Thursday, May 31, 2012
Lewis is nine months old today and has been out in the world for about as long as he was inside of me. What a gorgeous, joyful baby he is and how lucky we are to know him...
He shrieks and vocalizes and babbles "dadadadadadada" and "bababababababa" and sometimes even "vavavavavavava". He grins right up to his bright blue eyes when we copy his babbling, full of glee at communicating with us. He's a peaceful sleeper at night for 11-12 hours (still nursing a couple times, but sleepily and peacefully-- he's still in our room so it's no big deal to us) when illness or teething are not in the way and takes two long naps each day. He has eight teeth, four on top and four on the bottom, which is about what Grace had at the same age but double what Violet had.
He is sort of gradually starting to put those teeth to their intended purpose, although GOODNESS he is very bad at eating. He apparently started out with a really strong gag/tongue-thrust reflex. It's a protective reflex that newborns have to keep things from choking them but his was strong. For a while, when food would get into the back of his throat, he would gag theatrically and then throw up the entire contents of his stomach. Gradually he moved to gagging without throwing up and managing to choke the food down, and now at 9 months he doesn't gag very often anymore. In fact, he likes to take EVERY TINY THING he can find and put it in his mouth. He pooped out crayons yesterday and the day before I pulled a dead bug out of his mouth. SHUDDER.
His growth has slowed way, way down. He grew from 9 lbs at 2 weeks to a tremendous 20 lbs at 4 months but since then has only gained a couple of pounds. At his 6-month check-up, the doctor said he was concerned about the steep drop-off in his rate of growth (from the 99th to the 75th percentiles in a couple of months) but I think it is probably fine and he is adjusting to his genetically-determined size, which I am going to predict is somewhere between the 50th and 75th percentiles, given the sizes of Rob and me and our other two children. I don't think we need to stress out trying to keep him at the 99th percentile. Also, the doctor was using the CDC growth charts which includes all healthy U.S. infants; if you plot Lewis' growth on the WHO growth charts which only include healthy breastfed infants, he dropped from the 90th to the 80th percentiles, which is no big deal. Anyway, there's not much we can do to "fix" the issue that we aren't already doing. We're doing the best we can with getting him to eat more solid food and he's still nursing well/frequently. I have been more deliberate about not rushing his nursing sessions and not trying to stretch out the intervals between his feedings (both tempting things to do when life is so busy) but if I try to make him nurse more than he wants to, he just tries to bite me (8 teeth!) and roll away. I'm sure that if I started supplementing with formula, it would just reduce the amount he is nursing. I really don't think he is hungry; I think he is growing fine.
He has been doing an army crawl down on his belly for a couple of months now, pulling himself along with his two arms, with one little foot pushing to help and one little foot poking up in the air. In just the past few weeks, he has shifted to a real crawl, up on all fours, although he still switches back and forth some. He is finally a more stable sitter; he had an efficient crawl well before he could sit up, which is reversed from the order the girls reached those two milestones. Recently he's started pulling up on furniture to standing, but then he gets stuck and starts to panic and needs help getting back down again. In the past week, he has learned how to climb stairs which means we need to get the baby gates up, like, yesterday. He likes to sit with his legs tucked under him in a splayed W shape; this is how I sat as a baby and toddler but he is the first of our babies to sit like this. Being surprised at what Lewis does is an unexpected joy, as he's our third baby and all, as is being able to see him open up and become more of his own amazing self with every passing week.