Learning gross motor skills & boundaries

Learning Gross Motor Skills and Boundaries | S2 Ep 54

Learning gross motor skills and boundaries start to happen concurrently and it makes sense! As you baby becomes more mobile and curious, we find ourselves say ‘No’ more often. This week on Sense by Meg Faure I chat to Cass, a first time mum to almost nine months old, baby Max.

Gross motor skills: crawling & cruising

Cass shares the good, the bad, and the ugly of parenting, starting with the good news that Max is now a fully-fledged crawler. She describes how they had to rearrange their living space and child-proof their home to keep up with his newfound mobility. Meg and Cass discuss the importance of creating a safe and stimulating environment for babies as they learn to explore their surroundings.

Meg also delves into what you can expect around gross motor development and your baby. She also talks about the importance of crawling as one of the milestones of development.

Download Parent Sense app for an easy way to track your baby’s milestones. Plus get a play activity for every day of your baby’s first year to help them reach those important milestones.

Biting and boundaries

Cass also shares some of what she calls ‘the ugly’ in the good, the bad and the ugly of parenting. Max has started biting. Cass and her husband are trying to teach him not to bite and to understand certain boundaries, such as not touching the radiator. They also mention the difficulty of disciplining a baby at such a young age. Meg explains that the baby’s display of cause and effect is a positive sign of cognitive development, but also suggests distracting the baby rather than using negative consequences.

Throughout the episode, Meg and Cass offer candid and relatable insights into the joys and challenges of early parenting. And especially the highs and lows of learning gross motor skills and boundaries. Whether you’re a new parent looking for advice or just curious about what it’s like to navigate this exciting and challenging stage of life, Sense by Meg Faure is a must-listen podcast.

Guests on this show

Cassidy Mason

Cassidy Mason

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Learning Gross Motor Skills & Boundaries

Welcome to Sense by Meg Faure the podcast that’s brought to you by Parent Sense, the app that takes guesswork out of parenting. If you are a new parent, then you are in good company. Your host, Meg Faure is a well-known OT infant specialist and the author of eight parenting books. Each week we are going to spend time with new moms and dads just like you to chat about the week’s wins, the challenges, and the questions of the moment. Subscribe to the podcast, download the Parent Sense App and catch Meg here every week to make the most of that first year of your little one’s life. And now meet your host.

Meg: Hello Mums and dads and welcome back. Thank you for joining me this week again on Sense by Meg Faure and each week as you know, we chat to real mums who are faced with the real challenges of early parenting, as well as occasionally some experts. Today we’ve actually got an expert who is a mum. Cass, I think I’m going to call you an expert, you are nine months in.

Cass: Oh, the irony after the morning I’ve had .

Meg: So Max is nine months old, 38 weeks, well almost nine months old. We last spoke to you a couple of weeks ago and he was happy and thriving and you were about to have your wedding, which had been postponed because of the COVID lockdowns. So, you had an incredible wedding, but he’s giving you a run for your money this week.

Cass: Do you know what, and I mentioned to you in the introduction, it really is a case of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Meg: Sounds like parenting.

Cass: Yeah, I’m going to start with the good. Okay, so because I think when we finished chatting last time, he was just on the cusp of crawling, that he is now a fully-fledged crawler.

Meg: Oh wow.

Cass: We’ve actually had to completely rearrange our sitting room set up to put all potential hazards out reach.

Meg: That’s incredible.

Cass: So yeah, he is moving at pace and he’s growing in confidence. He never used to really leave the sitting room, but now he will go off into the kitchen, then you’ll find him going round into the hall. So even in the hallway we’ve had to move things around so that he can’t reach. We had our boxes of natural flow tests, which we had to go into a new cupboard because he was getting those and I’ve had to order all of the cupboards locks and things like that. Yeah. So, but it’s really wonderful to watch. And I had a moment the other day because the other thing he started doing is crawling to places that he can then pull himself up to standing. And that’s just all he wants to do is find a place that he can put himself up standing and then stand and he is just getting to grips also with kind of moving along things with his…

Meg: Cruising, my word Cass, he’s young to be doing that at nine months.

Cass: Oh, really? Oh no.

Meg: Well, I mean, it’s interesting but if you have a look on the app, on the play section of the app and you look at the milestone section.

