Zoe - Month Five

Again, sorry for such a late post (a month late). I have been completely neglecting my blog since Zoe was born and I really do miss it. But let us not dwell on that. 
Welcome to Zoe's fifth month. This was a big one for us. It started in Ireland on the day of Ian's gig and the first night I was leaving our little lady with someone else. I had never even left her with Ian. We were staying in my mum's anyway so she had offered to babysit while I saw my husband perform. I had pumped two bottles and planned on feeding her just before I left. I was only going from 22.30 until 12.30 or 01.00. I don't know if she sensed my scheming ways of leaving her that night but boy did my baby cry. She was pulling at her right ear (now we know this is her sign of tiredness) which I had never seen before and feeding constantly. We suspected she was teething (the doctor spotted the buds at her three month check up). My wonderful brother quickly went to the pharmacy and bought a teething survival kit - easy know he is a daddy. 

She fed and fell asleep. My brother and I went to Ian's gig where I met up with friends and was even completely surprised by our friend Jax. She was due to come down from Galway to visit us the following day but had secretly planned to come the day before so she could see Ian play. I was so shocked and delighted. So this was the first time I left Zoe with someone for a long period. It felt so strange. I realised I had nothing to talk about. My life for the past year has been preparing for this baby and now just living and breathing her. I had no news. I hadn't worked in almost 12 months, I hadn't learned anything new that wasn't to do with newborns. It felt so unfamiliar to me and I just wanted to be home. I just think it wasn't the setting for my first night out. It was loud and dark and I didn't get to have proper conversations with people. As my mum pointed out, it would have been better to meet friends for a couple of drinks or a meal out. Then my mind would be taken off my baby at home. I was so glad to return home two and a half hours later. I went down to mum's bedroom to collect Zoe. And was completely blown away that she had been asleep since I left. 

We had such a lovely few days in Ireland and it was brilliant seeing lots of our friends. It was also great to get back because I was exhausted (yet again). The return flight went well. Four flights and not a tear. 

This was actually one of the only times she has ever fallen asleep without breast, cuddles, movement or anything. Ian and I were eating in the restaurant and Zoe was cooing in her pram. Suddenly there was silence and I looked in, she was fast asleep. 

From Zoe that is anyway. Just as we were about to take off, we heard some terrible sounds coming from Zoe's nappy. Ian hadn't changed a nappy for over a week so he said he would as long as I let hime sleep for an hour first on the plane. Zoe always falls asleep after a feed and seeing as I was nursing her for take off, i decided to let her sleep and wake naturally. Finally after almost 2 hours, Ian and her both woke up. Met by the smell, Ian begged me to change her and offered a bribe of €100!! Certainly. I brought her to the terrible changing facilities. Lo and behold - she didn't even have a poo!! Easiest €100 I ever earned. 

Zoe is still being exclusively breastfed. We were advised to start feeding her purees when she turned 4 months which would have been this month. We felt she wan't ready yet. She didn't show interest in the food we were eating. Also she wasn't able to keep her head up very well and was still thrusting her tongue out a lot. That said, this month she has not been feeding as regularly. She still eats a lot and her rolls of chub are proof of this. Generally she feeds at 3am,06.00/06.30, 09.00, 11.00 and 14.00. Then if we are out for the afternoon, she can go hours without a feed sometimes up to 5/6. She still cluster feeds in the evening. Usually around 18.00 and 20.00/21.00 and then not again until 2/3am. She feeds so much quicker now. When she wakes at night, she gently whimpers and I pick her up before she fully cries. This way I am almost guaranteed that she will go back down. I know she's hungry because as soon as I pick her up he latches on to my face and sucks really hard, often giving me a hickey. She feeds for 5-10 mins without opening her eyes and then goes back to bed. 

The main thing I have noticed and miss like you wouldn't believe is she has stopped sleeping on my chest. When she was two months (so in her third month) she stopped sleeping on my chest too. I always had to hold her horizontally but she went back to the vertical position when she was three months. But now again at four months she has stopped. I find this hard. It is much more comfortable for me to hold her up against me but hopefully there will be times when she will sleep like this again because it's wonderful.

