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This blog entry was supposed to be about our walk by Dow's Lake to visit the posse of extremely tame ducks, seagulls and Canada geese.  The ducks let you get close enough that you think you might be able to touch one, although they waddle into the water pretty quickly if they think you might try!  The geese were less shy.  One rather fat goose eyed me so speculatively that I decided to beat a calm but hurried retreat.  I wouldn't want Elizabeth to be traumatized by an overenthusiastic goose after all...

 

Elizabeth loved the ducks and we had a wonderful time, but without photographic evidence I might have forgotten that we even saw ducks because on the way home Elizabeth sat completely unassisted for the first time!  So she sits now.  Not for very long nor very enthusiastically (she'd rather be on her tummy), but she sits!



   



Elizabeth is six months old today.  We went to take her monthly picture with the bear and discovered that she is actually bigger than Teddy. I'd thought she'd mostly stopped growing since her four month checkup, filling out rather than up, but apparently she's been doing a bit of both!

 

At six months, Elizabeth:

  1. Weighs 14 pounds and measures approximately 60 cm.  Obviously she hasn't shrunk.  We've officially given up on being able to take an accurate height measurement.  We'll see what the pediatrician thinks in a couple of weeks...
  2. Coos, babbles and gets into the odd uncontrollable giggling fit.  Her vocal range is expanding daily - "pa" "la" "ma" "da" etc
  3. Can't quite crawl but gets around nonetheless.  She can pull herself onto her hands and knees, and when put down, pulls her knees up so that she lands on all fours.
  4. Can't quite sit but props herself up on her hands.  She prefers to be on her stomach and has perfected the "cobra" pose.  She is still quite the contortionist and is starting to suck her toes when Mom is not looking!
  5. If something has disappeared out of her range of vision, she'll turn around to see if she can find it.  Peek-a-boo is a favourite game.  She likes to anticipate where Mom or Dad will appear from next.  Running under the deck to pop out of the other side was really startling at first though!
  6. Uses the toilet instead of her diaper more than half the time, at least on a routine day.   Poopy diapers are rare now (yahoo!).
  7. Has not started solids, but does sit in her high chair for most meals.
  8. Is less predictable about napping and bedtime.  She usually has three naps, approximately 9am-10am, 12pm-1pm and 3pm-4pm.  Bedtime is usually around 7pm.  Once she goes to bed she sleeps until 7am the next morning, except for snacks and/or pee breaks (usually around 11pm, 1am and 5am).  Even though the meals are less frequent, Mom finds the night wakings more disruptive because we actually have to get out of bed to visit the toilet. 
  9. Reliably plays happily by herself on the floor or in her exersaucer for half an hour to an hour while Mom does other things!
  10. Has Mommy and Daddy completely wrapped around her little fingers!


   



Has Elizabeth started solids yet? Well, "no" and "sort of" are both valid answers...

 

Since I am a celiac mom, I've spent a bunch of time trying to get a straight answer on when to start feeding Elizabeth wheat.  Celiac disease only develops with exposure to gluten.  The Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) has a great article that outlines the recommendations for starting gluten while breastfeeding as of 2004.  In a nutshell, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended until five to six months of age and then continuing to breastfeed for at least one month after that. 

 

The recommendations for when to start solids changed in 2001, from somewhere between 4-6 months to at least six months, and ideally between 9-12 months.  I was initially confused since I did not understand why "normal" babies should wait until after six months to start solids, but "risk of celiac" babies should start ingesting gluten in small amounts by five months.  After a more careful read of the available information, I believe that the recommendation is assuming that the mother is only planning to breastfeed for the first six months since exclusive breastfeeding among Canadian women for the full six months is significantly below that (One study of Southwestern Ontario moms found that exclusive breastfeeding dropped from 68% of infants at birth to 23% by six months!)

 

In the 2004 article summarizing the results of the Swedish study upon which the CCA recommendation is based comments that continuing to breastfeed until the infant is at least six months reduced the risk of Elizabeth developing celiac by 25%.  Since her risk of developing celiac is not insignificant (~22%), I decided that it would be prudent to wait at least six months as recommended by Health Canada and the World Health Organization

 

I also found the following summary of reasons to delay the introduction of solids quite compelling.  In particular, given the high number of food allergies that run in my family, it seemed wise to avoid any solids until Elizabeth's gut is more developped.  We think too that waiting longer than six months may be prudent since Elizabeth is on the small side.

 

Elizabeth hasn't been reading the same information I have though, and we were worried that she wouldn't want to wait.  Grabbing for food, wanting to sit at the table, the development of a "pincer" grasp and biting everything in sight seemed to line up with guidelines for figuring out when your baby is ready for solids.  I was quite happy when I happened across another helpful article talking about how to determine whether your baby is actually ready for solids, or whether she is actually showing that she is developmentally ready to participate in mealtimes.  We'd been letting Elizabeth sit in her Bumbo and then later her high chair, but as an experiment we decided to give her a spoon.

 

It turns out that a spoon and a little "breastmilk soup" is all that Elizabeth needs to be happy at mealtimes!  She's getting used to the feeling of the spoon in her mouth (and the idea that it brings food!).  We've let her have a bit of water in a sippy cup as well, although she's not nearly as interested since Mom and Dad don't appear to use sippy cups... 

 

I even went as far as freezing a little bit of milk and letting her try it out.  My "momsicles" were a lot smaller than what is pictured though, which is good since Elizabeth took one bite and made the grumpiest face.  If she could talk, she'd say "Eww - that's cold Mom!!".



   



It's been a while since I updated, but I've finally posted all of our cottage adventures.  It's actually been a pretty exciting week but I abruptly got a terrible cold sometime in the night on Tuesday and that was that. (I really love breastfeeding, but not being allowed decongestants is a drag...)

 

On Thursday I dragged myself over to my parents' new apartment to help paint. Unfortunately I was feeling so rotten I fear I wasn't much help.  Elizabeth was very good - we stuck her in a well ventilated room away from the painting and asked her to play nicely by herself.  She did so for quite a long time.   Eventually I had to take myself off to bed where I crashed with a fever of 102 (38.8C).

 

Friday we helped my parents move into their temporary home (They are ultimately headed overseas to serve as missionaries with MAF).  Strangely, Brendan and I ended up with a living room and dining room full of moving boxes.  I haven't peeked into our new garage but I heard that there are a few things that found there way there too! 

 

Elizabeth began to get sick Saturday, but instead of coming down with cold number two so far she's just been a little fussier and a bit "snotty nosed".

 

I feel much better now, although not well enough to take my germy self to church.  Boo for germs! 



   



Friends Jess and Daniel stopped by from Boston with the express purpose of giving Elizabeth the chicken pox...

 

Since the virus is actually going around among the children at our church, Grandma H was momentarily worried until she realized that Elizabeth was chewing on "chicken pox" the GIANTmicrobe.



   

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