Products You Need For starting Solids

We recently started Navy on solids (at 5.5 months). I was so excited for this chapter. Navy...not so much. Let's just say it didn't seem that she liked anything I tried to feed her (apples, pears, bananas, spinach, broccoli etc.). I am glad to report that the past couple of feeds were way more successful! We're getting there.

Here is everything I bought related to introducing solids:

1. High chair- This one is a classic. It's great because it grows with your baby (can eventually be used as a chair). It also has an adjustable footplate, which is key (provides stability and comfort for babies).  Make sure to buy the complete set.

2. Beaba- Makes it so easy to make baby purees.

3. Utensils- I recommend these spoons to start. Navy loves to hold them. She can chew on them since they have a flat and textured surface (which is also supposed to help soothe sore gums). I bought these spoons to feed her. And lastly I got these spoons for when she's a bit more advanced and wants to feed herself (it's actually a spoon, unlike the other ones she can hold which have a flat surface).

4. Bowl Placemat- This suctions to the table. It helps to promote self-feeding. And it comes in pretty colors.

5. Bib- this one is easy to clean and comes in pretty colors.

6. Food storage- I got this to store purees in the freezer.

7. Sippy cup- I got this sippy cup and this one. So far, she doesn't understand how to drink from them. But they come highly recommended.

8. Fresh Fruit Feeders- We started with these before we introduced purees and she loved them (I used bananas, avocado etc.)

Navy's 6 month schedule

When I shared Navy's 4-5 month schedule, so many of you saved it. Now that we are on a different routine, I thought I would share her 6-month schedule. Please note, below is my ideal situation. In reality, it rarely works out exactly as described. Either she has trouble falling asleep, or doesn't sleep the entire time, or needs to add another catnap in the late afternoon etc. Also, Navy has 5 bottles a day. If your baby has 4 bottles a day, you can eliminate the 5:00 pm bottle. 

7:00 am- Wake up and bottle (even if Navy wakes up earlier, we only get her at 7:00 am unless she is really crying)
7:30 am-8:00 am- Playtime
8:00 am-8:30 am- Breakfast
8:30 am-9:00 am- Read Navy books and get her ready for bed
9:00 am-11:00 am- Nap 1
11:00 am- Bottle
11:30 am-12:00 pm- Playtime
12:00 pm- Lunch
12:30 pm- Read Navy books and get her ready for bed
1:00 pm-3:00 pm- Nap 2 (she rarely sleeps the full 2 hours but I offer it at this time)
3:00 pm- Bottle
3:30 pm- Playtime (I normally take her for a nice walk during this time)
5:15 pm- Bottle and dinner  
5:45 pm -6:45 pm-  Nap 3 (normally this is on a walk with Ray and Luca)
7:20 pm- Bath
7:30 pm- Bottle and books
7:45 pm- Bedtime

0-3 month recap

How is Navy 5 months old?! The past 5 months have flown by (even in quarantine). Before I forget the ins and outs of the first few months, I figured I'd do a recap and provide some useful information. We all know that the first few months are filled with sleepless nights, healing, figuring shit out, and the occasional meltdown. But more importantly, it's the most magical time.

The greatest advice I got

  • Enjoy every moment, even the sleepless nights, because it goes by so fast- This couldn't be more true. Navy is almost 5 months old as I write this, and I can't get over how fast time is going. I actually have moments where I feel sad. I miss her delivery (I know, I'm one of very few), I miss the few days in the hospital (pre-Covid 19), I miss the first week home where it was just Navy, Ray, Luca and I getting to know her and I miss when our families came to meet her (and sadly haven't seen her since because of Covid 19). Don't get me wrong, I'm so excited for all of the milestones that are to come. But the newborn phase was so incredible, I can't believe how quickly it flew by. 
  • Your priorities will change the day she is born- Wow. This also couldn't be more true. Before we had Navy, I had a really hard time deciding if I was ready. How was I going to balance work and motherhood? I was so dedicated to my job, I couldn't imagine having the time to raise a baby. What if I can't bill as much? Or be as readily available for clients? I remember my people telling me that, while I can't imagine it now, when Navy is here my priorities will change. I really didn't understand that, until she was born. 
  • Everyone will have their own opinion (and let it be known)- If you don't want to hear it, just ignore it. Some advice will be really helpful, and others just won't resonate or apply to you. Know how to filter the good from the bad. 
  • Listen to your mom instincts- I love this one. I had zero idea how to take care of a baby before Navy was born. After all, I had never even changed a baby's diaper on my own or spent a few hours alone with one. But the second Navy was born, it all came so naturally. It's the weirdest thing- you go from having no idea what you're doing to feeling like you know better than anyone. 
What I learned 

