During my pregnancy with Miss A I guess I had certain things in mind about how things would go, certain worries and certain expectations. Some occurred as I expected, some worries turned out to be just worries and some expectation were completely incorrect and didn’t go how I expected them to. I didn’t go over the top with reading and planning during my pregnancy. My plan was to just go with the flow and see what happens. This is one of the best decisions I have made as it didn’t leave as much room to be disappointed by things I had hoped/imagined to happen and then not happen how I expected them to.
9 Expectations/Thoughts I Had As A First Time Mum
1.When will my baby sleep through the night?
This was something I had absolutely no clue about and was happy to take it as it came. We were lucky and Miss A has always been a pretty good sleeper who can sleep where ever, whenever (within reason). That was the main goal I had towards sleep rather than worry about how much sleep I got, or how much I wasn’t getting. I wanted her to be as flexible as possible and work around whatever we had to do, or where ever we had to go. I didn’t bother too much about putting her to bed for the night early until she was about 1 year old. While she was a baby she would nap wherever between feeds of an evening between playing.
At 6 weeks of age she slept through from 11 pm -7 or 8 am. Gradually the night feed became earlier and earlier and we were able to stretch the sleep out a little longer and longer. However when she cut her first tooth her sleep became a little unpredictable again. This would be the pattern every time a tooth would cut through. Thankfully they came through in twos but always took AGES to come through fully.
At what age did your baby sleep through?
2. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding?
My goal was always to breastfeed and really hoped to be able to breastfeed till she was 12 months old. We were lucky and had great success from day one with her latching like a pro and taking to feeding nicely. By about 9 months she started to self-wean a couple of her feeds. I began to get slightly nervous that we wouldn’t make the 12 month mark as I had hoped. I reached the 12 month mark easily! Hooray! In fact it then became an issue of ‘Will we ever be able to wean her?’. She was only feeding before bed from about 12 months with the random extra feed, more for my sake then hers if my ducts would block up and my boob would become uncomfortable.
At 16 months I began to wean her giving myself a few months if Miss A needed. I was having issues where my left breast would block up if she didn’t feed or would go too long without a feed so I had to continue feeding her for my sake (she was still interested so it worked out ok). I started feeding every second night, then every third night. It was interesting to see that on the nights we wouldn’t be feeding she actually wasn’t interested and didn’t seem to request the feed. However on feeding nights she would be hanging off me ready after her bath. She had a few days of diarrhea during this stage. On the night I was meant to feed her my mum suggested leaving it as she had really bad diarrhea, so I did. It was then 4 nights without a feed, then 5, and 6, etc. It seemed stupid to then re-introduce a feed by the 4th night especially as she wasn’t requesting it. It was a really odd moment when I realised I had breastfed my baby for the last time without realising this was going to happen so soon. I was getting over feeding as it was becoming stressful with Miss A fiddling around not as interested, but when it was over I felt sad that it was never to happen again with her.
Did you bottle or breastfeed your baby? How long did you breastfeed for?
3. Introducing a bottle to baby
While I was early pregnant we had purchased tickets to see ACDC when the baby was going to be approximately 5-6 weeks old (depending on when the baby arrived). This meant that I needed her to be able to take a bottle by this age so we could leave her with my brother and his girlfriend for the evening while we went to the show. Miss A was not overly fond on the bottle of expressed milk and would just fiddle around with it never drinking as much as I would assume she would get from a breastfeed. She was not very interested in taking the bottle from me especially as breastfeeding was obviously easier for her. We were able to get her to take a bottle of expressed milk for the short periods of time I was away if she needed one but never got her to a stage where she was happily taking a bottle. Some babies just don’t like them.
How did you introduce a bottle to your breastfed baby?
4. Expressing Milk
This was something I began to do at the start of my breastfeeding journey to 1- boost my supply in the freezer for those days when I needed to be out for a couple of hours and hope she would take a bottle. 2- express for comfort as I was too full.
For the first 3-5 months I expressed pretty regularly for the above two reasons. Once my milk settled and regulated a bit more I stopped expressing as often. In those early days expressing was easy as I had loads of milk to express. Because I stopped and my supply settled to become the same as what she required, when I went to express I had great difficulty expressing enough to make it worth while. This made it very difficult when I had those random days where I may need to be away for a few hours and my freezer supply was decreasing. Even the days where I felt so full it hurt, I was unable to successfully express much. Second time around I would try and keep up a regular pattern for expressing to keep up that capability to express.
Did you express milk?
5. When will my baby crawl?
Now I had no real clue when babies ‘should’ do anything when it came to milestones. One thing I did learn as a first time mum is you can NOT predict/ plan/ know when any one child WILL hit any of those milestones and they don’t all do it at the same time! They are purely just guidelines.
