In the last couple of weeks I’ve become increasingly aware of how much I love my late night Emily snuggles. In a few days time my little baby girl will be six months old, and she has grown so much.
Six months is a big milestone. Lots of things seem to happen around the six month mark or you are told that they should and every single one of them makes me feel like I’m losing my baby bit by bit.
1. Most babies are regularly sleeping through the night by six months.
I’m not sure where I heard this one but I’m sure it’s in some leaflet that the health visitor handed to me. Fortunately this one doesn’t automatically happen at six months, and it certainly still feels a long way off for us. There are many nights when I’ve just wanted a decent nights sleep and for Emily to sleep through the night would make this a lot easier. It would also make my answer to the question: “is she a good sleeper?” much simpler too. At the moment I’m going with a “it’s what is to be expected from a baby” and people take from that what they will.
However Emily sleeping through the night would end our night time cuddles and kisses. It would end her little hands roaming idly over my face in the dark. It would end the sleepy long feeds where I know she’s getting the good stuff. These moments really are quite special when I reflect. They are memories that only I will have. Emily won’t remember and Dan is usually asleep. They are perfect moments and I never want them to end.
2. Co sleeping
As I’ve said before, we are not bedsharers. I’d love to be but its just too risky. We are roomsharers though. Emily has slept by my side since day one. In the middle of the night I can look over and see her breathing, or hear her do her little sleep-giggles, or reach out and feel the warmth of her tiny body or smell her sweet milky breath. It’s adorable!
Guidelines state that to prevent cot death your baby should sleep in the same room as you for the first six months. This was how it started for us, but it is what comes naturally. I wanted Emily by my side day and night, and I still do.
Once that six month mark comes round though I know that I will be under pressure to move her into her own room. The most vulnerable and precious member of my family will be the only one forced to sleep alone. Of course I am going to fight to have her in our room as long as possible but I can hear people saying that it’s time for her to be in her own room and she will sleep better once she is etc. I can envisage a time when lure of better sleep will be hard to ignore.
Yet another thing that’s meant to happen at six months. We will be doing baby-led weaning so I’m not expecting much to change in the way of milk feeds for a while. However it is the start of a journey that ultimately ends in Emily not needing me for food any more. Granted she might turn to me for comfort and therefore we could be breastfeeding for a while yet. At some point though I’m going to offer her milk and she’s not going to be hungry. Or one day I’ll go to nurse her to sleep and she will already have nodded off. I’m not sure how I’ll feel about that.
I am however quite proud of the fact that we have exclusively breastfed until six months. Not a drop of formula or a mouthful of food has passed her lips. This, like cosleeping, has been hard to defend against external pressures. Many people have suggest offering some food to help her sleep at night and most have used the “it won’t hurt” or the “I did it with my kids and they turned out alright” statements. But Dan and I said we would follow medical advice and we’ve stuck by that.
It’s been a quick six months and although things are going to change, there are plenty of things that will stay the same. But also there are lots of exciting things coming up. Food, crawling, talking and walking. I can’t wait. But I will always hold the memories of the first six months close to my heart. It’s been truly delightful!