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Savannah – 9 Month Progress Update

My last update of Savannah was at 6 months. It’s time for another, there have been so many changes.

8 month old baby girl

Sleep
Can you believe my 8 month old was STILL not sleeping through the night? My heartache of being sleep deprived was laid out to bare last month. But fingers crossed at 9 months she has recently began to sleep through, long may that continue! How did we finally accomplish that?

We tried sleep training at 6 months which went horribly. So 3 weeks ago we decided to try and wean her off the bottle over night using a more gentle approach, which I did successfully with Nate but did not work for Savannah.

what age can baby feed themselves?

We reduced her formula slowly, 1oz at a time and then replaced it with water. So she got a full feed at 10:30pm but then when she woke overnight (usually between 2-5am) we gave her a bottle of water, usually 5 or 6oz and she drank all of it, every time! Supposedly, if you only offer water at night babies are supposed to stop waking up, but after 4 weeks she was still waking! I tried the controlled crying technique of shushing and patting when she awoke but that just made her worse, therefore the only method left was letting her cry it out. I prefer to think of this method as ‘letting her sooth herself’ rather than cry-it-out as it sounds better and we are basically trying to help her help herself, she needs to learn to sleep. So that is what we did.

It went like this:
Night 1 – cried for 1.5 hours (and so did I, it was horribly painful for me)
Night 2 – cried for 35 minutes
Night 3 – cried for 10 minutes
Night 4 and 5 – she had a bad cold, so I didn’t feel that I could let her “self-soothe”, I gave her water,
Night 6 – back to scratch she cried for 1 hour 10 minutes
Night 7 – cried for 20 minutes
Night 8 – she slept through the night

Of course we are probably going to have to sleep train her again to wean her off her 10:30pm dream feed – unless she miraculously drops this feed herself.

Weaning
This has been a mixture of hard work and fun, from 5.5 months Savannah has chosen the baby-led weaning approach. She would not let me put ANYTHING in her mouth, no food, no spoon, no medicine even! If I tried to spoon feed her she would just spit it out! So for those who disagree with spoon feeding because they think you are force feeding your child, I can tell you now – you cannot force-feed your child! Your baby is always in control of the food they swallow no matter how you feed them!

But all that changed last week and she is suddenly hungry and letting me feed her! She seems to be really enjoying the food too. I’m still letting her feed herself though so I guess we are combination feeding now, again I’m taking my steer from her so it really is baby-led.

8 month old eating brocolli

Her favourite foods right now are brocolli and corn on the cob. When we are out and about we tend to give purees as it is less messy and it is more convenient. We did start with Ella’s kitchen, but actually now I prefer cow and gate/Heinz or Hipp Organic jars as they actually look like real food they actually have rice and pieces of vegetables, Ella’s Kitchen pouches are so pureed that they don’t look real. But that’s just my personal preference.

Verbal Development
Savannah is doing very well with talking. She can now say Dada, Mum and bye-bye (she also waves with that one). She is a right chatter-box, she pretty much says da-da all day long and basically chatters away most of the day and even over night!

Physical Development
She can sit up unaided but still cannot crawl properly yet though she can get around. She spins herself around, goes into a crawling position and sits herself back up, rolls all around. She can wave and takes great enjoyment out of playing with her toys. Thanks to baby-led weaning she can pick up small pieces of food between her finger and thumb and pass them between her hands. She can fed herself her bottle, which is super helpful, and she can pick it up if she drops it.

She has two teeth and two new ones are starting to break through.

Family Holiday

family posing on lake at centre parks

Since the last update we have been on our family holiday, which was to Center Parcs at Woburn. We had such a great time, it was exhausting obviously, as family holidays with a young child is not really a holiday so much as a change of location of the madness but we did love it. The staff were amazing with our kids, they seriously went above and beyond. The restaurants (all but one) all have soft play in them, which meant that we were able to eat out every night and enjoy it, as Nate (our 5 year old) was entertained. They provide free baby food (cow and gate jars), bowls, spoons, bibs, wipes, bottle warmers and microwaves in all of their restaurants and the main sports plaza, which is a lovely touch that we took full use of. The Sub-tropical paradise swimming pool was the winner though, we went everyday. It is free, immaculately clean, still looks new and is so much fun. My son and I have a fantastic time, and even though he is a stage 2 swimmer we decided to brave the wild river rapids (with him on my lap) and we both absolutely loved it – we went on 7 times in a row at one point.

