My baby is 9 months old! Crazy! Where did the time go?
Things have changed a lot since the 6 month mark. We aren’t through the 9th month yet – in fact, it just started on January 6th – but this month is already so markedly different and has already been so up and down that I thought I would write now and if things change again, I’ll just write about the changes too.
We saw significant changes, actually, during Ezra’s 8th month. We traveled a lot for the holidays, he started getting teeth, he got sick with a cold … which turned into an ear infection, his plugged tear duct got significantly worse, he started experiencing separation anxiety and he went through a growth spurt.
Needless to say… we were hanging onto our routine by a thread. I’m not going to lie – the 8th month was kind of like a special circle of hell reserved for parents who have had an easy baby up until a certain point. It was a rude awakening, to say the least.
We’re coming out on the other side of it, but I wanted to share what things are like right now even though they aren’t all smiles and roses. Because having a baby means change is a constant and if there are other mothers out there going through this, I want you to know you aren’t alone.
So, here is our typical day:
Ezra wakes up around 8:30am, in his crib. We had been co-sleeping for awhile during all the craziness, just so we could get some sleep, but he is back to his crib now and we’re all happier for it, I think.
Alex is always up at this time so he gets Ezra, changes his diaper, and brings him to me for him to nurse. He nurses about 4-5 minutes and we play a little bit before getting up. I get ready while Alex and Ezra play in the living room then, at 9:20, Alex leaves for work and I get Ezra dressed for the day.
Ezra is usually ready for a nap shortly after he wakes in the morning – I’d say within 45 minutes to an hour. So, around 10am’ish, it’s nap time. Up until he was 8 months, this meant we would read two books, sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, close the curtains, turn on the sound machine and I’d lay him down in his crib. He would put himself right to sleep… but then, as I mentioned above, everything changed. I don’t read two books anymore, because they started to excite him to play rather than relax him for sleep, so I stand beside his crib and gently sing a lullaby then lay him down. Almost always, I can count on the waterworks to start the second his body hits the mattress. He’ll cry for 5-10 minutes before settling himself down for a nap.
…a nap that lasts, if I’m lucky, 30 minutes. Maybe 45 minutes.
Some days it’s longer – like an hour to hour and a half. And that’s what it should be, for a baby his age, but as I mentioned… due to all of these things going on, it’s just not in the cards right now.
After he wakes, I nurse him and we play. Ezra is crawling like crazy, pulling up on everything and even independently standing. So playtime is more like adventure time. I’ve turned our living room into our play room – one of my “I’ll never”s when I still pregnant haha…. – so we have a lot of fun dumping out the baskets of toys, exploring things, etc…
Awake time between naps after this morning nap is always 2 hours. If we go beyond the 2 hour mark, Ezra gets fussy and overly tired. So, around 12:30 I give him lunch in his high chair – always finger foods of fruit, veggies and whole grains – then I relax him by rubbing his back and softly singing to him, while rocking in his nursery. I lay him down for his second nap around 1, but it could be sooner or later just depending on how the first nap went and when he woke up from that.
The second nap typically goes the way of the first. It used to be an hour or so, now it’s about 30-45 minutes. He doesn’t wake up feeling rested because he didn’t complete a sleep cycle… so he is usually grumpy around this time and will be grumpy the rest of the day, intermittently. His separation anxiety kicks into high gear at this time, too, which means if he loses sight of me at all he will start screaming. This makes for an exhausted baby and mama at the end of the day but… luckily, this is only a temporary phase and we’ve been going through it for four weeks now so we should be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel soon.
After he wakes from his second nap, I nurse him and we run errands. Ever since Ezra was a newborn, and it was safe to take him out of the house, I’ve tried to get out of the house at least one time a day. It really helps us both to have a change of scenery. We’ll go to the mall, or to the grocery store, or to Starbucks – just any little thing for something to do. If I know I’ll be in and out of the car a lot, I make sure to put on the moby wrap because with a wiggly baby, it’s hard to wrangle him in just my arms. He always wants to get down to explore and is not content to just be held anymore…but the moby plus Sophie to chew on will usually keep him pacified.
