18m-2y Sleep Regression turned sleep deprivation

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Desperately trying to show Little Miss how to sleep…

In September, Little Miss turned 18 months. It felt quite the milestone. What we didn’t know then, was that this milestone also brought with it another sleep regression.

Earlier in the Summer, The Wonder Weeks had come to an end, and to be honest, somewhat naively / hopefully, I had thought perhaps that was the end of these dreadful episodes of developmental leaps and lack of sleep.

Oh Amie. How wrong can one Mama be…

It started off slow, as it always does. A few extra night wakings here and there, needing a little pat to get back to sleep. Totally manageable.

Little Miss hates bed covers, she always has. Even as a newborn she would wail if we swaddled her. And around her first birthday, she figured out how to get out of her sleeping bag and throw it out of the cot. So after a month or so of battling, we gave up and started just snuggling her in a blanket after she’d fallen asleep.

Image 5But the nights were getting cooler, and unfortunately, with the extra wakings, there was more opportunity for her to kick off the blanket and have a strop. So we introduced a 4 tog temperature control duvet in hope that this would be too heavy to kick off but allow her the room to wriggle she craved.

While she liked her big girl bedding, on the whole, three months on we still have to wait until she’s asleep to place the duvet over her. But at least it’s too heavy for her to throw out of the cot.

In early October, we visited my in-laws in Surrey for the weekend. We were having a particularly arduous bedtime. I was stood outside her room, doing the usual, ‘pat pat shush shush, walk away, wait a few minutes, pat pat…’ when suddenly everything went quiet. After a minute, I turned to peek round the door to be met by a little face peering up at me. To be honest, Little Miss looked as surprised as me.

‘Ooh,’ she was clearly thinking, ‘I didn’t know I could do that…’

She managed to climb out of the cot later that evening too only this time, she didn’t quite nail the dismount and thumped head first onto the wooden floor, resulting in mild pandemonium and what I’m pretty sure was a mild concussion.

Luckily, she hasn’t climbed out of the cot since then. Perhaps the purple lump on her forehead put her off a bit…

But slowly and surely, the last two months have seen me and the OH reach breaking point. The wakings have increased from needing a pat and readjusting the duvet to full on two hours of screaming through the night.

In November, she had Hand, Foot & Mouth, requiring paracetamol and cuddles through the night. And last week she had a bad cough and a cold, resulting in more cuddles.

But the week before, with no illness in sight, she woke at 3am and didn’t go back to sleep until nap time at midday. How she was able to function I will never know. Because lord knows I was struggling. A few days later, she woke at 2am and didn’t go back to sleep until nearly 6am.

We’ve tried everything from our usual ‘pat pat shush shush’ to even bringing her into our bed on occasion. But we learnt very quickly that doesn’t work for Little Miss. Apparently our bed is a trampoline…

I started looking for answers.

The Baby Sleep Site explained that the 18 month sleep regression is the most difficult one to date. Between teething, an increased sense of separation anxiety and a need to exercise their new found independence – “I do it!” – the 18m regression is a doozey. But what really takes the biscuit is the fact that your toddler is not yet old enough to reason with.

We’ve been enjoying the fact Little Miss can communicate more than ever. At night, if we can get her to calm down, she’s usually able to tell us what’s wrong – hungry, cold, hurt, cuddle… But the problem at this age is there isn’t always a reason. During the previous regressions, they didn’t have the ability to be defiant. Now, Little Miss definitely does.

My Baby Sleep Guide also spoke about the The Age of Great Resistance between 14 and 24 months. This lasts at least six months, bringing with it, self-assertion, testing behaviour and protesting.

It’s no wonder sleep often goes downhill during this stage… Kids start to resist more and parents start to give in. And then a tiredness cycle sets in and things just keep getting tougher…

All of this rings true for us. We’ve had numerous nights where Little Miss will only sleep in our arms – just like a year ago during her 8/9/10 month regression. (Only she’s a lot heavier this time round!)

At the same time, she has point blank refused dinner many nights in the past few weeks, meaning she wakes up hungry at 2am. What do we do? Leave her to be hungry until 6am to ‘teach her she can’t refuse dinner’? Or give her a snack so we can all get some sleep and risk perpetuating the behaviour? We still don’t have an answer to this one. The same goes for sleeping in our arms.

And basically, this is where we are at the moment. Grumpy and delirious going round and round in circles in the dead of night.

