Brady’s 8-month update

Just like that, our little man is the better part of a year, and it’s so hard to believe. Time has been flying, yet it’s also tough to imagine what life was like before he was here. We waited so long for him, and he is even more precious than we could have hoped.

And yes, while 8-months-old may seem like a strange time to do an update, so much has happened since Brady’s 6-month update, it seems fitting. Get ready for a long one, and because I often receive specific questions about all things motherhood and babies, we’re getting into the nitty-gritty details with this … 

Brady’s 8-month update

I’ve got to be totally honest here — we’re starting to get the hang of this parenting thing. And by “hang” I still mean that it’s super tough and things are constantly changing, but at this moment, some of our routines are finally working out, and Dave and I both agree that we’ve made it through the blur-of-a-storm that was having a newborn baby with no family help around, finding and buying and moving into our first home, all the while working and being in the midst of a busy basketball season, which keeps Dave away from home all-the-time. It’s been a lot. (Speaking of basketball, Go Warriors — the season isn’t over yet!) Let’s dig in …

Brady with sunglasses by A Lady Goes West

The latest on Brady’s sleep

Our sweet Brady has not been the best sleeper. And by not being the best sleeper, I mean that at one point, he would literally wake up after every 45-minute sleep cycle. Although I consulted sleep books, mom friends and various resources to get him to sleep better, it was a continual challenge for the first seven months of his life. We felt pretty frustrated at times, because we really tried, and yet, we likely made a lot of mistakes along the way. Well, my friends, things have FINALLY improved. 

For quite a few months up until last month, Brady started the night in his crib in his nursery and then moved to our bed after his second wake-up or so (I know this is not recommended, but we did it anyway). And although I truly loved having him in our bed so close, I don’t think any of us slept as well as we should with him there, because he would fidget and stir a lot. He is completely a tummy sleeper, and when he was in our bed, we had him on his back, which wasn’t his favorite. I LOVED waking up next to him, but I also knew that we all needed our own sleep space. (For the first three months of Brady’s life, he spent much of the night in the Rock ‘n Play — the best — or HALO Bassinet next to our bed in our bedroom, by the way — and he also woke up a ton during that time too.)

But now, Brady stays the whole night in his crib, and it’s awesome. 

Sweet Brady at 7 months by A Lady Goes West

Brady’s night-time routine

Anywho, we instituted a night-time routine for Brady pretty early on, but we were always approximate on the time we began it, and it was a little later. Well, now — we start the routine at 6 p.m. and he is asleep in his crib by 6:45 p.m. every single night without fail. We’re actually strict on the time and routine, which I think is helpful.

It looks like this: At 6 p.m., he gets stripped down to just a diaper and a shirt or, just a diaper, and he sits in his little chair on the kitchen counter and gets fed some form of a pureed food (more on food later). It takes about 10-15 minutes to get him to consume enough to make it worth our while. After that, he gets a bath, he gets his jammies and his sleepsack, then we read him a story, turn on the sound machine (quite loud), turn off the lights, nurse him, rock him and put him down on his side in his crib and close the nursery door. We also recently got a blackout shade for his room, which sure beats the blanket we were draping from the blinds every night before that.

These days, he sleeps pretty well, with maybe a tiny fuss here or there, and he wakes up once between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. to get a fresh diaper and to get nursed, then he goes back to sleep in his crib until about 6:30 a.m. or 7 a.m. His wake-up times aren’t always exact. Sometimes, like on the weekends, he will even snooze a little longer in our bed after his initial morning wake-up too, so we can all get more sleep, and we love that.

But, it’s not perfect. I mentioned in this post about things I’ve learned about wellness since becoming a mom that I still don’t feel rested, even though our sleep is SO MUCH BETTER, because I still have the baby monitor next to me on the bedside table and seem to wake up a lot expecting to hear a cry. I always feel like I could sleep a little more, but honestly, it’s a far cry (no pun intended) from where we were, so I’m pleased. However, I still need that mid-day matcha …

Ashley and Brady at Starbucks in purple pants by A Lady Goes West

What changed? Well, when we came back from our trip to Atlanta for my brother’s wedding, we decided Brady was going to stay in his crib all night and we weren’t going to waver on that any longer. That meant the first couple of nights, he would fuss a bit (I was NOT a fan), and then we’d go pat his back, and let him figure it out himself without rocking him back to sleep. It wasn’t a “crying it out” per say, because we checked on him, spoke to him, but didn’t relocate him ever — which just let him know that the crib was his new bed. And now, he seems to like his crib, whereas he hated it before. So we didn’t end up using any formal sleep methods at all, I think we just were able to slowly teach him to know that his crib is where he sleeps for the night, and he seems to be okay with that now.

