5 Month Update

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Naps: Naps for most of this month were atrocious. We tried to have Henry nap 3-4 times during the day but there were many days that he only took 2 naps and slept for a total of 90 minutes from the time he woke up in the morning to bedtime. Whenever we went to lay him down in his crib, he started screaming and thrashing. Often his tantrums would last 30-40 minutes. Once he fell asleep he would usually sleep for 35-45 minutes, but sometimes it was only 15 minutes before the tantruming started again.

I tried so many tricks and strategies to get him to sleep. I gave him lots of cuddles before it was nap time and did lots of calming activities. I rocked and bounced him in my arms while he started to get drowsy and stayed within sight while he was in his crib. I downloaded a white noise app and tried several of the tracks to calm him. I brought him to the darkest room in the house. We tried having playtime in the bedroom and crib so he wouldn’t form negative associations. Each day was a new experiment; the list goes on and on.

Finally in the last week of October we found something that helped and we’re just now reaping the benefits. It turns out that we were keeping Henry up too long in the morning. We figured that once he started sleeping until 7am (which was 10-11 hours of sleeping straight for him), he wouldn’t need to go back to bed right away after he ate his breakfast. Boy were we wrong! By keeping him up for the standard 2 hours we had been following for the rest of the day, Henry was going down for his nap overtired. This prevented him from getting restful sleep and it kept cycling throughout the day. By the end of the day, Henry was so crabby and overtired that he didn’t know what was going on. Since then we’ve been putting him back to bed right after he eats in the morning and things have been improving. We still have to perfect his afternoon naps as it is still somewhat difficult for him to fall asleep and stay asleep for longer than 45 minutes.

Feeding: Henry is still fed exclusively breast milk but we anticipate starting solids soon. He breast feeds for all meals except at bedtime.

Clothing: 6-9 months

Bedtime: 7:45-8:15pm

Eating: Henry is able to go 3 1/2 to 4 hours between meals. He typically eats at 7am, 11am, 3pm, and sometime between 6:30pm and 7pm.

Sleeping: Despite Henry’s struggles with naps this month, his night time sleep has not been effected. He still sleeps through the night and sleeps 9-11 hours each night. He has been waking sometime between 6:30am and 7am.

Henry has been getting more restless in his sleep and will occasionally wake himself up. If this happens, we just need to re-swaddle him and maybe rub his tummy to get him to fall back asleep. We have been looking into other options to help him transition away from a full swaddle based on what happened during the “arms-out swaddle experiment”.

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Development: Henry rolled over from front to back for the first time at the end of this month. He was able to do it three times in a row but hasn’t done it since. He’s been struggling to remember how to coordinate all of his limbs to turn in the direction he wants.

Henry has gotten really good at grabbing objects and switching them from hand to hand. As he’s gotten more comfortable on his tummy, he will now reach out for toys or rotate towards a toy while he’s on his stomach.

It seems like Henry is starting to gain some understanding of object permanence. He has started to maintain focus when we play peek-a-boo with him. Usually he will also chuckle or laugh when we reappear.

Henry has also started pulling his bottle towards himself when he feeds with a bottle.

When he is tired, Henry will start to whine when things aren’t going his way. It’s a high-pitched squeal that he lets out. This happens especially if he is starting to nod off while eating and we take the bottle from him, or if he has been snuggling with us and we go to lay him in his crib.

Likes and Dislikes: Henry has really gotten interested in different fabrics and textures. He has a few toys that have many types of fabrics on them–silky, corduroy, terry, satin–that he loves to explore. He also likes to pet the upholstery on our chair and couch.

We’ve reached the stage where Henry likes to put nearly everything in his mouth. He really likes to do this with blankets or burp cloths, but also linking rings and his O-balls. He loves to chew on his fingers and see how much of his hand he can fit into his mouth. He’s also been known to lick some of his plush toys.

Henry still loves his belly pats and now also loves being smothered in kisses. If he’s in the right mood, you can get him to laugh and chuckle almost uncontrollably. Adam and I can’t stop ourselves from getting all of Henry’s giggles out once that happens.

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Like many young babies, Henry is drawn to the TV when it is on (which isn’t too much at our house). If it’s a TV show, he’ll watch it for a few seconds and then go back to what he was doing for awhile. But, if Adam is playing Zelda, then Henry is glued to the screen. There’s something about the pixelated picture of the mid-1990s that Henry just can’t get enough of.

Henry also likes it when he knows that you are intentionally being silly. He’s intrigued by funny voices and faces, especially when they are coming from people that he knows well.

Now that it has gotten colder, Henry has started to need to wear a hat when we go out. He has enough patience for you to try once to get his hat on. If you need to readjust it in any way, he will start to whine and fuss.

New This Month: With Henry’s lack of a solid nap schedule this month, we tried to keep our lives as normal as possible. I started taking two classes through community ed., one in the afternoon and another in the evening. Henry has got to have his grandmas come babysit during those afternoons, and he has gotten some extra quality time with Adam on those evenings.

We did go to concert in the middle of the month and had some close friends babysit while we were gone instead of Henry’s grandparents.

Other Notes: Now that we’re getting Henry’s naps on a regular schedule, we will be starting to push him towards self-soothing. Henry needs just a few leg or belly rubs to completely calm down when we put him down for a nap and we’d like him to be able to calm himself down on his own. We also will be working towards stretching those naps beyond 45 minutes. It’s clear that he still needs and wants more sleep when he wakes up, but he feels like he has enough energy that he ends up exciting himself more than calming himself. I have a feeling a lot of this will be helped once Henry’s “starfish suit” arrives so that we can begin transitioning away from the swaddle again.

Mama and Papa Update: This month has taught us a lot about persistence and patience. There were so many days when we were utterly exhausted from having to fight with Henry to fall asleep. One thing that has really helped us get through the tough days is knowing that tomorrow is a brand new day and a chance to start over fresh. It’s also nice when both of us are home so that we can switch off who is handling Henry to give the other a break.

Henry is still a daddy’s boy which really makes Adam feel special considering how much less time he gets to spend with Henry than I do. Henry always has a smile for his Papa. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have smiles for his Mama. It’s just very clear that Adam and I each have a different but special relationship with Henry.

Speaking of smiles, Henry’s smile and laugh is another thing that has really helped us through this stormy period. Yes, there has been a lot of crying from Henry this month and it can get very frustrating, but when that little guy smiles at you, all is forgiven. He certainly knows how to melt our hearts.

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