  • You really don't know what it's going to be like until you're in it- The best example I can give is with breastfeeding. Before Navy was born, I really didn't care whether I breastfed or used formula. Fed is best. I, of course, still strongly believe that. But I was surprised at how attached to breastfeeding I became. I was lucky to have a great supply and for it to come relatively easy for Navy and I. Unfortunately, I had to stop pretty abruptly when she was 3 months old. In a million years I never thought I would be so upset switching to bottle-feeding.
  • Never say never- Going back to breastfeeding, I always said that once I was exclusively bottle-feeding, I would just stop pumping. I really didn't like to pump and so I figured at that point, I'd just switch to formula (and use up any milk I had stored, which was quite a bit). Wrong. For whatever reason, I cannot stop pumping. I've been doing it exclusively for 2 months. Let's see how long I do it for. 
  • Don't rush sleep training- When Navy turned 3 1/2 months, she outgrew the Snoo. I decided that once I was moving her to the crib, I would start sleeping training her (for nighttime and naps). The nighttimes weren't terrible, but the naps were a nightmare. After an incredibly challenging week, I decided Navy simply wasn't ready to start sleep training (especially for naps). After all, they say that you can't really train them for naps until 5 months. But I was so eager to start, I figured she could do it. Thankfully I hadn't yet returned the Snoo, so for the following two weeks, I had her nap in the Snoo (which was a dream). At 4 months I switched her back to the crib. But I'm now way more relaxed. Even she's having difficulty napping (normally her 3rd and 4th nap of the day), I let her sleep in the stroller or on me. When they're developmentally ready, it's so much easier. At 4 months and 1 day, Navy decided she no longer wanted the dream feed. She started sleeping through the night (most nights), and it was just so much easier than trying to force it earlier. 
  • You can't do it all- For a few months, I was doing the morning shift every morning. And not surprisingly, I burnt out. There is only so long you can go with such little sleep. Ray and I started alternating morning shifts and it made an incredible difference. Even if I wake up early on my off days, I'm able to get a workout in and do something for me. 
Things I think you need

Things you can live without
  • So many swaddles- 2 is enough in my opinion
  • More than a couple of outfits- Navy lived in footies until 4 months. It's just SO much easier. They stay nice and cozy. Plus she spits up so much I have to change her all of the time (with outfits that would have been a nightmare). 
  • I did this post about things you don't need in your hospital bag
  • Pretty muslin swaddles- I got 5 and barely used them. I use the burp cloths I took from the hospital. 

Book Recommendations for Babies

One day I was on the phone with my best friend Fallon (who is my go-to for all of my mom advice) and we were discussing activities to do with Navy during her awake time. I told her how I love books like Olivia, Llama Llama Red Pajama and On The Night You Were Born. Fallon, a speech therapist, said those books were wonderful to read to her at night, but that I should be reading Navy books that will help encourage her speech and language development (i.e. ones with way fewer words) throughout the day. She gave me a good example: If you are learning a new language, you start by learning one word at a time. What is blue in Spanish?  How do you say dog in French? You don't learn by hearing paragraphs at a time. So she recommended some amazing books. A few of them I actually had already, while others I purchased that day. She also provided this link, which is really helpful if you want more options. She suggests reading these books over and over again, because babies learn through repetition (we may find it boring but they don't!)

Here are my favorite shorter ones:

1. Dear Zoo
2. Your First Word Will Be Dada
3. Everything is Mama
4. Snuggle Puppy
5. Pajama Time
6. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
7. I Love You Through and Through
9. Moo Baa La La La!
10. The Going To Bed Book
11. Opposites
12. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
13. Are You My Mother?
14. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
15. Open the Barn Door

Here are my favorite ones that may better for Navy when she's older, but we still read them to her at night:

1. Olivia
2. Llama Llama Red Pajama
3. On The Night You Were Born
4. I Love You Stinky Face

Navy's 3-4 Month Schedule

Before I had Navy, I truly didn't understand the importance of a set schedule. I figured the moms I knew were just Type A and liked being organized. Boy, was I wrong. A schedule (for Navy at least) is necessary for both her and my well-being. If she gets too hungry, or too overtired, it's not pretty. But when we follow a schedule, things flow so much more smoothly.

