10-month chaos?

1. I apologize if I accidentally deleted your comment on my last post. Massive spam attack.

2. My 40 Fun Things project is DOA. I don't have time for that much fun! I think what I've learned is that I had it in me all along. I'm trying to embrace it by having a couple of parties to celebrate. T minus 6 days…

3. I got two questions from people with kids in the 9.5-10.5-month range that were ostensibly about the 9-month sleep regression, but were really about how awful they felt that they weren't more on top of things as a parent. I vividly remember feeling like this with my first. It felt like 10 months was the worst point emotionaly for parenting, because I just felt like I should be better at it than I was. Everything seemed so chaotic, and even though I had almost a year of being a mother under my belt I seriously felt like I had no idea what I was doing.

One of the women who wrote me said she just felt "so disappointed in herself." That hurt my heart, partly because I think she's doing a great job, and partly because I remember being disappointed in myself at that stage.

Are we the only ones? Or is this a thing? Feeling inept and a victim of chaos at around 10 months?

Also, it gets better (obviously!), but feeling like you're not doing as well as you could be is gut-wrenching. FWIW, I think there's something about that age that's pretty much the equivalent of 52 Pickup in all areas of the baby's life, and therefore the parents have to scramble to find a new equilibrium.


28 thoughts on “10-month chaos?”

  1. On a parenting board, I read someone saying that that age is the worst because you think you should be so much better off than you are. Back to work, pumping routine, baby sleeping, new normal, right? No. No, this time period is still full of too damn much to think about anything but getting by, not a new normal. It’s still really hard, and anything that got easier as the baby matures gets nullified by frequent daycare illnesses.Lower your expectations, and hang in there!

  2. Oh yes, I remember this all too well. I have an email that I sent to my mom when my oldest was just a bit under 9 months where I specifically asked her why I sucked at this so much! It gets better. You climb the hill and they hit a year and it doesn’t change instantly but that’s the beginning of the end of those dark, dark infant days. And it’s not nearly so bad with the 2nd kid.

  3. Wow, I can totally relate. I don’t remember feeling this way with my other two, but my third child is 10 months and I have hit a wall. The lack of sleep, the exhaustion of the daily routine, and the drain of trying to keep on top of everything has caught up with me. Thanks so much for making this feel like a bump in the road.

  4. Can someone enlighten me on what happens during this time with babies? I have a 7 month old and this is scaring me. Thanks.

  5. I can relate, though I don’t think 10 months has ever been my worst with either of the four kids. The first, I felt way more in control than I ever thought I would with any being that small, innocent and dependent. I am not a nurturer and yet I had kept him alive, was growing another human being at the same time and working a stressul job. I think that at any given time when you ask a mom she will likely answer that there was more that she did or was better at. I think when we realize that we are doing our best and most of the time our best is enough, we will become happier and more relaxed and in return better at what we are doing. At ten months the fun is really just starting and they really don’t need all that much, food, sleep and a clean diaper. Sit on the floor while you read a book and they will jungle gym all over you. Give cuddles and snuggles as often as you can and you are golden. My kids always liked dancing etc. At that age they are so satisfied with barely anything that it is easy to please. And they are forgiving, if I spend too much time on the computer, they never complained

  6. Audrey, there’s a sleep regression at 9 months, and for some reason it just feels like it takes a longer time to settle back into something that makes sense than you think it should. Part of the problem is that it’s hard to put a finger on just one or two things–it just all feels out of whack, like nothing you’ve done before is working somehow. I let myself blend into the chaos more with my second and tried to remember that it wasn’t me but the age, and that was a lot easier to deal with than the first time, when I truly thought I was doing a shitty job..

  7. This is just in time! I think a lot of my feelings of not doing enough for my 9 month old has to do with him teething and being generally cranky. So we stay home more than I would like because I am just PRAYING for a nap that lasts longer than 30 min so I can join him, and so that maybe he will feel a little better. Staying home invariably leads to more TV than I would like, and waaaay too much time on the internet telling me all the reasons why I am not doing a good job. I think getting out more will help me, but it’s also very hard to meet moms with kiddos the same age and people with older kids seem to forget how hard this age was for them. OR their freaking kids WERE perfect like they seem to lead on… and how the hell do they look so well rested!? 🙂 Excuse me, did I mention I need a nap?