Cass: Yeah, I wondered what cruising was actually.

Meg: Okay, so cruising actually, well I suppose it does say might happen from 39 to 52 weeks. So cruising is when they stand on furniture and move along it. So, they’re kind of walking almost, but that’s walking supported and that happens on the app from 39 to 52 weeks. So 38 weeks, and you know, when I did these ranges of when milestones will happen, and I’m sure that I’ve told you this about the app before, I made those milestones and windows very, very wide. So, I took the absolute complete earliest that you could ever possibly see something and the latest at which you would start to worry about is there something that’s not quite right here. So, that’s why they are ridiculously wide. I mean the actual average will be somewhere in the middle, but we, we keep the ranges very wide. So, and this wasn’t just written by me, I am NDT trained and I have done specializations in infant development, but I had them checked by pediatrician and by another physiotherapist and we were all on the same page that cruising cannot start before 39 weeks. .

Cass: Well he’s definitely not properly doing it, he’s just trying to do it and sometimes he’ll find himself with his legs so wide apart that he just has to sit down.

Meg: Well, that’s also quite interesting. Is he able to sit down once he’s pulled himself up or not quite yet because that’s a later milestone.

Cass: So, he does, but I don’t know at this stage whether that is on purpose or not. He does sit down but that might be because his legs have given away or because one of the things I was actually going to ask you it with regards to all of that is because he is quite young when we have looked it has said the whole pulling up to standing, you know, it is sort of, he’s on the younger side of that.

Meg: Yes he is.

Cass: And he’s wanting to stand all the time and now that he can do it himself, you know, if you leave the room you’ll come back and he’s standing. And I wondered is that okay for his bones and his legs and that sort of thing? It’s not too much weight bearing at this age or is it fine?

Meg: No, no it’s a hundred percent absolutely fine. So, in fact, what he’ll start to do as well and he probably is doing, is he’ll start to bounce as well. So he’ll actually be really working his leg muscles and carving his little assotablon, which is his hip joint, so that’s absolutely perfect. And so there’s nothing wrong with cruising. The only thing is that we want him to crawl as for as long as possible. So he’s crawled early as well, most crawlers only rare get going from about nine months. It does happen from eight months, but it is kind of from nine months onwards. So he is an early crawler, but the important thing is that he crawls well and he crawls fast and as long as he’s getting that in, is he crawling fast?

Cass: Yeah, okay.

Meg: Brilliant. Okay, well, I mean I told you last week, and for those of you who didn’t hear last week’s episode, do go back and listen to it because we spoke about the importance of crawling, but as you crawl, you get messages that are moved from the left to right of your brain and the faster you crawl, the faster those messages go. And they really bed down synapses and which are pathways between the two sides of the brain across the corpus callosum, which are critically important for coordination later on. So, I’m more worried about him not walking too early; and I mean I had a little one, my first born was also a social butterfly very much like Max, although I think Max is a more of a settled stroke social butterfly. But James was a social butterfly and he crawled early at eight months but he didn’t crawl properly. He crawled with his one leg out behind him. And for those moms listening, I’m sure many of you have got that kind of weird crawling, asymmetrical crawling, which is what James did. And it had me freaked out because I knew that the symmetrical crawling was what was important here; that both sides did a similar thing in opposite or reciprocal crawling and he didn’t do that. He did asymmetrical crawling. And then what James did is he got up and walked by nine and a half months. And so he had very, very little time, very short time of crawling and he didn’t crawl well and properly. And that for me is something that you want to avoid because you don’t want them to go into walk too early. Now obviously if Max is crawling really, really well then it’s fine. You know, as long as he’s crawling well and he’s getting around, you know, if he does walk early, which I think he probably will, Cass, that’s not the end of the world.

Cass: No, he is, and because of our conversation actually last time, I am working quite hard on when I’m having that concentrated time with him; trying to avoid him doing all the standing and actually getting him to crawl from one side of the room to me on the other side of the room or building a tower because he loves to crawl and knock down the tower or whatever it might be. And Alex and I have also noticed he loves to chase a ball, so we’ve been sort of letting him, we’ve got my Pilates ball out and he kind of pushes that and then crawls after it and pushes that and crawls after it. And Alex has been playing back and forth kind of football-handball with him.

