15 Things I Wish I Had Known About: Baby's First Year

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I've been a Mama for almost 13 months now, and while I still have a lot to learn, I definitely feel like having the first year under my belt has helped me build some major parenting confidence. Looking back, here are 15 things I wish I had known about the first year.

1. Just when you get in a routine, it changes. Baylee's first three months, I kinda just went with the flow, but once she started napping regularly in her crib, we got on a schedule and it was so nice. Then came the sleep regression, then the teething, then the nap fighting, then the 5:30 am wake up calls...you name it. Basically, I've learned to not get used to any kind of schedule at all. We have a loose flexible one now that works for us, and I'm sure that will be changing over the next few months too. It's all part of baby's growth.

2. Teething sucks, but it's overly dramatized. Maybe it's just me, but I really feel like teething has never been unbearable. Sure she's been in some pain, and we definitely had a few rough nights when she was cutting 4 top teeth at once, but nothing that stopped her. I never had to drug her up all day or constantly keep cold teethers in her mouth. We would have a little tylenol before bed, but that was it. Other than that she pretty much trooped through. :) We haven't cut any molars yet though, so I may be sticking my foot in my mouth. 

3. You shouldn't feel guilty for using formula. When Baylee started rejecting my breast milk at 6 months old I was distraught. I had it in my head that I was going to make it to at least 9 months, if not a year, but she wasn't having it. I started giving her Enfamil Gentlease, and it was love at first suck for her. It took me some time to really come around and stop feeling so guilty that I wasn't giving her "the best", but I did some research and found out how far along formula has come...it really is healthy and the only thing it lacks in comparison to breast milk is antibodies. I'll definitely breast feed as long as I can with future babies, but now I know that making the transition to formula doesn't have to be gut wrenching. (However, it's crap for the wallet and OMG weaning sucks!)

4. Combo pureed food with Baby Led Weaning. After reading about BLW I was soooo interested in trying it out. I was going to go 100% BLW, but Baylee's doctor advised me that she needed more substance in her diet, so we ended up doing both. In the end, I only had to spoon feed her for about a month and a half. By 6 months old she was refusing to let me feed her and wanting to completely feed herself little chunks of food and has never looked back. Now she is even learning how to use a fork and a spoon on her own! I love the way BLW made her so independent and so willing to try new things. (I'm thinking about doing a future post on exactly how we did this and menu items!)

5. Target brand diapers for life! Here's my rule of thumb now...newborns get the Pampers because they're the only ones that actually fit and prevent the most blow outs. Size 1 gets Pampers or Huggies...both do the job. By the time size 2 comes around, I'm all about Target brand! They're so much cheaper, and we have never had a blow out. For some reason, we had a lot of blow outs with the Target size 1, but size 2 and up is golden.

6. Rotate toys often. It never occurred to me that an 8 month old baby can get bored, but they do! I started keeping some of Baylee's toys in her room and some in the front room, and I rotate them out every couple of weeks. It keeps her entertained, and I feel like sometimes she thinks she got new toys!

7. Don't push milestones. Baylee has been pretty ahead of the game or right on target when it comes to milestones, so the fact that she still isn't completely walking yet has me occasionally frustrated. Carrying around a 23 pounder all the time is no joke. The more I push her to practice though, the more she flops to her knees and wants to just crawl. I'm learning to just back off and let her do her thing. The days I don't bug her about it, she toddles around the house just fine. I know before long she'll be running and driving me crazy. :)

8. Sleep training isn't necessary. I really struggled with the idea of sleep training. It's just my opinion, but Cry It Out just isn't my cup of tea. So, yes, I dealt with many sleepless nights well in to her first birthday, but did anyone really become a parent thinking that they were always going to sleep the same as they used to? That's hilarious. ;) So, I have just let Baylee do her own thing and it works for us. She still wakes up around 4:30 for a night bottle, but she sleeps in until 8:30. What more could I ask for? And I know it won't last forever...eventually she will drop that night bottle and start waking up at 6:00 am again, but I hope she takes her time!

9. Don't compare your baby to other babies. All babies develop at their own pace, and the time frame is so very broad for different milestones. Baylee can't walk, but she sure can talk up a storm and say a lot more words than what is considered "normal". Revel in your baby's accomplishments and don't worry so much about what they can't do. 

10. TV is not the enemy. I don't care what the experts say...we watch TV in our house. I make sure it's age appropriate and that she can learn from it, and we don't watch it all day, every day, of course. Baylee's favorites are Baby Einstein, Little Ensteins, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. We watch a lot of Disney movies too, because she loves the music! She has a strange attachment to The Princess and the Frog (no clue why!) so we watch that one a lot. As a Stay At Home Mom, having the noise in the background sometimes really helps.

11. Strive to survive...not for perfection. We have all been there...the house didn't get cleaned, baby is still in PJs (that have traces of breakfast and lunch on them), and you realize hubby will be home in minutes, and you haven't even begun to think about dinner. It's okay. At the end of the day, I remind myself that raising a child is tough work and sometimes we are just in survival mode. Tomorrow will be better. :)

12. Nap time is important for mommy and baby. My sisters have lovingly referred to me as the Nap Nazi before, and I can't deny it. Nap time is what keeps me from pulling my hair out some days. Unless we are out and about, I've always tried to make sure that Baylee gets a solid nap or two every day. It helps her sleep better at night, and makes her an all around nicer kid. Plus, nap time is "me" time when I can blog, clean, or just take a nap myself. Don't wake my baby during her nap...you will get cut. ;) 

13. Have jammie days. This doesn't really need explanation, but some of my favorite days with Baylee have been when we stayed in our jammies and played at home all day. They turn out to be precious times when we really get to bond and have fun together!

14. Let your baby have experiences. I'm not the "keep the baby inside" type of mom. Baylee's first time at Disneyland was when she was only 5 weeks old and I don't regret it one bit. You might think your baby is getting nothing out of it, but all the colors and stimuli really make for a well rounded child.  Baylee loves to go new places and see new things, and I really think it's because she's been doing that her whole life.

15. Cherish every minute, it goes by too fast. I find myself seeing little babies, like my niece, and going "Oh, I miss that age!" and you really will. Every day is more precious than the last, and you just don't realize how fast they grow and change in just 12 months! :)

Until next time...XoXoXo

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