  8. I also think for parents who chose not to do CIO, by 9 months they tend to be questioning whether they should try it…

  9. I never post on these things but this is EXACTLY what we’re going through right now with our 9 month old. I feel like a failure and completely defeated…

  10. I remember just despairing when my daughter was 7 or 8 months about how I wasn’t doing anything the right way for her, how I wasn’t good enough at SAH, but what would I do since I really didn’t want to go back to work, etc. I think I had a weekly meltdown for about a month around that time (and it wasn’t the sleep regression, since she’d been regressing since 4 months on). I think that having a daughter who was starting to be mobile and *bored* with things, coupled with a stressful work/childcare situation and stressful nighttime and naptime sleep conditions just made everything feel crappy. I never knew what to DO with my kid that would make both her and me feel stimulated and happy during the day, but the few hours I brought a sitter in so I could work from home just made me miss her and feel stressed out that the sitter also didn’t seem to be able to keep her stimulated and happy. Ugh. 18 months still hangs in my mind as the worst stage for us so far, but what came between 6 months and a year was pretty hard too. Guess I really have a disequilibrium at the half years kid. Can’t wait for next month when she turns 2.5 :P.

  11. 10 mos. was the height of our sleep hell (at 11 months we figured out the not-sleeping was largely due to severe anemia… turns out I have some weird thing where I can’t transmit iron in my milk). So for us, everything revolved around that. And everything was better after.For all of you suffering from sleep woes, I just want to say that it does get better. And better. Parenting toddlers is hard, yes, but the sleep thing improves at least slightly… and parenting elementary-age kids is pretty much awesome.

  12. Funny story here, haha, I actually tried sleep training/transitioning from co-sleeping to the crib during the 9 month sleep regression! I didn’t know about sleep regressions at that point. It was so traumatic and exhausting that even now at 28 months I’m still ambivalent (and terrified) about transitioning our son to his own bed. I know it’s the right time, but the memories of those days are hard to shake. Also our son didn’t take to solids until he was almost a year so in addition to feeling awful about sleep I also worried that he was starving/something was wrong with him/etc. Not a fun time. But I can look back now and for the most part not feel anything other than, I’m glad it’s over, and I did a GREAT job because we came out on the other side (relatively) intact.

  13. Oh my, yes. At 10 months my son (now 21 months) decided to day wean and start refusing the breast. Since he was intolerant at that stage to all dairy and soy (MSPI), we felt we couldn’t switch him to formula- we’d missed that boat (and I really really wanted to nurse to the year mark). So I ended up pumping two or three times a day and putting the milk in his cup. Plus he was still getting up at minimum twice per night to nurse, so I couldn’t cut those since that was the only time he would actually nurse.The only, only saving grace was around 10 months the sleep thing started to get better for us because he started taking two reasonable naps instead of three crap ones, and he gradually, gradually started to be able to go down independently (first at night and then later for naps too) whereas we had been standing next to the crib holding him on his side up until that point (and had been bouncing him before that, and letting him nap in carriers before that- sleep was hard work for us).
    My assvice would be to hang in there. It gets better. My son started to sleep through the night consistently at about 15 months (sporadically from 13 when we weaned him) once he started walking and went to one nap. And by 16 months we had this amazing, amazing routine that is still rock solid. I LOVE parenting a toddler. I though I would lose my mind in the first year.
    It gets better! Promise!

  14. I don’t remember a whole lot about that age, EXCEPT that it’s exactly when my super-nursing son went on a nursing strike, seemingly out of the blue. It was awful. However, we got him back to nursing (until 2.5 years in fact) but I remember feeling so caught off-guard and so rejected and confused.

  15. My second is 9.75 months right now, so this is spot on! We’re dealing with sleep issues (exacerbated by a recent bout of the flu), teething, and major separation anxiety. It’s a tough time here.BUT. It feels like I just did this with the older – they’re only 18 months apart. And second time around, I’m way more chill. So that’s helping a lot. It’s a rough time but there’s SO much going on in the little bug’s life right now, mentally and physically – teeth, on the verge of walking, starting to communicate, etc. Now that I know what I’m looking for, it’s also exciting. The second time around I’m much more in tune with the incremental progress that the bug is making, and I can see her growing somehow every day, whereas with the first I was pretty oblivious.
    We also had a really rough time from months 4-8, months 4-6 especially, so memories of the past few months are vivid and terrible. Even with the current issues, we’re doing WAY better than we were three months ago. That helps a lot.
    It’ll be over soon. Just keep loving your child – that’s all they need right now.

