6 month update

Blimey! 6.5 months now!
For the first 12 weeks of Quinn's life, I posted weekly updates on her development and our life together, and then I dropped down to monthly updates from then on. When she was born, six months seemed like a lifetime away, I looked at six month old babies and couldn't imagine Quinn at that age. Now - here we are!
For one, I can safely say that the past six months have totally taken me by surprise. Somehow, Quinn isn't the baby I was expecting, and I've gone above and beyond the Mother that I expected to be second time around. Our life now certainly isn't how I envisaged it being - it's better.
If you haven't ever read Quinn's birth story then please feel free to do so but be warned, I wrote it in the few days following her arrival and it is probably the worst piece of writing I have ever produced. I had no idea at the time, I'm pretty sure I proof read the shit out of it, but it's really awful. I did consider editting now, but actually, the spelling mistakes and the entire paragraphs that genuinely make no sense at all, add to it's charm, because at least I know that they're the product of being a bit off-my-nut, as all new parents generally are.
I expected to go very crunchy Mama with my second baby, I learned a lot from the first, and over the five years of Seb's life leading up to his sister's arrival, that made me want to do a lot of things differently with her. For one, I was a really defensive formula feeder with Seb, I didn't just quietly give my baby a bottle of replacement milk, but I went out of my way to defend my decision to do so. I was never ever anti-breastfeeding, but I was a really outspoken formula feeder. Over the following five years I did a complete 180, I learned a lot about breastfeeding, I was influenced by the people around me who made me question my previous attitudes, and I also began to seek a more natural, gentle, and sustainable lifestyle. Basically, I knew I wanted to breastfeed this time. I won't say any more about breastfeeding here because I wrote a post recently on my feelings having reached six months of breastfeeding. Now though, Quinn feeds every few hours, with several big long feeds throughout the day, and she grazes throughout the night.
Because we co-sleep, Quinn can pretty much help herself through the night, which means my sleep isn't really effected by night nursing. She just rolls into the boob, does what she needs to do, and rolls off again (bliss, all round).
Co-sleeping is definitely one of the best decisions we made. It was kind of forced upon us as Quinn's a seriously velcro baby and likes to be with me pretty much 24/7 (which I totally indulge), but rather than push her to sleep in her own bed we just kind of followed her lead and accepted co-sleeping as her preferred arrangement and it's been lovely so far. Yes there are nights when she's a fidgetty pest, but it's made breastfeeding at night a lot easier, and I can't lie, the cuddles and snuggles are the best. There's a lot of evidence doing the rounds at the moment to suggest that children benefit enormously from cosleeping into their toddler years.
We started baby lead weaning at 6 months. I was originally going to leave it until at least 7 months, but as Quinn's sitting completely unaided and has good hand/eye coordination, I decided there was no harm in putting food down for her, on a "take it or leave it" basis. I'm totally unsurprised that for the most part she leaves it. She's thriving on breast milk and whilst she's interested in food, she's never been that bothered about trying to eat anything. So far her absolute favourite foods have been watermelon, and sweet potato and coconut dahl (a vegan chickpea based curry). I've given her various fruit and veg to feed herself with which she's not been all that fussed on for the most part, and I've also offered her tastes of almost everything I've eaten, from a Mexican bean chilli to Marmite on toast. She's more interested in closely looking at food, and exploring the texture with her hands than she is about actually eating it, but I'm staying totally laid back about it and she's still enjoying boob! She now weighs 20lbs 10ozs at 29 weeks, which means she's remained on the 98th centile, and is in such incredible health, probably thanks to being breastfed, that I certainly don't feel that following her lead and sticking exclusively with breastmilk until she's ready for other food is going to be detrimental to her.
Quinn's favourite toys at the moment are her Sophie the Giraffe, and her IKEA wooden activity gym. The activity gym is one of those that babies are supposed to lay beneath and bat the toys dangling above them, but now that she can sit, she just sits in front of it and reaches out for the toys instead. It's still so much nicer than a lot of plastic versions though. I had a Sophie the Giraffe for Seb and he was never really that fussed, but I wanted to try again with Quinn as I love natural toys, and the fact that the teether is made from 100% natural rubber was a winner for me. Unlike her brother though, Quinn loves Sophie.
People seem really hung up on whether or not Quinn is rolling over (she isn't), or trying to crawl (she isn't). I don't know if it's because she will definitely be my last baby, but I'm really not hung up on the milestones thing. I know when Seb was a baby I was always desperate for him to master the next new skill, but where Quinn is concerned, I just want to freeze time. When she began sitting unaided I was really happy as it meant she had more independence and could enjoy her surroundings a lot more, but I'm certainly not eager for her to become mobile!
Our life together as Mum and Baby is just really lovely, every day Monday-Friday we have the option to socialise with friends. On a Monday we go to a Parent and Toddler/Baby group at a local Salvation Army church, on Tuesday we go to the breastfeeding support group (or peer supporter training for the time being), on Wednesday we go to a baby and toddler music group, on Thursday we go to Baby Sensory, and on Fridays there is a toddler/baby group at Seb's school.
Our life as a family is fantastic too. Quinn just loves all three of her brothers, which is wonderful. Due to their differing ages (5, 11 and 16) she has a slightly different type of relationship with each and it's genuinely interesting to observe, as well as heartwarming, because they're a lot more spread-out than average sibling families.

I have some other posts planned that touch on how Motherhood has surprised me this time around, so I'll save the rest for another time.
Until the seven month update at least!

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