A few have said she might be ready to move into a bed, but that just strikes terror into our hearts. Little Miss is so active and head-strong, we just don’t think she’d stay in bed and then we’d spend our nights chasing her round the apartment…

Perhaps she’s teething. Perhaps we’ve cuddled her too much. Others have said she’s not getting enough sleep… (no shit Sherlock!)

All in all, we’re reaching breaking point. And I don’t have a solution for you yet. Just a very large pot of coffee.

What about your little ones? Are they experiencing the 18m-2y sleep regression? Do you have any tips? (Please!) 

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The Wonder Weeks: Leap 10, AKA, the final frontier

Over the summer (while on my bloggy break), Little Miss completed her tenth and final Wonder Weeks Leap.

It felt so momentous. After sixteen months, we had finally come to the end of our Wonder Weeks journey.

What the hell was I going to do without the app!?

But before we get too caught up in the wasteland of leaplessness, let’s quickly cover off what went on in Leap 10.

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Defiant in Italy: I will not go to bed. You can’t make me! Just let me master this step and then I can make my escape…

Sadly, Leap 10, ‘Systems’, hit the weekend Little Miss and I went to Italy to visit my dad, during the heatwave (38 degrees and counting), in a house with no air conditioning or pool……..

Having mastered ‘Principles’ in Leap 9, Leap 10 is all about your toddler’s choice. Choosing to be good, helpful, gentle or rough, patient… or not. And as you progress through Leap 10, your toddler basically learns (chooses) that the only system they fancy abiding by is “the system of me“.

In Leap 9 she realised Daddy and I were different people, different entities. In Leap 10, she masters the concept or ‘you’ and ‘me’, ‘us’ and ‘them’ and boy did Little Miss roll with it. The word, “mine,” came pretty quickly and she would actively exclude either the Other Half or me depending on the activity and her mood.

So how would I sum up Leap 10?

I’m pretty sure all Little Miss thought was, “I WANT POWER!”

But let me elaborate;

  1. Me and my body
    – I have control over my body and things around me.
    – I can do it myself (Little Miss made this clear at every opportunity – and still does).
    – I have my own will (I think Little Miss discovered this one a bit earlier than Leap 10).
    – I can decide for myself.
  2. Naughty at will, just for kicks (tick…)
  3. Your child can console (pleasant silver lining to this leap that actually shone through pretty early on as Little Miss ‘pat pat pat’ – even if aggressively – when we hurt ourselves or appeared sad).
  4. Understands the concept of the extended family and asks about Grandma/Grandpa (yep).
  5. Understands rules of what belongs to whom (and ignores them…..).
  6. Creates drawings that represent something in the real world (this has only just recently appeared at 20 months – they look nothing like Daddy, but she insists that’s what she’s drawing).
  7. Shows an impressive increase in language comprehension and starts to speak more (/ talk back).

And shock horror, but what does the app say? We must all know it by now… There’ll be more crying, more clinginess and more crankiness.

Yippie.

Interestingly, the app also notes that toddlers may have nightmares from this age. Depending on what you read, this could be disputed as apparently they don’t have the imagination until much later for nightmares. However, I disagree. I think Little Miss does indeed have nightmares and since around sixteen months. Whether it’s based on something she’s seen that or imagination is a different question, but we had many nights with Little Miss screaming like I’ve never heard before, gripping your clothes when you went through to her and then screaming again, tears streaming if you left her. That to me could only be explained by nightmares.

The app also warns;

The conflicts and arguments are more intense than ever during this fussy period.

Alas, I can confirm. Little Miss became more like Little Madam, and though on the whole her usual pleasant temperament has returned since then, there is a definite Little Madam streak to her now that wasn’t there prior to Leap 10.

And that’s it. We’re done! The Wonder Weeks is no more for us.

Since it ended, I have missed it. I’ve felt a bit lost at times if Little Miss is having a particularly bad day or week. I find myself reaching for my phone going to check if she’s started a leap then remembering that won’t be the case. She’s just being a toddler.

But we’re muddling through. She’s started nursery, which has helped use up most of her excess energy, meaning our time together is usually more enjoyable as she’s no longer bored with me.

But still, if anyone has any recommendations for books or guidance through the fast approaching Terrible Twos (a step by step guide like The Wonder Weeks would be preferable if possible), then please do let me know. I’m all ears!

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

The Wonder Weeks: Leap 9… AKA Purgatory

The blog has been quiet for the last week or so because I’ve been furiously house hunting & prepping for & attending three job interviews.

And dealing with the baby from hell thanks to Leap 9.

