Tuesday, March 20, 2012

9 Months Old: It Feels Like We Have Arrived

So much has happened with Declan over the past few months.  And apparently there was a lot going on with me and I haven't had time to update my blog and tell the world.  Declan started crawling at 7 1/2 months, and days after, started pulling up and cruising too.  It all happened so fast!  Maybe that's why I'm busier...hmmm...

Teeth Update
He has had 2 bottom teeth for a while now (I may have already blogged about that?) and he's just started working on his two uppers.  The gums have been swollen for a day or two and I just noticed before I put him down for his nap how red one of them is.  He is still all smiles though.  Teething has never been hard for him.  I blamed a lot of his extra fussy times on teething and we often gave him Tylenol when he probably didn't need it.  "Teething" has never disrupted his sleep, thank God.  I like to think that it's because he's rested and we've trained him well how to sleep.  I'll get to that later though... you know I will.

He vocalizes a lot, saying "ma ma ma ma" and "ga ga" and more recently loud squawking.  Still working on "da da."

His sense of humor is coming out.  He likes to make us laugh with his funny faces and playing, "Nighttime, Daytime!" and "Where's the Baby?"  He gives me hugs a lot, and sometimes open-mouthed kisses on the cheek.  He's stingy with hugs when it comes to other people, though.  I think the only other people he has shared them with are Ryan and Aunt Ruthie.

The past two weeks I have relaxed a lot on what I give him to eat.  I was following the 4 day rule: introduce a new food and wait 4 days before introducing another one in order to check for allergies.  Thankfully, we haven't had any allergic reactions despite my sudden lack of carefulness.  I am still not giving him any nuts, honey, and we're avoiding eggs, although he does get it in breads and probably other things I don't think about.  I'll ban those until he's a year old.  Anyway, so he's pretty much eating miniature versions of what we're eating.  I'm trying to give him lots of practice with self-feeding.  It's kinda tough though because of the mess (c:  Oh well.

I am still nursing him 4-5 times a day.  He's become very difficult to nurse and doesn't seem interested most of the time.  It started out as him stopping to give me a hug or smile at me.  Then it went to stopping to make a funny face or trying to get into a crawling position while still nursing.  At the back of my mind I wondered if I should discourage these interruptions, but we were both enjoying them and laughing so much that it became one of our favorite parts of the day.  I asked other moms what they thought and nobody seemed to think I should stop him, so I let it go on.  Now, he's wanting to switch so frequently or crawl off and play, then get upset when I assume he's done, that it's become a hassle.  I've started to think that maybe he's not getting enough.  I would be more worried, but I was planning on weaning him at 1  year.  I know they don't often wean themselves before 1 year, but it wouldn't be hard to head that direction if I wanted to.  We'll keep trying for 3 more months though.  Any thoughts on this?

Acid Reflux and Chiropractic Treatment
I'm so happy to report that his reflux has not made a comeback at all.  There were a couple of days in which he was extra fussy and spitty.  I still don't know what that was about - could have been a relapse.  I was very grumpy and got depressed during that time, not knowing what to do next if the reflux was back.  Thankfully it only lasted a couple of days.  Maybe it was something he ate, maybe he was overtired, maybe we'll just blame it on the mysterious "catch all" - teething.  He had more vertebral sublaxation than normal at his previous visit 10 days ago, but he had fewer at his appointment this morning.  Dr. Adams said it was probably due to his pulling up and plopping on his bottom that was throwing his spine out of whack more than normal.  Anyway, it was a good report today, and I have a happy baby to go along with it so... yay!  We go again in 2 weeks.

And now, my update on  his sleep.  I save the best for last (c:  It has taken a long time for us to get over the overtired hump.  It's a crazy uphill battle, but we're there, finally.  More often than not, Declan takes two 1 - 1.5 hour naps a day, and he's now sleeping 12-13 hours a night.  Last night he went to bed at 6:30pm, woke up around 5am to eat, and went back to bed until I woke him at 7:45 (not sure how much longer he would have slept).  I am pretty sure that's a new record for him.

After all of the frustration and going back and forth, what ended up being the best things for us was:

  • The Nap Hour - leaving him to sleep, cry, or play for an hour at naptime no matter what - no exceptions.  Naptime is at 9am and 1pm (biological sleep windows for most babies age 4-8 months).
  • Inadvertently teaching him to self-soothe.  I was still rocking him to sleep a couple of weeks ago when he started to squirm and fuss in my arms every time I started rocking.  This got frustrating for me so I just started to put him in his crib when this happened.  To my surprise, he'd go to sleep minutes after I left the room.  So I started to skip the rocking and just put him in his bed.  He usually cries for a few minutes and goes to sleep.  I saw an improvement in both the length of his naps and his nighttime sleep once I did this.
  • Choosing an appropriately early bedtime - His sweet spot is between 6:15 and 6:30.  It's not too early or too late.  The night goes smoothly and I usually have to wake him the following morning to maintain our schedule.  
Starting tonight, we're going to work on sleeping through the night.  He's still taking one feeding, but it's moving later and later most nights.  And he's skipped it a few times, so I think he just needs a little nudge to get him sleeping 12-13 hours straight.  I'd let him sleep longer but I think we're already pushing the limitations of his diaper... (c;