It also helps that he is old enough to sleep on his tummy. He always sleeps on his tummy with his knees bent and tucked under him with his butt up. I have no idea how it’s comfortable, but I always know if he gets into that position, he’s going to sleep well.

Granted, he’s old enough to sleep fully through the night without a single wake-up, but I’m fine with the progress we’ve made, and I hope it just keeps improving.

Brady at 7.5 months in blue and gold by A Lady Goes West

Brady’s naps

Even though we’re very consistent with Brady’s bedtime, we haven’t been with his naps. I tried to implement a schedule, and it just didn’t work for us. Not to mention, I take Brady with me to the gym at different times each morning too, which means we’re always aiming to get ready and out of the house at different times too. 

He takes a short cat-nap in the morning, usually about 90 minutes after waking up, then a longer nap in the afternoon. I’m trying very hard to get that longer nap to happen every day around 1 p.m.-ish, and I do a modified version of his night-time routine before that nap to get him to sleep — but it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, he just doesn’t want to sleep or he does another cat-nap.

However, last week was the first time that I got him to do two hours in the afternoon every single day of the week, and I used that time to study for my NASM personal trainer exam. I literally NEED that nap time to get work done, and Brady needs a good long nap too. 

When he does sleep for a long time, he wakes up so darn happy, and it makes me happy to have that solo time to get things accomplished in the fitness and blogging world. I also think he sleeps better on the nights when he has napped well during the day. So it is true what they say — sleep brings on more sleep.

The nap process will probably continue to change as his needs change, but I’m crossing my fingers we can keep getting that mid-day longer nap! I need it, or I feel like this …

Brady angry face in San Francicso by A Lady Goes West

An update on breastfeeding

Minor TMI alert in this section, so proceed with caution …

Before I had a baby, I definitely was a little uncomfortable with the topic of breastfeeding. I certainly didn’t want to talk about it or read about it, so I understand if you want to skip through this section. However, I know that many of you want more information on it, because you ask me. Breastfeeding is a very challenging and important part of motherhood, and for some women, it just doesn’t work out.

We are very lucky that breastfeeding has not been an issue for us. After a few hard days figuring out how to do it after Brady was born, we’ve been doing fine. I’ve never (knock on wood) had an infection, mastitis, clogged duct or any of the terrible ailments that you hear about. And I haven’t had to eliminate anything from my diet either. (However, it all equals out, because even though breastfeeding is easy for us, we’ve had our fair share of struggles, see point number one about the 45-minute wake-ups.)

My milk supply remains strong, in spite of all the exercising I’m doing (4-5 one-hour workouts a week), because I’m keeping up my calories and hydration — which is fine by me, because I happen to love eating extra food (oats, sweet potatoes, sprouted bread, lots of carbs, etc.) and drinking extra liquids (water, flavored water, coconut water, green tea, etc.). I was pretty worried about losing my supply once I went back to the gym and upped the intensity of my workouts, but I haven’t noticed any change at all.

Brady and Ashley in the nursery by A Lady Goes West

Speaking of supply, your body makes what your baby needs, and it’s so cool. For instance, because I used to feed Brady a few times at night, when he started sleeping better and only needing to eat one time, my supply adjusted to that need. The first few nights, I woke up slightly engorged and uncomfortable, but that has definitely waned. The body is an amazing thing.

We don’t have an exact feeding schedule during the day, but I generally feed Brady every 2.5 hours during the daytime and then once at night. I use a breast-pump here and there before I have an outing, and I’m also freezing and storing some milk for a future trip we have coming up too.

