I’ve been thinking a lot lately of change, almost as an extension of this post I wrote last year on adjusting to motherhood. Change is inevitable as a parent and no matter how much equipment you have, or how many instructional books you read, nothing can quite prepare you for the incredible impact a baby will have on your life. It is a time of learning like no other; and it never stops.
But even as things change, it is important to do what makes you and your family most happy and comfortable. Whether it’s sleeping, feeding, teething or overall growth and development, there is always something going on, and figuring it out is part of the journey.
The areas of change and learning I want to touch on in this post include baby needs, appetite, developmental milestones and the world of childcare.
- Baby needs: Routine versus demand
As I may have mentioned before, I am a routine kind of person, and after some research I learned how to make this work for my baby too. We are somewhat flexible in our routine and can adapt when we need to be somewhere at a certain time, but he is woken up at the same time each day and put to bed at roughly the same time, depending on how long he feeds for, which works extremely well for everyone in this household. As much as I admire those parents who leave their day (and night) entirely up to their baby, we learned early on that this wasn’t the best option for us.
2. A baby’s appetite
As a baby grows, they need less breastmilk/formula and when regular solids have been established, even less (although much more real food)! Now on his way to being eleven months old, my son is happily eating three meals and one snack and having four breastfeeds a day. I feel confident that his little belly is satisfied but the food preparation journey was quite a lot to get used to. My son quickly moved from purees to mashes and chewable foods and now I am constantly on the lookout for baby friendly recipes to try. I must admit now that I hav been doing it for a while, I do enjoy preparing his meals and coming up with a daily menu each night before I go to bed.
3. Developmental milestones
When a baby rolls, sleeps, walks, talks or behaves in a certain way, it is a huge deal. But as parents we need to remember that these milestones are times of change that occur at different stages for everyone. A friend’s baby may get their first tooth at 7 months when your child may not have had any come through at 10 months. A baby’s development is not something that fits into a routine or schedule. Rough timelines are available but there is no set age when a baby should be doing a particular thing, which is somewhat reassuring. There is absolutely no need to compare your baby to anyone else’s, as tempting as it may be.
4. Navigating the world of childcare
Navigating the world of childcare (and getting used to the idea that our baby will be away from us at some point!) can be difficult, especially if advice is coming from all directions. It may be important that you return to work or study for personal, professional or financial reasons but whatever it is, unless family help is available, some form of childcare will need to be considered. Making this decision can be tricky but remember that opportunities for socialisation and learning can be a good thing. Make sure you find out as much as you can by visiting a few centres and asking lots of questions so that you understand what they have to offer.
At every stage of your parenting journey, you are going to encounter change; big and small. The four areas I have discussed are currently relevant to me, but I know that there is so much more. As a takeaway, I want to emphasise the importance of responding to change by learning what works best for you and your family and remember that the learning really does never stop.
I realise I haven’t covered everything here so if you have something you’d like to add please leave a comment!