I used to see preschool graduation photos and think, “good grief, it’s only preschool. Let’s move on already.” I know, that’s insensitive. I’m sorry, really. Now I finally know the way time just slips through your fingertips like sand in the most beautiful and sad way. Every moment is worth trying to cherish. I get it now.

We have a spare bedroom in our home we’ve used for random storage, with hopes to convert it into a guest bedroom and office soon. We had two huge packs of size 2 diapers from my baby shower stored on the top shelf of the closet. Any time I would open the closet to try on my pre-pregnancy jeans (again), I would glance up at the diapers and think, “nope, don’t need those yet! She’s too teeny and won’t need them for months.”

Well, Cora is now 5 months old and there are about six of those diapers left. This is depressing for a couple of reasons: Yet another expensive Amazon prime order is on the horizon, and my baby is growing up.

Now I’m desperately trying to freeze time. Doing things like writing this blog, taking pictures, and spending every second I can with her have (sort of) helped ease my anxiety. But it’s incredibly tough to heed my own advice and stay in the moment when all I can think about is how that moment will only exist once in my life and hers.

Needless to say, Cora is lighting up our lives in every possible way. She’s smiling, laughing, playing, learning, and growing. She knows us, and reaches for us when we come into the room. So cool. She grabs my nose and chin when I nurse her, causing unfortunate breakouts, but I wouldn’t change it regardless. It melts my heart. She nuzzles my neck and holds on to my shirt when we walk outside to get the mail. She stares at me like I’m a celebrity.

Loving

Cora has been playing with her voice all month long. Once she gets started, she serenades us in quite a high-pitched voice. The only thing that calms her back down is something to chew on. It’s rarely a cry, but more of a hilarious tone that just makes us laugh so much. We always think, “what could she possibly be trying to tell us?” She seems so confident in her babbling that we’re totally sure she’s saying completely eloquent sentences just in a language we don’t understand. She also loves when we sing to her. She loves blowing bubbles until her shirt is completely soaked through. Bibs don’t stand a chance. It gets so bad sometimes that it just looks like she’s been outside doing yard work and has sweat stains around her collar. Cute.

We’ve been putting teethers in the freezer for her, which she loves. We pull them out and she waves her hands and chews on them with the excitement and recklessness of a small puppy, sometimes full-on (accidentally) gagging herself with the toy and yet continuing on without really seeming to care about the discomfort. When playing on her mat, she tries to squeeze as many toys as possible into her mouth at one time (teething, anyone?).

Cora is so happy to play on her mat and roll around. She rolls all over now, so we definitely have to keep a close eye and start that baby-proofing process soon. She tolerates tummy time for longer, and rolls back and forth. She’s also doing this thing where she flaps her arms like a penguin, sometimes hitting her belly, which lets out a hilarious hollow echo as if she is saying “feed me more immediately.” I’m telling you, her sense of humor is not to be overlooked.

After being cooped up all winter, Cora pretty much enters a zen-state when we take her outside, which is anytime it’s not raining. When the breeze blows, she squints her eyes and looks out. It makes my heart ache (in the best way) to know she’s experiencing all that this outside world has to offer for the first time. It blows my mind. She reaches and grabs for the trees, leaves, and blooms in the yard. She giggles and screeches through our walks and contentedly lays in the hammock with me.

As far as dislikes, Cora is pretty much the most content baby around right now. I mean, she doesn’t like waiting around for food, but no one can fault her for that. I get pretty hangry myself.

Sleeping

Even though she seems content, Cora’s sleep the past three weeks has been a little wacky. She still goes to bed around 7pm, and I usually feed her around 6am before I leave for work. She is still pretty much asleep and goes right back down until she wakes around 7.

We have the CREAKIEST floors in the universe. It’s suddenly becoming a problem because Cora will occasionally wake up when Zach and I head upstairs to bed and I have to top her off. I try not to get frustrated, but I go up expecting to do some journaling and reading and to nod off to sleep peacefully.

I wake up at 5am to pump downstairs and the creaky floors get me again. By the time I come back upstairs to shower, I often hear her cooing and chatting with herself in her crib. She’s happy, but it’s just far too early. I’m hoping she learns to ignore me that early and to go back to sleep. No one wants a cranky mama and papa that early in the day, amiright?

Sometimes she stays awake from that early wakeup and then has her first nap around 8. Other times she goes back down until around 6:45-7 and then has her first nap closer to 9:30. Her naps range from 30 minutes to 2 hours, and I literally can’t pin down what helps her sleep longer. Maybe maturity and sleep consolidation is all it really is, but I like answers, people! My mother-in-law and babysitter take care of naps during the week when I’m at work, and I’m so grateful to have them both. I plan on writing a full blog post on my transition back. Occasionally, Cora will take a 30 minute nap around 4:30 – the perfect time for me to decompress (i.e. wash and sanitize my pump parts, start some laundry, prep dinner, pack my lunch, workout, and take a shower).

Oh…now Cora rolls around in the crib. This drove me crazy at first because I’ve only ever known her on her back to sleep. The first night it happened I ran into her room, panicked, flipped her over, and ran back out before she even knew what happened. She was sound asleep and completely fine. The other night, I woke up to use the bathroom around 2am. I got back in bed and checked the monitor. She was on her belly. I watched the monitor for a solid 20 minutes before accepting the fact that my baby is strong, has arms, and can manipulate her body rather easily these days.

Being a mom is stressful, ya’ll.

Eating

Cora is one hungry lady. We got the go ahead from our pediatrician to start solids, and we’ve fed her avocado here and there. She LOVES it. I was not in a rush to start solids immediately at 4 months when we got the okay from her doctor. I knew that she was getting everything she needed from my breast milk and the occasional supplemental formula (like I said she’s hungry. All. of. the. time.) Now, she’s 5 months, she’s far more stable when sitting, and I’m breastfeeding far less than before.

During the work week, I breastfeed Cora at 6am, 2-3 times after work, and occasionally in the middle of the night. I pump at 5am, 3 times at work, and again at 9pm. It’s a lot of work, and completely exhausting if I’m being honest. I love our breastfeeding relationship, though, and the exhaustion of pumping is worth it when I come home to feed her every afternoon.

So that’s life in a nutshell for us right now. It’s never easy, but always worthwhile. I have so much to say about my transition back to work, so look out for posts soon on that, tips for pumping, and maintaining sanity while balancing a full-time job, full-time baby, and a bunch of other side-gigs that I had no business starting in this season of life.

Five months is absolutely my favorite age so far (I’m sure I’ll say that again). Would love to hear more from you about what you loved at this age. Or, what else would you like to hear more about? Leave me a comment below!

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