half a year with Maelle

It’s cliché, but true…time really does fly when you’re having fun.  Our Maelle Rose is already six months old (almost seven!), and I know her first birthday will be here before we know it.  She’s changed our lives irrevocably, and even though there are hard days, we are so thankful for every minute we get to spend with her.

The difficulty we had getting pregnant has made me so grateful to have Maelle, and that gratitude makes those hard days (or nights!) just a bit easier.

Growth:  Maelle started out long and skinny, and now she’s just skinny!  She’s about 25 inches long, which is the 50th percentile for length.  However, she’s only about 13.5 lbs, which is just the 9th percentile for weight.  (Up from 7th at 4 months!)  I understand the growth charts and know these are just ‘guidelines,’ and neither her doctor nor I are worried about her weight or growth.  She’s a good eater and has plenty of wet and dirty diapers, and is growing just fine.  I simply never anticipated Andrew and I would have a baby on the smaller side, since neither of us are particularly small people.

Sleep:  We’re SO THANKFUL Maelle has been a decent sleeper from day one.  From the first night at home, she’s slept 4-5 hour stretches or more; we never dealt with mixed up days and nights, or every-two-hour feedings.  She generally nursed once a night until we starting sleep-training about two weeks ago. She was in our room in a bassinet until about three weeks ago, and transitioned seamlessly to her crib.  It’s possible that all our travel and her experiences sleeping in a co-sleeper and a travel crib helped her adjust to yet another new place to sleep.  Or, she’s just easy-going.

We used the Ferber method for sleep-training (I didn’t read the book, simply this article), and it’s going better than I could have imagined.  The ‘cry-it-out’ method always made sense to me (I’d rather deal with more discomfort now if it means less discomfort later), and Ferber’s ‘graduated extinction’ system of setting short intervals between comforting a crying baby seems to work for many families. I didn’t know if we’d need to do sleep training at all, since Maelle does in fact sleep, but we began having trouble when she was relying on us to rock her to sleep after her nighttime nursing session.  After a few nights of multi-hour ‘rock-sleep-wake-cry, rock-sleep-wake-cry’ sessions, I decided at 2:30 am on a Saturday night that sleep training would commence.  Thankfully, our intervals have remained short (3, 5 or 10 minutes), we’ve rarely had to go in more than once or twice to offer comfort, and other than one or two short-lived bouts of shrieking, there has been almost no push-back.  I’ve heard her wake many times and go back to sleep just as I’m getting up to go comfort her, which is reassuring me that sleep training is working.  She seems to have gotten the hang of it!  Or, she just may be that easy-going.

Milestones:  Maelle is smiling, laughing, rolling and army-crawling like a champ.  She’s graduated to a larger tub, has taken a shower with papa and can sit pretty well on her own.  Unfortunately, she’s also had her first cold, a few doses of Tylenol and a serious diaper rash (Mommy ate too many jalapeños!).  We stopped swaddling in early January, and I regularly find her on all fours in her crib!

Movement:  At six months, Maelle is army-crawling, and quite enthusiastically!  Within days she began rocking on her knees and will likely be completely mobile very soon.  She’s drawn like a magnet to the metal legs of one of my plant stands in the front room–I’m already having to be vigilant. A friend was visiting with her 11-month-old daughter, and remarked that Maelle seemed more patient and willing to crawl for what she wanted, rather than simply fussing or crying because the object was out of reach.  Makes a momma’s heart swell!  I love that she’s rolling over and over, interacting with her toys and on the cusp of true crawling. She loves her blue Baby Einstein Octopus Orchestra toy, the Skwish (Manhattan Toy) and her soft Fisher Price BeatBo doll.

Eating: Maelle has been eating for almost three months, and she has only met one item she didn’t like (a chicken and pea pouch).  She’s pretty amenable to anything we try to feed her, and while we’re still doing purees and cereal, I am offering a few finger food options at each meal.  She’s tried bananas, avocados, muffins, eggs, noodles, ground meat and steamed veggies.  A good amount ends up on the floor, but I’m noticing her skills improve quickly.  I’ve made exactly two batches of baby food, and have decided it’s largely a giant waste of time where there are plenty of good, inexpensive options at the store that save me time and energy.  Again, expectations vs reality.

She eats three meals a day, usually 2 oz of formula mixed with oatmeal cereal, plus approximately 4 oz of a puree, plus finger foods.  I do try to ensure her meals provide fat and protein, and that she isn’t only having fruit mixtures.

Here’s to the next six months!





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