I have been living in denial, not ready to admit that my sweet little infant has turned into a baby and Charlotte is almost half a year old, but here we are — five months! In some ways, she’s so little and we’re still getting used to this new normal. But in so many ways, it feels like this sweet little soul has been with us forever. Maybe she has.
Time is going by so fast, I love the idea of documenting each milestone and stage, so I’m going to try to do these updates on the regular. It’s also a good way to answer more of the Charlotte-related questions I get asked and also share some of the things we’ve learned, favorite products, how we’re handling things like sleep etc. Let me know if you like these updates and send me questions, and I’ll try to answer them each month.
Here’s a five month update on Baby Charlotte and answers to all the questions I’ve been getting recently .
Is she crawling?
Don’t @ me, but I kind of forget when babies start to crawl, but no. However, she can roll from her tummy to her back and she’s doing a great job holding up her head. She can’t sit up on her own, but she loves sitting up in this chair and can mostly sit up in the Bumbo for feedings (more on that below). We’re still working on neck and back strength though with lots of tummy time.
Do you call her Charlotte or Charlie?
This is a good question! We intended to call her Charlie from the start, but then she just felt like such a little lady and I don’t know, I just found myself calling her Charlotte more. As she’s getting bigger, I’m finding myself calling her Charlie more, especially in the last couple of weeks. It’s a nickname we’ll definitely use, but I don’t know that I won’t call her Charlotte at all. I kind of love it more now. But I don’t know. She’ll probably decide she wants to be called something else entirely, right?
How is she sleeping?
If your kid sleeps through the night, never brag about it, because then she’ll stop and you will not know what to do with yourselves. Charlie (see?) was a really good sleeper until about four months and then she hit the four month sleep regression hard. It happened to coincide with a bad cold she got, so I think it was just the combo, and we only just started getting her back on track. Now she’ll cat nap after nursing from about 8pm-9pm and then sleep sleep from about 9/10pm to about 6-7am. However, we aren’t being super consistent with her bedtime, which we try to start after I get James down, which should be 7:30pm but is a shit show these days. I’m going to try be better about moving her bedtime closer to when James goes down, but I like to have some cuddles with her while she nurses and falls asleep after he goes down. I miss it so much during the day and my quiet time with my little baby that I don’t mind sitting in the rocker and decompressing while she sleeps and nurses.
Are you sleep training her?
We haven’t really needed to as she’s been such a great sleeper, but the four month regression hit us hard, so we’ll see. I am not crazy about sleep training and schedules. Babies and children need schedules and routines and so many moms I know have been very strict about schedules and it’s been really good for their families, but with two kids and two crazy jobs, we need to be flexible sometimes. Also, I think the more I just try to listen to what she needs and not be overly stressed about schedules, the better it seems to go. Plus, I am a total wimp and made it like five seconds when we tried CIO method with James, so I don’t think I’m cut out for that frankly. I’m hoping that we don’t hit any bumps in the road, and Charlotte continues to, for the most part, sleep train herself.
But on the note of sleep: I think it’s become such a stressful topic and another thing us mamas feel pressure to have to get right. When James was a baby, I felt immense guilt that James wasn’t sleeping and that it meant I was a bad mom. There is so much pressure to sleep train and to be able to brag that your baby slept through the night. We didn’t know what we were doing in many ways, and I think that didn’t help the situation, but a pediatrician told me this, and it lifted the world off my shoulders: some babies just don’t sleep. I know it doesn’t sound profound but when yours doesn’t and you’ve tried everything and think it must be something you’re doing wrong, it’s comforting. In a world that has become obsessed with telling us how important sleep is and how we should train our babies to sleep, I felt it comforting to know that you’re not failing as a parent if your baby isn’t a good sleeper. Charlotte is a good sleeper, but I really can’t take credit for that, and it’s making me realize that the fact that James was a bad sleeper wasn’t as much my fault as I thought it was at the time. Also, it does work out. James is now a great sleeper. So eventually you sleep again… and then you have another baby and don’t sleep all over again…
Have you started solids? Are you doing baby led weaning?
Funny you should ask. We just tried solids for the first time, and I think it was a success. With James I planned out how we would introduce solids way in advance. I mashed and pureed his food myself (or with the help of my nanny). We started with veggies and did one at a time, starting with avocados. This time, I’ve been so busy that I’ve kept pushing back giving her solids even though I know she’s ready and the doctor ok’d it. She literally grabs for our food whenever we’re eating. I finally broke down and bought some organic stage 1 purees to start her with because I haven’t even had a chance to unpack our baby food maker. So we started her with pureed sweet potatoes and squash and she seemed to really like them. We also tried mashed avocado, which isn’t her favorite so far, probably because I didn’t puree it so the texture was a little thicker.
Part of me is not ready to have a baby who’s eating solids, but I think it’s good for her to start and clearly, she’s ready. I plan to start mashing up the food and pureeing our own with the help of our nanny, but I have also found the pouches to be helpful when I don’t have time. I don’t do rice cereals or other types of baby cereals. I prefer to start her palate with veggies (although I did the same with James and it’s not like he’s pounding broccoli).
I know baby-led weaning is popular now. I actually had to google it, because I didn’t fully understand what it was, and honestly, I’m still not totally sure. When Charlotte is a bit older, I’ll let her eat little pieces of food, but the idea of her potentially choking is too much for me right now, so I’m going to stick with purees. Plus, I like that it enables me to introduce a lot veggies to her and is actually easier because you can make huge batches of food and freeze them. I mean just feeding them little bits of what you’re eating would also be easy but right now, we’re still adjusting to working, commuting, and managing all the kids’ school and schedules, so this is what seems to be working (two days in). I do, however, like the philosophy of feeding kids the same things you’re eating rather than special “kid” foods. BUT during the week, we don’t get to eat dinner together every night, so sometimes James will eat the dinner we will have later and sometimes he’ll have something my nanny makes just for him.
Are you still breastfeeding?
Yes. Breastfeeding has really worked this time (read about my breastfeeding journey here), and I really wanted to keep it up when I went back to work. My goal is to breastfeed until she’s six months old. I would honestly do it longer, but I don’t get my period when I’m breastfeeding, and I would like to get my hormones back on track. Part of me still wonders if that was part of the reason we struggled to conceive the second time around.
I know it’s not for everyone, but I really love breastfeeding, but with work and pumping it’s been really hard, and I’m finding it less and less convenient. However, I have a freezer full of milk, so I am debating if I want to go until 10 months or so and then use the milk to try to make it to a year. We supplemented with formula with James, but I continued to breastfeed him until a year, so we’ll see. I’m still debating, but I’m going to try to keep up with it for the time being even though I despise pumping, and see how things look at my six month post-partum appointment and go from there.
What bottles do you use?
I am loving these and we used these with James and have recently started using them sometimes with Char as well. Charlotte took to the bottle fairly easily when I returned to work and has switched back and forth between bottle and breast with no problems. James was pretty good about switching back and forth, so I’m not sure if it was the bottle or just them, but these seem to be working well.
Can you share her schedule?
Don’t judge, but we haven’t been militant about Charlie’s schedule. It’s been really hard with moving and James in school and traveling and returning to work. But now that we’re more settled and I’m back at work, it’s been easier to fall into more of a schedule and helpful for our nanny. Previously, I was following the pattern of wake, feed, play, sleep. Now, we do those at the same time (give or take) every day. But she’s a real trooper, and has been amazing when we’ve totally thrown off her schedule. But generally, this is what Charlotte’s day looks like:
6am: wake and feed
7:30am: feed and play
8:30/9am: feed (I try to do a quick feed before I leave for work; I also pump in the morning before I go)
11am: feed and play
12/12:30pm: nap *her brother goes to school at 12pm so it sort of depends if she falls asleep on the walk to school or not
2pm: feed and play
5:30pm: feed and play
7:30pm: Cat nap
9/10pm: Dream feed and bed for night
Is she teething and how are you dealing?
She is. It’s felt like she’s been teething forever actually. She’s not super bothered by it right now though. It’s more drool-y and wanting to stick things in her mouth, so we try to keep her teething toys and hands clean, put a bib on her, and keep looking for her teeth. With James, we would freeze wet wash clothes and use different teething toys, but I find that nothing really helps that much when they’re really coming in. I try to avoid giving my babies Motrin or anything else if possible, so I try to rub their gums and only give them something like this if it’s really bad.
How do you keep her from getting sick?
I don’t? I got sick recently and tried to quarantine myself, but I’m her food source and I need to watch her when my nanny leaves, so I couldn’t totally ignore her. I tried to breastfeed her a lot when I was sick or pump and have someone give her a bottle, as I read that when you’re breastfeeding and sick, your body will actually produce certain antibodies to protect your baby (how cool is that?). It’s part of the reason I’m still breastfeeding. It’s a miracle what our babies do, right? James never got sick until he was like two, and I don’t know if it was all because of breastmilk, but I’ll try anything to avoid a sick baby right now.
Does James still like his sister? How are they getting along?
He LOVES her. Honestly, one of the best parts of life right now is seeing how sweet James is with Charlotte. When she cries, he will sing her a song, bring her a teether, and tell her mama is coming. He loves giving her toys to play with. Sometimes I’ll bring out an old toy of his to give Charlotte and he’ll want it, but when he steals it, he always gives her a different toy to play with, so it feels cute instead of like he’s stealing her toys. If she’s not there when she should be, he’ll ask for her and make us wait for her or go get her. He loves giving her raspberries and making her laugh. And oh man does she love her brother. The way Charlotte smiles and laughs at him just lights up my heart. I am so excited that these two have each other and to see them grow together.
What kind of double stroller did you get?
So after much debate whether we’d even get one, we got this double stroller. We also have a kickstand for our UppaBaby Cruz, which honestly gets more use. The double was mostly to make my nanny’s life easier because she walks James to school every day (he’s in an afternoons program so I can’t drop him off) and it’s been really challenging. He’ll want to go in the stroller with Charlotte or say he wants to hold her hand, or just take an hour to walk two blocks (it’s literally a two minute walk). We now have like a zillion strollers and for the record, I don’t think we need them all, but this way, he can decide if he wants to ride on the kickboard, sit next to her in the double, or walk. I’d love for him to walk but I’d rather have him arrive at school on time and in one piece, so we are a stroller factory, and that’s ok.
We chose this double stroller because it’s really light and folds up compactly so it will be our travel stroller too. I went with the side by side because James is really too big for a stacking stroller like the UppaBaby Vista or Bugaboo double. I also like this because you can get a bassinet insert, and a kickboard, so if our family grows more, we can still use it. It’s also narrower than a lot of doubles so it’s slightly more manageable. I don’t know if it would have been as good of an option if we stayed in the city because you have narrow grocery aisles and restaurants etc., but in the burbs, it works great. I think we’re going to take it on our next family vacation, so I’ll let you know how that goes.
Have you flown with both yet?
Yes! We flew to Florida when Charlotte was about 8 weeks and we survived! Honestly, when they’re that little, I think they’re easy to fly with. I just wore her the whole time and fed her on takeoff and landing. James was honestly harder. He’s good for about an hour or hour and a half, and then he gets bored and antsy and it’s just a disaster zone. But he’d be a pain even if we didn’t have the baby, so it wasn’t that much worse and we had man to man coverage. I’ll work on a post about flying with two though soon. I definitely have some recs to make it easier.
What car seat do you have for her?
We are using the same carseat we used with James. Honestly, I would have probably gotten a different carseat but we still had James’s and I didn’t want to buy a new one. The carseat itself is great and snaps into our UppaBaby stroller, but it’s really heavy. Not sure if there are any lightweight ones that are as safe but I’d definitely look into it if I was doing it all over again. I’ve heard good things about the Nuna…
Charlotte’s Outfit details: Onesie/romper; Tights
Do you guys like these updates? I find them fun to write but lmk. And let me know if you have other questions for our next one — six months (how’s that even possible?!?)!