Not how many weeks or months they are, but the coming of a new age of, a whole year where you can never imagine life without them, the feeling of completeness, but also the mixed feelings of mothering and work, the added layers of guilt and the many more layers of doubt.
It’s all going to be OK, I promise.
You are doing exactly what you need to be doing. You are making decisions that are right for you. I need to tell you that because you need to believe it. You have drunk your cup of courage, now I am here to tell you, they will not just survive with their little steps in growing up, they will thrive with a new sense of independence and curiosity that will swell your heart even more than you thought could be possible.
Keep sterilising the water a little longer. But relax a little on sterilising the bottles or cups. Baby steps.
Do what you feel comfortable with in regards to cow’s milk. I was told there was no need to water the cow’s milk down, but I didn’t feel comfortable with that so I did half water, half milk until I felt their stomachs were managing it, then I slowly increased the milk.
During the watery milk stage I made sure they were having lots of yoghurt and cheese for the added calcium. I am not saying this is the right way to go about it, its just what I felt comfortable with.
At about the age of one they are more mobile, crawling or walking. They suddenly become little people, still our baby’s of course, but you start to see their personality blossom as they are able to move to what they want or engage more with people and animals.
Take absolute delight and pride in this. If you are a single parent, I understand that there is not that special someone to have those ‘knowing’ looks with. Make sure you share these moments with your loved ones.
It’s important for yourself and your baby to share that special moment, have that connection and recognition.
Otherwise it can add to your loneliness.
One of my biggest bits of advice at this age is to buy a pair of tough plastic overalls that have elastic around the ankles. With Tassie’s cold and wet climate, I pulled these over their clothes and then had the reassurance they were protected from the cold when they were outside exploring the world crawling, walking or falling over. The toughness of the material also protects them when they fall. I cannot recommend them enough.
If you haven’t had a family photo yet, this is the time.
I would also recommend starting a height chart in your house. Now they are more upright you can start charting their height on a wall and it will become a lovely family keepsake and tradition.
Start some daily routines they can be involved in. For example, asking them to pick their clothes or shoes, or getting them into the habit of getting their own bowl and spoon out for breakfast or packing their bag for childcare.
If you have made their cake from a cake book like a Women’s Weekly, don’t forget to write it in the book next to the cake so when they are older they can see it – For example: Gilbert’s first birthday cake.
Speaking of writing. My children love that I have written in their picture books who the book was from and when. I bought the kids a lot of books and they love to read little notes like: ‘For my beautiful baby boy Wesley, I love snuggling up on the couch with you reading this book and making silly animal noises. I treasure you. Love Mum’.
If you haven’t already got one, this is a great age for a child’s pull-out couch. The sort you can get from Kmart or Big W. They will love to have their nappy changed on it, or sit or lie on it for quiet time, milk or watching TV. As they get older they will be able to drag it around the house themselves. The covers are easy to take off and wash.
If you haven’t already, you could write a letter or card to your baby that they can read when they are older telling them what it has been like having them in the world.
Don’t forget how extraordinary you have been as a mother the past year. If you haven’t done already, buy yourself a necklace or bracelet that has something special on it for them, an engraving or something. You totally deserve it! Its your present for being a mother a whole year!
Contributed by Summer Gwynne
Summer Breeze Consultancy
I hear you out there. I know. All of a sudden, we are talking the number 1.