Toddler, Baby and Me: The Eleven Month Update

toddler and baby development diary

Sorry about the radio silence: things got a bit too much before Christmas, what with moving house again and not having any regular help with the chicklings and all of that jazz. I didn’t even have time to do an “out of office” post with a Cheerio! and a Merry Christmas, thanks for your support! So, thank you for your support and continued readership in 2017 – I’m planning bigger and better things in 2018, especially if I manage to get some bloody sleep.

Now listen. I don’t want to jinx things here, but I feel it would be remiss of me not to mention the fact that last night Ted slept almost all the way through. Yes, he woke up at 1am for a quick breastfeed (his meagre one a day), and then again at 6am for a full bottle of formula, but otherwise he slept through from 7pm until 8am. EIGHT O CLOCK!

But this miraculous event hasn’t happened by fluke or sheer good fortune – or at least I don’t think it has. I have numerous posts drafted about the “sleep problem” and so I’m loathe to summarise here, but we made some big changes last week and I think that they paid off. I’ll go into more detail in the standalone posts, but let’s get on with the update and a brief precis of our epic routine-changing adventure!

toddler and baby development diary

Toddler

Angelica broke our hearts this month by getting rid of her “baby personality”. She had always struggled to say “Angelica” and so called herself “Lala” and she was a very proud Lala indeed. If anyone ever dared to call her anything else (“ooh, you’re a right little cutie aren’t you?”) she would retort, quick as you like, with “I not cutie – I Lala!” “I not little monkey, I Lala!”

We had become so accustomed to her being Lala that we thought it might stick forever. Though nobody else was allowed to actually call her Lala, if it came from others it had to be – oddly – the full Angelica. I think that when she heard herself say Lala, she thought she was saying Angelica, and so other people calling her Lala sounded wrong.

Anyway, about two weeks ago, she suddenly shouted from the back of the car: “I not Lala, I Angelica!” Oh, the tears welled up in my eyes, I can tell you. Boo hoo!

So now she’s fully-fledged Angelica and pretty much a teenager all of a sudden and she knows how to get into the snack drawer and wants to help cut up vegetables and chatters away to her teddies telling them stories. “Once pontime, there Goldilocks! Daddy Bear had pipe, had dungarees, Baby Bear bed just right!”

It’s all happening so fast. When I was stressed before Christmas, I was considering sending her to nursery for a couple of days a week just to take some of the pressure off, but in the end I couldn’t bear the thought of her toddling off to (what in my mind would be) school, so we have gone down the nanny route again. Keeping her close so that I can pop in at mealtimes and hear her laughing outside and know that she’s within reach. (God, am I going to be like Beverly Goldberg?!)

toddler and baby development diary

Luckily we seem to have found a gem, when it comes to a nanny – one that will do just two days a week, so fingers crossed she likes us and our mad household. She looked rather bemused when we were photographing a cat treat Instagram advert on her first day here (husband bellowing “hold the cat higher! Hold him closer to your face and SMILE! Look happier! Squeeze the treat tube! Raise the cat higher – raise him!” whilst balancing a studio light on his head) but hopefully it won’t take long before she settles right in…

Angelica’s favourite thing of last month: her Paw Patrol ride-on helicopter, bought by my sister for Christmas, and her doctor’s kit from Le Toy Van*, bought by Santa. Angelica loved Christmas – she was so sweet putting out a mince pie for Santa and a little carrot for Rudolph. I left the room for a few minutes and when I came back in, there was a cushion in the fireplace. “For Santa to sit on” she said.

Oh my heart, my heart.

toddler and baby development diary

Baby

OK, so let’s get to the bit that many of you will be skimming through to read: how we got Ted to sleep through the night. Ish. Two small wake-ups over a thirteen hour period, but a massive improvement on five wake-ups over an eleven hour one! His usual routine was bed at 7pm, a crying fit and feed at 10.30pm, a variety of wakings and cryings and semi-feeds at 1ish, 3ish, 4ish, maybe 5.30ish, some nights a 4.30am thrown in for good measure, and then waking up for good anytime between 6am and 7.15am.

It goes without saying that getting from 7pm until 8am, with two very small and uneventful wake-ups, was an absolute dream. So much so that I couldn’t actually get to sleep – I slept from midnight until 1am and then didn’t get back to sleep until around 5am! Sod’s law – I’m sure the same thing happened when Angelica started sleeping through. I became a miserable insomniac.