Siblings
Nate is still obsessed with her, always wants to be with her, touching her, playing with her etc. which is obviously very nice, but is also problematic as he simply won’t leave her alone, to the point of making her cry sometimes. He tells me (and her) all the time how much he loves her, which makes my heart fuller than I ever thought possible, so I am trying not to get too irritated when he treats her like a doll. He always means well, he absolutely adores her, more than I thought it was possible for a 5 year old to do. In return, she loves him and appears to worship him already, plus no one makes Savannah laugh as much or as loud as Nate can.

5 year old on swing with 7 month old

What has your baby been up to lately?

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Hitting the Wall (of sleep deprivation)

So it appears all my friends hit the wall around the same time. Did you?

First you get tripped by a hurdle around the 2 week mark (after baby is born) because all the adrenaline you were running on is out of your system and 14 nights of sleeping in 40 minute to 2 hour shifts (if you’re lucky) has suddenly taken its toll. Then you get tripped up by a lot more hurdles along the way such as nights of endless teething, illnesses, the 4 month sleep regression etc. But if you are one of the unlucky ones whose baby doesn’t sleep through the night in the first 6 months you will thereafter quickly start to lose your sense of humour. 7 months rolls around and you start to think ‘this is not a joke anymore’ and then we hit 8 months and that is where I was not just tripped up by the teething hurdle, I smacked head-first right into the wall! The wall of sleep deprivation. That was it, I had reached the end of my rope. I completely lost it one night after 4 nights of teething.

brick wall

I haven’t slept through the night for 8 god-damn months!! It’s in-humane it’s UNsafe it’s UNrealistic, it’s UNreal, it’s UNbelievable it’s… UNFAIR!!

I feel drugged, I feel like I am walking around in a haze, I don’t feel like myself, or that I am living my real life. I haven’t had an evening in over a year, because I have to go to bed early every single night! I am mum but I am not myself anymore, people have even said to me that it seems like I am not really there, I even got a comment that I am cold and less loving than I used to be – well you know what – that is not helpful coming from someone who gets to sleep. I am in survival mode right now. I have done this before, but last time round my son slept through at 5.5 months, so at this point, when I had an 8 month old baby I was actually enjoying my maternity leave, I could experience it clearly, I was sleeping and though still exhausted from taking care of a baby I was able to get bits of my life back. For now, I don’t have a life!

The worst part about it is that you just don’t know when or if it will get better. In theory you know that 99% of babies do eventually sleep through the night at some point in the first 2 years of life but there is that 1% those horror stories of babies/children that you hear about that never sleep (and we all have a friend or a friend of friend with that child) and in this dark hour you have convinced yourself that you have given birth to that!

Even if your baby is destined to sleep through at some point, you don’t actually know when that might be. It’s not like your due date where you know you will have a baby roughly 2 weeks either side of that date, with sleeping there is no date. It could be tomorrow it could be 5 months from tomorrow. The fact that you don’t know makes it harder to cope with because you don’t know if the end is in sight or not.

sleeping 7 month old baby girl

I think I would rather know that my child won’t sleep until she is 1 year old then have it happen by accident one day when she is c9 months because at least you won’t be lulled. At baby classes instead of asking ‘does she sleep through?’ You would ask ‘what date did you get? 6 months? Really? You lucky thing, I was given 9 months. Yeah I know, never mind, at least I know when it will be’!

Can you imagine that?

Anyway, so if you hit the wall at around this time, or maybe it was earlier or later, it will probably happen at some point, and when it does, like me, have a good cry, go speak to all your mum friends, compare notes, share…I promise you will feel better. And even better maybe bribe you partner to let you have one single solitary night of UNinterrupted sleep, go away, get a babysitter, ask a family member, do something if possible to break up the very long stint, because, we do not know when it will end! But I guess until then, we can take heart in the fact that it will happen at some point, and we just have to hang-on in there, be kind to ourselves, have treats, take breaks where we can, leave the house-work, and do whatever we can to just survive this period of limbo.