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Lessons learned

25 Lessons learned with 9 months of baby

Tomorrow, exactly 9 months ago we welcomed Leo Wesley Davies into the world! Seeing a friend of mine recently and watching her little newborn has reminded me just how much he has grown since birth.

There is a theory known as NINO, which stands for ‘nine in, nine out’ and it suggests that human babies aren’t really “full term” until more like 9 months (some more info on this here). This has always made a lot of sense to me and is one of the reasons why I’ve made an effort to wear Leo at least once a day everyday, all the way to the 9 month mark. Plus there is no better feeling than a babywearing hug :)

NINO

I’ve learnt so much about myself, Leo and life in general over these past 9 months that I thought I’d share some of those things with you today.

THE FIRST 2 WEEKS:

1. Babies sleep, a lot.

For the last nine months people have been telling you how much your life is going to change (duh), and you’ve been imagining playing with your gorgeous little bundle of joy. But really, all they ever seem to want to do is sleep. And really, this being a mom thing isn’t as bad as everyone made out. Love, love, love.

2. Babies feed, a lot.

Surely he can’t be hungry again? He just fed an hour ago. Okay let’s see, boobies out…
And yes, he’s hungry again.

3. You need to rest, a lot.

So. Ex. Hausted. Must put photos of cutest baby in the world on faceb… Zzzzzz

WEEKS 2 – 8:

4. Babies cry, a lot.

What just happened? I thought you were so happy? What am I doing wrong? Seriously, what’s happening? Is it because I had a sip of wine when I was pregnant that you are like this? Or was it the c-section? Or the ultrasounds? Did I have too many scans and the radioactive waves fried your intestines? I’m such a useless mom! Google, I need to google! Babycentre.com ‘how to calm a newborn baby’… Tiger in the tree…

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5. Moms cry more than babies.

Well I never knew it was possible to cry for 6 hours straight but when you are such a useless mom, why not? If you can’t even remember whether or not the cat had breakfast this morning how are you supposed to keep your own child alive? Your poor baby deserves better. Maybe if you hadn’t had that sip of wine, or those scans, those bloody scans, things would be easier. Your baby wouldn’t hate you so much.

6. Breastfeeding is bloody hard.

What is a let down? Do I even have one? Why has nobody ever told me about this before? Please pour me some jungle juice. Wooaah, hand me those cabbage leaves. How am I ever meant to leave the house when I am leaking like a fountain? Why is this boob double the size of that boob? And could you please drink from my left boob, that’s why I have my hairband on this arm now, or wait… Did I forget to swap it? Flip, now this boob is going to get even bigger! What are these lumps, is this breast cancer??!! Mastitis!? What the $%#!

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(Tip: La Leche League, don’t try to work it out on your own like I did, there are millions of moms out there who have done this before and are more than willing to help you, for free.)

7. Formula feeding doesn’t make you a bad mom.

For moms who feel they’ve “failed” at breastfeeding: if your baby had 1 drop of breastmilk – you did not fail. You are awesome. There is no denying “breast is best”… I know I know, it sucks to hear it, but it doesn’t mean your baby won’t thrive on formula. However if for some reason you do have to give up breastfeeding, every time you go to that tin of formula to make a bottle you will see the words “breastmilk is best for babies“, a guilt trip of note. All you can think about is how similar it looks to the warning label on a box of cigarettes so it must be just as bad. And then you’ll cry about how you shouldn’t have given up breastfeeding and what a weak person you are. You’re not. It’s fine. I promise. Get a permanent marker and cross out that warning and write in big letters on the tin: “I’m an awesome mom.”

8. Colic is a made up word.

For ‘we don’t know why your baby is crying, here have some medicine‘. Granted a small percentage of babies do have a medical problem and if your baby really is constantly screaming then you should definitely try to find out why. But just because your baby is crying a lot, it doesn’t mean something is drastically wrong. I started babywearing during these very loud weeks and I can tell you it made at least a 75% difference to the amount of crying in one day. Yes it was completely exhausting to wear him all day everyday but, he chilled out tremendously and wasn’t crying. And when you have a difficult baba, that’s all that matters. You can sleep when they’re bigger, like when they’re 6 ;)

9. Write it down, take a million photos.

You do forget. Mommy brain is a real thing. When I see a newborn baby now, I cannot even remember Leo being that small. I just scrolled through my iPhoto library and really, I can’t believe he used to be this darn small!

4 days old

4 days old

MONTHS 2 – 3:

10. They smile a lot and so do you.

Yay, so many smiles. So much instagram potential! Finally the tears have stopped and you’re starting to settle into life as a new Mom.

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11. They still cry, but now you know why.