Never have I been less mentally prepared for an interview in my life.

One morning last week, she screamed, writhing & rolling around on the floor, sobbing her heart out for nearly an hour and a half. She had had her MMR the week before as well, so it could have been a reaction that; but the truth is, I don’t really know.

If I went near her, let alone tried to touch her she just screamed louder & crawled away from me distraught. Eventually, this ended with us both crying on opposite sides of the room. By the time my mom arrived at midday, I was a frazzled mess, in no fit state for an interview. And I can confirm, I did not come across my best…

We’ve also had more night wakings in the past couple of weeks; a few nights Baby Girl has had us up for three, even five hour stretches. She only settles if in our arms, which as we’ve been so successful with gentle sleep training, we’ve been loath to do. But my god, when you’re that tired & after that long in the dead of night, no doubt having woken up all the neighbours, the silence that comes with sitting in an arm chair with a toddler in your arms is too great. Even the OH – a diehard sleep trainer – gave in a few nights just to stop the crying!

I’m not usually one to be negative on the blog. Who wants to read about the miseries of parenthood – experiencing them for yourself is bad enough! And if I am, it’s usually in a  light, let’s-find-the-laughter-instead-of-the-tears kind of way.

But the truth is, even just writing this, I feel quite emotional at how difficult the last couple of weeks have been.

It’s been really tough. No, scratch that. Leap 9 has brought with it some of the hardest days of parenthood to date. And last weekend my mom actually had to take Baby Girl to her’s for 24 hours while we had a break as I was nearing my wits end, my patience shot & my energy levels nearing zero; the OH could barely function at work on how little sleep we were getting.

This weekend, we’ve had a busy one. We were at a friend’s house last night for his birthday. We took Baby Girl with us & stayed the night so we could enjoy the evening not worrying about dashing home to relieve a baby sitter or grab last tube.

And she has been a dream, charming everybody at the party, going to sleep on time & pretty much sleeping through. You wouldn’t believe she was the same child.

The Wonder Weeks app tells me we still have fourteen days to go until the end of leap 9 but tentatively, I wonder (hope!) if we might be starting to regain some equilibrium as Baby Girl begins to get a handle on her new skills.

But what is Baby Girl learning? Leap 9 opens up the world of ‘Principles’ to Baby Girl. She’s no longer a baby, getting a grip on the world around her & mastering the previous leaps fully.

Leap 9 allows her to;

  • Play with emotions, facial expressions & behaviour. (Tick… What a joy…)
  • Wants to do things by herself. (Yep; if I touch her spoon during mealtimes it’s met with screams & her throwing her bowl on the floor. Good times! There’s that wilful personality shining through… Sadly only myself to blame for this one.)
  • ‘Playing house,’ pretending to clean or take care of her toys.
  • Thinks ahead & makes plans
  • Temper tantrums & nagging to get her own way. (Oh yeh; Baby Girl has reached this stage in a big way.)
  • Understands the concept of ‘mine & yours’ (the trick is getting her to share…)
  • Starts negotiating & bargaining
  • May have irrational fears

Leap 9 is the penultimate leap in The Wonder Weeks. I can’t believe it. It feels like only yesterday I downloaded the app! There’s light at the end of the tunnel.

And then I realise that she’s only fourteen months old and we have toddlerhood, childhood & the teenage years yet to go…

That light is dimming somewhat…

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

Weaning Roundup: Stage 3

With Baby Girl’s first birthday came the end of Stage 3 – and arguably, the end of weaning. *gasp*

She’s now a toddler & can eat most things. But before I get ahead of myself, here’s what we thought of stage 3…

By nine months, weaning fun is well & truly underway. Stage 3 sees your baby starting to eat proper food (minus the salt & sugar content – read more about this in my Stage 2 Roundup), experiment with even more interesting flavours and start to learn to feed his or herself.

By now, your baby should be comfortable with finger foods & able to join in with more family meals. And if your baby is refusing certain foods, don’t loose hope; research shows the more times you expose a child to a food the more likely he or she is to eat it.

Baby Girl likes to keep all her bases covered

It’s worth noting that milk is still a main staple of your baby’s diet at this stage. Baby Girl, however, started refusing bottles during the day around ten months in favour of a snack. I decided to trust Baby Girl & gave up trying with the bottles as she liked her food and I made sure she got a balanced diet that included a range of vitamins and veggies. She seems happy & healthy, so I’ve not made too much fuss but this may not be right for everyone. We still have her 7pm feed of 7oz – I think it’ll be a while before she gives that up!