  16. Having children under 18-24 months is really, really hard. I think a lot of the frustration, disappointment, and self-loathing is a result of the bill of goods that mothers get sold, that having an infant will be a “magical” experience. It may be for some people. But for me, the first 1.5 yrs or so were just a lot of heavy lifting and challenge – and maybe magic here and there. But, frankly, there was so much grunt work the magic didn’t make much a dent.I have enjoyed toddler/preschooler years far, far more. Babies are hard.

  17. Yes, yes and yes – the nine/ten month mark was really hard for us, and just filled with self doubt for me. My daughter was so so clingy and went from being this independent little Miss to requiring full body contact all. day. long. And then she went on a nap strike and night time descended into a circus act and she caught two tummy bugs in close succession. I was exhausted and felt pushed beyond my limits. There was much crying from everyone. And then right around 10.5 it started to hugely improve and we went on an intl holiday the day she turned 11 months and she was a delight, the entire time. I felt like I fell in love with her – and motherhood – all over again, and it’s a very rosy spot in my memory – offset no doubt by the dark days before.I also think this was the first regression for us that really prepared me for what was to come – four months was lost in a sea of reflux horror so this was the first time I actually noticed the phases of the regression from start to end – and recognised it for what it was (and I had also discovered here & Wonder Weeks). Realising and knowing that it would pass eventually has helped enormously in weathering the 18month regression subsequently, and there has been enough similarity for me to feel way more prepared.
    Looking back I can also see a peak in my post partum anxiety/depression right around this point – time with my counsellor, starting on the multi-vitamins and getting more sunlight helped me get through.
    For those in the thick of it, hang in there, it will get so much better really soon. And get busy in the Moxie archives, reading everyone else’s experiences and advice seriously saved my sanity.

  18. 9-10 months was an especially tough time with my eldest (who is now a reasonably healthy, happy, well-adjusted kid) since he suddenly went on nursing strike and as it turns out, never came back to nursing. It was a problem at the time since he had a stomach bug and never took to the bottle–it was a lot of messy, hard work to get fluids in him.I remember less about that time period with #2, but she was way easier, but variable with bottle usage. I was probably tired of getting up in the night to feed her, but felt guilty she was in daycare all day.
    As for #3, 9-10 months was just a few months ago, so the memories are fresher. We were settling down and reaquainting ourselves with home routines after spending 5 weeks in the hospital.
    We were at the ped’s yesterday and discussing #3’s slow weight gain and he took out #1 and #2’s growth charts. Even though I have no memories of their growth at 9-12 mo (probably because I wasn’t worried about their trajectories) he noted that they both experienced dips in their weight percentiles but bounced back by 18 mo. My feeling is that there’s a a lot going on at that point developmentally: there’s lots of teeth coming in, learning how to use said teeth, introduction of new textures and tastes of table food, and lots of new mobility skills (#1 and #2 learned to walk independently at 11 mo and while #3 is slightly behind, he can crawl really quickly, climb stairs, cruise and walk with help–imagine the possibilities for exploration!).

  19. Omg, you guys are scaring me…I’m 22 weeks pregnant and already feeling tired and overwhelmed before the baby even gets here! What am I thinking, signing us up for this?

  20. 10 months was horrible for us. It was definitely a time when I thought I should be able to handle the whole parenting thing. We topped it off with a week and a half of joint travel for work as in the whole family went on the business trip. It was hellacious. LO wouldn’t sleep in the pack’n’play, had her routine totally screwed up, and I had to be aware enough to participate in the business that was going on. Luckily, the first part of the trip provided day care. Since she doesn’t normally go to daycare, the fact that she enjoyed it was AMAZING and made it so that I could run to the hotel room for a nap if absolutely necessary.

  21. I actually just tweeted last night that I was feeling shameful about the fact that my 9 month old not only doesn’t sleep through the night, but is now getting up twice a night. And refusing to sleep in a crib (sleeps in a rock n play). It’s somewhat nice to know that I’m not alone in this feeling because it is not fun. I wish I could go back and in time and do a lot of things differently, but I’m starting to realize that if it wasn’t this it would be some other thing. Parenting continues to be an endless puzzle, it’s just a good thing this baby is cute.