Zoe's sleep goes in troughs and peaks. She follows a pattern for a few days and then it changes. She sleeps in her crib some nights and in our bed other nights. I think the majority of the time though she is in our bed. I love having her beside me. Ian really does too. My only complaint is that my body is so sore. It means I am always on and aware of her in the bed. Ian has spent many nights in the spare room because he has drank too much alcohol. That's the agreement we have come to and we are both fine with that. A baby should not be in the bed if an adult is under the influence as they can be dangerous. Zoe and I take on each other's breathing patterns and seem to lie in the same positions. If I move her closer to the middle , she will always find her way back over against my body. Ian said one night Zoe sneezed and I sat up to check her, kissed her and she went back sleep. Apparently throughout the night a mother and her child will continuously check on each other. Have you ever heard anything so pure? I would like Zoe to sleep in her own bed from time to time just so (a) - Ian can always sleep with us (or he can cut out drinking so much) (b) - I can cuddle with my husband and (c) my body can have a break from lying in the same position for most of the night. 

At the beginning of October, Zoe started waking for an hour or two at around 5am and it was hard to get her back to sleep. Thankfully this only lasted three or four days. Another morning she was wide awake at 07.30 but generally her getting up for the day time is 09.00am and I love that. She always feeds and naps 2 hours after waking up so generally around 11.00. For naps though she only sleeps in my arms or if we are out walking, she sleeps in the pram. She won't sleep in the pram in the house though. She no longer sleeps on my chest. So I sit with her for an hour or so each morning while she naps. We are generally out and about for her 14.00/15.00 nap so it's in the pram and if we are still out she will drift off again around 17.00/18.00. If not she will have this nap in my arms at home. At night, this month, she has either been going to sleep really early - around 18.00/19.00 or quite late - around 23.00. There is no set routine but there are definite patterns. 

Her little crib is still set up beside our bed but whenever I can, I put her in her actual cot in her room. I play her with her or let her play while I put away her clothes or clean the room. She sometimes fusses in it but generally if I keep checking in with her she is fine. 

She still sleeps in her swing so I can get some things done. I save this for the evening though, when Ian is at work. I don't like her being in it for too long. She sits in the swing when we eat. Sometimes she still comes up into my arms when I'm eating but definitely not as often as when she was a newborn. When I feed her around 18.00 and she falls asleep, I put her in her swing for an hour and either grab a quick dinner, iron, catch up on emails or sort out the house. 

She has starting sleeping in her pram much more often when we are walks now. She went through a phase where she never slept and always wanted to be out in Ian's arms. She does still want that from time to time but she is getting much better at sleeping in it. This has been brilliant for me because I get to go out for a walk for longer periods of time. She almost always wakes just as we are coming home and cries to get out. 

She holds onto 'Pancake' (her lovey) and her keys - it's so sweet.

Since we were in Ireland though, she is wanting her schnuller (dummy) more in the pram. It's not ideal for me because I was hoping the schnuller wouldn't become a thing for her but it sort of has this month. Before Ireland we only used it now and again. I always had it with me when we were out of the house and I quickly needed to comfort her before getting a chance to feed her. I have no problem at all feeding her in public and I have fed her and walked several times. But for example if she starts crying in the queue in the supermarket and I just need 5/10 min before I can feed her. In Ireland, I used it a lot more because I noticed she was much more insecure. She was meeting lots of people, especially when I was out with my mother. I don't know how many heads went into that pram. This was the first time too I noticed her looking at me for reassurance. 

Zoe loves to suck and can spend hours on the nipple. That's why we started using it in the first place. But now we keep it to 'relaxing times' such as being out in the pram, in the car and sometimes at night. as soon as it falls out of her mouth I take it away. She generally just needs a few sucks on it to fall asleep and then it drops out. At night she doesn't often have it. She falls asleep on the breast anyway but the very odd night I give it to her if she is awake but I know she's not hungry.

She loves grabbing at things now. She is forever pulling at Ian's beaded bracelets. She has also developed an interest in soft toys and fabrics. She loves pulling at blankets, scratching the sofa as I feed her and playing with her clothes on the changing mat. She also tries to grab the fresh nappies so I have given her one nappy that she can play with during every change. She is like a dog with a bone. She grabs it, puts it in her mouth and shakes it vigorously and makes noises. Afterwards she drops it and is out of breath and panting. It's hilarious. She has also started reaching for the bag of cotton pads as soon as I place her on the mat. I just say "no" and she looks at me and most of the time stops. It's very cute. 

Her favourite toys are still the ball, Pancake, her keys, the caterpillar (this always soothes her when she is crying), Sophie and her shorts. I was putting away some of her clothes and Ian asked if we could keep her pineapple shorts out for her to play with and she loves them. Somehow she always ends up wearing them up on her shoulder like a handbag. She is much more interested in her playmat too and can really grab all of the toys on it now. 

