Zoe - Month Six

So my little Zoe turned 5 months. I know I constantly say this but the time has gone so fast. 

Zoe’s doctor advised that we start introducing solids at around 4 months. I was so disappointed because in my mind I was preparing myself for not having to worry about food until at least 6 months. I thought this was yet another benefit of breastfeeding. After doing a little research I decided to start around 5 months. Zoe wasn't fully ready according to the information I read. She still thrusted her tongue forward and she was unable to sit up properly or lift her head for long periods of time. 

We got this very cute letter from our health insurer reminding us that it was time to think about weaning and full of tips to help us. 

So Zoe's first taste was baby rice mixed with some breastmilk on Sunday 30th October. She sat on Ian's lap and I fed her. She was very indifferent to the whole experience. She neither loved or disliked it. She was fascinated by the crinkly bib around her neck though, so I think that is something to be skipped in future. 

Since Zoe rarely takes a bottle, I wanted to start her drinking from her own cup. She loves the breast and her schnulli so to add another comfort object, such as a bottle, to the mix would be too much for me. I am already dreading weaning her off those two things as it is. I bought this cup trainer from DM and she really enjoyed it. She went cockeyed drinking from it, which I haven't seen her be for ages. I put the remainder of the breastmilk that was used for the baby rice. She did really well with it. I tilted it upwards so that she got the taste and then figured out how to use the bottle. 

By feeding her, I am buying myself some time in the evening, which is usually spent nursing her on the sofa, and have started making dinner again. Although they are quick dishes such as sandwiches, wraps and tortellini, at least I am getting a meal into me. 

Zoe is still nursing a lot but nothing too tiring. I can get out to the supermarket and back without feeding her. This certainly was not the case when she was an infant. Back then every single outing ended up with a feed. I have no problem feeding her in public and I really couldn't care if people are offended or disgusted by it. 

This month Zoe has started twisting my skin as she feeds. She also bites down a bit too when I am distracted talking to someone. She also turns very distinctly towards me when she wants a feed. 

Zoe is well and truly in our bed (well from 24th Oct until 11th November and then went back to her own) I am perfectly happy with that at the moment anyway. We both sleep quite well and she is big enough now that I'm no longer worried about squashing her. She sleeps right up against my body and apparently we check for each other during the night - according to Ian. We have no set bedtime but generally head down around 20.00/20.30 if we are tired or I feed her and hold her all evening on the sofa if we feel like staying up late. Also this month she actually has started going to sleep just by me lying beside her.

Ian still doesn't wake during the night when she does. I find this baffling. Sometimes if I really have to pee before feeding, she cried loudly until I come back. She is lying next to him and he just doesn't hear her. 

She goes to sleep at night around 20.30/21.00 and wakes each morning at 09.00. She naps again at 11.00 in my arms after a feed. Then again around 15.00 and an evening nap around 17.00. This one and the morning one seem to be her longest ones. 

All of her naps are still in my arms and that's fine. I get to catch up on my Youtube subscriptions, emails and messages. If we are out and about she takes really long naps in her pram so that's brilliant. 

We love having her in the bed with us. Every morning I reckon we spend an hour playing around together. I know there will come a time when she is up and hyperactive at 05.30/06.00 so I am enjoying these morning immensely. 

I am hoping at about 6 months, we may be transitioning her into her cot. She still fits in the crib but I am worried it won't hold her weight much longer. So we have started hanging out in her cot in her bedroom. I have tried a few times to get her to nap in it but I cannot bear to hear her cry and she doesn't let me soothe her in anyway besides the breast. 

At the end of the month, I decided to pack up the crib and bring the cot into our room. But at the last minute, I chickened out because I just couldn't let go of that stage just yet. She still has plenty of room in the crib to stretch out. I know it's silly but each stage just goes to fast and I feel I'm constantly mourning them. 

This photo taken mid-October was the final time she ever fell asleep in her swing. 

Personality - Likes/ Dislikes

Physically, besides growing, the red marks on her head and between her eyebrows are fading and her hair is becoming much darker. 

