Updated: May 1
Exactly one year ago on Christmas Day 2020, I woke up at 9am in the morning not knowing that my life was about to change forever that day. By 9pm that same night, I was cradling my newborn baby in my arms for the first time, marvelling at how there was suddenly this additional little human in the room, and also at a total loss of what I had to do with this newfound status of being a mother. More about my birth story here, but today’s post is now about how the past 1 year has been, with reference to how we usually think of babies – eat/sleep/poop!
Being a mom was something that I’d always dreamed of, and imagined myself to be. It was (and still is) probably one of the few things that I give myself pressure about. I went into it trying to be as prepared as possible, reading up quite a lot during pregnancy, and I had “A PLAN” of how I was going to do things. As any new mother would know, whatever I’d read in the past 9 months flew out of the window the day I brought baby home. I’ll start with sleep.
This was one of the things I’d read about extensively. Before I became a mom, I always wondered what was so difficult about getting babies to sleep. “Just put them in the cot and let them go to sleep. They might cry a little, but eventually they’ll learn to sleep on their own.” This was what the books said, and I went into motherhood fully convinced that I was going to sleep train my baby. This ideal was completely butchered when my baby was born. I guess God wanted to teach me a lesson, that I shouldn’t be presumptuous like this, by giving me a baby who doesn’t like to sleep, and fights it like crazy.
The funny thing was, my baby probably slept way better as a newborn. She was always pretty bad with naps, and took forever to fall asleep at bedtime, but her night sleep was decent. Friends who met me during the fourth trimester told me that I looked good for a new mom, and I attribute it to the fact that baby slept decent stretches at night, and only woke up twice on average. Fast forward to the four month sleep regression, and everything went downhill from there. Waking up almost every hour became a nightly affair, and she could be up for long stretches at a time. I was completely exhausted after a month and that was when I remembered my plan to sleep train.
We tried. We really did. And my baby cried, and cried, and cried, for up to 4 hours a night, a few nights in a row, until we gave up and rocked her to sleep because it was evident that she was not going to be falling asleep on her own. I’m sparing you all the details here, but the 2.5 weeks of sleep training was one of the lowest points of my motherhood journey, allowing my baby to cry it out alone in her room without being able to offer her much comfort.
After that whole experience, I told myself that I’ll never do something like that to my baby ever again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-sleep training or anything. I have friends who strongly recommended it to me because it worked for their babies and their quality of life improved dramatically (who wouldn’t want to be able to sleep through the night / have their evenings free?!). But our experience with sleep training showed me that it’s not that straightforward and it doesn’t work for all babies.
Instead, we went the other direction and began co-sleeping. It didn’t do much with improving bb’s sleep, but it was way better for my own mental health, allowing me to side-latch her while she slept in the same room, and being able to be there for her when she woke up crying / support her when she was falling asleep. We are STILL wrestling with sleep till now, but when bb finally falls asleep in my arms after latching, my heart is filled with so much joy knowing that she fell asleep in a relaxed manner, and knowing that I can give her the comfort that she needs.
One day she wouldn’t need me to help her fall asleep any more. And while I’m looking forward to my evenings back, and sleeping through the night again, I know that I’ll miss having her fall asleep in my arms :’)
Ooh. Where do I start. Shared quite a bit about my breastfeeding journey for the first 6 months. My goal was to breastfeed for a year. And guess what, now that I’ve reached that one year mark, I’m not quite sure how to wean, and if I’m ready to do so. There have been ups and downs for sure. One thing that makes me want to pull my hair out is whenever baby treats me like her teether and bites me while latching -.- it doesn’t happen often, but she goes through phases where she does it and it HURTS. A LOT.
Yet, this is another experience that I treasure so much with her. I know that many people will probably be surprised by it, but after the longest time of trying to implement the eat/play/sleep routine, around 10mo onwards, I have now been latching her to sleep for both naps & bedtime. It’s the easiest way, especially when she’s getting too heavy for me to carry her. And it’s this special time when it’s just two of us together. I now make it a point to watch her while she latches (as opposed to staring at my phone haha), and it’s just the sweetest thing. I guess I’ll just let nature take it’s course in terms of weaning and see how things go.
Solids has been such a fun journey as well! Set myself the target of feeding bb 100 foods before 1 year old, and I managed to do it woohoo!!! It certainly requires quite a bit of creativity (especially towards the end) to find new food to feed bb. But it also challenged me to eat/prepare food that I don’t really like to eat myself (like lamb & liver, but they’re so nutritious for babies!). She’s been so game to try all these different food offered to her, which has made mealtimes so much fun. Now that she’s one, she’s starting to show more preferences for food, so I’m glad that I introduced all that variety to her at the beginning!
HAHA I don’t think anyone is interested in poop, right?! :p so I shall skip this.
Looking back on this year of motherhood, it’s been the most tiring, yet fulfilling journey ever. Just thinking how one year ago she was in my tummy, roaring to enter the world. How incredible she developed, grew, and blossomed. And now she is taking her first steps, no longer quite a baby, but a toddler instead :’) She’ll always be my baby though.
This year has taught me to release expectations. Expect the unexpected. And most of all, treasure every single moment because all you need to do is blink, and the time flies by just like that. Looking forward to what the next year will bring!