We also made the conscious decision not to give Baby Girl juice due to the sugar content and she only has water with her meals. But some articles you read suggest giving babies milk in a sippy cup with their meals during this stage.

Finally, keep in mind that from around this age (& thanks to Leap 8) you are now, officially, a role model. So watch your table manners. How you act at the table will start to inform your baby’s behaviour…

Baby Girl’s favourites:

  • IMG_0353-0Porridge!! (at long last)
  • Fruit in general but especially strawberries, bananas, raisins & grapes (no longer need to be cut up, just give them to her whole)
  • Pears (but only when given whole to eat herself; if you chop it up, she’ll refuse it)
  • Daddy’s homemade Spag Bol
  • Oragnix Goodies oat bars
  • Baked cod given as flakes she can eat herself
  • Put anything with spaghetti and I was pretty much onto a winner!
  • Sweetcorn Fritters*
  • Scrambled eggs with chopped courgette and chopped cherry toms in it
  • Lactofree cheese sandwiches (in fact, anything with cheese)

*beware: sweetcorn has very little nutritional value and also makes a very ‘whole’ appearance in diapers later that day… delightful…

Indifferent:

  • Any pouch or jar whatsoever – she’ll eat them, but only if there’s nothing else on offer

Complete refusal: 

  • Fish pie
  • Tuna pasta
  • Museli
  • Peppers

Sometimes, you just have to let it happen…

Note: Stage 3 coincides with Wonder Weeks Leap 7, when babies learn to manage a flow of events, such as using a spoon to feed themselves and Leap 8, when spontaneous temper tantrums begin to make an appearance. It can make meal times a struggle, especially as your baby gets frustrated they can’t feed themselves and food ends up everywhere. But hopefully you’re getting used to it by now. Enjoy!

    

 

The Wonder Weeks: Leap 8

We really need to stop organising holidays during leaps. How haven’t we learned this yet!?

As I mentioned the other day, we were staycationing at my in-laws’ this week while they were away. And last Saturday, not only did our holiday begin, but also Leap 8. Oh yippee…

By now, we know the signs. Baby Girl is fussy, clingy, whingy, nothing’s right, often she goes off her food & sleep patterns go awry… It’s a real joy.

The Wonder Weeks app states:

Again you will see the same leap behaviour as before but in a subtly different way. Your child will still be clingier while making this leap and will still protest when you leave. But now, it is somewhat more sophisticated because your child wants to be in control…

What it should really say is:

With just three weeks until your baby’s first birthday, Leap 8 is the unofficial initiation into Toddlerhood. Brace yourselves. Because shit’s about to get real. You thought the last year was tough? You ain’t seen nothing yet…

Leap 8 is all about programs; recognising that a sequence of events (Leap 7) is classed as a single event (a program). The app’s example is washing dishes:

  1. Put dirty plate under the water
  2. Move sponge over dirty plate
  3. Place plate in the wrack to dry

= Washing the Dishes

Apparently your baby “loves to help you with such tasks,” which the Other Half is very excited by as he rather enjoys cleaning & he hopes to pass on such traits in Baby Girl. (Odd ball, I know.) I on the other hand am not so excited as this means I’ll actually have to do the dishes & the dusting. Woe is me.

After Leap 8 Baby Girl will be able to:

  • signal she wants to go out by bringing us her coat & hat
  • grab the clothes she wants to wear today
  • put things back in the closet where they belong (Hallelujah! Definitely no signs of this yet though.)
  • choose a CD to listen to (as we don’thave CDs in our house, I’m interested to see how this may manifest itself… Tap the icon on the iPad?)
  • can ‘make a drawing’ if you show her how to use a pencil and paper
  • gives Dolly a bath
  • invents imaginary ways in which she drives a car (again, as we don’t have a car this isn’t something she sees very often. I wonder what this means for this skill. She already loves pushing the pushchair around herself, either with me holding her or just round the hall on her own!)
  • examines how Mama & Daddy complete a program such as cooking, eating or putting on make up.
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Now I can be just like Daddy!

We are now officially role models. Everything we say (damn… oops…) and do, Baby Girl is watching closely to learn from. Playing with ‘real items’ such as a tea set, pretend knife & fork, baby’s vacuum or other items she may recognise from around the house can apparently help her piece all these programs together.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve already seen the fruits of Leap 7 coming together. She now holds her toy phone to her ear or more adorably, when I answer the phone, her hand flies to the side of her head to copy me, even if she’s not got her own phone to hand! She’s able to use a spoon herself, though messily & is really into the pointing. In particular, she points at the snack drawer a lot…

So to encourage Leap 8’s skills, this weekend I’m buying a baby sized broom. If she loves household activities so much, she might as well be of use in the meantime.

