As a new mom, the first 12 months of baby’s life are a time of intense closeness. You’re connecting to another human being on a level you never knew possible. But you’re not just getting to know baby better. During those first 8,765.82 hours of your little one’s life, you will also see yourself, your partner and even the world in a whole new light. Read on for a few of the relatable discoveries every mom makes during baby’s first year.
photo: Mikael Stenberg via Unsplash
1. You are capable of more than you ever thought possible.
Nothing tests the limits of your body and mind more than bringing a new baby into the world and experiencing his or her first year of life. Physically, you have been stretched to the max, as you’ve slept in one-hour increments and conquered the challenge of doing daily life with a 15-pound human on your hip. Mentally, at times your mind has felt like it’s spinning out of control as the “what ifs” swirl (What if I’m doing this all wrong? What if I’m not a good mom?).Then, at other times, it kicks those worries to the curb, reminding you of just how strong and amazing you are—mind, body and soul.
2. Everyone is a baby expert.
If baby’s first year was an Oprah show, it would feel something like this: You get an opinion! And you get an opinion! Everyone gets an opinion! Seasoned moms and those without kids come out of the woodwork to give unsolicited advice to new moms. After baby’s first year, you know to take it for what it’s worth—a (hopefully!) well-intentioned suggestion, not law.
3. Moms need nap times, too.
We all know that nap time is essential for a happy, healthy baby. But moms know that it’s no less important for baby’s #1 caretaker. (Now, if only we could sleep like a…well, you know.)
photo: Christy Lynn Photography
4. Nothing lasts forever.
Some days you feel superhuman, able to carry a 20-pound car seat and 617 bags of groceries, but other days, your humanity—and all the emotions that come with it—hit harder than usual. If one moment you feel capable of conquering the world and the next minute all you can think of is crawling between the sheets, that makes you normal, not crazy. The fact that nothing lasts forever is a bittersweet reality of mom life, like not being able to use the bathroom alone for at least the next five or six years.
5. Baby poop isn’t that gross.
For that matter, neither is baby pee, spit-up or any other fluid that manages to make its way out of your baby’s orifices. How do we know? In baby’s first year of life, you do things that would have made pre-baby you cringe—things like putting your baby’s pacifier in your mouth to clean it after it hits the ground or wiping away snot or picking up chewed-and-spit-out food with your bare hand.
6. Change is a constant.
Life with a little one keeps you on your toes. As soon as you hit a groove with baby’s sleep routine, boom! A growth spurt or new tooth arrives. Or, as soon as you find out which foods your baby will eat (not just throw), those taste buds seem to change overnight. It’s all part of the growing process, for you and baby.
photo: Christy Lynn Photography
7. You need a village.
During pregnancy and pre-baby life, having a support system was nice. But during baby’s first year of life, it’s essential. For some, it means having friends and family to take charge of baby while you run errands. For others, it simply means connecting with a network of like-minded moms over social media while baby naps.
8. Every baby is different.
Your child will hit milestones at different times, prefer different toys, and have different sleeping and eating schedules than any other baby you know. And that’s okay. After all, you can’t help that your baby is better.
9. Your heart is infinitely expandable.
A baby’s heart doubles in size in the first year of life. A new mother’s heart feels that same stretch a hundred times over. During baby’s first 12 months, a mama’s heart is overwhelmed with fear and joy, worry and love. The emotions are real and raw. They have made you cry tears of desperation to get your baby to sleep, only to make you want to instantly wake him as soon as he drifts off. And, this is only the beginning.
10. Those cheesy parenting saying are true (mostly).
That quote about the days being short but the years long? Yep. True. That saying about having a baby meaning your heart forever walks around outside your body. True, too. Oh, but that one about “sleeping like a baby”? You can toss that one out with yesterday’s diapers.