When we get home, I might try laying Ezra down for a third nap. I will definitely attempt it if the first two naps were short. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. If we’ve been really short on nap time, I’ll nurse him to sleep just to make sure he gets some nap time in. But even then, it’s not guaranteed that will put him to sleep.
We play until Alex gets home – around 6:15 or 6:30. While Alex and Ezra play, I get dinner together. This can be anything from something made at home to running out to pick food up from somewhere. Ezra eats whatever we’re eating and, he has actually self-weaned himself off of nursing at this time.
Our bedtime routine begins around 7:15. Alex gets Ezra’s bath ready – he now sits in the tub like a big boy – and gets him in his jammies. Then, I nurse Ezra in his nursery with the lights off, for about 10 minutes. I then lay him in his crib, and cover him with a blankie. He is in his crib by 7:30.
….whether he is asleep at that time is a different story altogether.
Another one of my “I’ll never”s was “I’ll never let my baby cry it out.” After everything we’ve gone through the last month, we had developed some pretty bad habits with getting Ezra to sleep. One of those was co-sleeping. We had actually always done a mixture of crib and co-sleeping – I would bring Ezra to bed with us sometimes to nurse him if he was having a hard time getting to sleep – and we never had had a problem placing him back in his crib. Until one night, it just didn’t work anymore. And, even worse, it just didn’t work nursing him in our bed. He wanted to play. And he would cry and scream when we would put him in his crib. It was to the point that one of us was sleeping on the couch, while the other attempted to get him to sleep in our bed. Or, one of us was spending hours in the rocker in his nursery, just trying to get him to sleep. It.was.NUTS.
After his ear infection was cleared up and he was no longer in pain, we realized that he was crying and refusing to sleep out of these bad habits. I know not everyone agrees with the CIO approach, but in our situation, we realized we had created Ezra’s problems and bad habits for him. He doesn’t know anything other than what we show him, and we had showed him inconsistency and how to do things to elicit a certain reaction from us. And, it’s not my intention to deprive my child of sleep…which is what we were inadvertently doing. When I look back at what we were doing to “help” him fall asleep, we spent more time on that than he did crying it out the first couple nights we started doing it. What it gets down to was, we had gotten in Ezra’s way – we had prevented him from finding his own method to fall asleep by imposing all of these other solutions that – obviously – didn’t work anyway.
It was absolutely heartbreaking watching him on the monitor that first night – he hovered on the side of his crib closest to the door, waiting for one of us to come back in. But, we kept pep-talking ourselves that by not giving in we were teaching Ezra how to sleep. And we also reminded ourselves it was a habit he actually already knew, but had been taught to discard from all of these circumstances that created this perfect storm.
Needless to say, I think I cried more than Ezra did. After three nights, we have our sleeping baby back. Now, if only he would nap again. I am 200% convinced his lack of napping is because of something called the “9 month sleep regression” which also coincides with the Wonder Weeks (if you follow that…). What it boils down to is at 9 months, babies are learning so many skills – motor and cognitive – that they just can’t relax enough to unwind and nap. I definitely believe that’s what’s happening, which also means it’s temporary. So, we wait and I’m just thankful we’re now getting 30 minute naps instead of the 10 minute ones we’d been getting two weeks ago. Yes, you read that right – 10 minute naps.
So, there you have it! Quite a change, huh?
The biggest differences between now and the 6/7 month update are:
- Naps are really difficult to accomplish, if we accomplish them at all
- Ezra is down to 4 nursing sessions during the day, and he eats three “meals” a day of solid food
- We play a lot and he is so good at playing!
- We had a temporary de-railing of sleep, but are back to 12 hour nights
I hope this update helps someone else out there with a 9 month old. Things get better! Just hang in there. 🙂 One thing I repeat to myself now is “the days are long, but the years are short” and it’s so true. We’re coming up on the one year mark so, even though it’s hard sometimes, I still try to treasure it. It will be gone before I know it.