As I said before, there will be more posts with more detail, but here are the things that we changed:

Reducing night feeds by gradually swapping in water instead of formula and making a concerted effort to feed more solids during the day. With regards to watering down the formula, on the first night we did 6 scoops of formula in 7oz water, by the fifth night we were doing just four scoops in 7oz water and he simply wasn’t interested. Or as hungry. After eight days (ie last night) he barely wanted a feed at all through the night. I breastfed him briefly, but there’s not a lot left in the old war chest, if I’m honest – I have a blocked duct on one tit that needs sorting out when I have time to sterilise a needle and pop the milk blister (ew) and the other one seems to have given up the ghost.

Instigating a proper – stricter – routine. We have spent the past couple of months utterly exhausted and were at the end of our tether by the time Christmas day rolled around – there were still no set naptimes for Ted and we were spending the days trying to get him to sleep, regardless of whether he had eaten enough or had enough play time. It was a challenge just to get through the day and when one went down for a nap, the other was always up, so we didn’t ever have a break. And we were knackered. So – despite owning three books on baby sleep that I’ve never even opened – I Googled baby routines. I used something from the Baby Sleepsite with Angelica, but before I got to that result on the Google search a thread appeared from Mumsnet talking about the Gina Ford routine.

Please don’t start a Gina Ford war in the comments because I honestly have no idea what it is or any sort of context whatsoever, I just cribbed the timings because I wanted something written down that we could follow. Apparently there are all of these rules and strict eating schedules and blackout blinds for the bedroom and so on – I didn’t have any interest in those rules, because I’m not the sort of person that could or would follow them. If something is too restrictive then it simply won’t work for us as a family, because we live rather haphazard lives. And ultimately, I’m quite selfish and like to have the flexibility of different timings now and then if I need to go out or get something done!

toddler and baby development diary

Saying that, we managed to stick to the timings that I copied down (biro on the back of a napkin, in case you’re wondering) on most days, and almost as soon as we had introduced a routine we saw an improvement in Ted’s sleeping behaviours. He was altogether less cranky and because he was having proper daytime naps, he went to sleep more easily at night.

But it took eight days to get a good run of sleep – I have to say that I didn’t think that it would really solve very much, when I got to day six and he woke up three times and then stayed awake from 5.45am! Perseverance is key. I imagine we’ll have to keep at it.

The reason I copied down the timings from the Gina Ford plan was quite a simple one: the main baby nap for an eleven month old was from 12.30-2.30pm, which is exactly the nap slot that Angelica has. It seemed too good to be true that we could get both of them sleeping at the same time in the day, but they did – almost immediately – and we couldn’t believe our luck. Didn’t really know what to do with ourselves, so I went off and browsed water filter jugs on Amazon and he cleaned the kitchen..

Oh – there was one more thing that I did differently last night. Ted has been really congested for a while – I’ve had it checked out and nobody seems concerned, but I’m sure it was making him uncomfortable when he was lying down. I think that he was breathing in his mucus and it was making him cough and so he was waking up, though I could be wrong. Anyway, last night I quite literally basted him in Vick’s! They’ve brought out a new one that’s safe to use on babies. Absolute bloody Godsend. Did it give him a more comfortable sleep? I like to think so. I’ll use it again tonight and keep you updated. In the interests of transparency, I got sent a jar because I’m going to be working with them, but this is an entirely separate and unsponsored mention. I’m sure there are quite a few people out there who don’t know that it exists – find it, get it, slather it on.

So there. Moderate (I’m being cautious here – I always jinx myself if I write about things on the blog) to good sleep success. I’ll do a post with the routine we’ve followed (it’s basically sleep from 7-7, nap from 9.30am-10am, nap from 12.30pm-2.30pm) and update you with any further developments.

toddler and baby development diary

In other news: Ted is pretty much walking. He holds on to my hands, but power-walks along so fast I can barely keep up! He seems to have mastered, in the space of a month, fast crawling, climbing, cruising, violent body-thrusting, walking, jumping and running. Must be something in the water. Or the food. He won’t eat anything from a pouch (opposite of how Angelica was) but loves the trays of food from Hipp Organic. I don’t know what they put in those things, but he never sees the trays so it’s not as though he knows where the food is coming from…

But enough about them, let’s talk about me.

Me

Oh me, me, me miserum. Not really, but I am coming out of what shall forever be known as Peak Exhaustion. What a year 2017 was. Totally self-inflicted, most of the madness, but still. A new baby, a house sale, a ridiculously stressful house purchase, two house moves, the busiest work year yet… I must have eaten my body weight in Magnum ice creams and I’ve developed a Coca Cola habit that needs to be kicked (it’s actually not that bad, it’s just a lazy reliance on a quick sugar fix) and I’m just generally running on adrenaline fumes. And I don’t even feel as though I’ve had a holiday over Christmas! Mainly because I haven’t. Hosting a stream of visitors, which is always lovely, but hard work, and then trying to unpack and catch up on chores.. What holiday? Mind you, you can never have a holiday when you have babies and young kids, surely? I mean, it’s not as though you can take the batteries out of them for a few hours! There’s simply no rest, ever. I once sneered at a woman in Dubai who was prancing along to the beach followed by a nanny pushing a double buggy: now I think, you jammy cow. That’s the way to do it. 