The good part is that Brady has no problem taking a bottle of pumped breastmilk, and he gets one about once a week. That has been awesome, because it gives me the ability to be away for more than a couple hours at a time, which is important.

As far as when I will stop breastfeeding, that is pretty TBD right now. I set out with a goal to make it six months of exclusively nursing him, and I surpassed that and don’t see us stopping any time soon, so I’ll just keep going while it works for us. It’s a very special and natural thing that I’m truly grateful has been an easy process for us. And to all you mommas who have not had an easy go, I feel for you. A fed baby is a happy baby, and that’s all that matters.

Brady outside in his chair by A Lady Goes West

Feeding Brady solid foods

After Brady’s 6-month doctor check-up, we started introducing solid foods. Our doctor told us to start with a green veggie and do a few days of it before trying anything else. Right now, I buy organic frozen veggies, steam them, then blend them up in a blender and feed Brady puree. He’s had peas, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, corn, cauliflower, banana and peanut butter. And banana is definitely his favorite. But overall, he’s not that excited about food.

We feed him once a day, and he could totally take it or leave it — which is not what I was expecting. It takes a while to get him to open his mouth, and he often just paws at the spoon and gets distracted. Needless to say, we haven’t been able to feed him enough for it to even seem like a meal.

I’ve been talking to some mom friends recently about letting Brady handle the food on his own, which he may enjoy, because he’s very tactile. Right now, it’s a struggle and a total mess. We’re still learning as we go, and I’ll keep you updated. I think avocados and carrots are next on the list. Any tips are welcome.

Brady at 7 months on his tummy by A Lady Goes West

Brady’s development

Brady is the chattiest little guy. He makes the greatest noises and is constantly talking to us, which I love. Obviously, there are no real words yet, but it seems like every few days he’s discovered a new sound he can make. He can pop his lips, scream at the top of his lungs and make super soft coos too.

He loves to hang out on his tummy and paw around and touch absolutely everything around him. While he can’t crawl yet, he can move his body around in a 360 degree circle using his arms and legs and do a forward motion too, so it’s getting closer. He also can’t sit up yet, but is getting pretty close to that too. Overall, he’s always moving. There’s no dropping him in a spot and hoping he stays there. While I still let him jump in the jumper and play in the pack n’ play, he’s always busy. And keeping him busy will likely just keeping getting harder and harder once he can actually crawl or walk. Help!

Another fun development as of the last few weeks: Diaper changes and changing his clothes have both become more difficult because he automatically tries to flip over to his tummy when placed on his back, which is tricky. It’s a good time. He’s got a strong core for a little guy. 

Also, by 8-months-old, Brady has already flown to San Diego, Chicago and Atlanta and he’s got another big trip on the agenda too. He’s a pro traveler and doesn’t seem to mind flying or airports at all.

Brady at 7 months on the plane by A Lady Goes West

Babysitters and taking Brady to childcare at the gym

Perhaps the biggest thing that has happened in the last two months is that Brady has officially been watched by a non-family member paid babysitter. He had a babysitter in our hotel room for my brother’s wedding two nights in a row, then he had a babysitter twice over Memorial Day weekend, so we could go out to dinner for our anniversary and go to a Warriors playoff game watch party.

He seems to do great with babysitters, because he just loves people. I was SO nervous about having someone else watch him, and it’s not a big deal at all. Brady smiles at them and grabs for them when they take him from my arms, so clearly he’s not terrified. 

In addition, he goes to daycare at the gym about four times a week and also has no problems there. The girls in the daycare know Brady by name, and they play with him, carry him around and entertain him while I work out or teach a class, and I’ve only been called away from my workout a few times to change his diaper.

Moral of the story? It’s scary for new moms to trust their baby with someone else, but it’s not that scary once you actually do it the first time. For quite a while, I struggled with wanting some freedom but NOT wanting anyone else to watch Brady, and now I’m so glad I’ve decided to rely on others a bit. It’s been good for both of us.

I remain Brady’s number-one caretaker all day, every day, but those breaks to have a workout or get out for a date with Dave have been MUCH needed, and they will continue.

