Here we are, seven months! I write this nearly every update but it still stands, I can’t believe how quickly time is flying and how my little squish is now a much bigger squish. He wriggles, he screeches, he laughs and he likes to reach down and pinch my nip when he comes into our bed for morning cuddles whilst howling in my face. Oliver has been brimming with developments lately…
The biggest milestone Oliver hit at seven months was being able to sit completely unaided. He had been sitting with a little help for several weeks but he just couldn’t seem to crack his balance. Without trying to push him to grasp sitting independently we were particularly patient with him and made sure to leave some padding around his playpen or on the floor for the inevitable falls whilst setting him up to play in various spots around the house. It’s difficult to encourage a baby to practise his sitting when whenever you put them down they stubbornly want to straighten their backs like a plank but we kept trying to set him down on floors to play rather than in his walker or jumperoo and then eventually, one day, he just gave in and was happy to be put down in a sitting position wherever.
Getting his balance was another story. It just wasn’t clicking for him so we wrote it off as something he would tackle eventually and carried on until one day he was sitting quite happily without falling sideways for long periods all on his own. We were at a baby group where he was stripped down playing in baked beans and holding onto the front of his nappy for support where I’d noticed he’d been sitting without help for ten minutes. I’ve no idea what happened but something about having that hand-hold of his nappy centred him and since then he’s sat lovely on his own with very few tumbles. He even happily sits and plays with toys as he turns them over in his hands and ‘talks’ to them on his own on our living room floor.
It’s cracking when they hit that milestone and then look at you like it’s no big deal as you’re weeping into a soiled muslin cloth. Motherhood, it’s a rollercoaster.
Speaking of milestones, Oliver is going at them like nobody’s business. The change in his body coordination is unbelievable, I’ve lost count of the mornings where I’ve woken up to him at the opposite end of his cot from rolling or turning himself around in his sleep.
I think that because he’s getting close to crawling too he’s figured out that in the meantime he can just roll everywhere he needs to go when he gets frustrated. I have a feeling he might be like me at his age because as my parents like to remind me, I skipped crawling as a baby and went straight to pulling myself up and toddling around because I rolled to wherever I wanted.
We often joke at the moment and call Oliver a roly-poly baby with the amount he’s rolling around and he certainly makes some distance. I watched him roll from one end of the living room to the other so that he could kick the doors and touch the hinges within the space of ten minutes. Then he got fed up with rolling (or he probably got dizzy…) and started trying to get on his hands and knees to crawl again.
I feel that it’s just a matter of time before he cracks it because his feet and legs are there, he just needs to make that final connection of his arms to move forwards.
Being able to roll and shuffle has opened his world up to some of the new toys he got for Christmas. I’ve been phasing some toys in as the weeks have gone on because to begin with he was picking up the bigger plastic toys and throwing them or dropping them on himself before I allocated just soft toys – it was obvious he wasn’t ready for them. I’ve since worked on a little toy-rotation (he was thoroughly spoiled with presents by his grandparents there’s no denying it!) that brings in some of the electronic toys that he’s been getting to grips with and no longer drops.
His older sister likes to play with his toys and they’re now developing an interactive sibling relationship. He loves to watch her play and one of his favourite activities is when she stacks rings on a cone that he can then grab off of her and throw across the floor for her to re-stack – again and again. This has been perhaps the best £3 I’ve ever spent on a useless bit of plastic tat but it keeps them both occupied for a good half an hour at a time!
We’ve gone straight into baby-led weaning too. It was really difficult to push on with the initial stages as my husband was unwell for a good three weeks and they’re damn tricky when you’re doing them solo. I had to pool a lot of my personal resources for help by asking advice from my friends, health visitors, support workers and family before I could say I felt confident with giving Oliver solids.
As we’ve done from the early days it was all about finding Oliver’s routine that he was most comfortable with whilst making sure he’s getting everything he needs from his formula. I was given the advice to go in with three baby-led weaning meals a day as well as giving him his usual bottles so there were some days where I felt like I was constantly feeding him. Meals took over forty-five minutes and I remember even now sitting in our kitchen at his highchair and seeing the microwave clock tick further on and closer to his next bottle or nap. I couldn’t leave him to make myself a drink or have something to eat myself because I was focused on him eating. I felt like I spent days just in my kitchen watching him like a hawk and doing nothing else.
My fears of him choking were extreme, especially as I was having to tackle this obstacle mostly on my own with my mobile next to me just in case I needed to call someone whilst Oliver gagged loudly to find his way around solid foods. I know that gagging is completely normal and baby needs to experience it to discover their limits but that doesn’t make it any less scary to witness. He went through a few days of constantly gagging on everything I made for him (even small pieces and puree-type foods) and throwing up before I threw in the towel and put the solids aside for a small while for both of our sakes… and lucky I did because it turns out he was coming down his first cold.
Not only did I have two kids to look after on my own, my husband took a turn and I had to call 111 who sent an ambulance where he was admitted to hospital for two nights and then the baby was sick too. I was already running off of minimal sleep through stress and worry and then I was up nearly every hour because Oliver needed comforting. He was dosed up with Calpol, given just milk and cooled boiled water with his temperature checked frequently and then he came out of the other end of it all sunshine and smiles after a couple of days. I on the other hand had several more grey hairs, much bigger bags under my eyes and the baby’s cold!
At least my kitchen floor had had a holiday from food or water being thrown across it before we resumed baby-led weaning.
Thankfully my husband recovered after his hospital stay thanks to a forty-eight hour dose of medication and fluids via a drip so as I was dropping he could just swoop in and start doing the things I’d missed for the last few weeks – like someone else to hold the baby just for a minute whilst I went to the loo or blew my nose. When it’s just you and no one else is around for holding, watching or nappy-changing purposes you can go a little ga-ga and I certainly appreciated the help.
I’m curious to see if Oliver’s next month is full of so many milestones but if anything, I really hope we don’t get anymore illness going around the family – we all need some good health vibes.