Thursday, February 20, 2014

5 Months

I'm a couple of days late, but thats ok. :) The girls are five months old now.  Part of me is acutely aware of how long 5 months has felt, but another part of me can't believe we're almost to six months. The girls have grown so much in the last couple of weeks. Sometimes they start doing things just overnight. It's pretty amazing watching them develop and learn new things.

Both girls are gaining at a pretty good pace. Eleanor is just over 11lbs and Amelia is just under 10lbs. I've found that their size is always a topic of conversation. The first thing people always say about Amelia is how small she is. I try hard not to be upset by it but sometimes it hurts knowing everything we've gone through. I've got a semi-complicated feeding system down. Basically, I tandem nurse them in the middle of the night. During the day, I either tandem feed with a supplemental nursing system full of formula (so they're nursing and getting formula at the same time), or I bottle feed Amelia and nurse Eleanor. With the help of a lactation consultant we've determined I have low supply probably due to Amelia's shallow latch and poor milk transfer. We've tried adjusting her latch but she just won't do it. In order for her to grow she has to be heavily supplemented. I've been able to pump enough that she gets two bottles of expressed milk a day as her supplements, but usually she gets a bottle full of formula too. It's weird nursing Eleanor by herself and not nursing Amelia by herself (though some days I do and give Eleanor a bottle) but I've left the guilt over that behind. It isn't that Amelia isn't nursing at all-- she is. The bottom line is that I have enough milk for about 1.5 babies, so they're each getting about 60% of their needs from breastmilk and 40% from formula. Not too bad, if I do say so myself.

Sleep is also improving! They will usually do a good long stretch from about 8 or 8:30 to 2 or 3am. Then after 3 they'll be up again around 6-- sometimes for the day. It still isn't perfect, but I'm a heck of a lot more rested than I was a month ago. Naps are still a total crap shoot and usually they don't stay down for long and want to be held to sleep.

Eleanor has rolled from back to tummy exactly once... Well it was more like 3/4's of the way over. She's completely content to just lay on her back and watch things. She's grabbing for things a lot-- picking up toys to put in her mouth, hitting the dangling toys on the activity mat, and pulling my hair! She's also discovered her hands and plays with them a lot (like in the above picture). In the last few days she's also started grabbing her feet, which is really cute to watch.

Eleanor still hasn't laughed, but she responds to funny things by smiling a lot and making noises in response to you. She'll laugh some day. She still hates tummy time, but can roll from belly to back sometimes. She lifts her head during tummy time and looks around a bit too. She talks a lot in the form of coos and just recently started the shrieking. She much prefers little coos to loud shrieks.

Probably my favorite thing that she does is when she gets excited when she knows I'm coming over to pick her up. She starts kicking her feet and flailing her arms with a huge smile on her face. I love it when she does that.

Amelia was less cooperative on picture day, so sorry for lack of Amelia pics. She didn't make too many vocalizations until all of a sudden she was shrieking, cooing, making raspberry type sounds...she just makes all kinds of noises now! She also laughs when you tickle her and sometimes for no reason at all. She likes to grab for toys too as well as plays with her hands. She often just sits and stares at her hands as she moves them all around. Amelia has rolled all the way from tummy to back a few times (and she rolled first!). She also pushes herself up on her arms when she's on her tummy and is very good at rolling to her back from that position.

 Amelia's smile lights up her whole face, so I spend a lot of my time trying to make her smile. She gets excited too, albeit a little less animated than Eleanor. If I had to guess Amelia is going to be our introvert. She doesn't like to be held by strangers but Eleanor will go to just about anyone (though, in full disclosure, we haven't really surrendered them to many people. I'm way over protective and I don't like handing fussy babies to people).

Overall, they're doing great. I can't believe we're almost to 6 months old. That feels like a big milestone!

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