Lola is now 4 months old! I have been loving my summer vacation, getting to watch her grow, learn and change daily. The last month has definitely brought the most changes, it makes me sad that I am back at work now and have to miss watching her learn and grow all day, especially now that she is getting so fun to hang out with! She is SO interactive now, and so interested in the world around her. I’m excited for her new-found curiosity and independence, but also a little sad that my little snuggly infant is growing up so fast!
Stats: At her 4 month appt, Lola was 13 lbs, 11 ounces and 25.5 inches long! She is gaining weight appropriately, but her height is off the charts! We are going to have a little supermodel on our hands.
Eating: Breastfeeding is still going really well, Lola is still a 100% breastfed girl. She is on a more consistent eating pattern of every 3 hours, and she is getting more efficient at eating. My milk supply is super sensitive, I have to be very conscientious during the day of how much water I am drinking and how many calories I have had or it instantly tanks….but it’s all worth it to make sure she has enough milk to do all that growing! Although I love breastfeeding..I HATE, with a capital H, pumping. Now that I am back at work and have to pump throughout the day it’s more challenging to have a great attitude about it, but I am stubborn and still bound and determined to get her as much breast milk as possible for as long as possible.
Sleeping: Sleeping, as valuable as it is, is a constantly examined practice when you have an infant. When she has a great night of sleep, or a horrible night of sleep, we wake up and begin the scientific process of analyzing which conditions lead to that level of success or failure, and proposing strategies on how to replicate or avoid that wonderful or horrible night of sleep. How much did she eat, or not eat? Did she not have enough activity that day, or was she overstimulated? Did she not nap enough, or did she nap too much? Was she too warm or too cool? Ultimately, you realize that there is no rhyme or reason for any pattern at all, and no matter how long you analyze or strategize, the next night will be a complete mystery too. That being said, we are pretty spoiled. I am told constantly by parents that their child didn’t sleep through the night until they were 1 or 2 years old (or 7 or 8…) and Lola has been hitting momentous sleep records for her age since she was about 2 weeks old. “Sleeping through the night” when you have an infant is technically considered 5 hours, and Lola’s usual minimum stretches are 7 or 8 (and have climbed as high as 11 or 12!) The key word is consecutive, these are UNINTERRUPTED hours of sleep, which are the most valuable kind when you have a baby. From about 2-3.5 months she would get about 12 hours total, usually a 7-9 hour stretch, a “snack”, and then back down for another 2-4 hours. One of the sleep mysteries that we still can’t figure out is that when we are traveling and she is sleeping in a strange place, (a tent, a houseboat, Amanda and Jon’s house, Bianca’s house..) she gets the best nights of sleep of all. Riddle me that?
Anyway, about mid July her long stretches went from about 7-8 hours to 4-5 hours. Although it is still considered great for a baby of her age, it felt like hell to us because she had spoiled us for so long with those longer stretches. I started reading everything I could online and apparently there is a commonly known phenomenon called the “4 month sleep regression”. There are many theories as to why babies this age go from spoiling to torturing there parents. One theory is that they are more distracted while they eat during the day, so they aren’t getting as much and hungrier at night. (check, she is now popping off the boob constantly to check out what’s going on while she eats…) Another is that when they learn big new skills (rolling over, crawling, walking) they sleep less because their brains are busier mentally “practicing” their new skills. (check, she just started rolling allll over the place) And another theory is that their sleep cycles actually start changing to a more “adult” pattern, and they don’t sleep as deeply. Any or all of these things could be the case, but we spent a couple of weeks sleepily experimenting with different strategies until we found one that *we think* solved our 4 month sleep regression problem (at least for now!)
She always has a “big feed” right before bed, and this particular night she had spent about 90 minutes on the boob over the course of 2 hours. (This is longer than normal but she does like to cluster feed at night..) She fell asleep on me, and I put her down. About an hour later, while Sol and I were going to bed, she woke up SCREAMING like she was starving. We gave each other a WTF look, and I (exasperated) handed her to him and said “I have nothing left! Take her downstairs and give her a bottle of pumped milk.” He came back upstairs a little while later and reported that she had just had 7 OUNCES! On a normal feeding she never drinks more than 3 or 4, this was an unheard of amount, especially so soon after eating! That night she slept 9 hours! I was elated that it looked like we had solved our problem, but also sad that it seemed like she wasn’t getting enough milk from me anymore. I was only pumping about 5 extra ounces a day over what she eats for my freezer stash, and there was no way I would be able to keep up if she needed to be topped off with a bottle of 7 extra ounces before bed every night! Luckily that very morning we were on our way to her 4 month appt. where I could ask the pedi about this phenomenon. When I asked her “am I just not making enough for her anymore?,” she said “well, yes and no.” She said that sometimes babies just start needing more milk, and it takes my body a few days to catch up with what she needs (milk works on a supply and demand kind of situation). Over the next few days, I would nurse her before bed, then we would top her off with a bottle of expressed milk and she went back to sleeping great again. Slowly she needed less and less out of the bottle as my milk caught up. We are still giving her an extra ounce or two before bed, but it is worth it because our good little sleeper is back! Hallelujah.
Playing: Month 4 has brought us all kinds of new developments! The biggest milestone, is that Lola can now roll over! She started rolling from back to belly first (which is technically the harder way, my little overachiever!) and soon after that belly to back. Now she can roll continuously from point A to point B. It is so cute, she seems so proud of herself! She has always hated tummy time, so it’s funny that the first way she can roll is to get onto her stomach. She seems so pleased with herself when she rolls onto her tummy though, she doesn’t seem to mind it much anymore. It’s as if it just had to be on her terms to enjoy it? Her head and neck are already getting so much stronger, she can do a “push up” on her stomach now and hold her head up for longer periods of time. When she first started rolling over, it would take her a good 10 minutes to get all the way over. Now I turn my head for 10 seconds and she’s flipped!
Other fun milestones this month, she is getting super good with her hands! She can play with and manipulate toys, and reach out and grab things that she wants. We have had a giraffe, Gary, (Sol likes to name her toys with funny average man names) hanging on her car seat since day one and she has hardly glanced at him. Now she can hold him, pull on and play with all his moving parts. We got her jumperoo set up this month (little jumping chair surrounded with toys) and she LOVES it! It is so cute to watch her jump and reach out and grab all of the little toys. She is even starting to do really intricate tasks in it like moving a ring back and forth on a wire.
She has become fascinated with the cats! She will screech happily when they come around, and when they sit next to her, she reaches out to grab them. She grabs big chunks of their fur and skin, and their ears…but they seem to understand that they just kind of have to take it (good kitties!)
She can suck her thumb! Since she is still teething she can also (and does!) stick many other things in her mouth, but a baby learning how to suck her thumb is pretty much the cutest thing ever.
Her little voice is getting more active too. She is “talking” up a storm, laughing all the time, and her little sounds connect together now in little baby speak sentences. She especially likes to have long conversations with Gary in the car.
In her 4th month of life, Lola has…
-Gone on her first (and second) plane rides! We went down to Orange County to visit her godparents Amanda and Jon. She was a great little traveler.
-Gone on a houseboat trip with the houseboat crew to Lake McClure
-Gone on many boat rides on Lake Folsom with Cece and Papa Tom
-Gone to her first beer festival in Davis with mommy, Bianca and Annie
-Stuck her toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time!
-Babysat the doggies at Cece and Papa’s
-Swam in the pool for the first time
-Mastered her jumperoo chair
This is SUCH a fun age! She is getting smarter, cuter and funnier by the day and I love watching her little personality emerge. Can’t wait to see what month 5 brings.