28 March 2016

Zoe's Half Year Birthday

Miss Zoe is six months! 
At six months, Miss Zoe has turned the corner on one of the most important milestones to a parent. I have been waiting to share the news that Zoe started sleeping through the night in late February and has consistently slept through the night for an entire month. We sort-of let her cry-it-out a teeny bit, but it wasn't planned. Until late February, I had been the one to attend to Zoe at night because she always wanted to nurse, but towards the end of February, I came down with a bad cold that had me congested, tired and achy. I hate hearing either of my girls cry, so I usually check in on them within the first 5 minutes of their cries. During my bout with the head cold/flu, I was so congested that I didn't hear Zoe cry. Colin did, and went to check in on her a few times. On the first night, she only cried twice in the night and she was calmed by the pacifier and/or Colin rocking her. On the second night, she cried 3-4 times (Colin wasn't sure the next morning). A few times she took the pacifier with no problem and one time he had to rock a bit with her. Colin assures me that Zoe didn't cry more than 10 minutes in any episode. By the third night, Zoe only woke up once or twice again and on the fourth night she started her first of two straight weeks of sleeping from ~7:30/8pm until 7-7:30am. I was looking forward to this milestone so much and expected to feel rejuvenated by now, but I'll admit that I still feel tired. Unfortunately, the cold/flu kicked my butt and the week after I had it, Rose was also sick, which led to her waking up several times in the night for a few nights. It's encouraging that we can put both girls to bed at the same time and they each sleep about 11 hours straight. I just need to get better at going to bed early so I get a full night's sleep as well. It would also help the morning routine be less hectic if I could get up before they do.
Sisterly love
Right around the time Zoe started sleeping through the night and as I was getting over my cold, I went on my first run in over a year. The pace was slow for me (9:50 minutes per mile), but I managed to go 3.16 miles at that pace, which is farther than I expected. Since that first run, I have done a few more, but my pace hasn't improved all that much. I might need to start some interval training. Last month, I was still about 5 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight and this month I am now at the weight I was when I got pregnant with Zoe. I feel like my legs and thighs are thin, but still have a little baby pouch. I guess that's what happens when you have grown two babies in there. I could do better with my diet, but between running and nursing, I am just always so hungry. And, since I am still dairy and egg-free, I have been eating lots of crackers, vegan desserts, and salty snacks. Eggs were a filling breakfast option for me, and now I'm always hungry well before lunch time.

I continue to be dairy and egg-free because it seems to help Zoe's skin quite a bit. I actually think the eggs are worse and still haven't tested if it might be egg whites or egg yolks. I think the whites are the more common allergen. I have noticed that after Rose ate eggs for breakfast and touches Zoe, that Zoe's skin seemed to get rashy. I've been trying to do a little dairy here and there, especially drinking some kefir to get probiotics. It doesn't seem to make her skin react too badly. We usually treat the breakout spots with a "sensitive skin" 0.5% hydro-cortisone.

