There’s the old joke about how in large families, the younger kids never seem to have any pictures of themselves while the oldest has a fully finished baby book, scrapbook, monthly update log online, etc.
Well, we don’t have a large family, but one thing is for sure–I definitely have written up much less about Mathias than I did about Raven (although I’m glad to say that there are just as many pictures of him, thanks to my resolution to take a picture of both of my kids every day).
For awhile at the beginning, I at least tried to do a special little “photo shoot” of sorts every month to mark the passage of him getting a month older, but even those started to fall by the wayside as it just felt like too much. So we’ve just kept taking a picture every day, I’ve done an occasional update on my Instagram, and we’ve called it good.
But, for posterity’s sake, I figured that I should at least try and do ONE blog post all about Thias (and do it in the same fashion that I did Raven’s monthly baby posts). I also figured that while I was at it, I can do a little postpartum update on myself.
Mathias @ 8 Months
Weight: about 15 pounds, 5 ounces (was 2nd percentile last doctor’s visit)
Height: approx. 26.5″ (was 3rd percentile last visit)
Clothing Size: 3-6 months
Diaper Size: 3
- Can sit unassisted for a couple minutes (but only if he doesn’t realize that he’s doing it)
- Can roll both ways, though he very rarely does back to tummy (and I’m not sure if he recognizes yet that he can choose to roll either way anytime he wants…it’s like it almost still takes him by surprise every time)
- Can scoot backwards while on his tummy (and fairly quickly, too—no more leaving him unattended in the other room!)
- Quickly reaches for and grabs objects he wants
- Babbles a LOT and has started to make more complex vowel-consonant combinations
While he doesn’t have nearly as much hair as Raven did at this age, he is, at least, no longer bald. Over the past month or so, he’s started to grow in a definitely fuzzy layer of hair, and it’s actually coming in fairly quick (especially towards the back). Right now he seems to have blue eyes, but they’re a different shade of blue than Raven’s, which makes us wonder if his eyes will maybe turn greenish hazel like Matt’s. At first, I wasn’t sure if he would get his daddy’s long lashes like his sister did, but it seems he’s lucked out, too–though they’re not super dark yet, they’re definitely too long to have been inherited from me. He’s still a fairly small baby, and there are many babies around here that we’ve met that are definitely bigger than he is, though he’ll be sometimes 3-4 months older than they are. At his last doctor’s appointment, he was just 2nd percentile for weight and 3rd for height, so he’s just a little peanut. And while his skin is definitely on the very fair side, he doesn’t seem to have inherited the super sensitive skin that both Raven and I have, which has been really nice.
What I Love About This Stage
With his sister, we were constantly having to watch out and baby-proof everything just because she was super mobile by 8 months and wanted to get into everything. With Mathias, I love that he doesn’t require that constant level of supervision yet. I also love how naturally curious and thoughtful he seems to be—he will focus on the same thing for a long stretch of time (sometimes talking to himself about it), and I can definitely tell that he notices when things are different. It’s also been a lot of fun over the past couple months that he’s started to laugh a lot more and want to play, and no one makes him laugh harder than Raven. I’ve also been grateful that I’ve been able to keep nursing this time around (I had to stop at 4 months with Raven due to my autoimmune disease diagnosis), and I’m glad that he’s always had a pretty good latch and has been a fast eater. One of his favorite things to do is try and put his fingers by my mouth as he nurses so that I’ll try and “eat” his fingers, which he just finds hilarious. All in all, Mathias is a happy baby who’s willing to go along with the flow of everything, and he’s just a little sweetheart.
I also have loved that we’re now in a pretty predictable routine during the daytime—the baby predictably wakes up most mornings around 7 or 7:30, goes down for a nap around 9:15 (usually for around two hours), then goes down for a second nap around 1:30 (which also usually lasts for a couple hours). Then he goes down for the night (ish…see the note below) around 6:30 or 7 in the evening. It definitely makes it a lot easier to plan our days.