Hahaha.

By the way, Ted is being all cool in his SmarTrike, which was Angelica’s SmarTrike and is the best thing ever. It has about seventy five thousand different “modes” for different ages – luckily they are both in the “being pushed along mode” still, but it’s easy to switch over to the mode where they pedal themselves along. I’m actually tempted to get another one… You can find them online here or my original post is here.

*© 2017 The Uphill®: *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. All opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. "The Uphill" and "Ruth Crilly" are registered trademarks.

Follow:
Share:

21 Comments

  1. Emma
    January 3, 2018 / 10:39 pm

    My youngest niece out of 4 girls (2 mine and 2 my sisters) stopped calling me Aunty Mem recently and I am now my proper Aunty Em and I am gutted! My sister however has very handily had a third girl and I intend to encourage Aunty Mem for as long as possible! Good luck with the sleeping – do whatever works! Happy New Year and here’s to a good nights sleep ! X

  2. Ally
    January 3, 2018 / 11:02 pm

    I don’t know who Gina is, but my 11 month old needs this routine! So much conflicting information – I just wanted simple timeslots I should be aiming for. Thanks Ruth!
    Can you share any wisdom on your experiences getting your babies to self settle? Mine needs to be breastfed to sleep, for every sleep. The only advice anyone seems to have is the old “cry it out”

  3. Anja
    January 4, 2018 / 5:09 am

    No need to apologise, Ruth! Anyone who’s followed you either here and/or an Instagram knows how mich you had on your plate recently. It was about time you went MIA! Nevertheless I am glad to have you back and am very happy for you to have gotten some sort of sanity back Wishing you all the best for 2018!

  4. January 4, 2018 / 8:21 am

    I used to sneer at these women too, but that was before the kids. And yes, you never really get a sleep in and laze around holiday anymore, and I fear once they reach adolenscence and sleep in and laze around, I will have forgotten how to do it myself.

  5. Lindsey
    January 4, 2018 / 8:40 am

    Ruth,
    So glad you are finally getting baby to sleep through the night. I get what you mean about Gina Ford. Her book (which I own) sent me into panic attack mode when my baby was born and she wasn’t conforming to the strict rules that Gina lays out in her book. But I must say, the general rules as in daytime naps=better night time sleep, feeding on a schedule, etc are solid. I’m glad you are seeing progress here.

    Also, take a vacation. I have taken two with my hubby and baby so far abroad while still being able to more or less keep the schedule. I know it’s easier with one baby versus two, but maybe bring a grandparent along to take one or both kids off your back while you and the hubs do some sightseeing or something. Or better yet, leave the kids altogether. You don’t have to do EVERYTHING yourself. Letting go and giving up a little bit of control over the kids will be liberating, trust me.

  6. Alison Lyden
    January 4, 2018 / 10:05 am

    I have been Lala for about 35 years now – basically since my brother was a toddler and couldn’t say my actual name!

  7. Jo Westwood-King
    January 4, 2018 / 10:32 am

    Well done Ruth! I am utterly in awe of you and your amazing writing voice – you make me laugh so! From Mr AMR’s “…. raise the cat – RAISE HIM!” To Ted’s ‘violent body thrusting’ and you basting him in Vick’s – it’s all a bloody joy to read!

  8. Elsa
    January 4, 2018 / 12:53 pm

    Happy new year Ruth and glad to hear you’re finally getting some sleep!
    Would you have any tips or tricks you’d recommend trying to help children self settle? I’d be curious to hear your experience about it. My youngest is 3 months old and much like his sister was, he sleeps only on me or carried (he has bad reflux…). I’m going back to work in 2 months and I’m quite anxious at the idea that he won’t manage to sleep on his own… His sister being 24 months old, our nanny won’t be able to carry him as much as I do..
    If you have any tips I would be glad to hear them!!
    Thank you 🙂

    • Sasha
      January 14, 2018 / 8:38 am

      Hi Elsa
      I’m convinced if they have happy digestive systems they sleep easily! Try some ‘colic calm’ for the reflux?

