just the last few days we have started to let her cry a little to settle herself and it has worked, though at times it can take a little while. The biggest issue is whether we let her cry, or try to soothe her, pop the pacifier back in for her, or feed her, she is still waking us up fully. Regardless of how fast she goes down, it’s really starting to affect both Mr Chocolate and me health-wise, patience-wise, and mood-wise. I truly don’t know how much longer this can go on before one of us breaks. We are thinking of moving her out of the bedroom soon, but I am dreading the idea of having to go down the hall to settle her every time, and I also the fear that she might wake Drake up since their bedrooms are next to one another.
I truly am at a loss as what is the best move for us and am feeling very hopeless in many ways when it comes to sleep. We are trying to establish a better routine that will include placing her in the sleep sack, turning on a white noise box, etc. in hopes of trying to give her a better sense of bedtime. Still that doesn’t help the multiple wakings.
Naps have been a little better though despite all our night time sleep issues. We have started to let her cry it out a little after we put her down and since it’s day time and we aren’t trying to sleep ourselves, it doesn’t seem to wear on us as much. We go in and pat her and rub her back and place her pacifier in her mouth, but try not to hold her. We also place her down more awake and happy at the start sometimes. So far with different attempts of checking in vs crying out, we have had a three hour nap, a one hour nap, and a two hour nap all in the pack and play without being held. Sometimes she will wake up after a very short cycle and cry just like at night, but I guess because it’s the day time we don’t mind patting her and giving her a pacifier as much, and she usually falls back asleep.
Eating is a mixed bag these days, as I mentioned some of the breastfeeding issues I felt we might have created in the night sleeping part of this update. On the solids front though we are doing well, and she very much enjoys the solid meals of oatmeal laced with olive oil and bananas. Now that our weight issues seem to have been resolved, I think we might branch out to try some other baby foods. So far I have been mashing the bananas and avocados myself, but I might try buying some of the pre-made ones now or try blending and mixing some at home. I haven’t decided yet honestly, as I’m so tired that it’s easier to just stick with the oatmeal and bananas I know she is enjoying.
Juliet continues to be a very curious and alert baby. When well rested and fed she is very happy to sit quietly and watch the world. I think her favorite person is mommy followed by Drake. Whenever Drake is around, she is constantly looking at him, smiling (except when he pulls on her or gets too excited and hurts her by accident). She can stay awake much longer than she ought to at her age because of her curiosity, and will stay happy for long periods of time. She very much likes sitting in her bumbo in the playroom where she can be a part of the action (really chaos).
We have pulled out the jumperoo and while she was not enthused at first, she is now quite happy to jump and sway around in it for periods of time. Drake loves to help her while she is in it, which can be good and bad — good when he is pointing out things to her; bad when he wants to help her jump. So far she hasn’t taken to it as well as Drake did, just like the swing which Drake also loved. But that’s ok — she has her own interests it seems.
Juliet can almost stand in many ways supported. She seems to have quite a lot of leg strength and will often push out of your arms attempting to stand up with support. Mr Chocolate has commented for months that in many ways she seems ready to crawl or walk as she has the strength and determination, but lacks the coordination. We had a few friends over one weekend, and one couple has a son a day older than Juliet, and they even commented on Juliet’s leg strength.
Juliet discovered her hands and feet a while ago, but recently she has really taken to her feet. Many times when she is laying around she will reach up and grab them with her hands and then roll over to her side with them. It’s very cute. As with the tummy sleeping she seems to love being on her stomach, lifting her head, and generally just rolling around a lot. In the morning I can see her little head peeking up from the crib as she takes in the world. While I worry a little about the tummy sleeping, the doctor has reassured me that if she can put herself into that position, she can move out of it. And Juliet does seem to sleep with her head to the side mostly.
If we could just conquer her night sleeping issues of waking up constantly for whatever reason, she truly is a delightful baby and quite cute, even if we are biased in our feelings.
Here is her five month photos side by side with Drake.