My last proper update on Hazel’s development was six months ago (read it here), so I thought it was about time I did another. Now she’s one whole year old (!!!), she’s acquired a whole bunch of new skills and we’ve navigated various developments and changes – some of which have been super challenging. 6-12 months has been fun, certainly… but it’s also been a really hard stage.
But, here we are! Almost 13 months into the mumming game and I’m surviving (sometimes even thriving… mostly on nursery days, tbh). The last six months has been a struggle, mostly because just as I start thinking I’ve got things cracked, it all changes and the rug is pulled from under me yet again. In the newborn days you expect to feel a bit out of control, slightly manic, severely sleep deprived. No first time mum knows how to handle a newborn! It’s totally normal! Pass me another Diet Coke! But at eight, nine, 10 months there’s a niggling feeling that you should have this down. You’ve probably established a routine, you smile knowingly at other mums and you know Dear Zoo off by heart. It should be easier by now, right?
Nope. 8-9 months especially was hard work, because Hazel couldn’t crawl and she desperately wanted to. She was frustrated by the lack of movement, there was a sleep regression thrown in there too and solids hadn’t fully clicked, so we were stuck in some weird baby/toddler limbo. She finally cracked crawling at 9.5 months, which made a big difference.
Yes – the sleep regressions. You hear a lot about the big 4-month one, but many babies also regress at 8-10 months AND at 12 months. We experienced both these regressions and it was hell. Unlike the early days, you’ve been lulled (quite literally) into longer stretches of sleep only to have them cruelly snatched away as your baby reverts to waking every couple of hours, now handily combined with standing up in the cot and literally shrieking. The wake-ups during these regressions were much longer and we even broke our golden nighttime rule (‘never leave the bedroom’) to bring Hazel downstairs on a few occasions. Like I said – hell. Luckily we seem to have left that stage behind (f0r now) and Hazel is sleeping through the night.
The two biggest developments in the last six months are social changes – starting nursery and stopping breastfeeding. Hazel now goes to nursery two days a week and has one day with her grandparents, so I have three days to work. It’s been a tough change – we’ve caught every bug going and a month in, Hazel is still struggling to settle. I’m really hoping it just takes time and eventually she won’t cry her eyes out on every drop off… tell me it gets better?! In the long-run I know nursery is the right choice for us – it gives me the space I need to work and despite her protests, Hazel is a really sociable baby who loves being around people, so I think she’ll love it eventually. Getting to that point is hard but I have hope it will come!
Stopping breastfeeding is something I need to write a full post about – it’s such a huge change and one I have fought many an internal battle over, but it’s made a HUGE difference to me. After struggling to establish breastfeeding in the early days (read about that here) I really thought I’d want to keep going as long as possible, but in reality I needed to step back. Breastfeeding ties you so completely to your baby, which is wonderful but also so limiting. Rob can now put Hazel to bed with a bottle, which is a bit of a revelation. I can leave the house before 7pm! It’s a Christmas miracle! We’re down to one morning feed a day (and Hazel has a bottle of warm cow’s milk at bedtime), but I think we’ll probably drop that one soon, too. And I’m cool with it.
Watching Hazel change and grow over the last six months has been amazing. Here are her 1 year highlights:
– Movement. Crawling is still happening, but now we’ve added cruising and walking with the help of her pram into the mix. She’s not very steady on her feet without something to hold on to so I’m not sure unaided walking is that close, but she loves her newfound freedom and is actually scarily fast (especially if you happen to be holding a rice cake).
– Teeth! 12 of ’em, to be exact. Hazel has eight teeth in the front and four molars, although I think two of the molars are still making their way through. The molars have definitely been the most painful for her, and Nurofen has been our friend these last few months.
– Sleeping through the night. As mentioned, Hazel has been sleeping through for a couple of weeks now. I know nothing is reliable when it comes to sleep and so am not kidding myself that it’ll last forever (hello, 18 month regression) but for now it is AMAZING.
– Communication. Hazel is a proper little chatter and loves nothing more than a good babble, even if it is mostly to herself. She can now wave hello and goodbye, clap, nod and shake her head in response to words rather than copying us. She can say hiya, is starting to link daddy/dadda to Rob and often says mum-mum when upset (classic). My favourite, though, is ‘mmmmm’, which is the noise of a cow and sometimes a horse (in her defence, the figurines look very similar).
– Temperament. We’re seeing so much more of Hazel’s personality, which is delightful and daunting all at once. She loves music and will dance along to any beat, she is cheeky and playful, inquisitive and curious. She’s also sometimes shy and cautious, preferring to sit back and observe before joining in unfamiliar situations. We haven’t seen any full-blown tantrums yet but she knows how to voice her dissatisfaction and has very little patience (like her mother, I guess). I’m prepping for when her stubborn streak kicks in!
We’ve celebrated Hazel’s first birthday and now we’re ready for Christmas – her second, but the first she can be properly part of. The first 12 months have absolutely flown by, so I guess the saying is true – when it comes to raising children, the days are long but the years are seriously short.