It’s been a while since I’ve had the wherewithal to get a blog post together! Between the move to University City and Emmie’s short nap phase, I’ve been a bit underwater for a couple of months.
We have really turned a corner these past few weeks, though, and I am finally starting to feel more in control and like myself (one and the same for me lol).
Having a baby is disorienting. The days are foggy, and I feel like I’m treading water in the middle of the ocean or something.
I’m not amazing at the newborn stage. Both of my girls struggled with gaining weight for two totally different reasons, so it has been my experience that I can’t really relax until they start solids.
Now that Emmie is moving in the right direction, I’m feeling more confident and capable of handling this next phase.
It also helps that we are settled into our new house and neighborhood now. (Allow me to be abundantly clear here: I would not recommend moving with an 8 week old).
Anyway, I wanted to give a little update about how Emmie’s doing!
5 Month Update
Emmie has been an angel to us. She is just the sweetest. Tyler and I keep asking each other, “Was Char this sweet???” We can’t remember, lol.
Emmie has grown so much in the last few weeks and has become so playful and interactive.
She smiles ALL THE TIME. Tyler and I always gush about how happy she is and say “big smile” to the other when she does it. Sometimes we’ll just look at her playing by herself, and she’ll randomly bust out the biggest grin, complete with her one dimple. EXCRUCIATINGLY ADORABLE.
When she laughs she gets the hiccups, almost always. It’s hilarious.
She went through a period a couple of months ago where she wouldn’t let anyone hold or play with her except me or Tyler which was alarming (and tiring). Once we got her reflux under control she was able to loosen up and start socializing again. (more on that below).
Now, she loves chatting and cooing with anyone that will make eye contact with her. The pandemic has been a bummer this year for many reasons but one in particular is that she doesn’t really know what anyone else’s faces look like except our family and close friends! It breaks my heart that she’s missing out on the development that comes from studying stranger’s faces when we are out and about.
She has been rolling since before she turned four months but she’s pretty coy about it and only does it every once in a while still. She loves playing with blankies, her wooden circle teether, and my pumping tubes (under vigilant supervision, I assure you).
A few more things she does a lot: burrows into my shoulder when I hold her, one-dimple smiles at literally everything Charlotte does (she even gets a kick out of tantrums), stares at all of us wide-eyed, almost like she’s in shock that this is who she’s stuck with, talks to herself in VERY loud squeals and screeches.
I can’t imagine our family without her. CANNOT.
Health + weight gain
This has been the hardest part of motherhood for me so far.
Like I mentioned before, both of my girls struggled to gain weight in the early months. With Charlotte, it was because she had silent reflux and a tongue tie that we didn’t address until she was three months old (I had no idea such a thing even existed).
Emmie has another thing I didn’t know existed–laryngomalacia, a fancy word for loud breathing. Her vocal cords are really soft so her breathing sounds squeaky/labored (some times more than others). When she was a newborn, it was really bad, but she’s slowly starting to grow out of it.
(Forever a disclaimer on this site: I am in no way well versed medically and am probably butchering all of this. Just sharing my own understanding of my own experiences, always).
Anyway, laryngomalacia is not uncommon, and most babies grow out of it after a few months. Doctors typically refrain from intervening unless it’s affecting the baby’s oxygen levels OR the baby is having trouble gaining weight (typically due to all of the extra calories they are burning with the increased resistance in their vocal cords).
Emmie has never had any issues with her oxygen levels, but she has had a hard time gaining weight consistently. For that reason, our pediatrician and pediatric ENT have been keeping an eye on Emmie’s laryngomalacia. So far, they haven’t seen the need to do a scope or intervene yet.
They both have basically advised us to just try to make it to the six-month mark, as they are pretty confident that she’ll grow out of it by then. Our pediatrician felt like once she started solids, she would get on a much better trajectory. He was right.
At the same time while all of this was going on, Emmie’s reflux started getting bad. She was CONSTANTLY spitting up and SO fussy and uncomfortable most of the day. It was absolutely horrible for a few weeks after she turned three months old. The reflux did not help with her weight gain issues either.
Finally, we figured out some meds that worked for her. We also started solids right when she hit four months. She turned the corner basically overnight and has been doing way better the past few weeks.
I spent the first four months of Emmie’s life perpetually stressed over my milk supply and making sure she was getting enough. It was so hard, and I wouldn’t wish that on any new mom.
My hormones and anxiety were out of control, too. It’s hard when it seems like on social media that everyone else’s breastfeeding journey is easy and breezy and mine is a struggle (again). Logically, I know that of course no one shares the hard, yucky stuff on Instagram, but in the moment it just makes me feel lonely, you know? Don’t worry, I’m fine, lol.
(And if by chance anyone is going through something similar and wants to talk/vent, I’m your girl).
ANYWAY. Now that Emmie’s eating two “meals” a day, she and I are both in a way better place. She’s catching up on her growing and is a totally happy girl.
I still pump several times per day as we try to give her bottles for a handful of her feedings (she just does better with them, and we are able to know for sure she’s getting a certain amount of ounces each day). But overall, I am feeling way more relaxed. And she is doing amazing now.
We have been giving her baby oatmeal/quinoa cereal mixed with breastmilk for “breakfast” (will start adding fruit to that soon) and veggie purees for “dinner.”
So far she’s had butternut squash, peas, sweet potatoes, and carrots with breastmilk–I prepped these in ice cube trays, froze them in pyrex, and pull them out each day to thaw and serve. She’s also had avocado a handful of times.
When she hits six months, we’ll transition her to finger foods. We did baby-led weaning with Charlotte, and I still attribute that to why she’s such a good eater. I’m looking forward to starting that with Emmie, too.
In my next post I want to talk about how we sleep trained and about our experience using the SNOO.