Sitting, crawling, standing and talking are some of the milestones that your baby will achieve in the first year of her life. As a new mom you are looking forward to sharing these experiences with your baby, but sometimes you feel left in the dark about your progress or growth as a mother. As baby grows and achieves her expected milestones, you grow as well – as a mom and a person. In this article we’ll shed some light on some of the mommy milestones you can expect to achieve.
1. You've considered giving up breastfeeding
You’ve read about the importance of breastfeeding, and this is one of the first things you want to conquer before anything, but you didn’t quite imagine it being this tough! Do not give up.
A lot of moms have trouble breastfeeding for the first time – it’s something both you and baby have to learn to do together. If you’re really struggling, chat to your clinic sister or contact a lactation consultant (visit www.llli.org/southafrica.html for more).
2. You've made new mommy friends
Friends with babies are great for moral support and help you comfort yourself in the knowledge that whatever you are going through, you are not alone. It also helps having friends when you need to talk about the subjects your childless friends would rather avoid – you know, subjects like nappies, poo colour, burps or whose turn it is to get up.
The easiest way to make friends is through your antenatal classes, where you meet new moms-to-be and can make conversation – keep in contact with them. After you’ve all had your children you’ll hardly run out of things to talk about; the conversations will revolve around what you are going through and comparing your experiences.
3. You've found a routine, and you're sticking to it
As you learn more about your baby’s needs and how to meet them, you will be able to establish a routine and stick to it. This is helpful in planning your days with baby and helps your day run more smoothly. You may even be able to fit in some mommy time too.
Once you are able to read your baby’s signs of tiredness and hunger, you will be able to plan your daily schedule
somewhat because you’ll know what she needs when. Remember, most of your plans will revolve around baby for a while.
4. You've had a "little moment"
The time comes in every new mom’s life where she feels overwhelmed by the enormity of her new life. When this happens, don’t be too hard on yourself; just try to take some time out. If you have someone that you can call, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. You don’t have to be superwoman; the truth is that at this stage in your life baby will take up most of your time, and your partner shouldn’t mind looking after himself and even helping out where he can.
Make sure you eat a balanced diet and keep yourself hydrated. Take some time for yourself at least once a day for half an hour or so – leave baby with grandma, a friend or daddy (even better). You can take a nice long bath, go for a walk or have some tea with a friend. This is not being selfish: taking care of yourself helps you take better care of your baby.
5. You've accepted that a clean house isn't everything
Often as moms-to-be we set high and unrealistic expectations about having everything perfect all the time. This
picture-perfect life of supreme order is largely unattainable though. A clean house, gourmet meals and looking gorgeous every day is unfortunately not your first priority at this point. Your life in the first few months will be about baby, baby, baby, you and baby again.
You need to accept the fact that maybe your house won’t be as pristinely clean as you would like, and that’s okay. Accepting all the help you can get when it’s offered is not a sign of weakness, it is just being a mom who needs to be in the best shape for her baby.
6. You've become a master at soothing
Take heart in the fact that you will reach a point where your baby’s cries don’t frighten you to the point of wanting to run away. You will be able to hold your baby and calm her down. This will take time and may not come easily, but know you are the antidote to your baby’s screams. All that information about soothing, swaddling and different sleeping positions you read up on will come in handy now.
7. You're glad for a two-hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep
At eight to 12 weeks you can expect your baby to sleep for six hours or more at night. If she’s healthy and has eaten enough during the day she’s most likely to wake up fewer times for midnight feeds. What does this mean for you? More uninterrupted (and much-needed) sleep.
8. You've taken baby out, and survived
Something that you never thought twice about doing before will now take careful planning. Give yourself enough time to prepare, change baby’s nappy and give a last-minute feed – and be sure to have a change of clothes on hand.
9. You've gone on your first post-baby date
At this point you are an expert mom and you’re over the fear of leaving your baby even for a second. It will be a night well deserved, and you and your partner will be looking forward to it. Planning date nights and actually following through with them will be great for your post-baby relationship, and you will get a chance to reflect on how fortunate you are to have this miracle in your lives.