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

Beyond nine months: the fog is lifting

Baby Girl is 11 months next week. 11 months!!

At nine months, I read a post over on Circus Queen (a beautifully written blog by the lovely @AdeleJK) about The Second Nine Months. A theory suggesting it takes you nine months to ‘grow a baby’ & nine months for you both to detach from each other. By nine months, your baby can sit, probably crawl, feed themselves (albeit with a great deal of mess); they’re curious & into everything. In short, their world is expanding beyond just you & they’re loving it.

This theory made a lot of sense to me. A few people I know said at nine months it was like a fog lifted. Suddenly, things felt easier; them & baby seemed to have found a rhythm together at long last.

This didn’t happen for me.

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Sometimes it was clear where Baby Girl’s frustration came from during Leap 7…

Nine months was awful. Not only was it the run up to Christmas, in which we spent three days each week in a different part of the country running round seeing various members of the family, which probably didn’t help; but also, Leap 7 hit. And it hit hard. Baby Girl was no longer sleeping. She was clingy, fussy, frustrated by everything. And finally around the nine month mark I realised I couldn’t go on with so little sleep anymore & we started gentle sleep training. Then the OH got the most horrendous flu over New Year & then finally, Baby Girl had flu around ten months.

This fabled second nine months appeared to have passed us by. It seemed to me nine to ten months was hard & not getting easier. Yet everything & everyone suggested it should be.

My only light at the end of the tunnel was The Wonder Weeks app, telling me, as it always does, that she was in a leap & that it would end. In mid January. Which felt so far away…

But about a week before the end of Leap 7, everything did indeed change for us. Baby Girl started sleeping through most nights. She was happy again, eating vast amounts of food & happy to play on her own whilst I made a cup of tea. And just like that, the fog began to lift.

Which, just confirms to me that The Wonder Weeks is in fact genius. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; I think Baby Girl gets up in the night & has a sneaky peak at what’s coming just to make sure she’s ticks all the boxes in the next leap. Because it’s that accurate.

IMG_5789Baby Girl is still a bit clingy; she seems more aware of where I am when we’re at playgroup & wants more cuddles than she did between six and nine months. But I don’t mind the cuddles. Unless I need to empty the dishwasher, or put the laundry away, or get out of the house. Then it gets a bit tricky.

And with sleeping through the night, she has now decreased her naps to a single 40 minute slot. At six months she moved to a two hour nap at midday of her own accord & It was brilliant. Midday, on the dot, every day, I knew I would have two hours. It’s been an adjustment the past few weeks coming to terms with the fact I have 40 minutes from 7 til 7 every day & that’s my lot. But also trying to find ways to fill the time & keep Baby Girl busy & stimulated. All new territory.

But then there’s the days like last Tuesday, when I woke up feeling rough with a runny nose & a headache. I sat in the arm chair & watched Baby Girl play as she held up different toys for me to look at then went back to playing on her own. Then played peek-a-boo over the coffee table with me from a far, then went back to playing on her own. Just leaving me to drink my tea peacefully. It was like she could sense I wasn’t 100%.

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Baby Girl loves brushing her teeth!

Her personality in the last month has really started to shine through. We can see the little person she’s starting to become rather than just the little baby she is. She’s absolutely desperate to communicate with us, staring earnestly into our eyes as she babbles away then waits for a response as if speaking as clearly as the Queen herself.

While writing this, I asked the OH if he had any examples of how Baby Girl has changed, any nice anecdotes he’d like to share. The grand total of his input is, “she’s more playful”. And this is why I write the blog & he does not. Let me elaborate.

