Nine months? What in the world? Time is FLYING. I feel like nine months is significant because she has now been in the world for as long as it took to grow inside of me. I only wish my pregnancy flew by as fast as the last nine months did. ;)
I’ll share a quick update on Elliott and my postpartum journey for those interested! I love reading about other moms and babies, especially those in similar seasons, so I hope this helps or encourages you! No matter what, YOU are doing a great job in whatever season you are in! Every person, mom, baby, and life is different so don’t feel the need to compare to our journey! I just want to help in any way I can!
Let me start by saying our Elliott is an absolute DREAM baby! Anniston was a great baby too, but Elliott takes it to a new level of ease and calm. I’m not sure why we got so blessed with such a sweet girl (maybe the Lord knew I was going to have my hands full with a strong willed toddler at the same time ;) HA), BUT I am counting my blessings! Elliott is the sweetest addition to our family. She reminds us to slow down and enjoy life with her gentle spirit and is already teaching me so much. She is joyful at all times and the only time she cries is if mom tries to leave her in childcare. ;) But more on that below!
We followed “Moms On Call” with both girls and SWEAR by it. I will say we have been much more relaxed with the schedule with Elliott (second kid problems), but I think because we stick to it most days she still does great if we have to be more flexible on crazy days. Some people don’t believe in putting their baby on a schedule and to each their own! You have to do what is best for YOU. Buuuut let me tell you why I love it.
1. Helllllooo I’m a type A/enneagram three. Mama loves a good schedule and routine.
2. But most importantly, my girls THRIVE on it. I truly believe the reason my girls are so easy (most of the time) is because their feedings, naps, and bedtimes are consistent. They are never over hungry or over tired because we follow a schedule. Rested and fed babies make for happy babies (again, most of the time), so I can’t praise “Moms On Call” enough for helping me establish a routine for them!
Here’s a quick peek at Elliott’s current schedule:
7:00/7:30 am - Wake and Breastfeed
8:30 am - Finger Food Breakfast
9:30 am - Morning Nap
11:00/11:30 am - Wake and Breastfeed
12:30 pm - Finger Food Lunch
1:30 pm - Afternoon Nap (Big sister naps from 1:00 - 4:00 so I have AT LEAST two hours of ME time right here. Insert ALL the praise hands)
3:30/4:00 pm - Wake and Breastfeed
5:30 pm - Finger Food Dinner
7:00 pm - Bath
7:30 pm - Breastfeed and Bed
Some people ask how we are flexible with the schedule. The big things that are almost always the same are the feeding times and afternoon nap. I don’t like to mess with those. But a few times a week we’ll run errands during her morning nap. At this age she doesn’t nap as long on the go as she used to so she’ll either grab a 30 minute nap in her carseat or while I wear her in a wrap. As long as she can get 30 minutes she can push through to the next nap! We also can push bedtime a little if we need to. We don’t stay out late a lot, but if we need to she can usually push through just fine because she’s rested from her other naps!
FEEDING - BABY LED WEANING
I exclusively nursed both girls until they were six months old per my pediatrician’s recommendation. I started my oldest on baby food at six months and still to this day at 2.5 she is, let’s just say, NOT the best eater. :) Meal time has always been a battle so I was determined to try something different with Elliott. We decided to try the “baby led weaning” approach this time around (basically skipping baby food and going straight to table food) and it has gone GREAT. Elliott is very interested in food and loves almost everything she has tried (except pasta… she might not be our child ;) haha). She only has two bottom teeth, but she is still able to eat most foods as long as they are soft and not round (choking hazard).
I’ll share some of her favorites so far!
Fruits: strawberries, oranges, bananas, raspberries, avocado, watermelon, apples, and pears.
Vegetables: Sweet potato, Butternut squash, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash.
Dairy: Yogurt, Cheese, Cottage Cheese
Other: Oatmeal, Avocado Toast, Peanut/Almond Butter Toast, Salmon
A friend told me she tried to do baby led weaning with her first and couldn’t because the gagging (looks like choking) stressed her out. I completely understand and am not sure if I could have handled it with my first either because gagging terrified me. I actually watched a lot of baby gagging videos (yes, these exist and this is what moms do in their free time haha) this time around and this helped me feel more confident! I love watching Elliott try new foods and bonus, ENJOY eating!
Like I said above, we have been blessed with the happiest little girl. I will go days (even weeks) without ever hearing her cry. She puts herself to bed happy, wakes up happy, and plays with us/herself happily. I may just get a quick cry if big sister plays a little rough with her, but usually she’ll just let out the cutest whimper if she wants another bite of food or is ready for her nap.
HOWEVER, if you want to see the saddest, most pitiful little Elliott ever, then just go check on her if I put her in childcare. I am a stay at home mom so I very rarely have to leave my girls and I am beyond grateful. Thankfully Elliott loves her daddy so she does great with him if I run out for a bit. But other than that, she definitely suffers from severe separation anxiety from mama. The few times I have tried to leave her in the church or gym childcare have just been absolutely heartbreaking. I think since she is always happy it breaks my heart even more to see her this upset.