We've been using the Taking Cara Babies method. Her instructions follow the eat, awake (play), sleep routine. The biggest lesson I learned from her material is that not one day (ever) will you actually follow the schedule. So what's the point of one? A schedule is more of a guide to follow. But your baby will never actually follow it to T.

The following schedule is what we've done (or try to do) for Navy over the past 2 months or so.

Navy's Schedule:

7:00 am- Wake Up. 5 minutes of tummy time. Eat (6 ounces).
7:30 am- Playtime
8:00 am- 10:00 am- Nap
10:00 am- Wake Up. 5 minutes of tummy time. Eat (6 ounces).
10:30 am- Playtime
11:00 am- 1:00 pm- Nap
1:00 pm- Wake Up. 5 minutes of tummy time. Eat (6 ounces).
1:30 pm- 2:00 pm- Playtime
2:00 pm- 4:00 am- Nap
4:00 pm- Wake Up. 5 minutes of tummy time. Eat (6 ounces).
4:30 pm-5:30 pm- Playtime
5:30 pm - 6:45 pm - Nap (generally in the stroller during a family walk)
6:45 pm - bath time
7:00 pm- Body lotion and jammies. Eat (6 ounces). I feed her while Ray reads her a book. Rock her to bed.
10:00 pm- Wake her for the dream feed. Eat (3-4 ounces). Change her diaper. Back to Bed.

Three Tips for Tummy Time

Whenever someone would ask how much tummy time Navy would get, I would lie (just a little!). I mean, the poor girl hated it! Within two seconds of placing her on her belly, she would scream like crazy. It wasn't fun for her or for me. But yes I know, it is extremely important. Recently she started doing a lot better with it. I'm not sure if it's because she's a bit older (16 weeks), or because of the tips I share below. Either way, I'm very glad she no longer notifies our entire apartment building of her dislike for tummy time with the sound of her screams (jk..but not really).

- Practice tummy time right after her naps before her feeds.  I follow the following schedule: feed, awake time, nap and repeat. Up until recently, I assumed tummy time should fall within the awake category. So I would feed her, burp her, place her on the mat, play with her for a bit and then put her on her tummy. If I was lucky and made it a minute on her tummy, she would always end up puking. So I decided that right after she wakes up from her nap, we would do tummy time. After 5 minutes or so I feed her (if you're giving a bottle make sure it's ready because she gets a bit fussy at this point). But she seems so much more comfortable doing tummy time this way.

- Place the baby on the mat and then roll them over, rather than placing them directly on their belly.  I learned this tip in my mommy and me class and it's really helped. I say to her "Navy, I'm going to roll you on to your belly" and then do it gently. Another tip I learned in the class is to gently push down on their bum with your hand, which helps them to lift their head higher.

- Get a toy that distracts them.  This bee makes all of the difference. The sounds, the lights and the movement totally distract Navy so she doesn't even realize she's on her belly. She follows it with her eyes and could stay in the position so much longer than she used to without it.

A recap of Navy's First Month

I don't plan on doing a recap of every month of Navy's life, don't worry. That being said, the first month is both incredibly exciting and particularly challenging. As a new mom, it can be helpful to read other people's experiences to have an idea of what is to come. Also, selfishly I want to remember the details of the first month before it feels like years ago.

The Toughest Parts:

1. Lack of sleep, duh- The lack of sleep is pretty unimaginable until you experience it. We constantly say it's like army training (or what I envision army training to be like). Somehow, everyone does it. But that doesn't make it easier. For the first two weeks, the lack of sleep didn't really bother me. I'd be dead by 7:00 PM, but during the day I felt pretty fine. I think I was on a new parent high, and I was always so excited to see her and hold her that I didn't mind waking up every 2 hours. The third week was the most challenging. While I still felt the same excitement at the thought of holding her every few hours throughout the night, the high was quickly being replaced by pure exhaustion. Navy also got a cold and started becoming fussier. It wasn't easy. For the past week, Navy has been sleeping a lot better. I know it will only get easier.