For instance, she’s learning to walk in her own, unique way:

  • She’s able to point. I can’t tell you what a relief this is. Suddenly we’re not second guessing what she wants or needs but following her lead.
  • She can shake her head for ‘no’. And does so a lot. Like when it’s time to get out of the bath & she lies down in the water. Or at nap time.
  • Baby Girl is so cheeky! She’ll sit patiently & wait for you to look at her, smile & then start doing whatever it is she knows she’s not supposed to do. Like stick her fingers in plug sockets. Or chew the iPhone charger.
  • She has six teeth & a seventh on it’s way.
  • She can feed herself. (Also known as smearing food all over her face & throwing the bowl on the floor – but I’m told this is classed as learning to feed herself.)
  • She can drink from a sippy cup & even hold it herself at long last. Although she’s lazy and often points to the cup, then just tips her head back & opens her mouth like a baby bird knowing full well you can do it for it. Clever girl.
  • IMG_5609She absolutely loves music. We’ve put the radios on the floor in every room now & she’s learned how to turn them on & off. So she can play music wherever she goes. And she loves it. She even does a little dance, rocking back & forth or waving her arms side to side & clapping. Whether it’s the radio, the music on her walker or me singing, as long as there’s a song playing, she’s in her element.
  • She can identify well known objects. One of our favourite games at the moment is ‘Where’s Sophie?’. She’s had Sophie the Giraffe since before she was born & has always been fond of her. We’ve always called her Sophie & now if you ask Baby Girl, ‘Where’s Sophie?’ she’ll go looking for her. (Though her attention span is short so if you hide her too well she loses interest & goes & turns on the radio.)

Baby Girl is already wearing 12-18m clothes due to her long legs (not sure where she’s got them from…) & though I am enjoying the wider range of choice of clothes (Hi, I’m Amie, I’m a baby clothes shopaholic…) I felt a pang of sadness being in the toddler section of Baby Gap last week or the ‘Under 5s’ area in Next rather than Baby. Times, they are a’changing.

Weaning Roundup: Stage 2

Is your baby aged approximately seven to nine months? Welcome to the world of chewing.

It’s not just a case of moving their gummy jaws up & down. It’s about understanding how to move the food around their mouth, avoiding their throat before it’s ready & understanding when it’s been chewed enough to swallow. IMG_4589

Stage 2 moves your baby from purées & some mashed foods (see Weaning Roundup: Stage 1 for more details) to mashed food with soft lumps & bumps, minced foods & ‘bits’. As well as finger foods.

First, prepare yourself. Read up on what to do if your baby chokes. Babycentre.co.uk has a great 1 minute video clearly talking you through it. Baby Girl choked on a breadstick half way through Stage 2. Never have I been so happy – or relieved – I did my reading.

We found that introducing Baby Girl’s favourites in a new form was the most successful way of getting her used to the newer textures. Start small & work your way up.

We still used the Baby Bullet until about eight months old for certain things. We just whizzed things a bit less & a bit less. But by the end of stage 2, we whizzed nothing & mashed some but mostly just gave Baby Girl food as it usually appears. Just as baby-bite-sized-bits.

In stage 2, Baby Girl suddenly found her appetite. At about 7.5 months, over night, she went from five teaspoons per meal to a baby bowlful.

IMG_5155She also started reducing her mid-morning and mid-afternoon bottles from 7oz to 4oz of her own accord in favour of a rice cracker or two and some apple slices. This goes against the advice on the tin (three 7oz bottles per day until 12m) but I’ve learned to trust Baby Girl. She knows what she needs. I don’t know if this is a common baby trait, or if I’m lucky, but if Baby Girl is hungry, she eats (& man, does she eat!) & if she’s not, she doesn’t.

Slurp to Chew (all a big hit with Baby Girl): 

  • Mashed bananas to slightly less mashed or bananas fingers
  • strawberry purée to strawberries cut into chunks
  • salmon & sweet potato mash to fried salmon & sweet potato cakes (huge hit!)
  • apple & pear purée to apple & pear slices

IMG_4744Baby Girl’s new favourites:

  • risotto
  • slow cooked beef stew*
  • mango chicken curry*
  • coconut lentil dhal
  • coconut chicken curry*
  • chicken casserole*
  • strawberries cut into chunks
  • grapes cut in half
  • tomato tuna spaghetti**
  • rice crackers
  • Organix carrot puff stick thingies (look like Cheese Puffs. Packet assures me they’re not…)

*to begin with, the meat was shredded with a fork but now it’s in mini tender chunks.
**you need to limit your baby’s intake of certain fish, such as tuna, due to the possibility of mercury, like when you were pregnant (read more about tuna, mercury & pregnancy here)

Indifferent:

Point blank refused: 

  • porridge (still)
  • blueberries (both mash or whole)
  • baby guacamole
  • hummus (both homemade & store bought)
  • courgette

Baby Girl also tried a prawn cracker thanks to her Odd Father. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such sheer joy on her tiny face. Too bad she won’t get to try another one for some time.