Meg: Is Alex very coordinated and sporty?

Cass: Yeah. Sorry.

Meg: You see, it’s very interesting because I think potentially, and not a hundred percent but potentially Max is actually going to be very well coordinated and very sporty. And we do see that where you’ve got a parent who’s got very strong genes in a specific direction like Alex does then passes it onto their little boy or girl. And the other thing that those parents do is because they love ball sports or activities so much is that they reinforce it and they do it more and more, and so that then gets this whole cycle going. So you’ve kind of got this genetic predisposition which then gets manifested through nurture. So, it’s kind that whole nature-nurture debate and you end up with little ones who are actually quite skilled on the sports field.

Cass: Well yeah, Alex , he actually sent me a video the other day of him kicking the ball to Max and then Max pushing it. And…

Meg: That’s amazing.

Cass: I really didn’t think you’d manage to get football in with your son before nine months.

Meg: It’s incredible. No, it’s really good for him. And, of course, the most important part of that is the interaction between him because when Max pushes it back to Alex, Alex’s delight on his face, and the enthusiasm will just feed that cycle. And so you’ve got that whole thing of serve and return. That which we spoke about very early on in one of our early podcasts happening again where Max does something, it gets reinforced by dad. He thinks, wow, this is fabulous. It comes back to him and he does it over and over again and again beds down all this amazing gross motor skills.

Cass: Absolutely. And actually that is another part of the good is I’ve noticed he started to understand words now and if you say, “Will you give cuddles to mama?” He’ll put his head on my chest and rests his head on my chest. It’s unbelievably cute. And he does high five as well, if you say, “Hi five.”

Meg: That’s incredible, that’s incredible. So just what’s very, very interesting about language and how that develops is you’ve got two areas of the brain Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area, which are the two language parts of the brain. And the one owns receptive language and the other one owns expressive language. And what we know is that the receptive language, which is the understanding of language, that that part of the brain actually comes on online or starts to kind of really work about six to nine months ahead of the part of the brain for expressive language. And so what’s really interesting is that give mommy cuddles, which is an entire sentence and so on, he’s now actually understanding at nine months and it’s probably going to be about six to nine months’ time where he’ll actually go  something like cuddle and make a little word so that you can understand that he wants one too. And so that’s really important and I think a lot of parents don’t realize how important it is that they speak to their little ones because they do really start to understand it this time. So, that’s incredible, really amazing example of it. So yeah, I encourage other mums to try that one with a nine month old as well. It’s very, very cool.

Cass: It does however lead me on to the bad.

Meg: Okay, so we’ve done the good, we’re through the good, let’s go the bad

Cass: Because it’s the understanding of words, for example, how do I get, he understands cuddles, but how do we get to a point where he understands no? So, there’s a few things going on. One, I don’t think he’s purposefully biting, but he bites. So we’re trying to say no and we give him a bit like I do with our dog, no. And then give him the dog, but trying to stop him biting us. And there’s another really interesting thing that I’ve noticed is he now has got to a point, so Max has never really been a baby that cries, we’ve been quite lucky, but he’s now worked out that if you take something away or he’s not getting something that he wants, he will cry. But it’s almost like a bit of a temper tantrum. Crying, no, I don’t know if it eight and a half months, nine months they are having temper tantrums per se. But it’s kind of trying to work out what is the, I don’t want to say discipline because it seems too early to be using that word, but it’s also now trying to get him to understand, we’ve rearranged the sitting room as I said, as much as we can, but there’s still certain areas we want him to kind of not go too close to. You know, like don’t go near the radiator, it’s summer so that’s fine, the radiator’s off, but when we get to winter, that’s going to be hot. So we need to teach him now not to touch the radiator.

So it’s kind of just trying to, that language piece is there and the good, but it also how to get it there in the bad when I don’t want to be raising my voice or using…So, you don’t want to be disciplining because he’s such a baby still. So how to kind of manage that is my question to you

Meg: Yeah, no it’s brilliant. So what he’s displaying there is what we call an understanding of cause and effect, which is a cognitive skill. So it shows that his brain’s coming online, which is really important because cause and effect is super important. So things like playing Peek-a-boo or those little pop toys where you push a button and something pops up. So most switch toys have some sort of response and they can be quite an overt response and they’re fabulous for learning cause and effect. So understanding cause and effect is very, very important. And he has learned that; he has learned that if he does something then he’ll get a response. Now, of course that’s fabulous because he is now growing his brain, but it feeds on into something that I suppose some parents would call manipulation where if I do something then I can get my way or if I cry hard enough, they’ll give me back the TV remote or whatever it is that I’ve taken out of their hand.

