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Thoughts, experiences, and helpful tips on raising a baby.
Breastfeeding the Older Baby and Toddler
9/24/2010

I went to the "Breastfeeding the Older Baby and Toddler" class today. Mostly just to find out about our baby's dependency on nursing for getting to sleep. The teacher said at this age (~11 months) it's pretty normal. She said that it's how they regroup after a day of mostly playing and exploring, as opposed to nursing all day long, like a newborn. They need that closeness at the end of the day or just to get them relaxed for sleep.

Eventually, night time nursing will diminish, but of all the daily nursing sessions, it will be the last to go. We can try to break her of it, but it will take weeks of work and not getting much sleep as she fights us on it. I guess since I feel like I'm sleeping okay, I'd rather just keep nursing her back to sleep. I've suffered enough restless nights when she was younger, and I really don't want to go back to that. Her middle of the night nursings are just quick anyway, and I can get back to sleep right away.

I have to throw in also that she doesn't require nursing to sleep under a couple different circumstances. One is when we're in the car, usually on the freeway. The other is when Grandma rocks her to sleep, and even sometimes when Daddy lies down with her. Again, the teacher said, it's very common. When she knows I'm there and I'm able to, she won't sleep until I lie down and nurse her.

Baby in the mirror
9/24/2010

For many months, baby has been enthralled by her reflection in the mirror. But I've read that she didn't realize it was herself. Even though she recognized my reflection in the mirror and would smile and turn around to find the real me. When she saw her reflection, she would smile but not turn around looking for the real baby. She would laugh at and try to touch the reflection. What did that mean? Obviously, she knew if she turned around she wouldn't find the baby in the mirror. Who did she think that was if it wasn't herself?

But just the other day, she did something that makes me sure that she now understands her own reflection in the mirror. I've been putting bows in her hair lately because I made some with clips that accommodate such scarce hair. At first she didn't seem to notice them, but now she's pulling the clips out of her hair all the time.

The other day, though, she seemed to have forgotten about the bow and let it be on her head for about half an hour. Until we sat her in her car seat, where there is a mirror in front of it. The bow on the baby in the mirror was the first thing that caught her eye. And she immediately reached up and grabbed it off. So, at least by now, at a little over 11 months, I'm pretty sure she knows the baby in the mirror is her.

I don't know if she considers shadows the same way as she does mirrors. She loves to watch shadows on the ground, either of trees with rustling leaves, or a shadow of me holding her. I think that is her favorite. I tell her to wave at the shadow as I wave. And she waves and laughs. I can only guess she knows that is me and her, in a similar way the mirror shows us.

Interacting with Others
9/23/2010

Assisted Walking
Baby is getting better at assisted walking. She can now walk with me holding one hand, rather than both hands. Although she doesn't do so for very long. While she often stands up by herself, I've tried coaxing her to take a step, but she just smiles and squats down back onto her bottom. Oh well, in due time. Every week or so, she does seem to be advancing in this department, though.

Talking
Her vocabulary has been getting fine tuned with time as well. She points at things now and says some sort of derivative of daddy or doggie. She was pointing at the birds in her feeder and saying what sounded like dirdie (which sounds almost like what I say to her, "birdie"). When she sees dad walk by, she points and says daddy. Then when she sees a four legged animal, she says "doggie!"

Sleeping
Nap times and bed times are getting much more consistent. But she is pretty dependent on being nursed to sleep. It might just be my imagination, but she seems to be getting more and more dependent. She is definitely nursing less throughout the day. Could this be part of what's causing the strong need for it in order to sleep, making up for it? I'm taking a breastfeeding class tomorrow. Maybe they'll shed some light on this.

Playing with others
She seems to be interacting with other babies a lot more, especially boy babies. She crawls around with them, laughing. She stands next to them and plays with stand-up toys together and even shares cherios with them. It makes me want to have a little sibling for her so bad. But I think nursing has put a damper on that for the time being.

Today, she seemed to enjoy playing with an adult who came to visit us. She was playing peekaboo with him, laughing, rolling around, trying to get his attention. Being so cute!

Eating
One thing she does when she's done eating is that she puts whatever food is on her tray onto the floor. She just picks it up off the tray and dumps it off the side. Pretty clear message. But I don't know where she got that and why she doesn't want it on her tray. Why not just leave it there and stop eating? Who knows...

Doggie!
9/21/2010

Baby has been a busy climber lately. Barricades we created no longer block her from unsafe areas. She climbs fearlessly over bins and other things, pushing other boxes and bins out of her way. Getting stronger and more adventurous! She's taken a few falls, but they don't seem to deter her.