Another major milestone this month is that we have started introducing Zoe to solid foods. So far, she's only had steamed carrots and sweet potatoes, avocado, cooked oatmeal, bananas, ground beef, and soup. She isn't that excited about eating table foods, but does seem to prefer feeding herself than being fed with a baby spoon. She also seems to like the soup and beef best. We are choosing again to do a combination of "baby-led weaning" and spoon feeding. In baby-led weaning, we let Zoe grab food on her tray and feed herself. With the carrots and sweet potatoes, we steamed them and cut them in long sticks so she can grab them. Avocados and bananas are a little more difficult to hold because they are so slippery. It's been difficult to spoon-feed Zoe the oatmeal. She seemed a bit more receptive when we added banana to the oatmeal, so it might be the flavor. Because of Zoe's skin rashes and my impression that they are related to my diet, I will likely save eggs and dairy for among the last of the foods to introduce. I'm nervous about all foods, but those in particular. One night when Zoe ate sweet potatoes, her hand turned very red and blotchy. Darwin had been licking the sweet potatoes on her hands, so I assume the reaction came from his saliva and perhaps something he had eaten (food is often dropped on the floor with a toddler). There have been other times where he has licked her hands without problems. I will continue to try and figure out what may trigger her reactions. I'm hopeful Zoe will grow out of it and have been reassured this is normally the case by the pediatricians.
Trying a carrot baby-led weaning style
Carrots are okay, but I prefer mommy's milk
Zoe continues to receive most of her food/nutrients from breastmilk and has increased her intake over the past few weeks or so from 16-20oz of milk during my workday to 20-24oz. Unfortunately, I have not been able to increase my production through pumping, so she had to take a previously pumped and stored bottle. Since I was not egg and dairy free when I first started pumping, the milk she took on the days she drank brought back the rash. It was only a few ounces, so it hasn't caused the rash to be too severe.
Are you lookin' at me?
This past month we also swapped out all the 6 month clothes for 6-9 and 9 month clothes. I'm sad we didn't get to use many of Rose's beautiful 6 month dresses, many of which Rose barely wore. Unfortunately, it was too cold for Zoe to use the dresses. We do have some cute 9 month clothes for Zoe to wear, and some of the 6 month dresses will likely fit Zoe for a few more weeks (I hope!). With the weather shifting here in North Carolina (and practically skipping spring), there might be more opportunities for the dresses.
Enjoying a very warm early March day on the deck
And..look at those rolls!
Here are a few additional updates about Miss Zoe:
  • A typical day includes the following: wake up at 7am and bedtime at 7:30pm; naps at 9am (1 hour), 12p (2 hours) and 4pm (30-60 minutes); milk at 7:30am, 10am, 2pm, 3:30pm, 6pm, and 7:30pm; playing in the exersaucer, jumperoo, on the floor, or sitting in the stroller during a walk.
  • Zoe loves watching Darwin and Rose, and gets excited when seeing mommy, daddy and avo.

  • Zoe enjoys sitting upright in the big girl stroller, but doesn't mind the carseat. We recently introduced her to the swings and she seems to enjoy it.

  • Zoe's eyes remain blue and her hair is light brown
  • Zoe is a serious girl and might not give you a grin unless she knows you. But if you do get a smile, it lights up the room. She's a little shy when people give her attention.
  • Zoe's belly and armpits are very ticklish. She can't control her joy when tickled.
  • While the jumperoo is a little bit fun, Zoe enjoys all the things to see and play with on the exersaucer much more. She loves standing and does a little pitter-patter dance in the jumperoo.
  • Zoe is so observant. She loves paying attention at storytime and watching other children, especially her sister. She is very calm.
  • Zoe only needs and likes her pacifier sometimes. It can be a calming agent when she's fussy, but mostly she prefers to chew on it.
  • Zoe doesn't love sitting in her highchair at the table, but can tolerate it better if she has a toy to play with.
  • Zoe still loves to cross her feet/legs when she is sitting in the stroller.
  • Zoe's still not a big cuddler. She prefers to see everything going on around her. She reaches for all the new objects she sees and they often go to her mouth first.
  • Zoe has a bit of a witching hour between 6-7pm when she doesn't want to hang out in her high chair for dinner. She's usually okay in someones lap, but really wants to be put in her pajamas.
Chewing on her pacifier in the exersaucer
We had to delay Zoe's 6 month wellness visit/checkup at the doctor because she came down with her first illness. Since traveling mid-February, our household had a cold/virus that kept being passed from person to person. I think we all felt sick on and off for a solid two weeks. Zoe seemed to be doing well, but just as she turned 6 months, she had a fever that hovered around 102-103 for 2 days. On the third day we went to the doctor and sure enough, Zoe had her first ear infection. The 10 days of antibiotics were rough. Zoe hated the medicine and it caused her to not want to be spoon fed either. I couldn't be the one to give her medicine so that she would continue to nurse. 

6 Month photoshoot at 6.5 Months
Photos taken too late in the day - Miss Zoe is tired and ready for PJs
No photoshoot is complete without big sister
We finally had her wellness check up around 6.5 months, once she was finished with her medicine. At 16lbs, 10ounces and 25.5" she is at the 54th percentile for weight and the 31st percentile for height. Though she started out on the heavy and tall side, she seems to be getting on the same pattern as Rose, who has always been on the shorter and lighter side. I looked at the growth charts for both girls and they are about the same height and weight at 6 months.

Enjoying daddy's shoulders
Hanging out in the jumperoo