Salt 

We’re quite strict with Baby Girl’s salt intake. There’s still no salt whatsoever added to her food. It’s dehydrating, which just seems counter productive when you’re battling to get her to drink water, & all this flavour is new to her anyway, so she hardly needs salt to enhance it!

Sugar 

Baby Girl has tried some sugar in stage 2; biscuits, maple syrup within things (a vain attempt to get her to like porridge!), baby gingerbread men over Christmas & she tried (& loved) some panettone on Boxing Day too. But we’re keeping this to a minimum as well. We figure she has her whole life to put whatever she likes into her body. We might as well try to start her off on the right path. I was brought up with the phrase ‘all things in moderation,’ which I feel gave me relatively good eating habits so I’m hoping I can do the same for Baby Girl.

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Be warned: stage 2 also coincides with The Wonder Weeks’ Leap 6, when Baby Girl discovered mood swings, which resulted in even bananas being thrown on the floor at one point (you know it’s bad when a baby won’t even eat bananas…); & Leap 7, when Baby Girl “unconsciously plays with emotions, such as naughty or nice, to get your attention”… take a deep breath, because life with bambino is about to get testing.

The Wonder Weeks: Leap 7, AKA, slap in the face

I’m having flashbacks to the nightmare that was Leap 4.

Only this time, Baby Girl is 9 months old, has even stronger lungs to scream with, is sick if she cries for long periods of time & is able to stand. Which after bedtime is how we find her probably 50% of the time, holding onto the side of her cot like the world is coming to an end. Which pretty much kills even the tiniest hope that she might just fall asleep unwittingly.

Leap 7, ‘Sequences’, is a biggy. It’s all about understanding & mastering a flow of events. For instance:

  1. grab handles of sippy cup
  2. lift sippy cup
  3. bring spout to mouth
  4. suck water, quench thirst

IMG_0098.PNGAs I mentioned before, we’re still struggling with this particular flow of events. It’s not so flowy.

The Wonder Weeks says:

…Your baby will keep an eye on you more, stay close to you, and will regularly come to… “refuel” mommy or daddy…

But let’s not pussyfoot around. Leap 7 is unusually bad. I pick her up, she pushes me away. I put her down, she hugs my legs & whimpers. She’s gone off her solids, has upped her milk content again, she doesn’t want to fall asleep on her own… It goes on.

And the cherry on top? Baby Girl started a week early. So we weren’t mentally prepared. And we were ill & not on best form to deal with it. But I’m looking at the in app calendar & thinking ‘this leap apparently goes on well into January… How will we cope?!’.

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The exciting part, however, is what this leap will help her master. For example:

  1. Answers simple questions like, “How big are you,” by raising her arms to indicate size.
  2. Points to things, people or animals if you ask her to or points where to go
  3. Tries to persuade you to help her with things she could have done without
  4. Imitates two or more gestures one after the other
  5. Tries to put on her sock on her own, but fails

These feel like huge milestones in comprehension & communication. We’ll get genuine feedback to what we’re saying, showing us she understands some basic language. (I would put any amount of money on the fact that ‘No’ still will have absolutely no effect. She’s her father’s daughter!)

The pointing has already started, mainly pointing to her sippy cup during meal times. (Which she then opens her mouth & tilts back her head like a baby bird as if to say, “I’m not doing it. You do it!”.) But it’s definitely a start.

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

The Wonder Weeks: 8 months & Leap 6

Last week, Baby Girl turned 8 months. I know! I couldn’t quite believe it either.

My days swing between Baby Girl happily playing on the mat while I potter around & chasing her round the apartment, making sure she doesn’t get hold of anything she shouldn’t.

Last week, she discovered the Xbox. When you turn it on, the ‘X’ flashes white with a ‘bee-bee-boop’. I basically watched Pavlov’s dogs in action as she pressed it again, & again, & again, & again… & again. (There’s now a box in front of it.)

Two months since those first tentative shuffles she’s a demon crawler. She’s never happy being still. I turn my back for one second & she’s off round the apartment playing hide & seek. The other day, it went suspiciously quiet & looked up from preparing her lunch to find her gone. I searched the whole apartment (which really isn’t big enough for her to get lost in) before finding her trying to climb in our shower. In the dark.

And six weeks since I first balanced her standing against the chair, Baby Girl is now pushing herself up onto every piece of furniture and padding along from left to right whilst holding on. I can’t believe how fast she progresses. She’s never content with just learning a skill but always looking at what the next step is (quite literally!). At the moment, she’s falling over & bumping her head more than ever as she now tries to let go of the table/sofa/shelf/our hands & stand on her own, but of course her legs just crumble beneath her.

