Part Two: 6-12 months
After Ivy hit six months and started to eat solid foods and move around a bit more, her sleep improved and we were on to a winner! Finally. No word of a lie, as soon as those magical months hit it was like we had a different baby. She would even smile more and I didn’t dread taking her out in public anymore. I could wake up in the morning (I had been sleeping through the mornings previously) and be excited to face our day together. These were my favourite months.
That smile. My everything.
Something I knew I wanted to try with Ivy was baby-led weaning. This is a concept where you put them straight onto “solid” foods and they feed themselves with their hands. Granted, not for everyone but it did work for us. Ivy took to it straight away. We started by giving her one item of food at our evening meal time just before she was six months old. Her first food was a baked sweet potato cut into wedges (the messiest food you could ever give a baby to eat themselves but you live and you learn) this became Ivy’s favourite food (typical).
She never turned her head away at anything we gave her. We introduced potato, vegetables, fruit and chicken. Then we progressed to giving her several items of food at our evening meal and also introduced pasta and rice dishes. Eventually introducing breakfast, porridge, toast with different toppings, scrambled egg, omelette, etc. Hardly anything was off limits if it was cooked healthy and cut into strips (an easy shape for babies to hold).
The one issue I think the majority of parents would have with baby-led weaning would be them choking. But I read a book on the topic, just before Ivy was ready to start eating food and it put my mind completely at ease. It mentioned that when a baby is born, their gag reflex is brought forward. So when a baby gags on a piece of food, they’re not actually choking because the piece of food is nowhere near their throat. Genius. Thats not to say I didn’t hold my breath everytime Ivy gagged. Boy did I panic, but I didn’t let Ivy see that and within seconds, yes seconds that seemed like minutes, Ivy was fine and had removed the piece of food herself. I repeat, genius. As you can see in the pictures down below, Ivy has loved her experiences with food so far.
Ivy began to sleep a lot better around 7 months. I believe this was due to her reflux being a lot better and more under control. She was also eating food and feeling more full and satisfied and she had started crawling and using a lot more energy at this age. I noticed around this time that when she would be asleep in her crib in our room, she would be a bit unsettled and squirming around a lot. I wondered whether it was time to move her into her cot, her cot that was in her own room… (cue the floods of tears). But deep down I knew I wanted her in our room for my own selfish reasons and that the time had come to let my baby flee (into the room next door). That first night of Ivy being in her own room she slept well, like a baby, while I tossed and turned all night (typical). But my mind would not settle, “Is she warm enough in there?” “Is she too warm in there?” “I hope she doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night in hysterics thinking I’ve abandoned her!”
She’s never loved sleep though. Even from 7-8 months she’s only ever had one nap a day, every odd day she might have two. But the slightest noise would always wake her (she’s not too bad with that these days). But after all the teething and 12 month injections, she’s been sleeping through the night for about two months now. So many mothers I know have said to me “Oh my little lad/girl was just the same when they were born and it took them till they were four to sleep through.” (Why would you say this to a sleep deprived mum?) So in all honesty I never, and I mean never, thought the day would come where Ivy would sleep at night. (I don’t mean to brag but I feel like I’ve kind of earned it).
Through all of the six months till now the thing I enjoyed the most was finally being able to enjoy going on little adventures with her and not having to dread them. She could finally visit a park for the first time! We could all finally go swimming for the first time! We could visit the beach! We could do all of these things and more with my new happy, content baby, who’s smile was so infectious, she infected everybody we came across. And she still has those magical powers today.
Snapshot of smiles.