the first six months with baby
Marigold is six months old today.
And no, I can’t quite believe it. It feels like it’s been six weeks, maybe a couple of months, and yet here we are, celebrating her half-birthday. Regardless of the fact that time has flown and she’s very much an almost-moving-about-baby now, I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. I’ve spent hours upon hours holding, cuddling and kissing her; truly breathing in all her newness.
She is joyous and happy and bonny and bubbly. And I can see exactly why the baby of the family stays the baby regardless of their age. It’s the adoration that’s bestowed upon her day in, day out that will continue for years to come, of that I’m absolutely sure! She’s carried around in loving arms, smooshed and kissed and told that she’s loved and she laps it all up with her sweet, sweet smile.
For someone who loves being pregnant and having babies, I was surprised by the profound sense of completion I experienced within minutes of Marigold’s birth. Subsequently, I resolved to savour every moment and milestone, wholeheartedly knowing that the milky newborn days are the most fleeting – and precious – of them all.
Perhaps you’re heavily pregnant and anxiously awaiting your baby. Maybe you’re reading this in the early hours with a newborn at the breast. If so, a few suggestions for the first six months with baby:
- Go gently : recovering from birth and getting to know your baby will take up every minute of your day in the first few weeks. You’re sore and tired, your baby is fresh and learning to attach, you’re hungry and emotional and elated and overwhelmed. And yet within the haze are moments of pure bliss that compare to nothing else. It is for all these reasons that I have always limited the amount of visitors we have. I don’t think it’s selfish to savour your new family of three (or four, five, six…) and bask in the newness and magic that is a fresh baby. Studies show that mothers who choose to go gently in the first month after birth by staying at home, limiting visitors, eating well and resting often benefit physically, mentally and emotionally throughout the entire first year.
- Choose time over gadgets : I think it’s pretty common for parents to have less baby paraphernalia with each baby they have which only means one thing – we learn from experience. Babies don’t need much at all – it’s true! And so if you have to choose between time off work and having the money to buy all the things, please choose time. In my experience you only need the essentials – a bassinet/cot, bouncer, sling/carrier and pram.
- Get in the photo : because you won’t see the dark circles, the baby weight or the vomit when you look back in years to come. You’ll just see you in all your motherhood glory and you’ll be proud – so proud. Photographs are the ultimate heirlooms. And they really do capture the minute details that you so easily (and quickly!) forget. The smallness, the tiny fingers and toes, the big yawns, the sleepiness, the awakening and the unfurling.
- Be present and connect : Personally, I felt that when I stopped looking at the clock and the graph and put my expectations to the side, I connected and engaged with my baby and uncovered the most important mothering power of all – intuition. Sometimes we’re so caught up in what we should be doing and how our baby should be behaving that we completely lose sight of the present moment and, essentially, the relationship with our baby. I learnt so much about how to mother when I listened to my baby.