Can I just say SLEEPING here and be done with it? Ugh, we’ve had such a hard time the past few months. When Mathias was about 5 months old, we did a couple nights of light sleep training and had him sleeping through the night (sometimes for as long as 12-hour stretches!), and we were patting ourselves on the back that we were going to have two excellent sleepers and must therefore be The Sleep Whisperers when it came to babies or something. HAR-DEE-HAR-HAR. After a couple weeks of good sleep, we got hit with a LOT of sickness and a LOT of disruption to our schedule thanks to the holidays, and the baby also got back-to-back ear infections plus RSV. He started waking up a lot in the night because he was in pain or had a hard time breathing through his nose, so we were getting up multiple times a night to make him more comfortable. And then the bad sleep habits have just kind of stuck (plus he keeps getting sick about every 3 weeks, which hasn’t helped). I probably would be all for launching back into sleep training again except for the fact that he now has learned to cry SO LOUDLY whenever he wakes up in the middle of the night, and it’s hard to distinguish if it’s a learned loud cry or a “I’m-in-pain” loud cry.
I can tell you for a fact that I haven’t gotten more than a 6-hour stretch of sleep since November, and even that has only happened maybe a handful of times. Most nights, I only get a 4-hour stretch at the longest, and the rest of the time, it’s about every two hours.
I have finally decided to try some sleep training again though (just to save my sanity), so since I’ve been sleeping out on the couch while the baby has slept in his carseat right in front of me (because he’s congested and we worry that he has yet another ear infection), I figure that I might as well try since it won’t be as disruptive to Matt’s sleep if I just attempt it now.
In addition to the frequent bouts of sickness, lack of sleep, and ear infections, we have also wondered if the baby has been teething lately, though there’s no sure evidence other than a lot of drool and him wanting to gnaw on everything.
Oh, and then there’s been the constipation issues. Oh, we’ve tried so many things—giving him only certain kinds of foods (prunes, pears, peaches), rubbing his stomach, giving him warm baths, cycling his legs…and we’ve still had to resort to using PediaLax multiple times (because when it’s been over a week since he last pooped, he starts to get pretty cranky…understandably). This one seems to be getting a *little* better over time (and we are super happy that he’s finally mostly stopped spitting up everywhere), so hopefully this is just a stage that will pass.
While Raven has always ADORED Mathias, she had an extremely hard time with the transition, mostly just because she was not used to the need to share our attention with anyone else. While she still has a bit of a flair for the dramatic when it comes to trying to steal the attention away from the baby, she overall has gotten a lot better about sharing the limelight with her brother. And it has been so endearing to watch their sibling bond develop—she has always been so good to play with him (even when he didn’t do much to play back), and as a result, I’m pretty sure Raven is probably his favorite person (unless he’s hungry).
Raven’s always been super good to go grab stuff for me for the baby, and she often willingly (and without being asked) will share her toys, stuffed animals, and blankets with him to make him happy. She insists that I put the car seat handle/cover back in the car so that she can see Mathias while they ride together in the backseat, and she is a natural little nurturer with him, always trying to take care of him and making sure to tell me if he’s crying or upset or wanting something. I was worried that the larger age gap between the two of them might mean that by the time he was old enough to really play with her, she wouldn’t be interested, but I’m no longer concerned—she’s played with him from the beginning and is always giving him loves.
