The 8th month, or as it is also known in our household, The Magic Month. Last week Dexter reached the ripe old age of 8 months, so today I’m reminiscing about the days between months 7 and 8; days that have been filled with promise, personality, and positive changes.
I make no secret of the fact that not everything is 100% hunky dory for us all of the time, and that as much as I love every bone in his squidgy little body, Dexter’s temperament can sometimes mean that he can be hard work. However, last month out of nowhere something clicked in to place and a lot of the things I had been worrying about just kind of sorted themselves out. This ‘Magic Month’ may come at a different stage for you lot (or not at all if you’ve already got a very placid child), so don’t be waiting on huge changes during month 8 on my say-so as every baby is an individual. I am also well aware that next month there will no doubt be a whole load of brand new things on the ‘stuff to worry about’ list, but for now I’m just going to revel in the sweetness.
Below are the biggest changes we saw last month:
- We refrained from starting Dexter on solids super early as we didn’t really feel he needed them, and after giving it a go a couple of times he just wasn’t that bothered (he basically choked, spat and wretched his way to exclusive boob for a month or so longer). He properly progressed from the liquid lunches at the NHS recommended age of 6 months and hasn’t looked back since. After taking to solids extremely well he totally loves his food; so much so in fact that the last time he was weighed he was 2 weeks ahead of schedule! Proud mama moment. I think that being able to taste his way through the entire food spectrum is so exciting for him and he is really thriving as a result, which I love. Now just to tackle my OCD issues at feeding time.
- We now have a munchkin on the move! Last month saw Dex begin crawling (if by crawling you mean a commando style tummy-scooting kind of crawl), so baby-proofing the house has been a top priority. This currently involves being poised ready to swoop in and grab him every time he gets close to a loose wire/wobbly table/used nappy bag, and the purchasing of a ball pool(!!) to contain our mischievous mister at times when we nip out of the room- this is quite obviously more of a hit with the hubby than it is with baba! We’re absolutely loving seeing Dexter able to explore his surroundings (almost) freely which we knew he had been eager to do for a while, and it’s really done a great deal to help ease any frustrated winging (high five).
- The Magic Month finally saw Dexter go back to sleeping through the night full-time. Hallelujah! Our boy now sleeps 11-12 hours each night, and if he does happen to wake he can usually get himself back over without a problem. For some this may seem very late in the game and others may think it’s a miracle. Either way we don’t care, we’re too busy sleeping!
- It took my tear-filled breakdown at the children’s centre the previous day for Dexter to suddenly decide he was going to play ball and take naps all by himself like a grown up boy. If I’d have known this is all it would take I would have totally been hysterical in front of the Health Visitor a lot sooner in the sleep-struggle saga. The main thing causing my anguish prior this point was the simple fact that Dexter’s nap times were a shambles. He would only sleep on someone (preferably myself or Mr B), and only after a huge temper tantrum plus 20 minutes of rhythmic squats and shushes from us. Not so ideal, especially 7 months down the line. My breakdown came for a number of reasons, mostly being that I felt I was failing as a mother and that I was letting Dexter down by inadvertently hampering his development and independence (none of which was true, so I’m told). After a lot of hard work and determination to turn things around on our part, and a sudden change of heart on Dexter’s, he now goes straight down in his cot for daytime naps and sleeps for much longer than he ever had done previously. I, of course feel like a new woman.
- Routine who? I genuinely hadn’t known what one of those was until The Magic Month. In fact I thought I would never know what one was ever again, the way it was looking. But fortunately we now have one and I feel sane again. Routines can never be fully set in stone, but even a guideline works wonders to make you feel human and can help you organise your days better which in turn can help to keep stress levels down (especially if you’re like me and are prone to letting things get on top of you sometimes). I plan to do a post on our routine soon for anyone who is interested.
- All of the above factors have contributed to the final change that month 8 has had to offer, and that is an overall much happier, much more contented baby. In moments like this when everything comes together, parenthood has a real knack of giving you a great sense of achievement and a realisation that you’re not too bad at this ‘bringing up an actual human’ lark after all. Happy baby = happy parents = happy family life.