Today I am going to be sharing with you everything I have learned in nine months as a first time parent. There have been a lot of changes since eight months believe it or not. I’m really starting to learn that parenthood is an endless wave of ups and downs. Just when you think you know your baby, they do something completely different and it’s time to change up the routine. It can be exhausting keeping up, but it’s been a valuable lesson for someone like me to learn.
Sleep has been the biggest change. It’s been both a positive and negative experience. The good news is that Abi sleeps all night long now without waking up once. 12 hours straight. This is wonderful and I’ve finally returned to a restful sleeping pattern. It was all thanks to the nurse who told me at Abi’s 8 month appointment that the only reason she was crying several times in the night was because she wanted me to settle her back to sleep. She no longer needs night-feeding, so whenever I went in there, I was getting in the way of her learning to self-settle. That night, my husband and I decided to try cry it out. We committed to the plan. She cried for about 30 minutes (not hysterically, more just yelling), put herself back to sleep and hasn’t cried once in the night since. It has been the biggest blessing. The bad news is, that around this time, four of her top teeth started to come through at once. This made her unable to nap or eat without pain-relief poor thing. She has been in absolute agony but finally the teeth erupted and started to push through. What an awful time. I’ve never seen our girl so unhappy and to me that’s the hardest part about being a parent.
In terms of eating, I ended up calling the nurse for advice. I may have mentioned this before but Abigail refuses to eat any solids that are slightly lumpy or textured. She simply gags, vomits everything up in her stomach and cries. The nurse suggested we take her to the hospital for potential speech issues. I’m so glad I took her to her doctor first who laughed, said that was absolutely ridiculous and that what Abi was doing was completely normal. A lot of babies take their time moving onto lumpier foods. It’s nothing to worry about. She checked her mouth in case and it was very healthy. She said as long as Abi was meeting all her milestones and putting on weight, there was no cause for concern. We’ve tried finger foods and smallish lumps since. Sometimes she’s okay. Other times she throws it all up. We are just letting more teeth come through and her confidence with chewing/swallowing to grow without putting pressure on her or ourselves. Remember: every single baby is different and they develop at different rates. Abi is still being breast-fed but we are trying to introduce formula so my mum can watch her on my 30th birthday as I’ve always struggled with expressing. She is not a fan of the bottle or the formula but we have been persisting. If anyone has any tips, please leave them below.
I cannot believe how interactive and childlike Abi has become. She almost plays like a toddler; squealing and throwing herself on us. She sits up and examines her toys. She pulls herself up and looks around. She does a cute wonky version of waving and clapping her hands. She reaches out to us when she wants cuddles and gives us the biggest, toothiest grins that melt our hearts. I watched a video earlier in the month about the roles mothers and fathers play in their child’s lives. The father is usually the funny one that gets baby to smile and giggle the most. The mother is the nurturer and comforter. She stops babies tears and reassures them with lots of love and kisses. That made me feel so good. I like how parenting has brought my husband and I closer together. We are in this essentially alone. We do this every single day and every single night. When she goes to bed well-fed, happy and healthy, we can high-five one another knowing we did that. It’s all about working as a team and meeting your child’s needs as best as possible.
Last month, we went to my friend’s baby shower and Francis had a short conversation with the father to be about how you can’t prepare for parenthood, you just have to dive in and learn on the job. I was so proud of him. It was nice seeing him pass on his words of wisdom to another new parent. I like that both of us keep it real. We never sugarcoat parenting to anyone. We are fine with telling people how difficult it can be and to reach out if you need help. Of course, we always end with saying that the pros far outweigh the cons because that’s ultimately true.
The best part of this post however is that Abi started saying mama for the first time and it made me so emotional to hear. I’ll never get tired of it. Abigail is truly the sweetest little girl. She’s so beautiful and delightful. I couldn’t love her more if I tried. All I want for her is health and happiness. I hope she already feels the overwhelming love her parents have for her.
I also just wanted to quickly share this amazing underwater photograph that was taken by a company called Puddle Pics at Abi’s swimming lesson. I love it so much! She looks so angelic and serene.
Thank you reading. I will see you all at ten months!
Peace & Love xoxo