Jake is now 10 months old and, I know it is a cliché, but I can't believe how quickly the time has gone!
I'm off now for the summer, but when I return to work Jake will be about to celebrate his 1st birthday on the 10th September. I can't understand where this precious first year has gone; my baby will never be a little baby again - it's sad!
These last 10 months have seen me go from an overdue pregnant lady who was excited and anxious, to a first-time mum who was crazily anxious, worried and in awe of her baby, to a much more relaxed mother of a 10 month old little boy. It has been one heck of a ride! Here are 10 things I have learned about parenthood:
1. Enjoy the cuddles - no matter when they happen, day or night, enjoy those cuddles. The warmth of their little bodies and their sweet smell is magical and you should cherish those cuddles as much as possible, because once they get older they want to be off playing and crawling and breaking things!
2. Establish a sense of routine - by this, I don't mean go full on into a regimented prison-style routine, but have a sense of balanced sleep times with wake times and feed times evenly spread out throughout the day. Make the routine work for you and your family - it is important to have structure so you can make plans and help set up those important feed and sleep cues for baby.
3. Take photographs - Click! Snap! Flash! Take photos of all the precious moments and document the magic. They also make lovely gifts later down the line for family members.
4. Trust your instincts - if it feels right then do it. Likewise, if it feels wrong then go with it and get it checked out!
5. Try not to compare - this is easier said than done (or it is for me!) but comparing your child to other children will make you anxious and stressed out about their progress. So what if a baby the same age as your little beau is crawling? Your little bub will do it in their own time. It took me until now to realise this.
6. Share the load - if people offer to help you, let them! Get Daddy involved with little things like the bath or the bed time story, and ensure that those grandparents have a hand in your child's life - even if it's just a visit a few times a month. It is important they get to see them and spend time with them. You can see more about the importance of grandparents here.
7. Don't forget about you and your partner - it is essential to carve out a little time every week (or day if you can) that is for you and is for your partner. Having a baby is hard work and it will transform your life. Injecting some time together, even if it's just to sit down and eat a meal together, go to the cinema, go for coffee, or watch an episode of The Walking Dead - make it happen.
8. Embrace charity Shops - don't be afraid to buy things from charity shops or to donate toys and clothes once your little one is done with them. It all goes to a good cause and helps other mum's and dad's who may not have much money get some nice things for their little ones. Babies are in their clothes for such a short amount of time, it is wise to be thrifty and generous. We were given loads of second hand clothes by people - and Jake has worn most of them!
9. Remember it's just a phase - there will be days when things are tough. It will feel like it is always going to be hard, or you'll never sleep again, and you will be destined to only ever drink stone-cold cups of coffee. In reality? Be patient. Everything is a phase. Things do get better. Tomorrow is a new day.
10. Mistakes, baby poop and sick aren't that bad, really! - Yup. You will have days where you get poop on your fingers, the carpet and possibly the wall (yes really).You'll get sick on your shirt and you will decide 'meh, I don't need to get changed'. There will be mistakes you make and learn from most days. And that's OK ;-)