And actually it’s important that they’re doing this because it’s a life stage and it’s a life skill so we can’t get too frustrated with them. But the best way to deal with it is through distractions. So they’re too little for discipline, they’re too little for any form of negative repercussions. And so the best thing to do right now is to just distract him. So, if he’s insisting on something and he can’t have it, like let’s say you’ve taken the TV remote out of his hand because you don’t want him to play with it anymore or your cell phone and he starts to throw a temper tantrum, which is exactly what they do. And it is interesting because the temper tantrum is so firmly associated with the so-called terrible twos, which by the way is also misnomer because it actually isn’t just the twos and also happens in the threes and even in the ones, and actually yes at eight, nine months because it’s any time when they’re frustrated they’ll then push the boundaries.

So later on we can use language to very effectively diffuse situations, and that’s what we do when we have older children and toddlers and so on. You know, that we want to talk through what they’re feeling and we want to talk through what they, what the boundary is and we want to talk through choices. He can’t do that right now, there’s just no understanding. So, right now at this stage, it’s more about just distracting him, moving him onto something else and kind of just trying to distract him a little bit. And that’s the best way to deal with it.

In terms of the word, you know, kind of discipline, I wouldn’t be doing that at this stage. Having said that, there are some things, and you’ve given such a great example there of like for instance, biting, biting can’t happen. So, you know, there can be some little repercussions that do happen, like a little bit of a negative impact afterwards.
Like for instance, you pick him up, he’s holding onto you and he bites you and you say no and you pop him down on the floor and immediately, you know, after a couple of times of doing that, he starts to learn that actually he doesn’t get kind of love and cuddles or a, I mean whatever it is when he does that to you, he just gets put down. And that is probably a better way of dealing it with it than any other method. And there’s some completely crazy, stupid things that parents are told to do to stop children biting, which I don’t agree with. So, it’s just simply distracting him or then putting him down, those are the best things to do at this stage. And then also to realize that actually he’s learning some brilliance there.

The other thing with biting that I do want to mention is that biting is sometimes, I mean why does it happen at this stage? Sometimes it is just sheer excitement like I’m in your arms and I just love you so much and I’m not too sure what to do so I’ll pinch or bite. So it sometimes is just that. And so in that case, it’s just a little, “No, don’t do that. Don’t, don’t hurt mommy,” and you know, pop him down and then pick him up a little bit, you know, after a couple of minutes so that he kind of learns that very quickly. He gets put down as he does it.

But there is another reason why little ones bite and that can be due to seeking proprioception and particularly very busy little ones who are sensory seekers tend to seek proprioception. And so they’ll do things like bang things a little bit harder or push against things or make this kind of growly noise like a push a growly noise, and those are often indications that little ones are seeking proprioception. So if he’s doing those sort of things like pushing, holding very hard, squeezing very hard, making the growly noises. And for those of you who are listening, if your little ones go through stages when they do that, it often is an indication that they’re seeking a little bit more deep pressure or proprioception through their muscles and joints.

Now, proprioception is one of our eight sensors, it’s the one that comes from our muscles and joints and it’s highly super, super regulating. It’s a wonderful sensation. So how do we get it and how do we give it our little ones? Well, in a classic example of our lives as adults we can get it through going for a massage, like a deep, deep tissue massage. We can also get it by mountain biking up a very steep hill or by going on a jog. All of those things actually give us all of that wonderful proprioception and that’s why exercise is so regulating for the adult brain. For little ones, you need to find other ways to do it for him. So it’s a baby massage could be a really nice idea, having a little baby trampoline where you hold his hands and let him just jump on the trampoline or so nice idea; he’s not quite ready to jump yet, but he’ll do some bounces. One of those bouncy things that hang in door frames, I don’t if you remember those.

