I don't really feel like I have a baby anymore. Beckett is on the verge of being considered a "toddler". He is just barely starting to balance on his feet without holding onto anything..... barely. The baby stage went by in a blink. It makes me feel like the things I stressed about weren't really worth stressing, because they were over so quickly and he was on to a new stage. I wrote a list shortly after Beckett was born of things I wanted to remember for next time (HERE), but this is a list of things I wish I knew about the first year. I will definitely be reviewing both of these before baby number two.
- I don't know why I was so set on buying a really nice swing. Once I started reading up on good sleep habits, I was so anti-swing! It came in handy a few times at night in the beginning when I was super tired, but Beckett was wide awake. He could stay in the swing while I slept on the couch and eventually he would fall asleep too. Once his days and nights were straightened out (just a few weeks), I was scared to death of letting him sleep in the swing because I wanted him to sleep in his crib and not form any bad habits. This fear was so silly because he slept in a swing while I was at work for months, and always slept good in his crib at home too. I think he is a pretty adaptable kid, but some babies might become more dependent on a swing to sleep.
- Do not even think about a "schedule" until you are down to two naps a day (around 9 months). I swear by the routine of sleep, eat, wake, but I wanted so badly for the days to be predictable from early on. I will definitely stick with that routine, but realize that every day will be different because babies grow and develop so quickly. Now that Beckett is down to two naps a day, every day is basically the same schedule and it won't be changing until he goes down to one nap, which is still several months away.
- Sleeping habits and routines change constantly! Sleep training is not something you have to do once. It's something you have to do every time they are in a new phase. There are sleep regressions, great nights, teething nights, growth spurts. Bed time might be a piece of cake for two weeks straight. You start patting yourself on the back because you've got this mom thing down. Then all the sudden you're up 3 times in the night and awake at 5:30 for the day. What the heck?! It's ok. By the time you figure out what is going on and what you need to change to get back on track, they go back to being angel sleepers again.
- Stock up on teething remedies long before you need them so that when the time hits at 1:00 am you are completely prepared and don't have to send your husband out to some creepy grocery store that is open 24 hours. And when I say "remedies" I'm not talking about frozen teething toys or amber necklaces. I'm talking about medication! Everyone is different, but I swear teething tablets do nothing for Beckett. I don't really even feel like Tylenol does. Orajel is the only thing that can help him sleep. Sometimes I kiss Beckett good night, lay him down, and then I kiss the Orajel tube.
- Swaddling. Your best friend and worst enemy. It's so worth doing because your kids will sleep so peacefully, but during transition time out of the swaddle, it will be like baby hell. I tried to get through this phase without buying one more baby product that would be used for a few weeks and then stored away. Next time I think I might break down and get the silly Wombie or Magic Sleep Suit.
- I was gungho on the Baby Led Weaning idea at first. I'm so happy that we skipped rice cereal and traditional baby foods, but I wish I would have added in more purees at the beginning. I didn't start pureeing very much until he was 8 months. Next time I would definitely do BLW with regular foods and making more of my own purees from the beginning. I know that combining the two methods isn't truly Baby Led Weaning, but I feel like Beckett is eating plenty and loving a variety of textures, flavors, and spices so it works for us!
- Take 9000 pictures, post them as much as you want, and don't feel bad about it. Beckett is probably the most photographed kid this side of the Mississippi, but I don't regret it one bit. He changes daily. When he is 18 and moving out of the house, I want to be able to look at those pictures with teary eyes and remember every single little thing.
- Do not waste any money buying shoes until they start walking. We have 10 pairs of shoes, Beckett only wears one pair to church on Sunday, and that usually lasts 5 minutes. I can't even get him to keep socks on.