Baby milestones are something us parents love. Especially if it’s our first baby.
Ah they smiled! Ooh they’re rolling over! Look, they’re sitting up! Wow, they’re crawling! Look out, they’re walking! Get the milestone cards out and take a pic! (I can’t comment on the sleeping through the night milestone though, cos it’s just plain not happening).
Quick, write them all in that baby book that you’ll only ever have for your first child. (They don’t exist for second or subsequent babies, it’s the law, and it’s okay).
What about the ‘other’ baby milestones?
But what about the baby milestones that tend to get ignored and never talked about? Even though for most people they too are AWESOME to get through.
You may have read that my twins have pretty much stopped napping. Unless I drive the LONG way home for about an hour and a half during which time Twin Two nods off within about five minutes. Whilst Twin One spends the entire time refusing to sleep instead asking ‘Where we go? Where we go?’ until he just screams incessantly and I give in and go home. It takes a lot for this to happen now…
I’ve kept the twins in cots until now, determined not to put them in beds until the naps stopped.
I did this far too early with the four year old – mainly because we needed his cot for an incoming twin. But you know what, it f*cked his naps RIGHT up. Not what I needed whilst heavily pregnant with twins.
Hello freedom, goodbye naps
Once he realised he had some freedom, there was no way he was going to sleep. It resulted in me having to do the ‘nap drive’ (you know the one) up and down the nearby dual carriageway until he dropped off, then transferring him back to bed. Something that was annoying and time consuming and I couldn’t quite be arsed with at the best of times. Let alone when I was exhausted growing two giant babies. Although go me, for being able to nail the car to cot transfer. One of my very few parenting talents.
But the time has come for the twins to be in their big boy beds. I’m kind of hoping it might make them sleep better. Although I’ve basically hoped that for the last 2.5 years when there’s been even the slightest change to routine. No success so far!
So it got me thinking about all the baby milestones that go by the wayside. Things that once your babies no longer do, you almost forget about. But at the time are MASSIVE.
Here are a few of them:
1. When you stop feeding your baby (milk, that is)
Whether it’s breastfeeding, bottle feeding or both this is one of the biggest baby milestones when it ends. I only breastfed the eldest for a short time which was a disaster, and I bottle fed the twins. When I stopped feeding them formula around their first birthday it was like I’d suddenly had a small lottery win – no longer needing to spend ridiculous amounts on seemingly endless tubs of powder every week. And when I started giving the twins their bedtime (normal) milk in a sealed cup, and no longer needed the bottles it was a revelation!
Although remember that joyous moment when you realise your child can actually hold their OWN bottle? My god, that was a good day for my back. Tandem feeding twins was a killer. Those baby bottles had seen me through three children and I was not sad in the SLIGHTEST to see the back of them.
2. When sterilising bottles is a thing of the past
The main reason I couldn’t wait to get rid of the bottles was the damn washing and sterilising of them. Fine with one baby. Not so fine with two. Shit the bed it used to drive me crazy! I think we had 18 MAM bottles in total and I’d wash, sterilise and make them on a cycle. So basically after every bedtime it would be the first job. It’s not like it was arduous, and I used two Milton cold water sterilisers which involved zero effort (although a fair bit of water) but it was just so BORING!
The day we stopped using them for good should have been one of those ‘oh my baby isn’t a baby’ type of thing. Instead I rejoiced in the reclaimed worktop space, and jumped for joy. To be honest I could have easily burned all 18 of the damn things to mark the occasion. You know, if I could have been at all arsed. This was one of my best baby milestones by far!
3. End of the night feeds is one of the best baby milestones of all
Still on the subject of feeding, what about that beautiful, wonderful, life-changing moment when they stopped NIGHT feeds. I’m talking the 11pm dream feeds, although they never bothered me as we were always still up. But also those 2am/3am real killers. The thought of them even send shivers down my spine as I’m typing this. And I was up four times to three different children last night.
But I didn’t have to feed anyone! I didn’t have to make up a bottle using a Thermos flask of boiling water, combine it with just the right amount of cooled boiled water and a precision-measured amount of formula. Nor did I have to sit in my bed feeding one twin on my own whilst flying solo, literally PRAYING that the other one didn’t wake up until I’d finish or I’d be totally screwed. I didn’t have to wind them or be thrown up over.
Or sit in a panic that the eldest would wake up too, and I wouldn’t know how to settle three children under three back to sleep at the same time on my own. Or jumping back four years, I didn’t have to listen to that GOD AWFUL sound of the breast pump at 3am. That noise is the stuff nightmares are made of. NIGHTMARES I tell you.
Jeez night feeds are tough aren’t they? If you’re reading this in the middle of the night, I’m not going to be all patronising and cringey and tell you it gets better. But I’m kind of guessing you won’t still be sitting there at 3am with a bottle or boob shoved in your child’s mouth when they’re four. But you know, who am I to judge if you are!