Zoe is getting so much better at tummy time. She will really push herself up and hold her head and upper body up for a minute or two. I know a lot of newborns can do this much earlier but this little girl hates tummy time with a passion. My friend Paulina, was giving me tips on other ways of doing it besides on the floor. I hold Zoe across me lap and she does it or on my chest when I'm lying down and she lifts her head to look at me . 

Her interest in mirrors has really developed so sometimes I put her in her crib and she does tummy time there, while looking at the baby in the mirror. It's actually quite adorable when we look into any mirror and she gets excited when she sees me in it. 

In the photo below, she was doing tummy time while looking at Ian and being entertained by him. I took photos and filmed. In the footage I got she actually rolled over for the first time. Ian was making her laugh and she was kicking her legs so much that somehow how she actually flipped. I could not believe I caught it on camera. One moment Zoe was in stitches laughing at her daddy and the next she was looking at a very excited and proud mummy holding a phone over her face. She hasn't rolled over since though.

I sit Zoe up by pulling her gently by the arms. She enjoys the new views and looks incredibly cute when I do it. 

Zoe has developed an interest in books. I started reading to her shortly after she was born but there was absolutely no interest there. That was until my friend Paulina gave her a high contrast baby book (black and white). She gave it to us when Zoe was three months so I spent a lot of time looking through that book with her and now at four month her interest has progressed. Overtime we go to Ireland we plan on buying her a new book. These cardboard ones are excellent for us at the moment. they are much more compact that the long paper one and easier for us both to hold. At the moment she only really like 'The Gruffalo' but that is certainly fine by me because I love the story. The best way to read to her is to lay her on the sofa and lie beside her and put my arm over her head and hold the book. She has started reaching out and holding it too. She even turns the pages a bit too. 

She has also learned to kiss me. well she turns towards me and opens her mouth and puts it on my cheeks. She holds onto my face while doing so and sometimes makes a noise. I guess she is imitating the kissing noise I make. She only kisses me, not Ian though. 

Bath Time
Zoe still enjoys her bath. She doesn't splash or get really excited but also never complains in the water. Now that she is bigger, I find bathing her harder because she was heavier. Thankfully, Ian usually bathes her with me. She only gets one 2-3 times a week because I don't want to dry out her beautifully soft baby skin. I too enjoy bath time, up until a point. That point being the getting dried and dressed past. Zoe has started really getting upset afterwards. She is a lot better when Ian dresses her though which is strange. I was thinking maybe I hurt her when I am doing it but I consciously dress her and I know I'm not. It's very strange. I know it will always end in her screaming and having to have a big feed and a sleep. She is probably sweatier after a bath than before one.

We took her for her first proper swim. when we went away with my mum in August, we were hoping that that would be her first swim but the water was way too cold in the pool at the hotel. This time we brought her to Therma Erding just outside Munich. On the way in, we bought a baby swimming ring from the gift shop for a shocking price. I changed her into her swimming nappy and her new little swimsuit. Uh oh, she even started crying at this first step. Luckily there wasn't anyone else in the family changing room at the time. I find that here in Germany people really like to stare. Definitely more than in any other country I have visited. 

Ian and I bought took her in for the first dip and then Ian got out to take photos. She was very indifferent. Sort of like the way in the bath. She neither loved or hated it. She seemed nice and relaxed in my arms but definitely didn't splash around. 

We then tried her in the baby ring. At first this went well but quickly her amazement turned to tears and we knew swimming was over with for the day.

She is certainly more like her daddy. She enjoyed the relaxing and sleeping on the lounge chairs in the sunshine instead. 

So as I have already mentioned Zoe cries after a bath. She also cries after a sleep in the pram but we are usually always near home when this happens. I think she is just annoyed at herself for falling into the trap of pram sleeping and not being out in our arms looking around her. She also cried in traffic jams and actually has done from the time she was born, perhaps even while still in the womb. When I was pregnant and travelling on trains she always moved about when we stopped at stations and was perfectly still while we were moving. 

Zoe also doesn't like getting her cardigan put on when we are leaving the house. Once it's on she usually stops. actually no that's not true. She cries when I put her in her pram. Then I give her schnulli, pancake and her baby keys and she is happy with herself again. 