2. Breastfeeding- Breastfeeding actually hasn't been too difficult for me. That being said, there were days at the beginning where I thought I would for sure give it up. When your milk first comes in, it can be painful. Moreover, figuring out your baby's feeding schedule and worrying whether or not she/he is getting enough can be disheartening.

At the hospital, I met with a lactation consultant who suggested that I feed 15 minutes on each side, and burp her in between. The nurses would also monitor when she peed and pood to ensure she was eating enough. When Ray and I got home, we continued the same routine of tracking each feed and diaper. It was so stressful! Navy would fall asleep before the 15 minutes was up. I would constantly try and wake her up to feed more and then would get stressed out since I wasn't sure if she actually ate for a full 15 minutes. It made the process exhausting! Moreover, the lactation consultant suggested I wear a nipple shield because Navy had a bit of a tongue tie and pump after each feed. The nipple shield wasn't easy to use and Navy would get really fussy if she had to wait while she was hungry. It wasn't fun.

When Navy was 6 days old we went to see the lactation consultant at my pediatrician's office. She was already back at her birth weight. She ate for 7 minutes and then the lactation consultant weighed her- she drank 2.5 ounces! The consultant said I had an overproduction of milk and that 7 minutes could be more than enough for Navy to get enough to eat. She said there was no such thing as having to do a full 15 minutes on each side (and that probably would never happen with Navy!). She also said I absolutely did not need the nipple shield or to pump yet and there was no need to track every feed, poo, and pee (so long as she continued to have wet diapers). Her advice made the process so much more relaxing. It was only after that meeting that I actually could start enjoying it, rather than stressing over it.

3. Leaving Navy for the first time- It took me almost 3 weeks to leave Navy for the first time. I went for dinner and left after 1.5 hours, it was just too stressful for me. But each time it got easier. Now I feel okay leaving her right after a feed and getting back before her next one.

4. Getting used to newborn noises- Before I delivered I thought I would be so anxious that I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. I assumed I would just sit and stare at her in the bassinet. In reality, I was so overtired that even if I wanted to sit and stare, it wasn't going to happen. The second I put her down I'd fall right asleep. That being said, the noises she would make when she was falling asleep would freak Ray and I out. Nobody mentioned this. Newborns make the weirdest sounds that can totally scare you. But apparently it's normal! Just a heads up :).

5. Recovering from delivery- I was very lucky that I had a relatively easy delivery and therefore a relatively easy recovery. Nonetheless, it's never easy. I continued to take the Motrin prescribed by my doctor for two weeks, which really helped with any discomfort. Going for walks was challenging at first since my body still felt sore. But after two weeks I was pretty much back to normal. I can't wait to get cleared to exercise (and take baths!).

6. Being on a strict schedule- I have to feed Navy every 2.5-3 hours. In reality, this is every 1.5-2 hours, since you start counting from the beginning of one feed until the next feed. So it's really hard to do anything, especially if it involves an activity outside of the house. I'm hoping I'll start feeding her outside of the house soon, so we can actually go places and get things done.

The Best Parts:

1. Getting to know your baby- You spend so much time imagining what he or she will look like and be like and then all of a sudden he or she is here! It's beyond magical. Every time I stare at her, I can't believe she is mine.

2. The first week- The first week after Navy was born, Ray and I were alone with her. We spent all of our time hanging with her in bed, getting to know her, figuring out her "schedule"and learning how to care for a newborn (thank god for Google). We didn't sleep at all and really didn't care. Every new sound was exciting. Every time she woke up we smiled like crazy. We took a million pictures. And we listened to my push playlist on repeat. It was definitely the best week of my entire life.

3. Having family and friends meet her- It was so special having our family in LA over the holidays and getting to meet her. Everyone got so attached (how could you not?!)

4. Slowing down- I've loved spending most of the days just lounging, feeding her, changing her, watching tv, catching up with you guys on IG and just hibernating at home.

4. Starting to feel normal- Right after I delivered I started to feel like my pre-pregnancy self. As the weeks went by, I felt more and more normal. I was able to jump out of bed again and tie my own shoes. I could move without getting out of breath. My clothes started fitting (although they still don't fit like they used to). And I overall just felt like my self, which was a welcome change since I found pregnancy to be really challenging.

5. Getting to dress Navy- This one is pretty self-explanatory!