  22. I have a 2.5 year old and I STILL feel disappointed in myself and like I should be more on top of things. Every missed tooth brushing, forgotten school project, fast microwave dinner, postponed bath time and recycled pajamas cause the laundry still isn’t done adds up to an entire mountain of “not good enough.” I feel guilty all the time. I see all the parenting magazines and Facebook posts of other moms making organic homemade baby food and sewing their own Halloween costumes and I just feel like: who ARE these women?? I was organized and together and capable before I had kids and I juggled all kinds of responsibilities at work, but when it comes to being a mom and managing two kids, a husband and a house full of animals I just feel completely incapable and overwhelmed.

  23. 8-12 months truly was heck with the lid off. BUT for anyone pregnant or with a younger baby I should point out my daughter, now 5, was and is a ” terrible sleeper”. Not every baby is by any rate.She is also an emotional ” Bottler -up” which means going back to school after a break or a change at home giving a week of nightmares and wakings and the odd daytime horrendous tantrum and as my husband’s ( SAHM then) employer though a big company had gone bust which meant that to be kept on my husband travelled every week for four days. Stress and disruption in the home.
    My daughter is very much daddy’s girl and you can’t skype or send photos to a baby. You can’t explain!
    She started daytime tantrums at 8 months, very primitive ones of course, and the regular nightwakings she always did, always of asleep by midnight, up at 1,3,5 AM to nurse and be soothed back to sleep turned into not sleeping and waking screaming between 3 and 5 AM.
    Doctor said night terrors/ sleep expert said stop nursing whatever. It ended again at 12 months and back to midnight, 1,3,5 AM.
    A breeze in comparison.
    She started sleeping more through at 3.6, and only wakes again those three times at times of stress.
    This week was back to school after a week off for half term and we’ve had one epic tantrum witnessed by judgmental parents at the school gate.
    Nightmares every night, and for the last 2 she is not sleeping until midnight, and waking at guess what. 1,3 and 5 AM.
    I am absolutely shattered and absent minded.
    BUT now I know it’s not me. It’s who she is and that’s how it crumbles the cookie. I didn’t know that at 8 months, and that is a real shame.
    She is growing fine, coping at school and sleep just isn’t her strong suit. School and home are working on getting her to talk about her feelings and recognising them rather than having them explode when she’s tired or asleep.

  24. I certainly didn’t feel that I had it together at any point during my #1’s early years. Now that #2 is approaching 2, the very best thing (in addition to his smile) is that I know it’s ok to be incapable and overwhelmed.@Blair. All of the moms I know have felt “the guilt” at various times and to various degrees…and they certainly love and care for their children, just as well (and as poorly, with all kinds of missed things the magazines don’t show) as any of us.
    The best part for me has been watching #1 grow into her confident and wonderful 6 y.o. self, and knowing that her brother will become who he’s going to become both because of and in spite of me!

  25. Just to throw something else into the mix…I ended up pretty depressed from around the 10-12 month mark, and I had NO idea that the stepping down of nursing as we led up to weaning could essentially produce a delayed wave of PPD. There’s been a lot written on various blogs about this since, but I wish I had known that my black mood the summer my son turned one was probably at least partially hormonal–I thought I was going crazy.

  26. Katie F, I had PPD when my son was 2.5 which was when we stopped nursing. Totally blind-sided me, thought I was crazy too.I can’t remember 9/10 months, other than around the one year mark, son was up every 2 hours at night teething on me due to first year molars. We ended up nightweaning b/c I was so sore I couldn’t nurse for nourishment during the day.

  27. For the mom of the 7 m.o., I just want to say I didn’t have any trouble with mine at 10 months. With #1, I was feeling great – that was the time I started saying, Let’s get moving with #2, this is awesome! But we had gently sleep trained and had no 10 month sleep regression. Naps were an issue, but my little one was taking his first toddling steps at 10 months. It was so much fun, he was really happy, and I was feeling generally pretty good about my ability to balance work and baby. He never had separation anxiety, although his lack of separation anxiety worried me sometimes! (How weird is it to have a baby who never cries when you leave? It might sound awesome to some moms but it’s really disconcerting.) I think I felt good because I was sleeping, and had been sleeping mostly 8 hrs for the month preceding.

  28. I am the 9.5 month old’s mum – these comments have been so encouraging, to hear that it’s not just me and my baby, it’s an actual developmental thing. I think part of it has been being told by pretty much everyone that things get easier, and feeling like things are actually getting harder, and therefore something must be wrong with me and what I’m doing. Thank goodness for ask moxie, where we can get our expectations recalibrated and find some comfort – wish I had found this site before the baby was born!

Comments are closed.