So all the way back from the 1970s I think, I was raised in one of those Yeah, you know, they became quite controversial and they’re not always fabulous. If a child’s got increased muscle tone, like for instance if they’ve got cerebral palsies can increase their tone further. But for other little ones with normal tone, which he has, and who are little bit of sensory seekers, which he is, they are really, really fun and they’re fabulous because they act like a swing but also as a bouncy activity. So, if you can get yourself one of those, pop it up in the doorframe and just give him five minutes a day in it, you’ll probably find that that gives him a lovely dose of proprioception, that then means that maybe he’s going to stop the biting. So it is something that you can try as well.

Cass: Okay. Yeah I was in one of those when I was young and loved it. So it would be, and it actually would be quite a useful thing to put him in when I’m in the kitchen.

Meg: Exactly.

Cass: And he can’t move.

Meg: And that’s exactly the time that you that you should be using it, you know, and that’s…People often ask me about walking rings and those jolly jumpers as they’re called, I don’t like walking rings but jolly jumpers on the other hand I do like, but for limited amounts of time and what you’ve just illustrated, like you’ve just jumped in the shower, you can see him hanging in the doorframe you know through the glass shower doors and you just need your hands free, so you can have a five minute shower or you quickly getting his supper ready and you just need five minutes without him crawling around and pulling bookshelf on top of himself. Those are like the perfect times to use the Jolly Jumper just for a few minutes, yeah.

Cass: Perfect. Okay great, that’s really, I’m definitely going to get one of those and I think my mom will be over the moon because he’ll bring back memories of me as a little one.

Meg: They are, they’re fabulous.

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Meg: And obviously for those moms who are listening, you know everything in moderation of little ones. You’re not going to leave your little one in at for half an hour and certainly never unsupervised.

Cass: And then we have the ugly.

Meg: Okay.

Cass: It is always around sleep, isn’t it? So he’s actually been amazing with sleep. We were going through this wonderful phase; he’s been sleeping through the night. He has been going down without a peep. When you put him down in the day, he just rolls over, goes to sleep. And he was doing about an hour in the morning, two and a half hours at lunchtime and then sometimes if he needed a sleep in the afternoon and it was all lovely.

I don’t know why, but we had three nights or four nights of him waking up in the middle of the night. Now, I do think that possibly it was very, very hot and I gave him some water and that would often settle him. So I think that was possibly caused the him waking up. Although we did have one night where he was awake for three hours in the middle of rest of the night; because I gave him…It wasn’t so hot, I tried just giving him the dummy, then I tried water and he just was having none of it at all. And eventually after three hours I fed him because I needed to get sleep myself and sure enough he settled and went to sleep. But the next night again he woke up, had a little bit of water, went back to sleep and last night he was back sleeping the night again.

What we have not been able to rectify and this morning was traumatizing. I think it was so much he won’t go down in the day at the moment. He has started screaming when he goes down and this morning he was actually screaming for about 45 minutes until the nanny arrived and I just said you’re going to have to put him in a pram or a car and take him because he needs to go to sleep, which he fell asleep instantaneously in the car because he was so tired. But he had done 45 minutes of screaming, as I tried to put him down at one point he clung to my arm laughing as I tried to put him down and then as soon as I put him down…

Meg: Oh, that’s he’s…

Cass: …he screamed blue murder to the point where he then got himself standing in the cot, fell, hit his head.

Meg: Okay, whole story.

Cass: He was so tired, so all going on and it’s the same. And he’s also stopped doing long; he’s almost not linking his sleep cycles in the day. Now, he’s doing half hour, 45 minutes and then waking up. So the dreamy long lunchtime sleep have stopped, why?

Meg: Okay, brilliant, okay. I’ll tell you exactly why. He is at what we call a cusp age, and so cusp ages happen at about 39 weeks, so he’s just a couple of days off that. So he’s spot on just like all of his other milestones and it’s a nine month, other people call it a nine month sleep progression but it’s actually not, it really is just a shift in what babies should be doing in terms of day sleep. So, what happens is that we have been watching the awake times and then making sure that he has these stretches of sleep at around about two to two and a half hours of awake time and then they go down.