Zoe is definitely becoming more of a Mummy's girl. She still adores her daddy so much but I reckon she now sees me as something other than a boob. She kisses me when I ask her too. The other day we were standing in front of the mirror and she was looking at me reflection. She screeched with excitement , grabbed my face and kissed me. That made my day. She always makes a noise when kissing me too - like a shriek. When I say kisses she puts her open mouth against my cheek and makes a noise. It is apparent it's her version of a kiss. But I guess with the good comes the bad. Zoe really plays up for me and only me. She fusses and gives out to me for putting her in her pram or dressing her yet if Ian does it she is okay. Or a few times I noticed her telling me off and if my mum walked into the room she would stop immediately. Little minx.

She cries far less than she used to and I can really distinguish between her cries now. A new cry that has emerged is her annoyed cry - featured above. But she definitely doesn't get as angry as she used to. There isn't anything particularly wrong - she just doesn't want to be left down, dressed, put in her pram etc. Zoe has started crying when we leave the room too but it's not all the time. It's mainly when she is getting tired or is just enjoying company. It could be far worse. She has also become really sensitive to noise. She cries when I turn on the hoover, hairdryer or blender. She looks at either myself or Ian, the lip quivers and she howls. Every single noise wakes her too, even Ian's ankle cracking. 

That said, she is really becoming a happy little girl. She is so incredibly placid and sometimes comes across as indifferent. But when that little girl smiles, my heart almost drowns with love. 

She sucks her lips in as I think she is feeling her teeth. She also spits a little. we are really lucky with her dribble wise. She had a very brief couple of days of dribble but generally she rarely does it. We hardly ever need to put a bib on her. 

Zoe loves it when we kiss or blow raspberries on her thighs and tummy. She does a sweet little belly laugh. When she feeds from me now she holds my hand and uses her other hand to rub my side or touches my face. If I am talking on the phone or to someone, sometimes she reaches for my lips - in other words "Stop talking Mummy, please". 

She adores books and we spent a lot of time reading. Her favourite is still 'The Gruffalo'. When I take it out to read she kicks and gets so excited. It's super cute. 

Zoe is starting to play with things, although she mainly just puts toys in her mouth. This month was the first time she pressed the button on her xylophone. When she starts to get fussy I can distract her now with objects and toys. 

We play little games such as blowing kisses which she loves.

She is starting to enjoy her baths more. She still just lies there and never splashes about. Before she neither liked or disliked being bathed but now she smiles in the bath. We bought her a bath seat so it makes washing her much easier and i guess we get to interact with her more and more. She has started to gently splash too but I mean gently. 

So she may enjoy baths now but she HATES the aftermath. I haven't fully worked out what it is she doesn't like - the temperature change, the drying, the getting dressed or she may just be hungry and tired. It's not the getting out of the bath though I know for sure. I'll have to try different things to figure this out. I really want to bring her to swimming lessons but I dread the getting dried and dressed part. Sure we'll see.

This month, I was sticking this alphabet on her bedroom wall so I put her down on her sheep rug to play while I worked. I turned around and she had scooted off the rug and was just lying on the floor - happy out. 

Zoe still does not like tummy time but as a good mother I keep persisting - sometimes. I tried her in her crib so she could see herself in the mirror and she seemed to enjoy it, for a little bit at least. I still reckon it's because her belly is always full that she hates lying on it. 

We have been practicing sitting up a lot which she is thrilled about. 

I lay her down and pull her into the sitting position several times a day and I feel this is better for her core than tummy time which ends in tears. 

Having her sit on my lap makes dining out more enjoyable for the two of us. I can eat one handed and she can people watch.

I'm not sure why but this girl loves a fight with this pig from Ikea which Ian bought her before she was born. Zoe always wins.

She loves examining her feet during nappy changing and has now started to grab both feet, not just one. Oh to be that flexible!!

She has just about outgrown her 3-6 month clothes - just another thing for me to mourn.