She also has two new favourite games. One, make a dash for the dishwasher as soon as you open it & try to climb inside. Two, chase the vacuum round & try to sit on the nozzle at the front. This is making chores somewhat slow going.

Baby Girl is early for a lot of these skills (cue proud Mama moment). Yet she still has very few fine motor skills. She can’t hold her bottle or sippy cup, she can’t clap & still sometimes misses when she goes to pick a block off the top of the tower. Fine motor skills don’t help her get where she wants to go (i.e., all the way over there, or over there, or back over there) so she seems to have very little interest in fine tuning them.

With month 8 comes the end of another Wonder Weeks leap. Luckily, she hasn’t seemed as phased by this as some of the others (I shudder at the memory of leap 4!) Leap 6, ‘Categories’, is basically her clicking that a cow is not a kitten. She’s transfixed by the smallest details & beginning to categorise everything around her. This leap’s to do list is as follows:

  1. show that she knows some words (‘water’ & ‘all done’ are starting to have a response. ‘No’ still elicits nothing but giggles.)
  2. make it clear she finds something dirty, e.g., by sniffing (not yet)
  3. imitates adults (tick)
  4. recognises herself in the mirror (has clicked if you’re in the mirror, you’re actually behind her. Don’t know if she’s clicked the baby is her though)
  5. can really exaggerate her moods (tick)
  6. plays peek-a-boo by herself (tick – adorable)
  7. challenges others to play a game (tick – usually peek-a-boo)
  8. calls for a song, e.g. by clapping (no, because she still can’t clap!)
  9. begins to practice crawling (yeh, we’ve got this one down.)

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

The Wonder Weeks: 5 months & Leap 5

Baby Girl is now changing visibly every day, learning something new, trying something new, surprising us (& herself) all the time. Last month her personality was really beginning to shine through.This month, it’s all about physical ability.

SONY DSCBaby Girl is rolling left, right & centre now. And for the last two weeks or so is already starting to show signs of crawling. When lying on her tummy, she kicks up onto her knees & pushes forward, sliding her face along the ground. (She’s not quite mastered lifting bum & head at the same time yet.)

She also sat up on her own the other day for the first time. She was sat in her bouncy chair & sat bolt up right. My heart was in my mouth as she nearly toppled the chair forwards. So that’s that then. We officially can’t turn our backs on her at all.

Alas, with month five comes Leap 5. 30 days of cranky, confused, overwhelmed baby. Oh goodie. So how do we know Leap 5 is under way?

Leap 5: reaching for Ewan the Sheep in her sleep

Leap 5: reaching for Ewan in her sleep

  1. Cries more, more often or longer. Tick. (Sad face.)
  2. Asks for more attention. Tick. (Tired face.)
  3. Sleeps less or worse and eats less. Thankfully, not sleeping less. No more sleep regression! Hallelujah! But yes, we’re struggling to get her to have a full feed.
  4. Protests & fusses when changing their diaper or clothes. Yep.
  5. ‘Talks’ to her teddy looking for comfort. Yep, she shuffles up the cot to Ewan & often falls asleep holding his foot. Utterly adorable.
  6. Has mood-swings.
  7. Is not pleased with many things. Her dad said this & the mood-swings is just her becoming a woman & nothing to do with Leap 5. The cheek!

And what is Baby Girl mastering this time?

  1. interested in people who ‘act differently’ to ‘normal’
  2. immense interest in details, eg, zippers, labels or stickers.
  3. lifts things up to see if anything is below
  4. tries to untie laces
  5. throws something to see the content
  6. puts food in the mouth of others
  7. makes connections between words & deeds
  8. blows air
  9. protests when parents walk away
  10. imitates sounds with her tongue
  11. standing up with a little help or pulls herself to an upward position

Not all of these are obvious to us yet but will become so over the coming month(s). However, Baby Girl definitely loves a label – whether it’s a muslin or a stuffed bunny, she finds that label & chews it to death! She’s throwing things all over the place too; whether it’s to discover the contents I’m not sure. Seems more like a game of how-many-times-will-Mama-pick-it-up to me. She’s also just started blowing raspberries this week & howls if she’s left alone in a room.

Baby Girl’s been ‘standing’ & taking her own weight for at least a month. My arms are getting stronger by the day as often she refuses to sit, lie down, do anything but stand on my lap. So in short, she’s raring to go.

"Ooooh! Labels"

“Ooooh! Labels”

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.