The problem is that if they’re having long sleeps like he’s having and I think you mentioned, if I heard you correctly, an hour and a half and then two and a half hours

Cass: Yeah an hour and then two and half hours

Meg: :An hour and then two and a half hours, yeah. Then he’s a hundred percent not going to fit in a third sleep and he will either wake in the middle of the night or he will wake very early in the morning or he will fight the times for those day sleeps. So what happens at nine months, so between six and nine months, little ones are having three day sleeps and then at nine months it shifts, at 39 weeks it shifts and they have to drop one and go down to only two sleeps and those sleeps have to be a little shorter. So the amount of time that he should be sleeping is only 45 minutes plus another one and a half hours.

Cass: Okay

Meg: And if they’re having more than that then first of all, they’ll challenge their day sleeps and they’ll definitely wake up more at night as well. So that’s probably what happened those three nights ago where he had those sleeps and then he was up for that long stretch in the middle of the night. He just had too much sleep.  So what needs to happen, because obviously when you start to pull back from, if you can imagine if you go from an hour plus two and a half hours plus, let’s say it was half an hour in the afternoon, you’re basically looking at three, four hours of sleep in the day, and when you start to pull it back to what I just mentioned, which is 45 minutes plus an hour and a half, maximum two hours, you know you are reducing the amount of sleep a lot and so you lengthening those awake times past the two to two and a half hour sleep.

So that’s where it gets very confusing for moms because they’re watching the app and they’re going, we’re supposed to be looking at a two and a half hour awake time, but actually it needs to be a little longer. So we start to stretch it out and we do it incrementally.

So what I would suggest is on day one, you no longer do two hours in the morning, you do two and a half hours in the morning. So if he wakes up at six, it’s you’ll only go down at 8:30, if he wakes at seven only at 9:30. So you stretch that out to two hours, then you do your next awake time at least two hours or two hours 45, and then your last awake time can even be as long as three hours. And what you’ll find when you do that is you will only be able to fit in two sleeps and so you’ll have to drop that late afternoon sleep.

Now, when babies go through cusp ages, because his next cusp pages are 12 to 14 months, but when they go through cusp ages it doesn’t overnight just become a fabulous to get, kind of can turn the page and it’s new because what they’ll do is some days they’ll still need the three sleeps and other days they’ll need the two sleeps. So, guiding him towards having a nine o’clock sleep in the morning and a 12 or 12:30 sleep in the afternoon, and then probably no cat nap in the late afternoon. If he only does…Let’s say does 45 minutes and he only does an hour for that lunchtime sleep, then you will have to do the cat nap in the afternoon. So some days you’ll have three other days you’ll have two and that’s the way that you push it out.

Cass: And so should I wake him after that 45 minutes in the morning?

Meg: Hmm, brilliant question because that’s always what I get asked. That doesn’t matter which sleep they do is the long sleep, if it’s the morning sleep or if it’s the afternoon sleep. So, if you put him down at nine and he goes for an hour and a half to 10:30, then the next sleep will only happen at about two in the afternoon, so you know 1:30-2:00. So, you just switch it around. I do prefer, but you can’t control the sleep because I don’t like waking babies except from that late afternoon sleep so you can’t really control it. But I do prefer the midday sleep to be the longer one than the morning one because it’s slightly easier when you have to do the next cusp age shift, which is a year because that mid-day sleep is the one that just stays. But it’s not the end of the world. If he sleeps really long in the morning, he’ll sleep slightly shorter in the afternoon.

Cass: Okay. So he’ll just do that naturally. So I shouldn’t wake him from either of them, if he’s going longer, just leave it.

Meg: Just leave him. But if he ends up doing, I mean let’s say he does like a really, like an hour and a half in the morning and then two and a half hours in the afternoon watch how sleeps at night and if he doesn’t sleep well that night then you might have to start waking him from one or the other.

Cass: Okay.

Meg: But it’s unusual that they do that. They normally actually quite naturally do one shorter and one longer

Cass: Because obviously this then shifts at the moment. He had a lovely routine where he was going down at 8:30 and then he was waking up having a bit of playtime and that’s the thing. Then he was having lunch at about 11 and then he was having a milk and going down at 12. But for example today he didn’t end up falling asleep till like past 10, so he’s not going to wake up until say 11, and then he’ll have lunch straight away. But there’s quite a gap until he goes down too for his sleep, and that was part of the reason he was going down quite nicely was and it suddenly shifts out. So then that lunchtime milk does he have that so that just goes away.

