6 Months

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This past Wednesday was Julian’s half-birthday. He’s six months old! And those months have absolutely flown by… I still can’t believe that the tiny, sleepy, squinty little bundle we brought home in September is now this joyful little person who spends much of his time trying to crawl around the apartment. Today we took him in for his six month checkup, and his growth is right on track: he measured 27 inches long, weighed 17 lbs. 4 oz., and his head measured 17 1/4 inches. He’s strong and healthy and developing exactly as he should be, and Mike and I are so, so grateful for that.

On a related note, Julian and I have now made it through six months of breastfeeding, which I am really proud of. Nursing and pumping has been one of the most challenging things I’ve done in life, but it has also been one of the most rewarding. We’re not done yet, but I feel like we’ve passed a big milestone, and met the goal I had set for myself at the start.

As I mentioned after his four month checkup, today’s visit was when we were set to discuss starting solids with his doctor, but things didn’t go quite as I had expected. In fact, it wasn’t much of a discussion at all… after Julian’s exam and immunizations, and a conversation about his surgery next month (more on that in a minute), the doc said simply, “you can start him on solids.”

His very own seat at the table.

I blurted out that for the last few weeks, we had been giving him tiny fingertip-tastes of whatever we were eating when he showed interest, everything from avocado to chile-braised goat tacos to anchovies, and she chuckled and said “you should probably start slow, fruits and vegetables, cereals, keep things simple,” and that was the end of it. I had two copies of the six page Google doc I had compiled over the last few months right there in my bag, with all my notes and research outlined on it, and I didn’t even pull them out. I was a little disappointed, but on the other hand, I suppose her lack of super-specific instruction or guidelines means that she trusts us enough not to do anything stupid, to figure it out and do what works for the three of us. I guess we’ll find out – we’ve got his brand new high chair in place and we’re ready to go.

So about that surgery. Julian’s scheduled to go in for an outpatient procedure on April 6th to correct a congenital defect (Mike and I have discussed at great length how much of Julian’s life and health we want to discuss in any public forum, and for his privacy, we’re not going to go into any more detail than this). The specialist who will be performing the procedure has great credentials, and assures us that the procedure is relatively routine and that Julian should come through it just fine. He will be put under general anesthesia, which I find to be the scariest part, and we’re set to meet with the pediatric anesthesiology team on Monday to go over everything and address any questions we have. We feel very good about his doctors and are confident that he’ll be in great hands, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dreading the whole thing. I’m scared, but trying to keep a cool head and positive attitude.

Solid State

The introduction of first foods is looming, and as you can imagine it has been very much at the forefront of my mind. A love of good food and drink is a big part of what brought Mike and I together, and it’s still a huge part of our lives – it’s only natural that we’d be very excited about sharing this whole new world with our son. But like any new stage in parenting, we’ve got a lot to think about, and decisions to make. There are so many opinions about how to feed your baby, so many ways to transition from breast or bottle to solids – it seems I’m spending all my free time reading about it, and I’ll likely post a lot about it here in the coming weeks.

Julian has inherited my brown eyes and his daddy’s adorable dimpled smile, but we’ve also passed along something rather less appealing – our strong family histories of type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension. Mike has been working hard to get his own health issues under control; I’ve been lucky so far that none of the issues I’m genetically predisposed to have reared their ugly heads. Knowing what we do about our family history, I think we both feel that one of the best things we can do for Julian is to start him off on wholesome, real food, and model for him the sort of good cooking and eating habits that will hopefully minimize his risk in the future.

roasted carrot and avocado salad

I hope that our boy will be a good eater, that he’ll enjoy a wide range of flavors and textures in his diet, or at least be willing to try things, but I assume nothing. I didn’t always eat the way I do now, nor did Mike, and to this day there are foods that are far from our favorite (sweet potatoes, anyone?), but that we’ll want to expose Julian to while he’s young.

That said, I don’t want to let the perfect get in the way of the good. I’ll admit that I enjoy a crisp, hot, gooey jalapeno popper just as much as I enjoy a heaping helping of kale sauteed with olive oil, garlic, chile flakes, and a hit of sherry vinegar. These days I have the latter far more frequently than I do the former, but I want Julian to learn that there’s a time and a place for all sorts of foods in his diet. Trying to banish junk food or sweets entirely just seems like a recipe for failure – I want him to know that just about anything is fine in moderation, and to learn to listen to his body’s cues about what to eat, when, and how much.

But let’s start at the beginning, with the transition to first foods. I’m currently giving another read to Nina Planck‘s Real Food for Mother and Baby, which I found indispensible during my pregnancy, but I’d love to hear about any other resources you might recommend. When introducing solids, what worked for you? Any advice for the newbies?

4 Months

Post 4-month checkup

Julian had his 4 month well baby visit yesterday. He weighed in at a healthy 15 lbs. 8 oz., measured 26 1/2 inches long, and his head circumference was 17 inches. He has still had nothing but breast milk to eat or drink, though his doctor says that at his next visit, we’ll talk about introducing solids. Julian absolutely loves to watch us cook and eat, and has already started grabbing at the food on our plates, so I’m confident he’ll be ready.

This is a conversation I’ve been waiting for since before he was even born, but now that it’s just two months away, I feel like I have a lot more research to do. I’m certain these next two months are going to fly by.

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