Zoe is still in her baby chair in the car and sleeps quite well in it on journeys. On this day, we took a spin over to Westpark - a beautiful green area in Munich. Zoe fell asleep moments before we found parking so we didn't want to wake her. Instead we took another spin to the area where we used to live and ended up eating pastries rather than taking a family walk. 

Ha ha! she sticks out her tongue so much.

That was until her first sit in her highchair. Okay so maybe we'll just feed in the swing for the moment. 

Although, the following day she was happy enough playing in it while I ironed. This was lovely for me. Lately she will sit in her swing while I bake or wash up. But this time I has her closer to me and I felt we interacted even more and she could watch exactly what I was doing. Ironing - how interesting.

She loves this little vinyl book I picked up in DM for €2ish. It squeaks and she can really chew on it.

We bought this Philips Avent puree steamer and blender, secondhand on Amazon for €50. It came in practically brand new condition. So far it's going very well but Zoe cried when I blend. I think the sound is too high pitched and loud.

I bought another bag that ties across the pram handle as our other one broke. I got both from Amazon. This one was €18. I use it instead of a handbag to store muslin cloths, keys, purse, phones, schnulli and tissues in. The original one was one of the best things that I bought babywise in my opinion. This ones however is terrible. My first one had a pocket which had a cover and two exposed pockets - for drinks, bottles etc. This one though has the same idea except it's one big pocket so all the contents get wet when it rains. I think I'll get the original one again. 

We bought her highchair and cushions for it.

I bought clothes in Tesco when I was home.

And another blanket - although I didn't need one. Unfortunately this one is quite stiff so I probably won't get much use out of it. 

I also bought a new nappy bag from TK Maxx

Eventhough I never really need/use one because there are nappy changing stations in DMs all across Munich which provide nappies and wipes. I always carry spare ones just in case and a change of clothes. But these fit into a small bag which I received from the hospital when Zoe was born.

More 6-9 month outfits and 6 months plus Nuk schnullers. 

Autumn has definitely descended on Munich and the park looks stunning.

My brother Richard and his girlfriend Claire came to visit us on Halloween for a few days. We had a great time showing them the city and drinking in biergartens. 

We hired a car (we wouldn't all fit in ours) and took a day trip to Konigsee. This was the first day I had to put Zoe in a coat, well her snow suit. She looked really adorable that a group of Japanese tourists approached us asking to take photos of her. 

We had a great few days with our visitors. I had planned a week or so before they arrived that I would fly back to Ireland with them. It was my dad's 10 year anniversary (of his death) and I wanted to see my mother. It was a surprise which Richard helped me with. He had to 'smuggle' the baby car seat. By smuggle, i mean Richard just laid it in the back seat. My mum spotted it and just thought he hadn't removed it form our previous visit in September. 

Ian was really sad saying goodbye to Zoe in the airport; he shed a little tear. Oh yeah, she high fives with Ian too now. Just remembered that. 

So off we flew to Ireland and drove down to Waterford during the night. We arrived home at 03.00 and Richard snuck into my mum's room carrying Zoe in her car seat. She was so surprised. Unfortunately the next morning I walked in on her telling someone on the phone how much she hates surprises. That put a bit of a damper on the whole situation but at least I was on holidays for a while. 

I got the opportunity to meet up with lots of people and have a proper catch up. Zoe spent most of the time in my arms and wasn't 100% happy going to other people. She didn't cry but she was certainly uncomfortable and kept looking at me for reassurance. Every time she fell asleep in my arms I tried to pass her to mum so I could get ready or do something but she always woke up during the hand over. 

Except for my sister-in-law - Marion who somehow managed to get her to sleep. 

While in Mum's, Zoe had her first try of a high chair. Unfortunately, because our kitchen is so small we couldn't get one like this, but she did enjoy the experience. It wasn't long before she started sliding down but it was good while it lasted.

She was much happier in the bouncer!!

One of the things on my list to buy while in Ireland was another Pancake (Tatty teddy Lovey) and a spare. While we were on our trip to Konigsee, Pancake must have fallen out of the car while we were getting out. Zoe loves Pancake so a new one had to be bought, as well as a spare and of course Granny wanted to get her something too - the giraffe lovey.