Meg: Move it towards the sleep. It would be my recommendation. So currently his milk situation should be three bottles in a day. He potentially could have four, but most babies by eight to nine months have dropped down to three. So that’s one on waking one mid-morning, one, one mid-afternoon and one in the evening that, that would be four. And then they usually drop either the mid-morning or mid-afternoon and that’s a good time to do exactly what you’ve done, which is pop that bottle just before the sleep time because you know full tummy’s helped little ones to sleep a little deeper.

Cass: Yeah. Okay, so we had a, he was doing half a bottle mid-afternoon, he wasn’t really finishing it but he still needed something to get him from his sleep to his, I mean he has a piece of watermelon or something like that but he was having a little bit of a bottle so maybe we’ll just give him a bottle before he goes down for his sleep for that mid-day. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Meg: Correct, yeah, yeah. You’ll end up with another new routine and it’ll be a great routine. It’ll be a nice morning sleep, probably at around about nine-ish and then a nice afternoon sleep, probably around half past twelve-ish and then maybe a little cat nap that he’ll wake from about 4:15. He must be awake by 4:15 otherwise he won’t settle in the evening. And that’s why that one is hard to fit in, because you can imagine if you go to sleep at 12:30 and you sleep for an hour and a half, that’s going to take you to two o’clock then you haven’t got enough of a space to actually get in that sleep. But at the same time two o’clock to six o’clock is a very long time, that’s four hours. And that’s why this cusp age is so tricky because you can’t fit in all the sleeps.

So in that scenario, but then I’ve just mentioned if he wakes at two in the afternoon, which you just know is going to be too long to get him through till six or seven in the evening, you can either just pop in a 15 minute cat nap and by that what I recommend is either like doing the quick driver on the block and waking him up when you get home or take him for a walk in the pram or in the carrier wherever he does fall asleep. But then just waking him and then he’ll be a little bit missy because you’ve woken him after 15 minutes but at least he’ll go back down again, and keeping that bedtime consistent is more important.

Cass: Yeah, because that’s actually when he has been sleeping past two because sometimes we’ve been putting him down at 12 and he’s been waking up about quarter past two and exactly as you say, it’s really difficult he’s not going to sleep. So we’ve been taking him up for his bath at 5:30 so that he’s going down at six o’clock.

Meg: That’s correct.

Cass: Which is three and a half hours but he’s been managing it.

Meg: Yeah and that’s exactly what they start to do. They start to be able to push out that last stretch of the day to three and a half hours. If that happens, if he wakes up at like quarter past or half past two, that’s actually ideal because just bring bedtime forward. It’s when he wakes at like two or quarter to two, which you just can’t fit it in and then you’re going to have to just pop in that very short catnap.

Cass: Yeah. Okay, perfect. Well it sounds like we are kind of on the right path. We’re just having to…

Meg: Get through it. And Cass, that’s one of the things that struck me through all of our conversations. You’ve actually always known the answers as do almost all mums, but it’s almost like, oh gosh this changed. I was so comfortable in what I was doing last week and it’s just the shift but what you’re doing is spot on, definitely. So the ugly is not as a ugly as you think it is and by next week you’ll be feeling like the ugly is just a humor then.

Cass: Pretty ugly, this one.

Meg: I’m sure.

Cass: There is an inner Cass that was getting pretty hot with these changes.

Meg: Yes, keeping it real. Oh my word, Cass, thank you so much. As always, I’ve loved our chats.

Cass: Thank you, Meg.

Meg: Your good, bad and ugly is just absolutely fabulous this week and so completely classic for the nine month old. So, go Max.

Cass: It’s not re-assuring , I’ll let him know when he gets home. He’s fine. .

Meg: Well, one day when he listens back to these podcasts as an older child he’ll know.

Cass: Yeah, and I will play them.

Meg: Oh, Cass. Thanks for the chat.

Cass: Thanks. Bye.

Meg: Bye.

Thanks to everyone who joined us, we will see you the same time next week. Until then, download Parent Sense App and take the guesswork out of parenting.

Meg faure

Meg Faure

Hi, I’m Meg Faure. I am an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Parent Sense. My ‘why’ is to support parents like you and help you to make the most of your parenting journey. Over the last 25 years, I’ve worked with thousands of babies, and I’ve come to understand that what works for fussy babies works just as well for all babies, worldwide.