My first year as a Mum
I’ve changed. Not just in the obvious sense that I have a child, but in almost every way. My priorities are different, I’m way more emotional, I’m more organised, also more disorganised and have never done so many loads of washing a week in my life.
Life has never been more busy or chaotic but life has never been better. It’s taken me a while to get to this point.
On March 12 last year I had a son, Levi. I gave birth naturally, with the help of an epidural and you can read more about my birth story here if you want.
We spent a few days in hospital after the birth and when we got home, I remember looking at my cute little boy and thinking, I don’t know what to do here from bathing to burping but we’ll go with it and see how it all turns out. I was trying not to put too much pressure on myself as a first time mum.
At times, it all got overwhelming. I definitely had the baby blues and it lasted for a week or so. I was so emotional (hormones) and so exhausted.
That passed and I found my motherhood groove. I grew in confidence and was able to get back to doing things I used to like going to the gym and meeting friends for coffee.
My husband Duncan was and is so hands on. He just took to being a parent like a natural – definitely better than me – and I was so comfortable heading out for an hour on my own.
One of the toughest moments happened at one month old. Levi was born with a 100% tongue tie meaning the skin under his tongue was attached all the way to the tip, so he couldn’t poke it out. We were lucky it didn’t cause any real breastfeeding issues but did have to be fixed because it could cause speech problems down the track.
It was a quick cut of the skin. There was no anaesthetic because the skin is so thin under there and you can’t numb the whole mouth as a baby needs to feed immediately after to help with the healing process. It’s always tough watching your baby cry and in pain. Feeding became quicker and less tiring for Levi now he had full use of his tongue.
The first few months of motherhood weren’t overly exciting to be honest. Levi just lay around and so did I. After about three months though, he started showing more of his personality. I got some smiles and he rolled over. Little victories and it was so special.
We introduced solids at four months and discovered Levi loved all things orange in the form of pureed pumpkin, carrot and sweet potato. Apple and pear puree was also a fan favourite. I made all the food myself and still do.
Around this time Levi lost interest in the bottle and I didn’t persevere with it. It’s one of my regrets because he still won’t drink from one and it limited my freedom in being able to go out because I had to be home for feeds.
The first four months had to have been the hardest and went the slowest. Everything was new, I was learning on the job and adjusting to a whole new way of life while being exhausted all the time. We went through a stage where Levi would only sleep in my Duncan’s arms. As soon as he was placed in his bassinet, bang, wide awake. That was a rookie error. I loved having him sleep in my arms in the first couple of months and he just got used to it.
We overcame that by putting him in the bassinet while he was drowsy and he fell asleep in there, rather than having to be moved. Babies like to fall asleep where they’ll wake up and there’s also more chance they’ll link sleep cycles together, meaning a longer stretch of sleep.
Then things slowly started getting easier. There was maybe one less wake up in the middle of the night, more smiles, lots of laughing, then crawling and we got some teeth.
Teeth are not fun for anyone and while I saw the first one and got a little excited, the novelty wore off quickly.
Before I knew it, Levi was 7 months old, pulling himself to stand and had turned into this cheeky little guy, while being so chilled out and such a friendly soul. One look at him and his smile and he melted hearts, especially mine.
At 11 months, Levi started daycare and sleep training. I was going back to work and he was still waking once or twice during the night. After four nights of controlled crying (I’ll write about this experience in another post) he was sleeping through the night.
There were no tears when I left Levi at daycare on his first day (just for an hour). He was so happy to play and explore and the sense of relief was incredible. Not so great was when he picked up gastro and kindly shared it around the house. While I was expecting him to pick up a couple of bugs, I was thinking a cold or runny nose.
One thing I regret about the daycare early days is how much I stressed about his sleeping. He didn’t do that well in the beginning and I was so anxious about it. When I’d go to pick him up, I’d have this knot in my stomach wondering if he’d slept enough. It came right after about a month and in hindsight (gotta love it), wasn’t something I should have got so worked up about.
Levi’s first birthday was so special but it really was more about Duncan and me making it through such a tough year and celebrating with our family and friends.
I breastfed Levi for about a year but at the end I was running dry. From around 9 months I weaned him off, dropping a day feed, then another until it was just one feed before bed. As I mentioned before, Levi won’t drink from a bottle, or a sippy cup. He has one bottle with a straw he drinks from, but only water. He doesn’t like milk other than in his cereal.
To make sure he gets enough calcium, I give him yoghurt and cheese everyday.
Now I have a toddler who is walking and talking. We just bought him his first pair of shoes (Nike sneakers if you don’t mind). He’ll tell me what he wants and what he doesn’t and that cheeky nature has intensified.
I also say I can think about having baby number 2, something until a month ago, I could not even consider. They say you forget about the early days of extreme sleep deprivation and how tough it is and it’s so true. It’s probably because the good far outweighs the bad.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my story and I look forward to sharing more motherhood moments with you from the good, to the not so glamorous.