Brady and Dave at Four Seasons by A Lady Goes West

Things I want to remember about Brady at 8 months …

  • When I walk into his room after his nap and he looks up at me, a little groggy, and gives me the biggest gummy smile.
  • What a happy guy he is. He just seems to love life.
  • When I go to pick him up out of his carseat, how he lifts his arms up to reach for me and then hugs onto my shoulders so tightly.
  • How he tries to grab every single thing near him, especially my phone, my hair, my shirt, basically whatever he can get his hands on.
  • How if I make eye contact with him across the room, he immediately freezes and smiles back at me.
  • How he tries to pet Rudy, but ends up just swatting him and pulling his fur.
  • The way his soft little skin feels. It’s so soft. I melt.
  • How his hairs get all matted when he sleeps and he wakes up with bed head.
  • How precious and small he feels in my arms when I rock him to sleep.
  • Pushing him in his swing outside in the sunshine. It’s the best.
  • How he is always crossing his feet or folding his hands together at the strangest times.
  • The way he lights up when he looks into a mirror.
  • His big personality. Literally. I thought it would be crazy for a baby to have a personality before I had Brady, but he sure does have one.

I could go on and on. But it’s safe to say that Brady is my everything, and I couldn’t be more happy to have him in my life and have him to look after too. Can you tell I’m a proud mom? Gush much?

Overall thoughts on Brady at 8-months-old

Because I like to keep it real, I can’t end this update post without reminding you that motherhood is hard. I feel like I’ve painted a very rosy picture of our little angel in this post. And the truth is, he is a perfect little angel — but that doesn’t mean things are easy. I still struggle with the fact that I can’t get much done during the days and don’t have the freedom to do whatever I want. I still lose my patience at times. And obviously, life is very different now. Instead of heading off on adventures and dates whenever we want, we stay closer to home, and we time our lives to work with Brady’s schedule. It’s an adjustment, but it’s a small price to pay for having him.

The joy that he brings to every single day is insane. I had no idea how funny babies could be. I had no idea how much I would love this little being. And I also had no idea how much I would miss him, even when he goes to sleep each night. Mom life is incredibly rewarding, but let us not forget that it is not easy. And let us also not forget about wine … 🙂 

Ashley and Brady on Mother's Day at the Four Seasons by A Lady Goes West

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    1. haahah, Emily– love it! The teepee butt is very descriptive. We just call it “butts up,” but I like your term better, and yes, it’s quite cute! 🙂

  1. So sweet! Thanks for sharing! My baby is 6 months and loves solids. It took a few weeks and lots of practice but it is now one of her favorite things to do. We have started mixing about 1 part fruit or squash to 3 part green veggies and she seems to eat more than if it was just greens. Have fun!

    1. Hi Jen, great tips! We started mixing peanut butter with some foods, and that helps a little — but maybe a combo of more things would be helpful. I’m glad to hear eating solids is going well for your little girl! 🙂

  2. Hey Ashley, love to hear about Brady’s growth. I think he is getting more handsome with age. It sounds like motherhood is an adventure for you. A good adventure for sure.

    1. Thank you, Richard! Being a mom is quite the adventure, and I’m definitely enjoying it! 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful day!

  3. I don’t have much to add, but I love all of the Brady updates and it’s so wonderful that you are so happy. It truly brings me joy to watch this new chapter of your life from afar. I never get to see you, but I feel so involved in your life just from being such a longtime reader. And maybe that’s silly, but it’s true!

    1. Thank you for following along, my friend! 🙂 It’s a fun new chapter, and I’m so glad you like reading about it! It’s NOT silly — you are alongside for the ride with me hehehe

  4. Hooray for sleep!! Donovan didn’t sleep through the night until he was 7 months! IT was a struggle and like you, we read lots of books, consulted friends and it just wasn’t happening. But then he finally figured it out. I feel like the 8 months range was really fun, they are interacting more and sleeping better which is always a plus! 🙂

    1. Hi Marielle! I’m glad to know we aren’t alone in the sleep struggles — we were starting to wonder if every baby was ahead of Brady in sleeping hehehe, but we’re finally getting it under control. And yes, I love 8 months so far, because Brady is so much more sturdy for playing heheh

  5. My little guy is Brady’s age and it seemed to take a long time before he enjoyed solids and I felt a little discouraged at first. One thing that really helped us was using a mesh feeder (like this one: I think he likes the fact that he can do it himself! I usually put frozen fruit or avacado in it. We’ve started doing small bites of solid food (per his pediatrician’s rec), such as sweet potatoes, eggs, green beans – and that has made a huge difference too- but we only did purees for 1.5-2 months before that. Hope this helps! Brady is a cutie pie.

