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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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CenterParcs at Woburn Forest

We are really lucky because our cousin works at CenterParcs in Woburn (which is the recently opened 5th village) and because of this we got to go there for the day as her guest, so I thought I would review it for my readers. I feel so lucky to have one of my favourite holiday venues open up just 20 minutes from Milton Keynes.

Like all the CenterParcs venues (I have been to all but Longleat) it is very beautiful, woody, green and with very few cars around. You have to park your car up at the beginning of your break and come back for it at the end. (Although there is the odd maintenance van etc). Due to the lack of cars it is very safe, which is lovely when you have young children. We have always enjoyed the ‘in the middle of nowhere’ woodland setting, where deer come up to your lodge and squirrels run across your path, it is so peaceful.

family holiday at center parks

Woburn CenterParcs is a big place and the walk from the car park to the plaza and from the plaza to the village square is approximately a 15 minute walk, so bear that in mind, especially with little legs. Our Nate had to be carried a couple of times, but then if we were staying we would have used a bike with a trailer, especially in the cold weather.

Here is a map of the village:

centre parcs village map
We went into the sports Plaza because the Australian Open was on (Hubby is tennis mad). While we enjoyed our hot chocolates and tennis, Nate ran straight off into the soft play, how lovely it was to have a warm drink while he played. Then he wandered off into the little arcade and played on the Batman machine. (How great that he doesn’t realise, at this age, that you need money to play it)!

I had a good look around and saw in the sports plaza the following: bowling (although there is also a bigger bowling alley in the village square), pool tables, tennis and badminton courts, squash courts, table tennis, a build-a-bear type workshop (definitely want to try that next time), a cooking area, a craft and messy play room, a pottery workshop, some shops and at the back the Aqua Sana Spa (definitely coming back for that one with Hubby).

children playing with play dohAbove: Craft room in the sports plaza

Nate was eager to bowl so we decided to have a game. He has only bowled once before so thought it would be fun. It was quite funny watching my aunty bowl (not sure she has bowled before), not sure who bowled slower, her or Nate, although at one point the ball didn’t quite make it to the pins, so that was funny! If I was a paying customer, I would have been a little miffed that we were only given an hour to play, it then kicks you off and asks you to return to the desk to pay. We were not told this when we booked the bowling.

toddler bowling at centreparks

We then had a play in the park outside of the plaza and walked up to the village square for lunch. I’m not sure how many parks they have, but that one was not suitable for young children, Nate couldn’t climb either of the steep steps to get onto the slide. At the village square they had lots of restaurants but we were excited to take Nate to Hucks Diner because we knew it was the best one for kids and an American menu which we all enjoyed. However, to our disappointment, Hucks doesn’t open until 4pm at Woburn, the one in Elveden opens for lunch so we assumed this one would be open too. Alas, we went to Dexters Grill instead which was much smaller, no soft play, only one toilet and a limited menu. In spite of that, the food and service were very good so we still enjoyed it. The Millies cookies inside were a treat and the milkshakes were delicious.

Nate needed a potty stop on the way back, so we stopped in Cafe Rouge which was large, had a small soft play area, crayons and proper toilets, so that would have been better, in hind sight. I am not complaining though because we did have a lovely lunch and it was a special setting to spend time with family.

The Sub-tropical Paradise looked amazing from the outside – I really cannot wait to take Nate there, it looked great, I could see a lazy river ride that came outside, several log flumes and a baby slide. All of the other sub-tropical paradises that I have been to at Sherwood, Elveden and Whinfell were amazing and a definite highlight of my holidays, especially as they are free.

swimming pool at centre parcs

We walked past the beautiful lake and back to our car, it was a lovely day out. To clarify though, it is not currently possible to obtain or buy a day pass for Woburn unless you know someone who is staying there or works there. I really think they should allow day passes for anyone though because it is a great day out. Another way to try it out without committing to a full weekend break or holiday is using the Aqua Sana Spa. They have a 5 hour Spa Experience that costs £50, and you can stay on the site after the spa for dinner if you wish, so I will be trying that some time.

The newness of Woburn is a lovely perk, especially as the lodges are all brand new, however the only downside to this is that the Forest is new too and not grown in. I noticed the difference compared to the other CenterParcs, the Forest seemed sparse, and very little wildlife. However, I am sure this will change within a year or two when the forest and foliage grows in. I would definitely come back here for a weekend break and for the spa.