The trip home was great. Although I didn't get much rest from Zoe (not that I wanted it but maybe one lie in would be nice), I got a break from life in Munich and my loneliness. 

It was funny, even though Zoe spends 90 - 95% of her time with me, it was this trip that brought us closer together. 

When we got back we went to visit our friend Paulina and her little boy Nico. We hadn't seen them since August. They live outside the city, so we took a suburban train out to see them. Paulina cooked a delicious lunch and baked some tasty buns for dessert. I felt so looked after. Zoe lay quietly on the floor while Nico babbled and scooted around her. Paulina left the room for a few moments and Zoe started chatting away to me. i was very cute. I wonder if she is just shy. 

I was telling Paulina how Zoe still hates tummy time so she took out one of Nico's tummy time toys. Although Zoe was finding it difficult to keep her head up for long, she did seem determined. Paulina let us borrow it (and of course I still haven't returned it as of yet, but certainly will). We took the babies for a lovely long walk around the town and lake. I felt really revived after the day out and we both slept pretty well that night.

I started a 5 year journal for Zoe. Some days I write what we did and other days I write about a particular part of her day/personality/development. I hope she appreciates all my records of her life. 

I have been feeling particularly low/bad this month and maybe I'll write about it someday.  So it was a much welcomed break for me to be invited for tea with my colleagues one afternoon in November. It was a goodbye meet up because one lady was leaving the company but thankfully not Munich. It felt good to wear a dress which was not a nursing dress. I happily got ready, unlike the last time when I felt guilty and sad leaving Zoe. Then Ian and Zoe dropped me off at a gem of a tea rooms. I had a lovely couple of hours just chatting with the girls about all things not baby related. It was refreshing and I turned to my lovely family feeling revived and full of milk. Ian got Zoe to sleep while bouncing on the gymball and sent me this photo to reassure me that all was good at home. When I returned they were standing up in the sitting room and as soon as Zoe saw me she screeched with delight. This was the first time I saw her this excited to see me. I guess I rarely get to come home to her as I am almost always with her.

As I was feeling particularly lonely this month, I finally convinced Ian to organise a little get together dinner party with friends. Ian did the cooking and I cleaned, set the table and looked after baby. It was lovely getting dressed up and putting on make up. The evening was really good fun. This was an image I had for years before Zoe - friends sitting around, chatting, drinking, eating good food and having my little baby with us. It was perfect. 

I went off to be eventually with Zoe sometime after midnight, as poor Zoe wasn't getting a very restful sleep in my arms. I was always exhausted as every time she woke to our voices I had to feed her again. I left Ian up for another couple of hours with our guests and we cleaned up together the following morning.

At the end of last month, the cyst on my back started giving me trouble. I think it was due to stress and my body basically being exhausted from nursing, poor nutrition, lack of a full nights sleep and just general strain. It was getting sore just lying on it. Eventually Ian made a doctor's appointment for me (I''m still to scared to speak German) and I got it drained. 

The doctor and I joked about it being similar to having Zoe removed from me. it was such a relief to have that painful pressure gone from my back. 

My sleep has become terrible. This isn't because of Zoe. She does wake two to three times a night for a quick feed and then back down to sleep. I on the other hand find it hard to go to sleep. I can't nap, I wake a lot and I find it difficult to drift off at night. I have a lot on my mind in ways so i'm presuming that's what's causing it. It also doesn't help having Ian working late nights because I am aware of him coming in and find it hard to sleep if it's close to that time. Then again if I slept well I might have missed this beautiful sunrise I witnessed as I was sorting out clothes in Zoe's room. 

I am really enjoying the closeness Zoe has for me now. I was worried for a while that she didn't love me. She was completely a daddy's girl. Naturally she still adores him but I know and feel that she likes being with me too. Finally the breastfeeding and co-sleeping is paying off!!! (Obviously they have more benefits that just this). 

So that's it again for another month. I am sorry that these posts are so late too. 

Thanks for stopping by,

With love,

gem xx


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