Things I Don’t Want to Forget
- The way he balls his fist in his mouth every time he laughs, as if to try and hold it in
- The way he’ll smile widely at someone but when they smile back, he’ll bury his face shyly into your chest/shoulder
- The huge grins he gives whenever he sees one of us who hasn’t been in the room for awhile (like when Matt gets home from work, or I come in from the other room, or when Raven is done with her Quiet Time)
- How he’ll study his hands and fingers with a look of utter fascination and amazement on his face…for like 15 minutes
- The way he bobs his head and says “Ooo! Ooo!” when something new gets his attention
- How he’s pretty snuggly, especially with me, and will just open his arms wide like he’s giving me a hug and lay his head sideways against my chest or on my shoulder
- How he loves sleeping with his “wubby” (he likes to bury his face against it, so we’ve had to often watch him closely and as soon as he’s asleep, remove it from his bed)
- How up until more recently, he would just content himself to lie down and relax during tummy time rather than try to do anything, often sticking his hand into his mouth and just talking happily while he lay on the floor
All in all, he’s usually a very good-natured, happy baby (unless he’s sick or uncomfortable), and we’re so glad to have him in our family!
8-Month Postpartum Update (Me)
What’s been interesting for me this time around postpartum was that things were actually really good for about the first five or six months, and then they’ve taken a sharp nosedive down. (Although I still prefer this time to last time, just because at least I haven’t had an autoimmune disease flare-up this time throwing a wrench in everything.)
You might remember that I felt SO good soon after the birth that I resumed going to my weekly exercise classes at just 3 weeks postpartum, which I continued to do for several months. Then, at 7 or 8 weeks postpartum, I started Kayla Itsines’s BBG, which is a fairly intense 3X/week strength training program. I was losing the pregnancy weight, toning up all over, and feeling really quite good…until November. All of a sudden, the lack of sleep from the baby’s sleep regression, the constant sickness plaguing the house, and an emotional flare-up of anxiety with a bit of the blues kicked in, and I just felt overwhelmed. So I started to cut back a bit on the exercise.
Then, sometime in late November, I did one of the BBG ab workouts, and the next day, something just felt really off with my back. So I decided to take a break (it happened to be Thanksgiving week, so the break probably would have happened anyway), and I figured things would feel better quickly, just as they had in the past when I maybe had overworked a muscle too much.
We’re now nearing the end of February, and my back is still causing me MAJOR problems—I can’t exercise at all (because it makes it about a million times worse), I can’t pick up Raven hardly at all or hold the baby for extended amounts of time, and I’ve tried to stop lifting anything remotely heavy as well. I finally went into a physical therapist last month to try and figure out what was wrong, but even after he did a manipulation (a fancy way of saying he popped my back), gave me several exercises to try, and approved me using an SIJ belt, I still haven’t seen as much progress as I’d like. At this point, my back is interfering so much with stuff I’d regularly be doing that I know I need to get it fixed, but our insurance doesn’t cover chiropractors at all, and I’m hesitant to keep going to the physical therapist since he didn’t seem to know what was up with it, or what I could definitively do to make it better.
So I don’t know what I’m going to do. Maybe we’ll budget money out and pay full price for a few chiropractor visits, or maybe I just need to go back to the physical therapist and get some different exercises. All in all, it has not been a great last few months, physically.
On the plus side, I did reach my pre-pregnancy weight last month (and have actually gone below it by a pound or two), which has been nice.
Right now I feel like I need to get my sleep or back figured out ASAP, just so I can actually function at semi-optimal level. Hopefully one or both will improve over the next couple months so I can feel more like myself and less like a crazy, sleep-deprived weakling who can’t move any more than absolutely necessary.
Luckily, Matt’s been super supportive, especially emotionally, so while my physical self is struggling, I have felt like my emotional and mental health has at least been kept in check. He’s made it a point of asking me every night how I felt emotionally that day, and I’ve definitely let myself unload it all every night as needed, which has helped a lot.
So, even though I haven’t felt the best physically, the fact that I feel so emotionally supported has made me feel like overall, we’re doing pretty well. (And if I can get the sleep and back issues figured out soon, I’ll feel unstoppable!)
Favorite Baby Products Right Now
I make it a point to buy the least amount of stuff possible that we need, but I’ll pass along a few of our current favorites, many of which were gifted to us. (These are affiliate links, by the way, but I assure you they are all products we use and love on a near-daily basis.)
