Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Our 7-month-old Lila

Lila's 7-month birthday was May 26th, which was not quite a week after we got back to Illinois from our marathon of traveling. Since Lila spent almost her entire 7th month away from home, she didn't have her 6-month well-baby appointment until May 20th, when she was about 6 and three-quarters months old. At that appointment, Lila weighed 16 pounds, 0 ounces and measured 27 inches long. With these measurements, she is now slightly below the 50th percentile for weight and in the 75th percentile for height (she was exactly 50th percentile for both the last few months). So it would seem that our little girl is lengthening faster than she is widening!

Hair and eyes: Lila's hair keeps getting darker and thicker. The other day I looked at John's 6- and 7-month photos, and his hair was definitely lighter than Lila's. His was also a lot crazier! It would stand straight up in the air after his naps. Lila probably has as much hair as John did, but hers stays put a lot better. Maybe it's because of the bow clips I use. Lila's eyes are still blue (with that one tiny golden speck in her left eye), so I guess that means the blue is here to stay! I am glad because I think it's so pretty for a little girl to have dark brown hair and blue eyes. Her eyes are a medium blue that is in between Papa Jeff's baby blue eyes and Uncle Jesse's gray-blue eyes.

Other stats: Lila now wears 6-12 month and 9-month clothing. Her drawers are PACKED with summer clothes. The only thing she could really use right now is another pair of pajamas. I wish that her size 1 jelly sandals fit her, but they're still a little big. Lila has the daintiest feet, making it difficult to find socks and shoes that won't immediately fall off of her. It's funny thinking about how different her feet are from John's -- his feet have always been wide and chubby, with crooked and overlapping toes on his left foot, while hers are narrow and thin, with perfectly straight toes on both feet. Both of them have short feet, though. Neither one of them is going to wear an unusually large shoe size.

Nursing: While still a great nurser overall, Lila picked up two habits this past month that have made it a lot more difficult for Mommy to feed her. First of all, she's SO easily distracted now that I can't even look at her while she's nursing, let alone talk to her. I feel bad doing it, but I usually have to look the opposite direction the whole time, since if she catches my gaze, she immediately pulls off to give me her big toothy smile. Secondly, she started biting - ouch! It totally took me by surprise the first time she did it (May 21st) and I screamed, which was the worst thing I could have done. She laughed and laughed at my reaction and then wanted to bite me again so she could see my reaction again. After a crazy first few days during which she bit me multiple times per nursing session, Lila has thankfully decided not to use her Mommy's "nursing instruments" as a chew toy anymore. I remember John biting me only a couple of times EVER, so Lila's biting really threw me off. And I don't think he had as much trouble focusing on nursing like Lila either. Once he was on, it was impossible to get him off!

Lila's daytime nursing schedule is not really based upon clock time. I nurse her after she wakes up in the morning, after she wakes up from her first and second naps, and right before she goes to bed in the evening. She usually wakes up between 10 p.m. and midnight for a feeding and then once again during the night at some point. I think Lila must have been going through a 6-month growth spurt while we were in North Dakota because she was wanting to eat three times a night there -- it was like having a newborn again! Now that the growth spurt "feeding frenzy" has subsided, I'm certain that the second night feeding is more of a "comfort" nursing than anything else, so I'm trying to get rid of that one.

Solid food feedings: Lila's solid food feedings got a lot easier this month. Even though she started on brown rice cereal in early April, she didn't really overcome the reflex to push her tongue out of her mouth (with the cereal on it) until early May. I think Grandma Bonnie helped her get the hang of it, since she fed Lila her cereal most evenings while we were in North Dakota.

Lila eats solid food twice a day now. She still gets her cereal in the evenings, usually between 5:30 and 6 p.m., or whenever we are all sitting down to dinner. As of May 26th, Lila also eats a vegetable or fruit around lunchtime. The first vegetable she tried was sweet peas. I was definitely not expecting her to like them, especially since John gagged on peas when he was a baby, but she did! Since then, she has also tried carrots, sweet potatoes, pears, butternut squash with corn, prunes and bananas. She has liked everything so far! The only problem we've had feeding her is trying to keep her hands at her side so she doesn't shove them, her bib, or the highchair straps into her mouth. She loves to eat her bib and highchair straps almost as much as the food.

Look at the little pea-eater! Doesn't that look delicious?

Of course the only downside to starting all these solids is the stinky solid food poop. It took Lila so long to start ingesting enough of her rice cereal to affect her digestive system that she didn't have her first solid food poop until May 10th (yes, I wrote it down). Since then, her pooping has been really inconsistent. One day it's tiny brown Playdoh patties and the next day it's like this blast from the past (pun intended) from John:

Sleeping: Lila is great at falling asleep on her own in her crib, whether it's for a nap or at bedtime. She will even fall asleep in her car seat when I need her to, like during a church service. The sleep-training techniques I learned from Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby have definitely helped me to get her to this point (i.e. making sure to put her in her crib before she gets too cranky, always using the same routine), but I know that Lila's ability to self-soothe has played a huge role too. Lila can instantly soothe herself by 1) sucking on her forefinger and middle finger and/or 2) touching her swaddling blanket to her face. If Lila fusses when I lay her down, she'll immediately (within 30 seconds) do one or both of the above. It is amazing to watch! Lila is so obsessed with her blanket that she freaks out in excitement when I get it out to bundle her in it. She'll thrash her arms and legs to try to grab it out of my hands! Here's the bundled little baby just waking up from a nap.....