With my oldest I was determined to cure her of this right away, but with Elliott I have a different approach (and again, to each their own). I just tell myself, “she won’t want me like this forever”. She is my baby girl. She wants her mama. IT’S OKAY. Separation anxiety is normal and she will eventually get used to leaving me for short times, and probably sooner rather than later. But for now? I’m going to hold her a little longer and soothe her every chance I get! One day she might be embarrassed of me and choose her friends over me so I am going to soak up this season for all it’s worth!
Side note - thankfully she has a couple of babysitters she has become familiar with so mom and dad can sneak out of a date night here and there and these women are my HEROES. :)
Teeth - Elliott go her first tooth at five months old and her second tooth at six months old. I don’t see any signs of other teeth just yet!
Sitting up - Elliott FINALLY started sitting up independently at around 8.5 months, so just the last two weeks! My children tend to take their time on this (Anniston was 9.5 months!), but it is so nice being able to sit her down now! She still falls backward occasionally so I don’t leave her sitting on the wood floor by herself. ;)
Crawling - Elliott was an early roller and could get across a room just by rolling. In the last 6 weeks she has started to really try to crawl. She will get up on her hands and knees, but hasn’t quite figured out the actual motion just yet. For now she has figured out how to semi army crawl by using her arms to drag her body across a room. It looks exhausting haha. But she is officially mobile and I’m pretty sure I’ll never sit down again. ;)
Thumb Sucker - Both of my girls were not interested in a paci (and I didn’t push it), but they both became thumb suckers. Elliott started sucking her thumb at three months and doesn’t have a preference on which one. I guess she's going to be an ambidextrous genius. ;)
We had her nine month check up this week so I was very eager to get her stats!
Weight: 16 lbs 15 oz (28% - so big for her! YAY!)
Height: 2 ft 3.75 in (54%)
Head: 17.5 in (67%)
Apparently she is right on track with everything, but the doctor did say she might be a late walker since she’s not trying to pull up on anything just yet. I’m quite alright with that. ;)
Whenever I talk about breastfeeding I like to remind moms, FED IS BEST. Breastmilk or formula, just feed your baby! I have been blessed with ability to breastfeed, but I am so glad formula is there if I were not!
With that being said, I had my first struggle with breastfeeding around 6 months. I’m still not sure if my supply took a big dip or she hit a big growth spurt, but as the day went on she got increasingly frustrated with my supply. The bedtime feeding was the worst and it left me feeling very exhausted and discouraged. For the next few weeks I took ALL the supplements (literally, if it’s supposed to help increase breast milk, I took it). I also started waking up in the middle of the night to pump to increase my supply and did that for about a month. I think I’m still recovering from that (I need my sleep haha). I told myself I was going to quit at 8 months if I didn’t see a change and FINALLY at 7.5 months, after 6 weeks of doing ALL the things, I started to see a slight increase and she was content with me again. At this point she is eating three full meals too so I’m not AS concerned, but I’m glad I’m producing enough to keep her healthy and happy.
It is my goal to make it to her first birthday breastfeeding. Unless something crazy happens, I think we’ll be able to make it at this point. But I definitely struggled with crazy emotions while I was trying to get my supply up and felt very discouraged I couldn’t provide what she needed. Mom guilt is real, but you do not have to let it win! If you are struggling with these thoughts I encourage you to talk to a friend. Chances are you are not in this alone and it is better to have someone fighting for you through prayer than struggling in silence!
After having a baby it is really easy to be down on yourself due to your crazy hormones and your changing body. However, I love the way I see women empowering women with encouragement as you navigate your postpartum emotions and body. Many say it took at least nine months to grow a baby, you deserve at least nine months to recover, and I could not agree more PLUS SOME. Let’s give ourselves some grace and pat ourselves on the back, YOU GREW A HUMAN BEING. AND whether you were pregnant or adopted, fostered, etc., YOU HAVE KEPT THAT HUMAN ALIVE. Being a parent is no small task and there often isn’t much time to take care of yourself! Getting to the gym, cooking a healthy meal, or even having a quiet moment is not always on the top of your priority list! I will always preach that we need to take care of ourselves, but in our current season, it is a lot easier said than done!
So with that being said, I am grateful to feel like myself for the most part after nine months. My emotions are pretty level (except I can cry at the drop of hat, but I’ve heard that’s the norm with being a mom haha) and I’m back to my normal “size” so to speak, BUT I still have to have grace for myself since things don’t “look” the way they used to. I’m making time to workout, but I’m also learning to be okay with resting if that’s what I need. I still feel like I have ZERO core strength at this point, but I know it will come back in time. Just remember, don’t compare yourself to the person next to you. We are all uniquely designed and our bodies respond in different ways. Just because she looks like a runway model after having a baby doesn’t mean she’s not fighting her own battles on the inside. Let’s support each other and cheer each other on!
Okay longest update EVER. If you’re still reading, you must be in the thick of it too or are just super interested in what this season might look for you (I know I was!). It is my hope that this post reminds you that every baby is unique. Ever mom is unique. Every person is unique. And Jesus is here to carry us where we fall short in life and give us grace when we have nothing left. YOU are a superwoman no matter where you are; making a baby, carrying a baby, raising a baby, mourning a baby, or praying for a baby. YOU are a superwoman and I am grateful to be on this journey with you!