4. When your baby no longer has colic
If you were like me and an unlucky sod to have babies who suffered from colic, you have my sympathy. What an absolute shitshow it is. Nobody seems to know what it is, what causes it, or what you’re supposed to do about it. All we know is that, in my case, it involved a LOT of screaming. And a LOT of puke. Never to be outdone by each other, both my twins had colic as little babies. And it was pretty grim. I described having to wind them mid-feed as playing a game of Russian Roulette once.
Basically you had to judge which one of them was going to barf up their entire bottle first. Pick up on the (non-existent) signs and get to them before you, them and an area three metres in diameter was covered in vomit. Luckily this only seemed to last a few months, (helped by changing their formula – obviously to the more expensive one). I think I was so sleep deprived at that time, I didn’t really register that the end of colic was one of those baby milestones I should have been dancing in the streets about. If you’re in that stage now – hang in there!
5. No longer carrying car seats everywhere
Now I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this one, but thought it worth a mention. When I only had one baby the portable car seats that you could bring to and from the car, and stick on a travel system buggy were pretty awesome, weren’t they? We all knew the recommendations of how long your child should be in them for at one time. And I’d say a fair few of us (me included) pushed that just a little bit more.
It would be so much easier transferring a child (especially one who is sleeping) in and out of your house or the community centre where Baby Sensory was held, or the local shopping mall (because you can easily go shopping with just one baby) when you had a Maxi Cosi Pebble or the like. Wasn’t it a massive pain when they were too big and you had to actually CARRY them? And wake them up, or transfer them from buggy to car in the pissing rain. It was a sad day when my eldest was too big for it.
Then twins came along…
Fast forward two years and double the babies, this baby milestone didn’t evoke the same emotion. Like most twin mums, I’d be lugging two car seats around – often one in each hand when they were still light enough for me to lift both. Or I’d have one twin in a sling, and one in a car seat to get in and out of Moo Music. It was such a pain. Getting all three kids in and out of the car took at least four trips up and down the driveway. It was all so time consuming, and little wonder why I never ‘nipped’ anywhere. Not only are my twins obviously not in little car seats now, but they actually WALK to the car and one CLIMBS IN HIMSELF.
This is literally THE. BEST. THING. EVER. Of course Twin One, whilst supposedly climbing into the middle car seat, more often than not dicks about and ends up either in the boot or the drivers’ seat and I have to chase him around the car, shouting threats at not being allowed a custard cream later if he doesn’t get in his car seat NOW! But do you know what, at least he’s actually IN the car.
This sounds ridiculous I know, but it means when we’re out in public, he can’t go wandering off into the road without me knowing whilst I’m strapping Twin Two in. It’s these sorts of things that send me into a panic. For obvious reasons. For a long time if I went anywhere, one of my lovely friends would meet me in the car park to ‘guard’ a twin so that the other two didn’t disappear. But now I can just about trust the little ones to stand by the wheel of the car, or the wall next to which I’m parked, or any chosen spot really. And THIS is a baby milestone I’m LOVING.
6. When weaning is no longer LIFE!
I’m not sure why but us mums seem to get excited about weaning, don’t we? It is, I agree, one of those big baby milestones for our little one. Whether we make our own purees from scratch and freeze them into little ice cube trays (yes, I did do that for my eldest). Or whether we go down the baby led weaning route, randomly giving them sticks of whatever and hoping for the best (me second time round). Or if we are one of those mums whose baby strictly ‘only eats what we eat’. Whichever one we are there’s one thing in common. It’s bloody messy. Fuck a duck, memories of the mess from those purees splattered everywhere will never leave me.
When you have twins weaning is even worse, and the floor under your table is the cleanest spot in your entire house, having been cleaned to within an inch of its life three times a day. I’m not going to lie, the messy stage goes on a long time, doesn’t it? My eldest is 4.5 and can still get in a mess at times. But unless it’s a REALLY bad day, even with the twins, I’m not down on my hands and knees like I used to be. (The cordless Dyson is a beautiful thing). Weaning is certainly one of those baby milestones I’m glad to be through.
7. Getting rid of the high chairs
On a similar note. Let’s talk about highchairs. Whatever you’ve got (I love the IKEA ones) they are handy little things, aren’t they? Strap your baby in and you know they’re not going anywhere. A useful tool when you want your child to just be STILL for five minutes, and not risk rolling off the settee. But there is that very sad point in a mum’s life when their child refuses to go in a highchair (a bit like in a shopping trolley seat) and they go so rigid you have two choices. Break their plank-like legs to force them through the leg holes. Or give up. I tend to think the latter is, albeit annoying, the better option.
Then it all goes wrong…
Or you might (as I did) suffer that stage in between, where you’ve, er, lost the straps (but that’s okay as they’re big enough to not actually fall out), and then they start CLIMBING out. Straight out of the highchair, and straight onto the table. FFS!! It is one of those baby milestones we all go through. Well, maybe not the table bit, that might just be my feral twins. But that time where the highchair is no longer fit for purpose and you have to concede defeat.
You buy a funky wooden step ladder chair instead, a week after which your toddler sticks two fingers up at it and sits on the normal adult chairs (leaving you to squeeze an arse cheek on a step ladder). And that, my friends, is it. That is the moment mealtimes are never the same. That’s the time when Twin Two takes three mouthfuls of his meal and wanders off because there is nothing constraining him. Bribed back a few times, before he gives up completely and I realise, yet again, I have no control over my children.
