a year for the books

Just like that, we blinked twice and suddenly we have a toddler on our hands. Even as I type this, that seems SO insane to me. How?! HOW is my once, teeny tiny 7lb bag of milk now a one year old? I cringed when people would always tell me “enjoy every second, the baby stage goes by so quickly!” but boy, were they ever right! While each stage is obviously an exciting, incredible and joyful one – there is something extra special and magical about having a baby in your arms, who relies on mommy to be nourished all day and rocked and gently “shuuuuushed” to sleep every night. As exhausting as those days and nights were, I will never forget the pure bliss that they were. It’s funny, we wait so long for our babes to start sleeping through the night as they continue to grow but the bittersweet part of that is, they no longer need us in the night. I honestly never thought I would miss waking up in the night but those precious, sleepy newborn cuddles are pure magic. Hunter has been sleeping through the night on and off since he was 4 months, and then consistently since about 10 months. But, don’t let this fool you. Our world was rocked with some brutal sleep regressions in between to keep us on our toes. The 6 month regression is a rude little number that I will never forget. It lasted a long few weeks and I think my spine is forever damaged by all these nights I spent sleeping in the rocking chair with Hunter in my arms or sometimes on the floor next to his crib. Full disclosure here, I don’t think I put a bra on for a week straight during this time, or even washed my hair. It was just brutal and I remember the last night of sleeping in the rocking chair (basically resting my eyes on and off as I was so scared of him rolling out of my arms) that I thought I literally didn’t know how I was going to survive the next day after two weeks of virtually no sleep. During these tough times it’s so important to remind ourselves that this too shall pass. Sigh…Sleep, you beautiful, beautiful thing you. Don’t ever take it for granted! What I learned from this is that sleep regressions happen, they’re inevitable. These precious little babies of ours are going through SO many unbelievable changes mentally and physically, of course they are going to be rattled and confused and out of sorts. I always joke to Hunter that he has suchhhh a tough life being a baby. But it’s true, the amount of things their teeny little minds process is something most adult minds couldn’t even handle. It’s important to guide them through these difficult times and don’t get in your head too much, just do what feels right for you, your little love and your family. At the end of the day, everything and everyone is better when they have slept, so you do whatever it takes to get that. Whether that means sleeping in a rocking chair, sleeping on the floor, letting your baby cry,  or my husbands go-to, midnight car rides just so peanut and mommy could get an hour of sleep; okay this only happened once. It was a ROUGH couple weeks!

I feel like as a new mom I definitely overthink everything but honestly, don’t we all? I used to second guess myself so much, even after a diaper change in the middle of the night. I would change his bum, put a fresh diaper on and think to myself restlessly in bed “but did I flip it down? What if I didn’t and he gets wet and cold?” I would try to sneak my way through his onesie with him asleep, to make sure that bad boy was flipped down (boy moms, I know you can relate!) But seriously, this is classic me – overthinking everything. I am relieved that I have gotten much better at this over the last few months, I feel like around 9-10 months I really loosened up and started to realize that this little human wasn’t going to break, he wasn’t going to ruin his nighttime sleep if he didn’t get his afternoon nap, and he wasn’t going to NOT sleep through the night if he missed his bath that one night before bed. Like really? Babies are obviously such creatures of habits and it is so crucial for them to have routines but these routines can’t define 100% of your life 24/7. We do keep his nap schedule high on the priority list as we have fluctuated with this MANY times and it just doesn’t go well BUT we have definitely mastered how to make it work, pretty much anywhere.

Nursing; something that was very important to me for Hunter. And something that I am grateful for that my body was able to do for us both. I started out thinking I’ll just go to 6 months, then I read more and more about all the benefits  and thought you know what, I’ve been pregnant for basically a year (I mean, it felt like it) and nursing for 6 months, what’s another 6 months? So I made it to his first birthday, March 23rd and couldn’t be happier or prouder. I would have loved to go a little longer but my body let me know it was time. After going back to work, and missing all those daytime feeds, my supply quickly diminished. While I was completely heartbroken for a little bit, I realized Hunter didn’t miss it at all. He was more than content without it – surprisingly! Just like that, I had weaned him and I didn’t even realize. Again, I read so much about following a proper process for weaning your baby but it totally just happened on its own, completely naturally. It was time, for both of us. Nature just does its thing with these amazing, baby making bodies of ours!

Most of you know, I love cooking and baking. I always try to cook and bake healthy but delicious food for my family. This became especially important to me after becoming a mom and really realizing the power of healthy food, and the power of not so healthy food. Once Hunter was ready to be introduced to solids, at 6 months, I hit up the organic aisle and went to town on veggies and fruits to make him the most delicious, totally organic food purées I could possibly think of. Some he loved, some he hated. As soon as he devoured one, I would go back to the store and get everything to make a nice, big batch to find out that he changed his mind. Surprise, mom! After all that hard work and money spent…seriously kid!? How did your taste buds change their minds that quickly? After months of doing this, I realized that organic pouches were the way to go. I’ve never given him a pouch that he didn’t absolutely devour and you know what, they’re just as good for them even though you didn’t work up a sweat making them. You can buy all organic ones now, from pretty much anywhere, so why not? I hated the waste that came along with all the experimenting of flavours for him so this just became a quick, easy and healthy option for him. Once we grew out of purées, I was able to get a little more creative with him and giving him finger foods and this was the best – and still is! He is always open to trying something new but we always have his favourites on hand just in case he pulls one of his “get that thing away from me” episodes. At the end of the day, it’s obviously most important our little ones are fed, and that we do our very best to ensure they’re getting all the nutrients they can from healthy foods.

I’ve learned that the saying “mom knows best” is mosttttt often true 😉 BUT dad knows pretty damn well too! I feel like dads aren’t giving as much credit as they deserve when a new baby is born. In our household, both mom and dad are awake every time the baby is awake; whether that looks like a feeding, a diaper change or some rocking around the house in the middle of the night. There hasn’t been one night that my husband has slept through the night while I was up with Hunter, and he has to get up and go to work and pretend like he wasn’t up with a crying baby 80% of the night. They deserve serious props and sometimes I feel like they don’t get the appreciation and recognition they deserve. Thank you for being such an incredible father and husband, Ben! We are truly blessed to have you.

Last but not least I’ve learned that nothing can fix a sleepless night better than taking the time to lounge and cuddle the entire next day, in your pajamas. Take the trip, even on maternity leave – you deserve the getaway more than ever before. Leaving your child for the first time overnight is absolutely HEART WRENCHING but you will BOTH be okay, no matter how much you cry leaving him (mommy & daddy deserve little breaks too, even if it is just 24 hours once a year) Don’t sweat the small stuff, ENJOY the small stuff, the little things – the simple things.  Enjoy every stage, and remember it’s okay to be tired. So. incredibly. tired. Life is good, children are absolute blessings and we should never miss an opportunity to show them how truly loved they are. Last but not least, always keep a newborn swaddle unwashed and stored away, that newborn scent is still lingering an entire year later. 

Thanks for reading!