Another month has passed, and Charlotte keeps growing! So much to share about this month:
Taking this month’s picture was definitely more difficult than last month’s. Charlotte is much, much more active. I know this picture is a little blurry but I chose it because it shows two things that really represent this month for Charlotte: smiles and her obsession with her feet. Throughout the entire “photo shoot” she kept lifting and kicking her legs, all in an attempt to get her feet closer to her hands and mouth.
Charlotte started staring at her feet a few weeks ago, and pretty much anytime she is sitting up (and not distracted by a toy or a face) she is just staring at her feet. She hasn’t figured out how to grab them yet, but she is close! She will smile at her feet, kick them back and forth, and just watch her toes wiggle. It’s the cutest thing!
The world has really come alive to Charlotte this month. You can tell she is so much more aware of what is around her, and she never wants to stop observing it all. This past week she has been so excited about playtime that she doesn’t want to spend much time eating. This worried me at first (I was worried she wasn’t getting enough calories) but apparently this is pretty typical behavior for her age. She makes up her calories at night—unfortunately—because during the day she just can’t be bothered to eat for more than 5 minutes at a time.
Speaking of calories, Charlotte now weighs just over 14 pounds! She is gaining a pound about every two weeks, and is currently between 75th and 95th percentile for height and weight. She is still wearing three months clothes, but it won’t be for much longer. She is so long that it’s starting to get harder to get those snaps closed on her onesies.
Last month she started smiling, but they were few and far between. This month her smiles abound from the moment she wakes up to the time she falls asleep at night. When she smiles it’s not with just her mouth, but her whole face scrunches up. She already has a horizontal wrinkle across the bridge of her nose from her face-scrunching smiles! She smiles the most when a person smiles at her first, but she also smiles at toys, her feet, books, and even the walls sometimes. With her smiles have come her first laughs. She isn’t doing any real belly laughing yet, it sounds more like a single “HA!” with a small burst of air. We have heard her belly laughs, but only while she is sleeping. I wonder what she dreams about that could make her laugh so much…
In terms of eating, as I mentioned above, she has changed her usual feeding behavior recently. Last month she was still eating every two hours during the day, and now she eats every 2 1/2- 3 hours. She also went from 30-45 minute nursing sessions to sessions that sometimes only last 5 minutes! Again, this abrupt change has me a little concerned, but she is still having plenty of wet diapers and she keeps gaining weight. She took a bottle for the first time since she was in the NICU, but only really once and now she refuses it. I was hoping she wouldn’t mind a bottle so I could get out of the house a little more, but I guess we’ll have to wait a little longer. Last month I mentioned her irregular stools, and unfortunately they haven’t changed. I am still not eating dairy products, and this week have cut out soy products too. Her pediatrician is aware that the condition is persisting, but doesn’t seem too concerned since she doesn’t have any other signs of discomfort and her weight gain is good. She also still has thrush, and it is proving very difficult to get rid of entirely!
Sleep has definitely been the most difficult aspect of her life. Last month she was having trouble sleeping during the day, and that hasn’t really changed. Well, to clarify, she is actually sleeping very well during the day now, but not in her bed. Now she takes almost all of her naps in the baby carrier, which means I spend about 3-4 hours pacing around my house each day while she sleeps. I can sit down for some of the time, but usually after 10 minutes of me sitting she starts to stir so I have to stand up and keep walking around. Our little princess is very particular! We are going to try and use a long weekend Dave has off from work to start training her to sleep in her bed during the day. I expect this will involve lots of crying, which is why we’re doing it when Dave will be home (I can’t stand to hear her cry!). Thankfully, she still has no problem sleeping in her crib at night, but she isn’t even close to sleeping through the night. Her bedtime routine consists of a bath at 6 PM, then a lotion massage and pajamas put on, followed by a long feeding session at 6:30 PM. She usually nurses for about 45-60 minutes because she knows it’s her last time to eat before bedtime, then I put her in bed at about 7:30 PM. Unfortunately, I still see her 3-4 more times before the morning. Her waking times are kind of sporadic (sometimes sleeping for 4-5 hours, sometimes only 1 1/2-2 hours). I’d say that I average 5-6 hours of broken sleep each night. I am PRAYING that next month’s report will have an average that is at least an hour more…
In regards to her physical development, she is tolerating tummy time a bit more these days. She used to cry within 30 seconds of being placed on her stomach, but now she will go a few minutes before she starts to fuss. She LOVES to be put on her play mat, and now reaches for and grabs some of the toys hanging around her. There is a tiger that plays music and has lights that flash, which hangs in the center of her play mat, and she is obsessed with it. As soon as we turn it on she just smiles and giggles and stares at it. She can entertain herself for up to 15 minutes on the play mat, which is a big change from last month.
She has rolled from her side to her tummy a few times, but none were on purpose. She hasn’t attempted trying to roll over from from to back yet, so I think we are a ways away from that. She does use her legs to push herself, and I sometimes find her a few feet away from where I place her on the ground.
She continues to love sucking on her hands and arms, and has recently gotten much better and getting her thumb into her mouth.
Another new discovery for Charlotte is books. In just the last weeks she has started to really look at and enjoy books. She likes to stare at the pages for awhile, and will follow my finger as I point to different things on the page. Her favorite books are ones that have shiny pictures in them, and she also really seems to like The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The only way she really seems to enjoy tummy time is when we lay her over my breastfeeding pillow and prop up books in front of her.
Besides the troubles with sleep, this has been my favorite month with Charlotte so far! I feel like her personality is really starting to become clear, and it is such a joy to watch her find delight with some many things around her. This month I got to celebrate my first Mother’s Day with a baby outside the womb, and the first Mother’s Day that was cloaked in sadness. How blessed I am to be her mother!
Here are some shots of Charlotte’s life this month: