surprise surprise

Madison eats her first solid food! Yum yum!

Madison knows what she wants. She’s stubborn. Based on our experiences with her so far, it’s no wonder we thought starting her on solids was going to be an adventure, to put it lightly. Imagine my surprise when she took to this new experience so well!

Much of what I’ve read suggests that parents should wait until 6 months to start their babies on solid food. However, some babies can be ready as early as  four months of age. Some of the signs to look for that indicate that baby is ready for solids are:

  • able to hold head upright
  • can sit with assistance
  • shows interest in parent’s food
  • loses tongue thrust reflex (so baby doesn’t automatically push food out of her mouth)

Madison seemed to have all of these, but I couldn’t tell about the last one until we actually gave solid food a shot. Next up was deciding what to give her. It was between Heinz or Gerber rice cereal and decided to go with Gerber since it had less salt and sugar. Yup, mama is checking food labels already 🙂 I chose the type that you can mix with either breast milk or infant formula. I figured this would be the best choice since it would at least be based on something that tasted familiar to her.

I had waited about half and hour after I had nursed Madison, so that she was not hungry, but not too full, either. Grandma came over to help and we got all of our stuff ready. The Bumbo seat was set up, bowl and soft-coated spoon ready, bib selected, camera nearby…. I mixed the rice cereal with some milk that I had pumped the day before so that it was thin and close to what she was used to. I wasn’t sure what to expect – I had prepared myself for some fussing, crying and protesting, but none of that came to fruition! Instead, Madison opened her mouth willingly and took the first spoonful with no problem at all. She moved the food around in her mouth a little, then swallowed and looked at us, ready for more. Spoon after spoon went down and Madison really seemed to love it. She closed her mouth around the spoon and would swallow well. Several times, she even tried to hold the spoon herself so she could be in charge.

Oh miss Madison, you never cease to amaze me.

me time

Since the moment we knew Madison was on her way, my life changed. Suddenly it wasn’t all about me anymore, it was about the tiny life growing inside me. Then, of course when she was born, that change intensified. Our daily routine was all about baby, every decision we made was with miss Madison in mind. So – yesterday was a bit of departure from that, and I gotta say, it was awesome and very much needed.

Anyone who knows me knows I love the spa. For years, I made a point of getting massages on a pretty regular basis. When I worked at a spa, I discovered facials, and those were also added into the rotation, though on a much less regular schedule than my massages. I’m a bit of a facial snob. Most facials are crap. I have all the stuff at home, and sometimes I’m left feeling like I could have just done a better job on my own. Yesterday, however, was an exception. Before Christmas, I had booked myself an afternoon at Spa Utopia. I was going for it – a massage AND a facial. It was time for some pampering!

I’ve had plenty of massages at Spa Utopia, and they are always fantastic. I like to get there early so I can enjoy some time in their eucalyptus steam room, then relax in the lounge and snack on dried mango until they come to get me for my treatment. I hadn’t had a facial there yet, so I was looking forward to trying one. I decided on the 75 minute Designed for You Exclusive facial. One word to describe it: BLISS. This place does it right, with the steam, and the face/neck/arm and even foot massage. I fell asleep three times yesterday afternoon, one during the massage and twice during the facial. I came out of there feeling like pudding. It was awesome to be able to completely relax and unwind for a couple of hours.Nothing else existed outside of my warm bed in the darkened room.

Meanwhile, dad took care of baby and did the grocery shopping.

Madison already has dad wrapped around her little finger.

mr. sandman

I love sleep. I miss sleep. I need sleep.

Back in the early weeks of Madison’s life, I was getting up every two hours at night. She would feed, then cry for some time before going back to sleep. By the time I would fall back asleep, I would only get in about 45 minutes to an hour of sleep before she was up, ready to be fed again. Needless to say, it’s hard on the system. I wouldn’t be able to get my ass out of bed until about 11AM. Most days, I’d never put my contacts in, or put makeup on, or even get out of my pjs. Slowly, but surely, it started to get better.

A few weeks ago, we started to fall into a very nice rhythm. Maddy would have her last feeding at around 8 or 8:30PM, fall asleep relatively quickly, then wake up somewhere between 3:30 and 5AM. I’d then feed her in the dark so she would fall right back asleep, and she’d be out until pretty much 8AM on the dot. This was very doable. I started to feel a lot better with the amount of sleep that I was getting again. I was content with our little routine that was developing. But of course, as I heard all things do, as soon as we had a bit of a schedule going, it all went to hell.

I don’t know if Madison caught a bit of Murray’s cold (which I now have, ugh) or if she started teething, or both, but suddenly her sleep pattern completely regressed. One night, she was up at 12:30, then 2AM, then 5:30 and 6:50, and up for her usual wakeup time of 8AM. It kicked the crap out of us. I thought we were past all of this!! And to make it worse, when she woke up, she would not just be making little noises, she was screaming. All of the teething symptoms were there: irritability, disruption of sleep patterns, excessive drooling, chin rash, rosy cheeks and chewing on her hands. Oh boy.

To top it all off, she had her 4 month immunization shots on Wednesday. Just like my previous post about her 2 month immunizations, it was heartbreaking to hear her cry when she got poked with the needle. What made it worse was that she had been sleeping quite peacefully until the doctor came in. What a crappy way to wake up. Afterwards, her poor little legs were definitely sore, and that didn’t help her with sleeping, either.

This sleep regression doesn’t seem to have affected her as much as it has affected Murray and I. I don’t know how she still wakes up at pretty much 8AM on the dot, as if she has an alarm clock set. I would love to sleep until at least 10AM with all of these night wakings. She has also started to fight naps, especially in the afternoon. I see her yawning, so I know she’s tuckered out, but it’s as if she doesn’t want to miss anything. She screams and cries and arches her back, until finally I can rock and shush her to sleep. She’s fast asleep in my arms, but often as soon as I put her down, she wakes right back up and we have to start the process over again. Once she’s down for her nap, I have exactly 30 minutes until she wakes up again. This is enough time to say, each lunch, or get dressed. If I’m lucky, maybe I get to sit down and do nothing for a few minutes, but usually it gets taken up by clearing the dishwasher, sweeping up the dog hair or putting on a load of laundry. It hasn’t left any time for blogging, which is why I haven’t made any new posts for such a long time.

It does seem like we’re starting to get things going back in the right direction, though. We’re back down to a single night waking, with a short feed and relatively quick to go back to sleep. Unfortunately, it’s still on the early side of the night – somewhere between midnight and 2AM. I’d really really like to get a longer stretch of sleep again. Normally I go to bed around 9 or 9:30, so that means I still only get about three to five hours of consecutive sleep. Now that I’m sick, I especially need the rest. This weekend, I’m really going to try to take it easy so that I can rest up and feel better for next week.

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