Zoe cries when she is hungry of course and loses her temper when I take too long to get my breast out. I find it hard to manoeuvre her while trying to get her food supply out so quite often have to put her down on the sofa next to me - boy, she does not like that!! Zoe has also developed a very seperate 'giving out to us' cry. Well it's not a cry but more like a fed up moan. She is so brilliant to play alone for such a long time but when she has enough she gives out. Also the very odd occasion we does it when I have to go in and out of the room when I'm doing things. It's more of a 'I'm not happy that you are doing this Mummy but there isn't really anything wrong with me other that I'm bored/lonely'. I like this in a way because if I have been playing with her a lot and I have to pop out to do something quickly I feel okay because I know she is just unhappy with me. This way I do leave her give out while I get the things I need to do done. I obviously always reassure her and keep talking from afar but I don't have to come running like I did when she was a newborn. 

I feel like she has a very distinct temper. She gets so angry now.I know people say a baby can't have a tantrum but I disagree. Zoe screams now in between bouts of crying, like an actual angry scream like she is really annoyed with me. She has started pulling her own hair too when she is upset. She lashes out at myself and Ian pulling and scratching at us. I was quite worried at this behaviour but a friend of mine said her children were the exact same as babies. She is definitely not an angry baby most of the time, it's just when she gets really upset or overtired. For me, it's still a bit worrying because I didn't know babies could get angry. Then again, I guess it's an emotion and one we all feel and babies can not self regulate so it must be all consuming. I'm probably painting a bad picture. It's not as dramatic as that sounds in writing. It's just a bit worrying because Zoe is generally so happy, easy going and gentle. 

She really is a fantastic baby minus the temper. She gets so excited when we play together. She screeches loads now when Ian gets her worked up. It's heart warming seeing and hearing them playing. I love that she lets us sleep so late in the mornings - pretty much always until 09.00!! We then play for half an hour or so in the bed and just have really fun family time. I guess this is the one benefit of Ian working evenings. We put her down on her play mat when we finally rise and she happily plays there while I tidy up, sterilise, put on a wash, put away the dry clothes and eat breakfast. 

Zoe got yet even more vaccinations this month. It was bad timing too as Ian was going to his work's day/night at Oktoberfest. She got them around midday so while Ian lederhosened himself up, Zoe and I got into bed. She fed and slept as did it. Ian was gone for 13 hours but thankfully Zoe was in very good form after them. she just slept a lot but didn't have a fever and wasn't cranky. 

I think this has been the only day I have given her schnullt while we were just 'being' together. 

So proud of her ladybird plasters on her chunky legs. 

Daddy's Girl
Zoe is a complete daddy's girl. Need I say more?

My mum said that this is rare for a breastfed baby but she definitely prefers him over me. I feel like just a food source to her at the moment. When Ian isn't there we are perfectly fine together but when he is home she (almost) only has eyes for him. It's very cute but at times I feel a bit hurt. But that's motherhood for me, I guess. More on this next month. It would be worse if she didn't have time for him which seems to be the more common situation. (Thank you Google)

They are always imitating one another with realising. 

Daddy saying goodbye to Zoe as he sets off for a trip home to visit his family. He is always saying he should spend more time with his family so I looked up flights and chose dates for him and off he went for 4 and a half days. I was so happy that he finally did it because it would be a regret if he didn't. 

I didn't find the time as hard as I thought I would. But then again I have Zoe with me 24/7 anyway so it was no different. The only thing I missed was just having the extra pair of hands to hold her for five minutes while I .....(insert cook, empty washing machine, shower, pee, put away washing' put on my coat etc.) or even to bring me some water or make me a cup of tea while I was nursing. 
Zoe is an absolute star for playing on her own or being left down but naturally there are times when she wants to be in my arms (not only at nap times). Also she was starting to teethe so she was slightly needier than usual. At one stage I had so much cleaning to do I put her in the baby carrier with the hope of having my two hands free but literally after I took this photo, she wanted out. 

This month I struggled a bit emotionally. It's very strange because most days I don't feel tired but then all of a sudden exhaustion creeps up on me and knocks me for six. There was one day this month when I felt so crap about myself. It wasn't a mummy thing. I felt I was doing fine with that, I just felt really awful about myself. I used to feel this way a lot a few years ago and am very self aware. When these feelings or thoughts arise, I am reminded of my thankfully short spell of depression (two years as result of major life events) and I never want to return to that. Obviously, we all have bad days. I feel lucky not to have them too often and appreciate that more than you will ever know. However, sometimes they happen and it certainly happened mid-month. I'm experiencing a few problems in my life at the moment and I guess it all got too much. 