Being a dog lover, her favorite word now is doggie. Everything she likes is doggie. Started out just dogs, now it's birds, squirrels, pictures of horses, elephants, people, and even a truck... go figure. But it's adorable to hear her speak :-)

11 Months
9/19/2010

Planning her 1st Birthday
Baby is now 11 months old. We've started planning her first birthday party. Lots of cute stuff out there. We ended up getting a bunch of decorations at www.orientaltrading.com. We also have several friends with birthdays close to ours. It's going to be a long string of going to birthday parties every weekend!

A few people have added the phrase "no gifts please" in their invitations. I was a little disappointed because I was looking forward to going gift shopping... I wasn't sure how to handle the gift situation for our baby's birthday, so I didn't mention anything in the invite. But for those friends who requested no gifts for their babies, I told them they didn't have to get anything for us. Our baby has a plethora of toys, all over the house, but she always love new things :-) And she's starting to grow out of her 12 month clothes and moving into size 18 months. So gifts are always welcomed.

Not walking yet...
Walking has been a hot topic amongst us parents, lately. It seems like about half the 1 year olds we know are walking and half are not. Our baby has gotten better about standing on her own. She can rise, pretty easily now, to a stand from a sitting/squatting position without holding onto anything. She stands quite sturdily for a little bit, and then squats back down to a sit. I wonder when she will decide to take a step?

My Pal Violet
Dexterity and problem solving has improved and seems to do so noticeably every week or two. She's had this My Pal Violet toy for quite a while but just today figured out how to activate the sounds herself (we've always done it for her). She had been trying to push it, with one finger, like a regular button on her other noise making toys. But since the paws need to be pressed, she has now discovered that she can press them using two hands, pushing into the paw with both thumbs. She really enjoys the fruits of this new found skill. She laughs and coos at the cute words and music of this toy.

Pointing
Pointing seems to be a new habit now. A friend of ours said he notices lots of babies in this age range do this. She points at just about everything. At first she started out pointing at the birds at her feeder and dogs. But now she points when she wants something or is interested in something, like her milk, a toy, mommy, daddy, or just random items around the house.

Mumblings
Is she talking yet, some people ask. (Come on, she's not even one! :-)) Mamma was the first word that she constantly repeated. Now she is also proficient at saying dadda. But I noticed that she seems to say mamma when she is unhappy and needs something, like nursing, cuddling, or maybe even sleep. I sometimes think I hear certain phrases, too. She often times uses the word mamma in a phrase that sounds like "I want mamma". She usually says dadda when she is playing or really likes something, like when she sees a bird or a dog, or a bird dog.

Looky what I've got!
I have to mention another "strange" thing that I've noticed these older babies do. I think it's strange, but I think adults do it too, in a way. When baby has a toy or some object that she likes or is proud of, she holds it out towards you, as if she were offering it to you. Then when you try to take it, she retracts it back. So I figure, she was not giving it to me but showing it to me. I guess adults do it too, like "here, check this out". Then we hand it to the person, knowing that they'll give it back (usually). But babies seem to know that what gets taken from them doesn't always come back.

I know I'm rambling, but I feel like I haven't posted for a while, so I've got a bunch of "little things".

Feeding Mommy
When she was eating her Cheerios yesterday morning, I told her that mommy wants some. I opened my mouth and acted like I wanted to eat them out of her hand as she picked them up. She got a kick out of that. (she thought it was funny that mommy wanted some food???) Anyway, she laughed as she fed me about 1 Cheerio for every 5 or so that she ate :-)

Eating
Speaking of eating, she is still enjoying solid food. She seems to really like chicken and meat, in general. Tomatoes are a go, and she loves grapes. Bananas, not so much. And bread, pretty much not at all. She still nurses, but less frequently. About 3-4 times a day, morning, mid-day, and night-time. At night, since she sleeps with us, she pretty much nurses off and on throughout the night for a minute or so every couple of hours. I've been giving her cold formula out of a cup to drink with her solid meals. She seems to like that. Good, because it is a precursor to regular milk, which she can have after that "magical" one year date.

Safety Gates
My last topic today is about gates. That's also been the talk of the town amongst us mommies. Our house is gate city. Bam, bam, bam, there's a gate in every direction. We bought a few "superyard" type gates. We went a little crazy, but they work well. She's got a couple of big play areas that are baby safe. No need to chase her down, pull her off the stairs, carry her away from cords, berate her every 5 seconds, etc. Granted, she doesn't like being put in her play area at first, but after 30 seconds of crying, she's off having fun with her toys and books. She loves paging through book after book. (she also likes paging through my scrapbooks, which I let her do when I'm watching her).

Well, that's all for now. One more month of babyhood, and then she's a toddler. She's grown so fast!

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