By the age of 5-6 months Miss A looked like she could learn to crawl any time, starting to move her legs and push herself up. I though yep give it a few weeks and she will be off. Little did I know that the next 4-5 months would be highly frustrating for Miss A and myself as she did not commando crawl till she was 9 months and proper crawl till she was 10 months. She would get upset and frustrated because she wanted to move but couldn’t get it to happen. This was difficult to watch as I didn’t like seeing her upset by it but I learnt to try and encourage her and continue to give her opportunities to learn to crawl without leaving her too long to get super worked up by it.
I watched all my friends babies take off and start crawling and felt like Miss A was getting ‘left behind’. Little did I know at the time that it does not matter when they reach those milestones as long as they are close to the ‘guidelines and your doctor/midwife/community nurse is happy with babies progress there is nothing to worry about. They all reach those milestones eventually.
When did your baby crawl?
6. When will my baby walk?
This is the same as the crawling expectation. I didn’t know when they ‘should’ start walking. I am not a fan of walkers and preferred her to learn naturally when she was ready. I am big on functional movements when it comes to older children and adults strength training (as a Remedial Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer and Track and Field Coach) so forcing her to walk before she was ready was not something I was interested in (this is just my personal opinion made from knowledge from working in sport and massage for a several years now.). Once Miss A began to crawl she was crawling to things to pull herself up and walk along furniture. She also LOVED holding your hands and walking along. By 11 months she was practically walking on her own with the support of holding onto something (your finger, hand, cupboard, wall etc).
Two days before her first birthday she stood on her own for a number of seconds and then took a 3 steps. The next day (day before her birthday) she just took off walking around like a little wobbly penguin until she fell over. In a matter of days/weeks she confidently was walking around every where. It was amazing how quickly she picked it up once she took off, however she had spend the months earlier perfecting it before she took the leap and let go.
When did your baby walk?
7. When should I start solids with my baby?
Over the years the recommendation for this has changed. Always seek medical advice and see what the current trends/thoughts are in regards to when they should start having what. This is such a confusing topic as so many people give you many different opinions which can leave you feeling confused and unsure of what to do. Follow your gut instinct.
We decided to go off the guidance of our doctor who was the main medical career for Miss A. I was feeling overwhelmed by this topic as I was beginning to compare my baby to others and what they were doing, reading books which would say one thing and then have people telling me to do something else. My doctor advised starting solids at 6 months of age (which was the age recommended to start at the time). Even then I was a bit confused about what to offer, how much and how often.
Start at 6 months introducing carbohydrates. We started Miss A on pureed vegetables, pasta, couscous. After a month or two we began to thicken the consistency up into a mash. At 9 months of age we could introduce most other foods except cows milk and honey. Here I also introduced more finger type food. I was always worried about offering finger type foods until she gained teeth and was able to chew them. By 9 months she had 4-6 teeth so I was less worried about her being able to choke on the food (however we only gave soft type foods to begin with). Miss A is a good eater and I think this is because we offered a large range of flavours from the beginning.
When did you introduce solids?
8. Breastfeeding in public
This was one of my biggest things I worried about in the final weeks of pregnancy. I was worried about how I would breastfeed in public. I felt worried about breastfeeding in front of certain people. I was worried about how I would do it without revealing my whole body/boob. I got so worked up about it in the final weeks. Once my baby was here I still had some of these worries but cared a little less about what others thought after having given birth and no longer caring as I had gone through the most revealing thing (pushing a baby out in the nude- also something I didn’t intend on doing and didn’t feel comfortable about prior to labour) I would ever go through.
For the first few weeks I just took myself into a room I felt comfortable in around the people I wasn’t comfortable feeding in front of. As the weeks passed by I gained more confidence and skill in breastfeeding managing to do it less ‘awkwardly’ without making as big of a scene. By the end I couldn’t care less where I fed as I had mastered how to do it discreetly keeping myself covered. That is until Miss A got bigger (10-16 months old) and became a wriggly worm making it hard to stay covered at all times.
9. Where will my baby sleep?
Miss A slept in our room for the first 12 months as that was the recommend guideline for SIDS. She slept in a portacot next to my bed. I found this useful as I was breastfeeding her and would be able to pick her up lay in bed feed her and put her back down. This doesn’t work for all people, some people don’t want their baby in their room and that is fine. We wanted to follow the guideline for safe sleeping and found it convenient also.
A few days/week or so after Miss A turned one we began to transfer her to her own room just down the hallway. For the first week or two of this happening some nights she would end up back in our room in the portacot from about 2 am. That was fine as she was getting used to being in her own room.
Where did your baby sleep?
By Clare at Relaxed Parenting