8. Ditching the dummies is one of my favourite baby milestones
If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll have seen that I got rid of the dummies at Christmas. The twins were exactly 2.5 and I’d quite frankly had enough of trying to find them in the middle of the night. They only had them for sleeping and weren’t wandering around town with them in their mouths but I still felt like the time had come to ditch them. We talked about it for several weeks and decided to give them to Father Christmas to pass to other babies who needed them. (Although they were so manky I can’t see anyone else fancying them! In reality I chopped them up and binned them so I wasn’t tempted at 4am).
I had high expectations…
It was going to be amazing. Without waking for a dummy, it would mean they’d sleep right through – ending my four years and eight month run of sleepless nights and frustrating co-sleeping. As I said, it would be awesome. Think of how much better we’d feel not having to get out of bed at least four or five times a night. The Twins were onboard, saying they were big boys who didn’t need dummies. And they left them on the Santa plate along with a Doombar, carrot and mince pie. Actually, Twin Two wasn’t quite so keen when it came to it, but once I’d wrestled it off him, he got over it. The funniest thing was when Twin One thought he’d have new dummies in his stocking on Christmas morning!
I knew it would take a few days to settle, and because of all the Christmas excitement they were pretty tired, meaning they went to sleep relatively easily at bedtime despite not having the dummy. We’re now eight weeks in. And are they now sleeping through? Are they f*ck!! It has made absolutely sod all difference. But do you know what? That’s one of the baby milestones I’m glad is done. Mainly because I’m too tight to buy more dummies.
9. Giving up naptime is one of my LEAST favourite baby milestones
I’ve already written about this, but it has to be included in this list, more for its significance in every parent’s life rather than the fact we think it’s awesome or want to see the back of it. Because the giving up of naps is HUGE. What a milestone! Some parents are actually quite pleased when the naps have gone, meaning they’re not tied to them and can make more of their day. You’re not going to be surprised to hear. That. Is. Not. Me.
I loved the routine of naps. Go out somewhere in the morning, see my Mummy friends, wear them out, have lunch, then home to sleep it off for a couple of hours in the afternoon. And let mummy have some peace. This has all gone to absolute shit, I tell you. Now my twins, despite all my efforts, are refusing to sleep in their cots during the day. I thought I’d nailed it by changing it to ‘rest time’ when they can look at books in their cots and then ever so conveniently drop off into the land of nod.
The witching hour is real…
But alas, this was not meant to be. It’s worked a few times with Twin Two. But Twin One is having none of it. So as a result they are exhausted and EVIL by 4pm. Especially on a Thursday after two days at preschool, a long morning with Granny and Grandad, topped off with a swimming lesson. They literally do not know what to do with themselves. But they will not nap. Yet STILL they don’t sleep all night. (I can see a recurring theme here). So this is one of those baby milestones I am definitely not okay with.
10. Big boy beds, buggies and potty training
There are three more obvious baby milestones that are on my mind, but I’m clumping them together as we’ve not achieved any of them yet. Moving them into big boys beds as mentioned above is one. It might be this weekend. Or we might chicken out. Then there is the getting rid of the buggy at some point. We’re at that stage where they want to walk, but what they ACTUALLY want to do is run off in different directions in a bid for freedom. And I’m not that okay with that so the buggy is staying for the time being. Especially for the school run.
And then there is that lovely thing called potty training. It makes me shudder just thinking about it. You may be wondering why my 2.5 year olds haven’t been potty trained yet. So I’ll tell you. I am in NO hurry whatsoever to do it. Not only am I a great believer in they do it when they’re ready – so the mums on social media showing off that their kid has nailed it in a day can’t really claim credit, they just picked the right time. Twin One is coming close to being ready, he does wees on the toilet when he fancies, eagerly tells you when he’s done a poo, and is always putting his older brother’s dinosaur pants on over his trousers. Twin Two, although will tell you when he’s got a dirty nappy, has never once wanted to sit on the toilet or potty. And that’s fine.
I am in no hurry whatsoever…
I think doing them separately may well prolong the agony, but will be easier to deal with individually. But in all honesty, like I was with the four year old, I AM NOT ready. I am in no rush to clean up puddles of pee on my playroom floor, catch a giant shit in my bare hands to save the rug, or break the speed limit every time I’m out when you hear those fateful “Mummy, I need a wee!” words from the back seat. I waited until my eldest was nearly three. Despite others doing it earlier, I literally couldn’t give a toss about them.
And you know what? He nailed it instantly. Because he was ready. And what’s more he was dry at night within a month too. Unlike some that were potty trained at 18 months but still wetting the bed every night aged five. I’m thinking so long as they’re done by the time they start school in September 2021, it’ll just happen when it happens. Maybe they could just train themselves without me? This is one of the baby milestones I’m not in a hurry to tick off the list.
So there you have it. Which baby milestones have you been glad to see the back of or done a happy dance once achieved?
How did I do?
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