Ava is 4-months old and growing like crazy!
4-month check-up 15 lbs 9 oz and 26 inches: We went to Ava's well baby visit and she's grown 5 inches since she was born (in the 97th percentile) and gained 7 lbs 7 oz (in the 87th percentile). We have a big baby on our hands and GREAT for working on mom's biceps! She got another round of shots. Honestly, we have it down. I nurse her right after the shots and I gave her Tylenol, which seemed to help. She's been a bit fussier than normal, but not all that bad.
Sleeping well and most nights 8 hours. Ava has always been a good sleeper. I put her to sleep drowsy most night and she puts herself to sleep. We have a cosleeper on the side of our bed where Ava sleeps so when she's hungry she wakes me by kicking her legs on her mattress, which is only a few inches from my head. She's great about going right back to sleep. I couldn't believe it the first time she slept 8 hours in a row at 12 weeks old. Now it's really consistent unless she doesn't eat enough before she goes to sleep. Because I'm a nursing mom, I know if I'm still full before she sleeps, she hasn't eaten her normal amount an, she'll wake up in the middle of the night. My night supply is in sync with her needs, which is a beautiful thing. We plan on cosleeping until we see signs that we're ready. Her crib arrived last week and Aaron put it together, but we don't have a mattress or crib sheets yet. That's the next thing on the list.
Baby Party! This month has been very busy. We've been to a family reunion, Aaron's sister's wedding, and hosted family and friends on 4th of July weekend. Ava has one first cousin, Colin, and two baby girl second cousins (on the left baby McKenzie "Mac" with her mommy, Tate, and on the right baby Eleanor "Nora" and her mommy, Arzu, is a out of the picture). The Parmenter Family Reunion was fun with the four new babies! Ava took her first swim in the lake with her daddy.
NOT doing solid food until 6-months: Now that Ava is 4-months old everyone is asking me when I'm going to start her on solid foods. I wonder why it's a rush! Ava is barely able to stay in her Bumbo chair for a few minutes. No, she's not ready for solids! There are benefits for delaying solid foods for breastfed babies. I'm enjoying our breastfeeding relationship so much and I have several goals. First, I want to feed her solids at around 6-months after she's sitting up on her own, interested in our food, and doing a chewing motion with her mouth.
My other goal is to nurse her until she's 18 months old when her body will start to develop her own antibodies. My milk supply is not at risk because she nurses frequently and I'm diligent about pumping when we're apart. My sources for information besides my pediatrician and lactation consultants are Le Leche League, Kellymom.com - a fabulous breastfeeding resource, and books (Breastfeeding Made Simple and Feeding the Whole Family). Aaron and I are not starting Ava on rice cereal because it's not nutritious or necessary. I'd rather start her on nutritious whole foods. And I also plan on giving her fresh homemade food instead of processed baby food.
Traveling like a Pro: We got a small SUV just in time for all of our road trips this summer. It has been great to have more space. Bena rides in the back of the truck and right now, Ava and I sit in the back together so I can soothe and play with her. Aaron and I talk by looking at each other in the rear view mirror, which is funny. Ava is doing great in the car. We stop to feed her and keep going. One time, she had a diaper blow out while I was nursing her in the back of the car. We were at a gas station with lots of grass and we laid her on it and cleaned her up and changed her clothes. It was like a movie scene! It's easy for us to pack her up to go to Aaron's parents house at the lake because they have a crib for her to sleep in and we have stuff there already so there's less to pack.
Still Battling Gas...Our pediatrician told me that some babies have gas problems longer than others. She gets really worked up from gas discomfort. One night, she was hysterical at the reunion, but her Grandpa calmed her down. Last night, I calmed her by singing to her, bouncing her, taking her outside, and stroking her back. She feel asleep from exhaustion. We can feel the gas gurgling in her tummy. Luckily the gas drop seem to work, but she gets so upset.
I've learned I'm not a cry-it-out Mom. When I hear Ava cry, it makes me drop everything and go to her. I want to soothe her pain or discomfort. I see how the changes physically when she cries. I can't understand the cry-it-out parenting style. When babies are distressed it's like a trauma to them. Their blood pressure rises, they don't know when their parents will come to them. My baby is very sensitive to her surroundings. I want to build trust with her. I think the cry-it-out theory is flawed because it's rooted in the American obsession with putting babies on a schedule and "scientific" parenting. I chose to be an intuitive parent and respond to my baby. The work we did in the beginning to establish a night time ritual and her ability to soothe herself back to sleep with her wake cycles is foundational in her development and for the the future.