  9. Amy
    January 4, 2018 / 1:33 pm

    Glad to hear you’re finally getting some sleep. We follow the same timings for my 8 month old, and it’s a different sleep programme to Gina Ford so they must all be similar. sometimes with an afternoon nap thrown in if she hasn’t managed 2 hours at lunch, and have also found we can be quite flexible with it if we’re out etc. She has also just about started sleeping through, and I’m having the dilemma of whether to wake her in the morning at 7ish as she had been sleeping till gone 8 over Xmas, but this did mess up feeds and naps in the day a bit. Love reading your posts, have followed AMR for years and the Uphill is great now I’ve got my own little one! Xx

  10. Gillian Pidler
    January 4, 2018 / 3:14 pm

    When my kids were little (they’re now 26, 24 & 17 coming up 18 next month), good God how did that happen?! I had one rule. That rule was a bedtime rule & meant that evenings were our time to relax and wind down after work and running round after the kids. I found that a routine at bedtime, feed, bath, story and tucked in etc, whatever works for your family, made the world of difference. I also had a ‘you sleep in your own bed’ rule and that was always stuck to except when breastfeeding of course, but they always went right back to bed or if they were ill and were sick or had a temperature. In that instance I’d make them a bed across the foot of our bed so I could keep an eye on them & make sure the puke went in the bucket. In the main this worked really well though of course they all went through the ‘trying it on stage’, but we were firm and yes we did the crying method which worked for us. I had a chronic painful illness by the time my second child was born (started in pregnancy), so I didn’t have ability to be running up and down stairs all evening. Your two are just so cute Ruth and the spitting image of each other. Here’s to more sleep!!!

  11. Elizabeth
    January 4, 2018 / 3:25 pm

    Vicks (or baby version equivalent) rubbed on their feet works a dream when they are congested. Don’t know why or how but it just does 🙂

  12. Abigail
    January 4, 2018 / 4:14 pm

    ‘Raise the cat higher. Raise him!’ That got me giggling my head off at the visual!

    Happy New Year to you all! .Enjoy the new house, it looks splendid! I did want to comment on how I admire your courage in stepping out of your comfort zone, it’s such a difficult thing to do but the rewards can be tremendous, enjoy, you deserve it!

    Now, are you going to be doing much redecorating??

  13. Miss Kitty
    January 5, 2018 / 1:48 am

    Vicks is brilliant, I use it myself whenever I have a cold. Something my grandma told me – it works a treat on mosquito bites too! It really does! Glad you’re getting more sleep 🙂

  14. Charlotte
    January 5, 2018 / 1:53 pm

    Please do another post on sleep! I have a 3.5 month old, I know that’s still very young and I probably need to adjust my expectations but she has never been a good night sleeper and I am starting to really struggle with the sleep deprivation. I am not the nicest person when I haven’t slept and so many of my nct friends are talking about the 7 hour stretches they are getting so I feel a bit helpless and alone in my sleep deprived state

    • Amy
      January 6, 2018 / 11:51 am

      Bless you Charlotte. Hang in there. Your comment struck a cord with me, as that is exactly how I felt. My baby is now 7 months. It was only at about 5/6 months when he went into his own room, that I managed to get more sleep. Felt awful putting him in his own room, but he settled into his room much quicker than I had thought he would.
      Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t get 7 hour stretches of sleep, but it is much better than the feeding/waking every hour or two. I think it’s also to do with babies maturing – they will decide when they are ready to sleep longer periods.
      Sometimes we have 1 feed during the night, sometimes two.
      You and your baby will get there.
      I am currently battling day time naps! That’s a nightmare for me the mo 🙂 xxx

      • Charlotte
        January 7, 2018 / 8:33 am

        Thank you, will try to keep the hope!

  15. Moo
    January 6, 2018 / 10:40 pm

    Great update Ruth. On the exhaustion front, I am forever reminded of the 1 blindingly brilliant line from Countess Dowager Violet in Downton Abbey on motherhood ….”it’s the constantness of it all”. Sums it up really, you’re never again completely ”off duty”. Good luck with 2018 x

  16. Laura
    January 12, 2018 / 8:58 am

    Hi! I’m also torn about sending my little one to nursery and am contemplating the nanny route. Where did you find your nanny and any tips about how to find a good / reliable one?!

    Many thanks!

    • January 12, 2018 / 7:49 pm

      I’ve used Tinies agency twice now and they’ve been really good. Obviously nanny = more expensive than nursery, so that’s a consideration, but I find it more flexible for me as I work from both home and London and never know what an earth I’m doing from week to week!

  17. Hayley
    January 18, 2018 / 11:32 am

    Oh Ruth! Congratulations on the duel naptime! My two have a similar age gap to yours and once I got the routine down with no 2 and they napped simultaneously it was a monumentous occasion, my and the OH used to nip off upstairs for a… NAP! 🙂
    My two have sadly grown out of their naps now (mostly) and it is a very loooong day.
    Also, two kids in nursery versus a nanny is probably the same if not cheaper as you have double the nursery fees anyway x x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *