Here is a roundup of what was new with Elodie in October!
At the beginning of the month she turned six months old.
I felt like this was a pretty big milestone! We’ve been doing this for half a year now.
One of the big themes of this month was starting on solid food, so I’ll get right into that.
As I mentioned before, we are doing baby-led weaning. I read the main bible on this approach, and have read a number of articles about it too.
It seems this approach is more common in the UK, and it jives with the attachment parenting approaches we’ve been using. The book goes into more background, but basically it is a more natural approach to feeding a child by allowing them to pick up food and feed themselves, and is generally based around feeding them the same things the rest of the family is eating (avoiding salt, sugar, and choking hazards).
I never knew until I read the book that this was how babies were fed in the past, but around the mid-20th century, doctors began to promote formula over breastfeeding, and medical practitioners believed that babies needed table food as early as 2-3 months. Since their tongues and digestive systems aren’t ready for solid food at that age, purees and spoon-feeding was born. Now, the WHO, NHS and AAP all recommend waiting until six months for solid food, at which age babies have lost the tongue-thrust reflex and have better motor skills to feed themselves.
It makes sense to me from a developmental standpoint, although I was was also willing to spoonfeed Elodie so I have tried both approaches. Choking very much scares me! But she made it pretty clear from the beginning that she does not want to be spoonfed! If I come at her with a spoon, she clams up and tries to grab the spoon out of my hand. So, baby-led weaning it is.
We started with steamed pieces of sweet potato and moved onto avocado and banana. I tried both feeding her in her highchair, and holding her on my lap and feeding her off my plate. She didn’t really love anything; after weeks of trying to grab food off our plates, when I finally let her have some she seems just so surprised and confused. The taste and texture must be such a shock to her!
The first thing she had that she really liked was broccoli!
She ate it off my plate when we were out for a pub lunch and loved it, wanted more!
She has also enjoyed gumming up an apple I shared with her!
Since then, she has liked roasted potato, roasted courgette and slices of wholemeal pita bread. Anything that is too slippery or slimy is frustrating, and it’s been trial and error process for me to figure out how to make the pieces big enough that she can grip them. Choking still scares me big time, but she really seems to know what she’s doing and just coughs up whatever can’t fit down her throat.
I love watching her eat and enjoy new things but I have to say it’s frustrating when she just throws everything on the floor. I keep reminding myself it’s all part of the process and she is just playing and learning. It’s not a waste if she doesn’t really eat anything because just holding, seeing, touching, smelling and tasting little bits are all teaching her about food. But I will say that building the time into our days to prepare and clean up after eating adds another whole complication to our day!
Sleep this month was hit or miss.
El began moving towards two naps rather than three, beginning to drop the 4pm nap, and often her morning and/or afternoon nap can be a little longer, averaging about an hour and a half. Her morning nap has been starting later, like two or more hours after waking up, which is nice because mornings are quite as rushed. Naps still work best walking around outside in the carrier, although she can often do her morning nap in the buggy.
I don’t want to talk about nighttime sleep.
Elodie weighed 15 pounds in the middle of the month.
She developed a bad cough this month, which all three of us had, and then later developed a cold. So pretty much constantly sick. 😦
Play and General Development
After five months of refusing the buggy, Elodie now rides in the big-girl seat very well! As I said, she will nap in it most mornings and I’ve finally had success with taking her places and letting her chill in the buggy. One day I was able to go to a cafe and eat a sandwich for the first time with her by myself, and another day, I took her to an outdoor workout class for mums in the park and she sat there in her buggy the whole time! Made some noise near the end but nothing major. Seemed to enjoy watching! This has never happened.
I also had a really nice moment sitting with her in the park one day, just sitting on a bench feeding her then holding her, watching the ducks and just hanging out. It’s fun that we can do things like this now that didn’t really happen in the early days. For so long I’ve looked at other mothers calmly pushing babies around the park in buggies, and finally, we can do that too.
Elodie also moved into her cot (crib)! Up until the end of September she had been sleeping in our room in a side sleeper but she began to outgrow it, and we were sure that we were waking her up too often when we went to bed. But it was so convenient for breastfeeding. I was pretty nervous and doubtful she’d sleep in the cot at at all that first night, but after a few false starts she did! She doesn’t sleep for very long stretches as night and we’ve had some rough nights…as I’ve said, I don’t want to talk about it. But moving into her own cot in her own room is a big deal.
Really enjoys swimming and being in the bath!
Loves her stacking cups! Scoots around on the floor to play with them.
Scooting around on her tummy everywhere, getting dangerous!
Elodie knows her name! She turns when we say it to her.
Has gotten up on her hands and knees but not often.
Loves zippers! And buckles, clips, and tags on items. Wants to eat grass in the park.
We had a fun visit from Aunt Lindsey in the middle of the month! It is so fun to watch them bond.
At the end of the month we celebrated Elodie’s first Halloween!
On Saturday, we met friends from our NCT group for a pub lunch (there was supposed to be more of us but it didn’t end up working out for everyone).
Then on Halloween itself we had two fun events. I took her to our usual Tuesday French class (have I mentioned this? It’s great, it’s a weekly class we go to for babies that is mostly singalong and nursery rhymes but all in French) and the class this week was Halloween-themed.
And that afternoon we went to a gathering of mums and babies one of my friends hosted at a nearby pub, and gathered a large group of us. I brought a few of my other mum friends too.
On that note, I feel really lucky that I have a good network of mum friends. I don’t know what I would do without them. Some have babies around the same age which is helpful as we are all going through the same things together. Some have older babies which is great because I can learn from their experience. It is so important to have this support system.
And relatedly, one day I met for a coffee with someone with a four-month-old, and it reminded me how far we’ve come. It’s easier now. I’m not as stressed and Elodie is more chill.
I know that I can go out with her and she won’t have these screaming fits anymore, that we can hang out more easily. It just takes time. She is so sweet, I am overwhelmed with love for her.