Maybe it's because Lila's a second baby that she's so good at self-soothing. John didn't suck his fingers (or thumb) or have a blanket obsession. I don't think he had any self-soothing techniques at all, actually! I guess that's why he was WAY harder to sleep train.

Lila is now down to two naps a day. She stopped taking an evening nap right around her 7-month birthday. Occasionally she'll fall asleep for a few minutes in the evening if we happen to be driving in the car or taking a walk in the stroller, but usually she won't. It's been really great so far to have her on a two-nap schedule because it means she goes to bed before instead of after John goes to bed. Since Daddy is still not home for good, it can be difficult putting John to bed when I also have Lila to take care of. Lila's new sleep schedule looks like this:

Wake up - between 6 and 7 a.m.
First nap - between 9 and 10 a.m.
Second nap - between 1 and 2 p.m.
Bedtime - between 6 and 7 p.m.

The only problem Lila has now with sleeping is staying asleep at night. She is still waking up more frequently than I think she should be. I might be at fault for that, since, if she wakes up at night and starts crying really hard, I go to her. Lately she's been waking up because she gets an arm or a leg partially stuck through the crib slats (I don't feel comfortable using a bumper). Sometimes she cries even if she's just rolled over onto her stomach, which is strange, because I often check on her during her naps and find her sleeping on her stomach. (Normally she sleeps on her side.) Lila never wakes up crying from a nap, so I don't know why she automatically does it at night unless she's hungry. I am glad, though, that we are back home where she can sleep in her own bed. I think part of the reason she slept so poorly while we were traveling (besides the growth spurt thing) was that she was in the Pack n Play.

Personality: Lila is still the happiest baby ever. People are always commenting on how often she smiles (basically non-stop). She loves being around people and will still go to strangers without even batting an eye. This definitely came in handy while we were traveling, since she had to meet new people multiple times a day. Of course she prefers to have her Mommy around, though. She has actually started fussing a lttle if Mommy leaves the room or walks by her without picking her up.

One of Lila's adorable quirks is her throaty little laugh (she still has the congestion in her lungs that she's had since birth). I am guaranteed to get a laugh out of her if I give her raspberries on her tummy, so I do that a lot. It's so cute! Lila has also started doing this low growl from time to time. It kind of sounds like she's trying to imitate a bear or a lion. I will have to get it on video.

Milestones: Lila started sitting up unassisted around the week of May 2nd, while we were in North Dakota. One day I put her in a sitting position on a blanket, intending to prop her up with some pillows from the couch, and she surprised me by doing it all by herself with her back completely straight! I think she may have been able to do it sooner, but since we'd been traveling so much, we weren't playing on the floor as often.

She also shows great interest in crawling. She has almost gotten onto all fours in an effort to get to something that is out of reach. It's obvious that she wants to be mobile because she starts fussing when she can't grab ahold of a toy she wants! She leans as far forward as she can and will plop right onto her forehead if she doesn't get her arms out in time. I think she's getting closer. John started his "Army crawling" a few days past his 8-month birthday.

Lila has very strong legs and can stand against something (the couch or coffee table) for a few seconds on her own when her arms are on top of it. She has also pulled herself up to a standing position! Much to my surprise, she did this at Grandma Bonnie and Papa Jeff's house while she was sitting at this toy piano they have. She reached out for the handles on either side of the keyboard and lifted herself right off the seat!

Playtime: Lila has two toy buckets full of toys, but her favorite toys are these little Sassy brand things that you can hook to the bar over the car seat. There's a red lady bug, a blue butterfly and a yellow butterfly, and they all have a little bell inside that makes noise when she shakes them. She adores chewing on them. She also really likes her crinkly paper book. Sometimes when she's sitting on my lap or Grandma Kay Ellen's lap, she'll dive for the newspaper because she knows it makes the same crinkly sound her book does.

Lila definitely isn't that interested in her jungle anymore. It's all about the Exersaucer and jumper now -- we've still got the Exersaucer in the kitchen and the jumper in the basement. She also likes to play with kitchen utensils in her highchair and toys in her Bumbo seat. If we're playing on the floor, I'll put one of her toy buckets in front of her and she'll dump it out and she'll be entertained by its contents for a really long time.

Another favorite pasttime of Lila's is hanging out with her big brother. John can always bring a smile to Lila's face! Lila makes John laugh, too. He thinks she is really funny, as long as she doesn't try to take one of his toys ("No, Wiwa, that's mine toy!"). I have a bunch of photos to post from the other day when I let John hold Lila.

So, with a promise to post more photos, I'd better finish up this post. Lila had a pretty eventful 7th month, as 7th months go. Here are a few more photos from the month:

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