By now you know all the different cries. There are hungry cries, wet nappy cries, I hate this car seat cries, stop changing my nappy cries, and a whole lot more… but you’ll know them all, which makes life a lot easier. You also no longer get an adrenalin rush everytime they let out a cry and go sprinting to make sure they aren’t being suffocated by a fluffy toy.

MONTHS 3 – 4:

12. Yay, bliss.

I’m so glad the last 3 months are over, things are soooo much easier now. I can’t believe I have such a happy baby, I must be a really awesome Mom. Yay me.

13. Babies are capable of making their own routines.

After trying every sleep / feed routine known to woman kind during the first 3 months, you realize that it actually doesn’t matter. Feed baby when they’re hungry, let them sleep when they’re tired. Eventually, they’ll settle into their own little routine. These little people really do know what they’re doing.

14. Other moms can be real biatches.

My question on online Mommy forum: My baby seems slightly constipated, I’ve heard I can give him a little apple juice to try and get things moving along – is this okay? He is 3 months old.
Mom 1: 3 months – are you still breastfeeding? If he’s breast fed then he shouldn’t be constipated. Just keep breastfeeding.
Mom 2: Breastfed babies can go 7 days without a poop it’s normal.
Me: He is on formula.
Mom 3: Please ladies, give her a break, just because you breastfeed it doesn’t mean the whole world can okay, she is obviously formula feeding. Put a little brown sugar in his bottle, it will make his tummy work.
Mom 1: Firstly, how is it obvious that she is formula feeding? Secondly, why did you stop breastfeeding? Did you know it’s possible to relatch them? And thirdly, brown sugar??!! I hope you have a good dental plan. That is the worst advice ever!

And so Mom 4, 5 & 6 will join and eventually you just unsubscribe from notifications because Mom 3 is about to rip Mom 17’s eyeballs out for not vaccinating her kid. Shoo. That got out of hand quickly.

15. Most other moms are really sweet.

They really are. There are so many awesome Mom’s out there who’ve done this all before. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you need it.

My new Mommy friends :)

My new Mommy friends :)

MONTHS 4 – 6:

16. Haha, tricked you.

So you thought you had this motherhood thing in the bag did you? You thought that sleeping through the night thing I did for a month was permanent? Bless mama, bless.

17. Yes you should wait to introduce solids.

Or their poop will let you know about it. For some reason we are all so excited to start shoving all sorts of mushed up foods down our babies throats. Health experts all agree that 6 months+ is the best age to introduce solids. Before this time, your baby’s digestive system is not developed enough to cope with solid foods. If your baby seems hungrier at any time before six months, give them extra milk feeds. Baby led weaning is also a great way to introduce your baby to foods by letting them lead the way.

MONTHS 6 – 7:

18. Food is messy, fun and scary.

While baby led weaning worked well for a few weeks, he just choked on a piece of banana and now you’re so freaked out that you totally abandon ship and decide it’s stupid and dangerous and seriously have you not learned by now just to follow the rules and stop being such a bad Mom?? Puree it is. And baby loves it. But he also loves sausage. Okay, let’s do both!

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19. Baby poo takes an a whole new meaning.

Like… seriously? How did this even come out of you? That’s just gross.

MONTHS 7 – 9:

20. Time starts to speed up again.

I can’t believe my baby just turned 8 months, 4 more months til 1! I better starting planning his birthday party. Pinterest… baby birthday themes.

21. Dada is always their first word.

Of course the holy grail of milestones is your baby’s first word. It will be Dada. Deal with it. It’s because you’re such a bad Mom ;)

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22. Stop comparing your baby.

All babies are different. Some will talk before others do, some will crawl before others do, some will never crawl, they’ll just bum shuffle around and then get up and walk. 20 Tummy time sessions a day will not help your baby progress faster than he or she already is, it will probably just piss them off. Just give them plenty of floor time, let them play and do their thing. As long as they’re progressing slowly from week to week, they’ll be just fine.

23. Babysitters rock.

Woohooo… Mom & Dad’s night out! Where shall we go? What wine should we drink? Get to restaurant, only drink half the bottle of wine (what has happened to us!!??) and eat as fast as you can so you can get home to make sure baby is still alive. Phew, thank God! We had a great time, thanks babysitter see you again, never.

24. Let the baby proofing begin.

How did you get there? I just put you down 5 metres away from there. You can’t even crawl yet. No not that plant. Okay, those are Daddy’s TV controls you can’t suck those… oh dear, the poor cat.

25. You really do forget.

You really do. And you probably will have another one. Or maybe not, no. That would be crazy. But look how cute he is. Okay only if we win the lotto. Deal.

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Shannon McLaughlin

About Shannon McLaughlin

Shannon is a mama to her busy little toddler Leo, who is the inspiration behind her business, Ubuntu Baba. She strives to create the simplest and comfiest baby carrier on the market, helping new moms to step out into the world again with confidence, freedom and style.

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