- Pullover Bibs – I had always used pretty standard tie-on bibs before, but when our neighbor gifted us a set of pullover bibs similar to these, I was instantly hooked. They overall do a MUCH better job covering the baby’s clothes than the traditional tie-on kind, and it’s just a lot faster to get them on and off. I get sad when I have to reach for the traditional ones now if these are all in the wash!
- Plush Lovey/Blankie Toy – Both of our kids have been gifted a “Wubby” (as we call them) by family members, and both kids have developed strong attachments to them. I couldn’t find the exact bear that was given to Mathias, but this elephant from Target is the same kind of idea. Mathias loves his so much that he has a hard time sleeping without it, so I’ll usually put him down to sleep with it and then remove it from his bed as soon as he’s actually asleep (because I’m a paranoid parent).
- Bright Starts Rattle – Can you believe that we didn’t ever have a rattle when Raven was a baby? I mean, obviously she turned out just fine, but this little $3.99 rattle was what Raven chose to give to Mathias for Christmas, and he absolutely LOVES it.
- Lamaze Freddie the Firefly Toy – We didn’t have anything like this for Raven (and now I see these kinds of baby toys everywhere), but we have absolutely loved them! (Mathias also owns a giraffe one.) The beauty of these particular toys is that they have so many different components (little plastic rings to grab, different textures, crinkly sounds, etc.) that Mathias can play with one for a pretty extended period of time (I mean, I’ve seen him intently play with this dragonfly one for like 25 minutes straight while he’s in his carseat.) We basically always bring one of these babies with us anytime we go anywhere, especially if we know the baby’s going to be stuck in his carseat for awhile.
- Zip-Down Footed Sleepers – The longer I’m a parent, the more I realize that I’m not the kind of person who loves coordinating outfits for my children, especially my babies. In general, I don’t love putting babies in two different pieces because the shirts always seem to ride up and the pants seem to always fall down. So, even though I was given scads of hand-me-downs (so much so that I could dress Mathias up in a different outfit every day for a month or more if I wished), I ended up getting rid of a lot of them and just keeping the sleepers (and bought a couple new ones so that I could have about a week’s worth, including accounting for extra changes each day due to blowouts and such). My favorite sleepers are footed ones (so I don’t have to deal with baby socks, which is another thing that doesn’t seem worth the hassle), and ones that zip down (so that you don’t have to take the whole thing apart every diaper change or deal with connecting individual snaps). These ones by Old Navy have been awesome, and we use them every single week (though we have a slightly different pattern, which is now sold out).
- VicTsing Cool Mist Humidifier – One of the hardest things about being the parent of a baby is how helpless you feel when they get sick, especially since there are so few things you can really give them to make them feel better. As Mathias has already been sick a LOT (I blame his sister being in preschool), one thing we’ve done to try and help him with the congestion that’s so common during our dry winters is a humidifier. My mom actually purchased this model for us, and we have loved it! It’s really quiet, is super easy to refill, is pretty small for a humidifier, doesn’t leak, and you can go for quite awhile before needing to fill it up again.
- Nose Frieda – My husband thinks these are totally gross and still has refused to use it, but I want to personally thank whomever invented this little genius of a product. It’s basically a way that you can use your own air to suck the snot right out of your baby’s nose (don’t worry, there’s a preventive block so it won’t get anywhere near your mouth), and it generally works much faster and more effectively than just a basic bulb nose sucker (though we’ll use that too).
- Innovo Digital Thermometer – Before getting this digital thermometer, we used to always have to take our baby’s temperatures by sticking the thermometer under their armpit, which was tedious and long and they always fought against it (and I just didn’t want to deal with taking a rectal temperature). Enter this thermometer, which you can use in the ear or on the forehead. It’s quick, it’s painless, and we love it so much that we almost do a daily temperature check of the whole family around here just for the fun of it (true story).
And that’s a wrap! Anything that I missed that you’re just dying to know? Any tips that will magically fix all my sleep and back problems? I’m all ears!