My little Albert Otto Neudeck V will be six months old on Tuesday! I have no idea where the time went. I am every bit as exhausted as people said I would be, but I’m finally settling into a routine and seeing some changes in my dude so we’re (the royal we, that is) feeling better about this life stage we’re in now. Six months old feels like a good time to stop and reflect so here’s where things stand chez Neudeck.
What’s Been Happening
- We’ve witnessed a few milestones. He rolls over like crazy, has discovered his feet, and is grabbing things left and right. He can’t crawl or sit up yet, but we’re seeing signs (like he tries to crawl towards a toy and scoots backwards instead). It felt like an eternity before anything was “happening” and you start to think he’s going to be a boring blob forever. But now I know that’s not the case – phew! – and it’s so cool when he learns a new trick. I’ve been recording everything in a baby book and I’m so excited to be able to look back on all this one day. (Shout out to The Short Years – loving that baby book/app.)
- Maternity leave is over and I’m actually so happy about it. Because maternity leave occurs when the child is completely helpless, you’re tethered to the home and completely exhausted. I loved having time with my child, but he was too young to be fun. Maternity leave days felt incredibly long…and yet moved too quickly to accomplish anything (especially if you’re pumping). Now that I’m back at work, Finn is in daycare and I feel much more like myself. I feel more like a “whole” person, which means I’m able to be a better mom to Finn. Note: That doesn’t mean maternity leave should be shorter. I needed every bit of my 4.5 months to return to some semblance of my regular self.
- There is no such thing as a hungover Saturday. Honestly, there’s no such thing as a lazy Saturday. After a while of being go go go, I usually need a day where I do nothing but sit on the couch and watch trash tv for 6 hours straight. (I think I’m one of those extroverted introverts?) That’s impossible with a kid who needs to be awake and fed at 7 am every single day.
- We’ve been watching Finn experience new things, like flying on an airplane and dipping his toes in the pool. I am constantly aware of how blessed this child is. So many people go their whole lives without stepping on a plane and he’s about to go on his third flight.
- We’ve been doing purées for a couple weeks, but now that he’s going to be 6-months old, we can start feeding him real deal solids. I can already tell it’s going to be a bit scary (choking – eek!) so pray for me. I always said I wouldn’t be the mom who makes baby food, but I’m grossed out by the jarred stuff that’s like a full mushed turkey dinner…and all other options are naturally sweet foods. Finn loves all that fruit but apparently if you only give sweet things with no texture you’ll wind up with a picky eater so here I am, about to embark on a baby food prep journey.
- He started teething. No actual teeth yet but I think it might happen soon?!
- The spit up situation seems to have gotten a bit better in the last week, but I’m still holding my breath. I’m sure there are more ruined outfits in my future.
- I can’t believe this formula shortage. I stopped pumping about two weeks before this all started happening…if I’d known would I have continued breastfeeding? Woulda coulda shoulda. I just hope this gets rectified soon because it’s scary that children could go without the nutrition they need.
- We may be seeing signs of a personality! From day one we’ve said Finn is such an observer. He’s always looking around and everyone has always remarked on his great eye contact. Six months later and we’re still saying these things which hopefully means the traits are here to stay.
What’s Worked for Us
- We settled on a schedule…but we’re not slaves to it. We have a general outline of when he should eat/sleep, but we don’t mind pushing those times if we want to hang out with friends or run an errand. That said, we do whatever we can to maintain the bedtime routine portion. That kid is wound down with a bottle in his mouth at 7 pm, without fail. I’m convinced it’s helped him sleep through the night, which makes us much happier and productive parents.
- We balance tasks. Typically, my beau handles the first and last feedings so he can get some good bonding time. While he’s doing that, I’ll get Finn’s school bag ready or prep supper. We have our lanes and we give each other autonomy so we’re able to be efficient with our time, which eventually means more quality time together. It’s important, though, that on the days one of us needs to cover for the other (like if we switch up the bedtime routine when one of us has a work dinner), there’s no “but this is how I do it.”
- Daycare is awesome. I don’t love the germs – Finn got a cold the first week – but they do so much more than I could do on my own. They have so many enriching activities (art! music! Spanish!) that I’m convinced it was the right fit for us. There are pros and cons to all forms of childcare – nanny, daycare, grandparent – but this, hands down, makes the most sense for us.
- I started toting Finn everywhere in the carrier. I honestly should have started sooner because being able to suddenly subway anywhere was a game changer. It might now be time to invest in an umbrella stroller. Our Uppababy is amazing and absolutely what I would recommend, but it’s too big/heavy to lug onto the subway. Sometimes you just want something suuuper portable.
- We try not to get too used to things. I thought the stage of napping on the go would last much longer than it did. I think Finn suffers from a bad case of FOMO. (I can relate.) Now if we’re out and about, he doesn’t want to nap…which means he’ll get fussy…which means we won’t be able to stay out and about. Since we never get too settled in a given stage, we don’t get rattled when he flips the script on us.
- We’re not precious about stuff. You know that commercial where the parents are super careful with the first kid and then anything goes with number two? We kinda already act that way with number one. We don’t go crazy about sanitizing, don’t stress about fancy clothes that’ll get ruined, and let anyone [vaccinated] hold him.
What Products We’re Loving
- There was zero interest in toys for the first three months but then he quickly developed some favorites. First it was the winkle, then anything crinkly, and currently it’s Sophie. Also, Lovevery’s boxes and suggested timings have been on point so we’re able to keep our home relatively clutter-free. It doesn’t look like a toy store exploded in our living room because we’re only using the toys that make the most sense for his age/stage.
- Once we started purées, silicone bibs were the move. The ones from Loulou Lollipop and Mushie are lightweight/pliable and still catch messes. They also have the best patterns.
- He’s right at the age where he can start enjoying an exersaucer/activity center. This one from Skip Hop has features he enjoys, can grow with him, and minimally offensive colors.
- The Love to Dream swaddle was amazing and dummy proof and the Halo is a great transition piece. We’re currently using various sleep sacks because our choice depends on how hot it is. Currently these from Hudson Baby and these from Halo are working for us.
- The Just One You by Carter’s line (exclusive to Target) makes some of our favorite clothes. Plenty of non-cheesy options and the price is pretty tough to beat. Now that it’s warm out, I’m particularly partial to rompers – it’s the ease of a onesie but doesn’t look like I forgot pants. Pretty much why I prefer to fill my own wardrobe with them.
- Bathtime is simply tolerated, but this shower head has made the routine much easier.