5 Months with Nolan www.studiomotherhood.com

Nolan has settled right into our family and brings us all a little happiness just by looking at him.  He has changed from a tiny 2 month old, when I last posted about him, to a ball of personality that is on the move in his own little way.  While it still feels like he was just born I’m reminded just how fast time is flying when I have to pack something up that he’s outgrown.  I know I am going to miss these days and I can’t do anything to slow it down.  The bright side- I get to watch this beautiful boy grow into the happy and social little guy that he is.  Dave and I talk all the time about how he’s the best baby- we didn’t realize how high maintenance our first two babies were till we had Nolan.  He’s totally chill, loves to hang out and watch the action, and he’s a big baby that loves to eat.  Cameron had severe reflux and Elena screamed unless she was held most of the time.  We thought that was normal but now we know this baby is a dream! He smiles when we make eye contact and it melts. my. heart.  Everyone laughs when Nolan starts giggling. He’s truly the perfect addition to our family.

Baby Gear

There’s quite a bit of milestones and changes during this phase.  No longer do I have a sleepy baby that’s mostly content just staring at things but a baby that’s grabbing, reaching, and wanting to explore what’s around him.  When he’s not smiling and giggling he’s focused on chewing his hands or a toy.  We’re giving him things that he can easily grip and feel good to chew on.

Nolan loves his Sophie and he’s also loving this little mit that I found in CVS one day.  This is a good time to bring out chewy toys- not the frozen ones though.

One of the things I love to grab before I leave the house and go someplace where I’ll be holding Nolan (family party, out to eat, pediatrician, etc.) is this silicone teething necklace.  He’s not teething but he loves to grab what he sees and just chew on it.  This doesn’t fall to the ground over and over and over again like his toys do so it’s a favorite of mine.  I have to wear it but it doesn’t scream baby toy so I don’t mind.  This one is from Anthropologie. 

Also, I use these rings for everything now so that his toys don’t fall to the floor and pick up germs.  I just attach them to the stroller or whatever he’s seated in to hold onto his toy.  This is one of those simple little things I got at my baby shower that I was surprised to end up using all the time.  

Now that Nolan is officially on the move we have even more baby equipment out around the house.  He’s rolling all over the place, wiggling off the play mats, and he’s just showing signs of trying to sit up.  This is the stage that I bring out the exersaucers (about 4 months) and a few of the baby chairs slowly start to get packed up and put away.  Since the standing in the exersaucer requires them to support their own head it’s a good idea to start slowly.  We do a few minutes at a time and increase it from there. Nolan lets us know when he’s done.  We bought 2 of the same brand (one is at my parents’ house) and we rotate the attachments to keep him interested which is a good tip for you too if you’re thinking of putting another one in a different part of the house.

As soon as your baby starts rolling it’s a good idea to start making note of what is no longer safe.  At about 10 weeks we took the bassinet and changing tables down from the pack n’ play so that he can’t roll off.  Now we change him on a pad in the actual play yard with the mattress raised up.  It’s a great place to leave him to play with his toys for a little while now.  The key is variety- I need a couple different places to put him when I need to have my hands free and so we have the play yard, the exersaucer, and a bouncy swing.  When it’s safe, like nap time for the big kids, he can lay on the floor on a blanket.  He rotates through those and is usually content.  If I dare put him in a sedentary chair he is livid but he’s still loving his baby bjorn carrier.  From now till they begin walking I find that this stage can be more challenging than a newborn.  They want to get into what may be out of reach so bad but just can’t get to it so you have to help keep things interesting for them.  Happy baby, happy family.

On another note, I recently realized that my back is killing me when I take Nolan for a walk in the carrier.  He’s 18 pounds already and the third baby definitely spends more time in the carrier than the first two did so I’m in the market for a really good one with back support.  I’m off to sample a couple next week and I will keep you posted on what I choose.  Many people are recommending the Ergobaby so I will check those out. One of the things I was wishing for this past summer was the carrier with the little hood that will unfold and shield your baby’s head from the sun.  If you love your baby carrier please please leave me a comment!

Eating & Sleeping

Nolan would spend his life nursing if that’s all I had time to do.  He’s a chunky baby at the top of the charts for weight and somehow that makes me so proud of myself since we’re exclusively breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding is not easy to do.  It can become convenient once you have it down pat but when you’re starting out it hurts, it’s exhausting, and very time consuming.  Especially if you have other children like I do.  We nurse on demand and I have allowed him to fall into his own rhythm and that’s what works for us.  Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, he started to reject the bottle early on.  We tried everything…..everything, but nothing worked.  So my breast pump and bottles are collecting dust again because there’s just no point to spend time pumping milk that he won’t drink.  If Dave and I go out, we just bring our third wheel, but as he’s getting older and more predictable things are starting to get easier.

Just like my other babies, around 4 months we took a few steps back with nighttime feedings.  Around 7:00PM every evening Nolan is sound asleep and I can give all my attention to my older two’s bedtime routine.  I am so grateful for that time because it’s really the busiest time of our day and to have one baby asleep makes things a little more peaceful for Cam and Elena.  I’m not sure if the fact that I can get him to sleep at the same time everynight at such a young age is a product of Dave and I just knowing what we’re doing now, or if it’s because Nolan is a good baby.  Maybe a little of both but we could never get a schedule down with either of my kids as young as 5 months.

All is calm till about 2:00AM when Nolan starts to wake up quite frequently throughout the rest of the night and since it’s gone on for weeks now we are sure it’s not a growth spurt.  This habit is not good for anyone so after discussing it with my pediatrician we started to trial baby food a little early at about 4 months.  I was hoping if we filled his belly a little more before bed he’d sleep better through the night so now he gets a little rice on top of our usual breastfeeding schedule and he really enjoys it!  It hasn’t made much of a difference with night time sleeping so our last resort is to try and shift his bedtime a little later.  Luckily, as long as I have a coffee pot, I can function with very little sleep. I know this is just a phase and if he’s just like Elena and Cameron, I won’t be sleeping through the night till he’s one anyway.

I know many people are going to suggest trying the ‘cry it out’ method.  I am familiar with it and we even tried it with Cameron and were unsuccessful.  I am not opposed to allowing a baby to cry for a minute or two before they fall asleep but the 5 and 10 minutes of crying is not something I want to try again.  Our experience with Cameron was pretty horrible for both of us.  He never once fell asleep without one of us going into the room during those 2 nights we tried and the crying was heartbreaking.  I can’t do it.  So, it looks like I’ll be without a full night’s sleep for another 6 months….but I’m still hoping Nolan will surprise us!

Traveling vs. Staying Close to Home

If you have a baby at this age and you look around your house you will realize this is the window when they require the most baby equipment.  For me that makes it tricky to travel.   They need the crib, exersaucer, toys, stroller, baby carrier, a seat to feed when having solid food (we use the Bumbo with the tray), spoons, bibs, baby food, a baby tub, nursing pillow…so much stuff!  Sure, you can make it work without those things and if you have to travel you can, but when given the choice, this is when I like to stay close to home and travel later. We went to Disney World when Cameron was 6 months old and that was OK because we just had one baby at the time, but I remember missing our exersaucer so much and trying to feed him as he sat in his stroller. There was baby food everywhere!  By one my kids are walking and don’t want any part of seats and things that confine them so even though they’re walking I find traveling easier.

I have just a few more months of this little baby phase where he needs me to carry him around to explore the world.  In a matter of time he’ll be crawling and that is a game changer!