Honestly, my first six months as a mum has been really exciting and challenging. To start with, I’ve had tremendous help from family and friends, especially my mum who spent five months with us and did so much. Before our baby came, I worried a lot about how we would cope, if we would be good parents and you know just about everything one could worry about. But eventually, we made it through the first six months and our baby is still in one piece. :).
So what exactly happened?
- Feeding – Well, baby ACE sort of ticked her growth boxes well enough and quickly too. Luckily for me, I was able to breastfeed from day one and after a week or two, she learned to latch on properly, so my nipple aches didn’t last long, though I had some help from a soothing cream, Lansinoh Nipple Cream, given to me as a gift. She was on exclusive feeding, so she had nothing else until the first day of her sixth month and she fed between 6 – 10 times a day, this is including night feeds. From her sixth month, we introduced water, fruit purees, formula and cereal and her weaning has been a bit challenging because she doesn’t really like the cereal and formula, but it’s been getting better. I will write about the weaning journey in another post, so keep a look out for it.
- Sleeping – This has been the second toughest part of these past six months (nothing beats the weaning journey) and she has not made it easy at all. Getting her to sleep on time was (and still is) a big deal, and she wouldn’t shut her eyes before 10pm. She plays and naps during the day, and still has so much energy at night. The silver lining here is that at night she mostly wakes up to feed and once done, sleeps off again. We are currently trying to sleep train her, so fingers crossed. I will put up an update if and when we succeed. 🙂
- Play and Development – Anything, I mean anything babies pick up is a play and edible thing in their eyes. So while baby is playing and all, be sure to look out for harmful objects. Luckily for us, we have a children’s centre close to our house, so coupled with that and home exercises, ACE was able to pick up on her motor skills and tummy time. Due to the Covid-19, we are unable to continue with our interactions at the baby centre. Key thing here is to incorporate tummy time in their routine, very essential for neck gauging and developments of their motor skills.
And what have I learned so far?
Over the course of these first 6 months, I’ve learned quite a lot, tried out new things and even discovered some kind of awesome strength I didn’t know I had in me. Here are some of my personal lessons from my first six months of being a mum.
- YOU CAN’T DO IT ON YOUR OWN – Firstly, I give kudos to those women who raise their kids or children single handed for any reason whatsoever. Well done! The truth is, raising a child or children isn’t a piece of cake, so if you have the opportunity to share the load, please do so. Don’t think or act like you can do it on your own, especially if you have people around you. When I returned from the hospital, I felt like I could go about my usual chores because I wasn’t feeling weak. But I quickly learned not to take advantage of that and actually allow those around me to do more so I could rest and be strong for the baby. I am really grateful that I received help and encouragement from the loving people around me.
- GIVE YOUR BODY TIME TO HEAL – I’m sure you would have come across this point when reading postpartum articles, and it’s true!. I recently learned that during pregnancy, a woman’s brain shrinks and it could take about 6 months for it to get back to its normal size. So you can imagine, my brain is just shrinking back to its normal size, lol. This could explain why we forget things a lot and act abnormally during pregnancy and even after. Your body goes through a great deal, so you have to give it time to heal from the strain of pregnancy and delivery. Don’t expect to just snap back into shape so easily just because some lucky ladies were able to do so, but you also need to exercise and watch what you eat. Remember, our fingers aren’t equal. 😉
- INFORMATION CONTROL – Thanks to the Internet and the ample information out there, everyone is an expert, lol. Please, learn to control what you read and ask professionals before your conclude. Initially, when I notice a rash or my baby has a blocked nose, I panic and start checking for symptoms on sites like Babycenter or What to Expect. Now, I’ve learnt to control myself and the urge to always ascribe everything to something. Yes, following your instincts is good (I will highlight that point later), but you just have to learn to control the information you consume, so you can have peace of mind.
- CO-SLEEPING IS GREAT – So co-sleeping is when you and your baby sleeps together on the same bed usually at night. Some mums do this for night feeding convenience and I learned to do this as well. Given, this technique also poses some risks to the baby, which is why I advise you do not do this if you roll on your bed a lot or sleep heavily :). I just love co-sIeeping because I get to sleep when she is sleep feeding.
- MATERNAL INSTINCTS IS A REAL THING – From having a boob ache or even feeling full when your baby is awake and needs a feed, to waking up at night just when your baby is stirring to wake up, maternal instincts is definitely a thing. Which is why in most cases, it’s always best to follow them when it concerns your baby. In the course of these first six months, I’ve had to put this into play and it has worked for me. So a tip for you mum/mum to be, look out for those times when your instincts call out to you too!
- RECORD CHANGES AND MILESTONES – ACE is our first child, so she has become our template. Luckily for us, we have the baby book were we record milestones and growth development so we can check to ensure her growth is on track and also compare when the time comes. The changes within the first year comes in leaps and bounds, so it’s very essential that you not only take note of them , but also cherish each moment.
- SET ROUTINES AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE – Truthfully, I knew about this, but I kept pushing it till later and now I wish I had set better routines before now. It will be of great advantage to you if you can get your baby on routines like sleeping, feeding and napping from say 4 months. That way, as the baby grows, they grow into those routines. We are currently at a point were we are trying to sleep train ACE and I can tell you firsthand, it’s not easy, but we are optimistic.
- BLUES AND FATIQUE? IT’S ALRIGHT – Oh boy, do I have some straight-up-dreamland-when-my-head-hits-the-pillow kind of tired days. It’s very normal and to be expected. On such days when I just want to sleep and baby is awake and active, I place her on the bed with me, blocking all possible exit points and sleep (though I don’t succeed everytime lol). Eventually, she falls asleep too ;). Regarding the Baby Blues, it’s normal if you experience them once a while. What I do during such times is to psych myself out of it or speak to someone (usually by husband or a close friend). Though different people experience different shades of baby blues, the main thing is that it’s normal and you will get through it.
So that’s about a summary of how my first six months have been. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading another of my scribbles. Please feel free to drop a friendly comment and share your own experience with me. Also kindly follow us on Instagram @nonsoscribbles and I will follow you back.