    1. Hi Susanna! Sooo helpful! Thank you. Those little packets look awesome, and I have a feeling Brady would love to be able to handle them himself. I’m glad to know it took you guys a while too to get the hang of the food thing — that gives me hope! 🙂 Have a great night, lady!

  6. Hi Brady! What a cutieeee. So glad he is finally sleeping better stretches. That has to be amazing for the both of you! Also, thank you for sharing about babysitting and how that made you feel nervous. I’m struggling with the same right now, and as you know, we don’t have family nearby either. We’re trying to figure out if I’m going back to work and the biggest reason I’m not on board is because I don’t want anyone else with him during the day. Not yet anyways. So I totally feel you! I loved reading this update, he’s an adorable little man!

    1. Heather! I knowwwwwww! I’m SO glad I don’t have to go back to an office, but getting work done at home while Brady sleeps is NOT easy either. You are learning all these things are you go, but it sounds like Skyler is already a better sleeper than Brady ever was hehehe at least at night anyways. I’m LOVING your journey and following along, and I hope you are able to figure out the best choice for you and work and your fam, and if you don’t like it once you make it, you can always change your mind! 🙂 Thanks for saying hi, friend. Miss ya!!!

  7. What a cutie! My daughter is just a few days older than Brady, so we’ve also been trying solids for the last couple/three months. I wonder if it might help to give him purees in the morning as opposed to the evening. I have zero scientific reasoning for this, but at least for my daughter, she’s so much perkier (and probably that much more open to trying new things) in the morning. Plus, my pediatrician recommends the morning just in case she has an allergic reaction. Also, I’ve added breastmilk to some purees to give them a smoother texture and so that there’s a little bit of a familiar flavor.

    Good luck! It’s definitely a very messy process. Ha!

    1. Marissa! As I was trying to feed him last night, I wondered the same thing about if he should eat at a different time. Very good tip, because he is definitely more open and accepting in the morning. Thanks for that! 🙂 And yes — quite the MESS! hahaha

  8. I am SO happy you are finally getting some rest! It sounds like he and Em are on similar schedule at night. Getting some sort of bedtime routine is so helpful. I’ve found that aiming for certain things within a block of time rather than strict schedule throughout the day helps– especially if she sleeps in. That way I don’t have to worry about her taking an 8 am nap if she wakes up at 7!
    He such and adorable little nugget and all is new mommies are right there with you and making it up as we go along. l often worry that I’m not stimulating Emmie in the right way so that she is learning and developing the “right” way, but just like in the rest of my life, I need to keep eyes on my own paper, l when it comes to comparison! You are doing a great job!

    1. Hi Susie! I was worried that I should be taking Brady to more baby classes, etc. but then I realize that he gets a lot of stimulation and new surroundings at gym daycare too — he also gets to meet other kids. So you are right — we don’t need to worry what other people are doing, we just have to make the best choices we think we can make for our own situation. Emmie is adorable as well, and I love that you guys are doing well! 🙂 Thanks for saying hi, lady! Happy belated anniversary to you!

  9. Thank you for this! It’s nice to know that other babies aren’t the best of sleepers early on – so much of what I see/read on social media leaves me wondering why my little one isn’t sleeping/eating/etc…the same perfect way. Love following along! If you have any upcoming events / meet-ups in SF, would love to meet you!

    1. Hi Bri! It’s quite hard — people always share the good stuff and somehow you only see posts from the amazing sleeping babies, with the moms who do not look tired or stressed. But that’s not reality nor the majority. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in 8 months, and I’m okay with it — it keeps getting better, and so we’re pleased. And I’d love to meet you too! Thanks for reading and saying hi! And I’m thinking of doing a meet-up in the next few months, so I will keep you posted!! Have a GREAT day and weekend, lady! 🙂

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