The body, as we know, is a fantastic vessel. Our minds and bodies are deeply connected hence why my stress, worry and sadness made it's way to the surface (pardon the pun) in the form of an infected cyst. I've had this cyst for maybe a decade and only once before has it caused me any discomfort. Just before we got married, there were members of my family making things awkward and the stress got to me. Although I didn't think I was worried, subconsciously it must have been getting to me and my cyst became infected. So again, this month with the stress in my mind, I developed this infection. If it gets worse I'll go to the doctor. 

When we returned from Ireland, I suggested that I have some time one afternoon to myself. Being in Ireland tired me out a lot because Zoe didn't really go to anybody else and because she was insecure around so many new people she fed a lot so I was pooped. My friend, Niamh, suggested we meet up for a glass of wine one Sunday afternoon. I had a few days to look forward to the break and to pump and be prepared. I think I had my bad 'me' day a day or two before so this was a much needed break. Up until this I had been away from Zoe
- The night she was in the baby clinic (her first night)
- I left her for 20/30 min with my sister while I went to Next to look for shoes
- Ian took her to the supermarket across the road once
- I went to the rubbish area (3 minute walk from our apartment)
- Ian got up a little earlier 4/5 mornings and I had sleep ins
- The night with my mum for 2.5 hours
- and the majority of my showers
other than that I have Zoe with me 24/7. I am not complaining and am grateful that I have this time with her. I could have had to go back to work when she was only weeks old. That said, I think everyone needs a bit of a break and time to just be the person they once were and not just Mum. 

As the time approached I had a sinking feeling in my stomach and my heart ached a little. This is so silly to feel this way because I NEEDED this time. I felt guilty for needing it too. So I said my goodbyes (Zoe obviously slept in the run up to me leaving) and walked to meet my Niamh. What an afternoon/evening/night. I stayed out until almost 22.00 (left at 14.00 and had the best afternoon. We chatted so much that we didn't notice the time passing. This was exactly the thing I needed. I actually didn't worry about how Ian was getting on, too much, the company was so enjoyable. Ian kept updating me throughout the day, photos and all which was great. When I finally did come through the door, Zoe did seem happy to see me and fed almost instantly.

When I met Niamh, she gave me a gift from work. My friends there chipped in and bought us a very generous voucher for toys'r'us. While Mari, the artist, in the other krippe room drew this picture of me and my daughter which is remarkable and I will cherish it forever.  

Family photos - Zoe's not impressed. This girl knows when the camera is out and will rarely smile for it. That makes me sad because there are so many smiles and laughs we don't capture but sure hey, will we will just have to be old fashioned and store them on our original hard drive - our memories. 

I guess one of the many ways that was causing me to feel down was losing my freedom of dressing. That sounds strange and by no means was I a fashionista but I do have an interest in clothes. My wardrobe is quite limiting now and although the summer was great for breastfeeding, I am dreading the winter. I also missed wearing dresses. I do live in skirts so I know they are similar. However I never know what tops to wear and my string vests are getting very tired looking. A few times this month, I did wear a dress but then this makes nursing even more exposing. I guess I don't feel 'put together' anymore. I rarely even look in a mirror so I could constantly have stuff on my face. My grey hairs keep poking through because it's hard to dye it when I have a baby that feeds and sleeps in my arms. I don't wear my jewellery because I don't want to scratch Zoe. Just generally I have lost my 'style'. It's a superficial thing but it makes a difference. 

Physically I feel fine, besides my cyst. My body does get sore from holding her while she feeds and naps and from being in the same position all night. I have been losing an incredible amount of hair. I have become quite thin especially around the front and sides. 
I have been sleeping well and I don't nap. Nutritionally I am still not great. I live on bread and chocolate and biscuits. I do eat bananas everyday and some melon and apple. The only vegetables I am eating are broccoli, carrots and peas but at least they are packed with goodness. Ian has been preparing more meals this month which is great. He must have felt guilty after Amy and Keith's visit. 
My friend Cristina, was brilliant this month and came over to cook for me. We have a joke now that Zoe and I have this Brazilian cook who comes over now and prepares us delicious meals. People really are fantastic. I hope that I can return the favour one of these days. 

So that's it for Zoe's 5th month. I cannot believe she is four months already (well as I am writing this she is actually 6 months). 

I will hopefully have her 6th month update posted in the next week or so, if I can find the time. 

Thanks everyone for stopping by and catching up on our little updates. 

With Love,

gem xx
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