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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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Weaning off Milk in the night

sleeping 1 year old

Whenever Nate (our 1 year old baby/toddler) has a cold, which is often, we give him milk in the night time, mostly to make sure he stays hydrated, and also to help him sleep. The only problem with doing that, is that you then have to wean them off the milk ( in the night) when they are well again. He gets used to the comfort of the milk and does not know how to settle himself back to sleep. I know that babies need to be sleep trained, and he is, but I guess I relent when he has a illness just to help him sleep in the short-term, but long term it is not worth it.

We have tried several methods in the past including:

1. Slowly reducing the amount of milk given in the night, so starting with the amount they usually have, then reducing by 30ml each night until they are down to no milk.

2. Giving water instead of milk (nuff said).

3. Giving no milk but comfort them by going into the room when they cry, then extending the time you go into the room by a minute each time (Ferber Method).

4. Letting your baby cry it out/settle themselves

5. Another method that we haven’t tried is to water down the milk, adding more and more water over time until it becomes just water.

I am not advocating method 4 for everyone, but I can say it is the only method that actually worked for us. The first two didn’t work as we couldn’t get him completely off the milk or water, method 3 actually made him worse because he got excited every time I came into the room. After the others didn’t work we tried method 4 – crying it out, and as painful as it was for us all, it really did work.

The first night he cried for 50 minutes (which felt like a lifetime, especially with work the next day), the 2nd night 15 minutes and the 3rd night he didn’t wake up at all, or any night thereafter. The key with this method is commitment and consistency, you have to full commit to letting them settle themselves. Crying it out, or the tough love approach sounds bad, so it is better to think of it like it is, the baby is settling themselves, rather than relying on a bottle to help them sleep.

We have now decided to not give him milk in the night anymore, cold or no cold. Instead, we will give him water, which will keep him hydrated, but will hopefully reduce him waking in the night after he is better.

Standard
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Weaning schedule doesn’t make sense!

We’ve had a tricky week, and I don’t know if it’s down to a growth spurt or not, but I think that the weaning schedule that seems to be recommended in all the books, websites and by my health visitor, doesn’t make any sense.

I was hoping someone could explain it to me.

According to everywhere I have read, you are supposed to feed your baby milk, then solids and hour later etc all day, so our schedule ended up being like this:

9am – Milk

10am – Breakfast (solids)

12 – Milk

3pm – Milk

4pm – Dinner (solids)

6pm – Milk

10pm – Milk (dream feed)

Now this didn’t make any sense to me because he is eating every 1-2 hours, rather than every 3 hours like he used to, and I think because of that he was always hungry. Who wouldn’t be hungry all the time if they ate that often? So after a few very frustrating days, I switched the schedule, so now it looks like this:

9am – Milk, followed by breakfast (solids)

12 – Milk

3pm – Milk, followed by dinner (solids)

6pm – Milk

10pm Milk

So I did that because everyone says you should go with your own instincts, however, I don’t know everything, so if anyone can explain to me why we should feed them solids 1 hour after milk I would be delighted to know. For now I will carry on with our own schedule.

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Early weaning anyone?

My son is 20 weeks and I started weaning him last week *gasp* I know I can already feel some of your judgements, we all do it, so no need to pretend, even one of my closest friends said “you can’t wean him until he is 6 months old!!”. Well I checked with my health visitor first and did a lot of research into the 4 month vs 6 months debate. Surprisingly there are good and bad points to both. Weaning your baby at 6 months can cause health problems just like early weaning can, so I guess you take your chances either way. The biggest downside of waiting till 6 months is that your baby could become anaemic as iron stores are extremely low and therefore 6 month weaning plans are pretty intense, you basically have to introduce a new food each day. I just want to clarify that I cast no judgement on any mums decision to wean earlier or later, it is after all our own decision no matter what anyone says.

So I made the decision to start a little earlier so that I could at least take my time with it. I also felt like he was ready.

Last week he had a small amount of baby rice and took to it very well. After just a couple of days he was opening his mouth ready for each bite. This week we have started him on puréed carrot and he seems to really like it, just one ice cube size and he eats it all.

Has anyone else weaned their child earlier than 6 months? If so how did you get on? Any tips?

Finally I would like to recommend a book I have found useful: weaning made easy it compares puréed vs baby led weaning and shows you the good and bad of both, shows you how to combine them should you wish, and has meal plans and recipe ideas.

A good website is: cow and gate i have linked you to their free weaning pack that you can send off for, which I highly recommend. Also if you join you get freebies, vouchers and with friend finder you can find mums in your area to chat to or meet with.

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