It's hard to believe that our baby girl is 8-months old today. Ava is developing new fun skills all the time. This week when I picked her up at daycare, I looked at her like she changed in only the 10-hours that we were apart. It was a strange feeling!
What is Ava up to these days?...Clapping her hands! One of her new skills is learning to clap her hands together by herself or to mimic us. She loves to play patty-cake so we're not surprised she started clapping on her own. Sometimes she gets excited and does a hand-shake clap where she looks like she's giving herself a handshake. She explores new toys, textures, and movements with her fine hand movements now. Often times, she likes to grab our face when she's nursing or when Aaron is holding her close. It's very sweet.
Experimenting with different tastes, but still not into solid food. At meals we offer her a taste of an orange slice or the juice of a red grape. Sometimes we put tastes of food on her lips. She likes pineapple. Other times, she gags when we feed her tastes she doesn't like. But, I feel good that she's getting all she needs from breastmilk. I recently donated again to the milk bank (349oz) from the last month's extra milk. So far, I've donated over 1,200oz of milk, almost all to the milk bank and a bit to two moms. This wonderful supply keeps me confident that I will have more than enough to feed Ava longterm as long as she needs. I plan to nurse her until she self-weans. Last weekend, I tried giving Ava rice cereal for the first time ever because Aaron suggested maybe we should give her something mild so she doesn't gag. She ate about 6 spoonfuls of the runny cereal. I mixed it according to the box recommendations so it was mostly breastmilk. It went down pretty easily. EXCEPT....she developed horrible gas from it that lasted 2 days. Poor baby! I felt her little tummy grumbling. My intuition told me to wait on the cereal and I wished that I had listened. One good outcome is that I realized I was making her baby food too thick. I just cooked up some pear for her tonight and I ran it through the food mill and mixed it with the cooking liquid water that I used. I'll try it tomorrow and see what she thinks.
Like I said, I'm very confident she's getting her best nutrition and "medicine" from her milk and I realize that her food experiences are truly experiments at this stage. Nonetheless, at daycare, I feel a bit of pressure since she's the only baby her age that isn't eating solid food. But, it's different with a breastfed baby and my baby who is loving nursing and not very interested in what we're eating. We call Ava a "big nurser" because at night that's what we spend our time doing. When Ava nurses, she likes to knead her legs and feet and take off her her socks. It's really cute. I love the snuggle time.
Still enjoying the sling...Here's a picture of my little sweetie from last weekend when we went to a baby shower. I tried to nurse her before we left, but she didn't want to at the time. We got to the restaurant and I pulled her out of her carseat and she was ready to nurse. She crashed out in a nap immediately. So there I was in the backseat of the car while we nursed. At the shower, I put her in the sling and she slept in that for most of the baby shower. She woke up a bit to play and watch the ladies. We made a quick drive to the nearby Whole Foods and she fell asleep AGAIN! I put her back in the sling where she slept the ENTIRE visit in Whole Foods. It was so funny because lots of people made comments about how comfortable and cozy she looked. Even men stopped to smile. It made me feel so good that she could feel that comfortable and flexible to walk through the store while I shopped. I'm a big fan of attachment parenting!
Halloween was fun this year. We spent the day at home relaxing. Ava got a little fussy in the afternoon so Aaron sat her on the front porch while he planted bulbs in the front yard. It was very sunny outside, but cool so we bundled her up and he made an "nest" for her with blankets and toys. It worked! She talked, watched Aaron, and enjoyed looking around at the trees. Aaron gave her a little twig from the pine tree that she liked holding. She loves different textures. Late afternoon, we headed to the Pierce's house where they had a house-full of very excited small children in fun costumes. The parents all pitched in with a soup dinner. We joined with for a bit of Trick or Treating! We walked with the group, but didn't go up to the houses.
Vocal baby...Ava loves to express herself by trying different tones of voices and singing! She has a "monster" voice and joins you when you're singing to her. When the coffee grinder or blender are going in the morning, she sometimes hums to the same tone. Her go-to word is Dada, but she tries it in so many variations and lots of other sounds even blowing raspberries! At night with Ava's bedtime story, she likes to talk when we're reading the book. I think she knows that I talk when we're looking at the book so she wants to also. She likes to turn the pages and when we close the last page she bangs her hand on it.
So much hair! I can't believe how much hair is growing in now. Ava has lots of new hair growing all the time. Bow clips stay in her hair and I love the cute headbands with the flowers and bows. Aaron wants his little girl in pink all the time. Even when I put brown pants on her, he always teases me that I'm dressing her like a boy.
A very warm baby...even now that the weather is cooling off, Ava is staying warm, naturally. She sweats like crazy when she nurses. The daycare is heated a bit warmer than our house so I dress Ava in short sleeves and layers. One of her caregivers told me that this week when she fed her a bottle, Ava sweat so much they were both drenched and the caregiver had to change her clothes! That's my warm baby girl! I see other parents bundling their babies when it's 55 degrees and I think Ava would die of heat in that outfit. Just tonight, Aaron checked her diaper after a nap and then just left her in her short sleeve onesie and no socks. We put a thin receiving blanket on her legs and she was fine for awhile.
Ava gets the "giggles"...We're having such a great time playing with little Ava. She loves to play peek-a-boo and laughs really hard. Usually one of us holds her and the other hides and surprises her. She squeals with delight! At daycare, they tell me that she gets in a giggly mood and can't stop. They catch sight of her and she laughs so hard. We do that with her at home and it's so fun!
We're all sleeping well most nights. Ava goes to sleep at 9:30am and wakes up about 7 or 8am on the weekends or when she goes to daycare on the halfdays. I love our cosleeping situation. We have Ava in the cosleeper and usually she wants to nurse around 3-5am and maybe again at 6am, which helps stretch her sleep to 8am. The best thing is on days that I work in the office I wake up at 5:30am and if I can nurse her in bed and get ready really smoothly while she's sleeping. She wakes up at 7am and we're out the door soon after. The best thing is that with Ava in the cosleeper, she doesn't fully wake up and nurses efficiently in her sleep, while I sleep too. It's great for both of us. Sometimes I put her back in her bed, but other times I just keep her in our bed. She likes waking up next to her Daddy! She smiles at him even if he's still asleep. This week Ava has had a mild cold that congested her at night. I had to clean her nose out at 4am, which really woke her up. But luckily, I put her back in her bed and I put my hand on her chest, which helped her calm and relax. She held my fingers and we fell asleep together. These moments are really special because I know she's growing so fast!