3 Things I Love About the First Year

love about the first year

First-time parenting is a scary thing. You leave the hospital thinking, gosh, they are trusting me with keeping this tiny creature alive?

Once you're home though, you get into the thick of things. Feeding, diaper changing, sleeping, trying to get something to eat, take a shower, pee in peace, get some shut eye. It can all go downhill, and quickly. You cling onto the last vestiges of your sanity, you try to contain your irritation at your partner, you just want to hold it together without crying at the end of the day.

That was me, the first two months of my firstborn's first year. Eventually, rhythms were set, routines were in place and smiles were more frequent than tears. There were other challenges in the next few months, as well as good times, but in the midst of it all, it was difficult to see through the fog. It was difficult to love the first year.

With my second child, I am now armed with experience, knowledge and a more relaxed mindset. I am more about making moments count, than counting down the moments. I have much love for the first year now, and these are the 3 things I love the most.

Baby snuggles

I'm extremely lucky that both my boys are snuggle bugs. My first used to sleep on my chest for hours on end. My second did the same until he outgrew that at four months. However, he loves to sit on my lap or put his head on my shoulder, just before bedtime. It's heavenly and temporary; therefore I embrace every minute of it.

Every developmental milestone

Instead of worrying about milestones, I'm celebrating them. I did not worry about when the baby would start rolling, sitting up, crawling, pulling up to standing, or walking. I know that he will come into each in his own time and he will get there eventually (as of 8 months, he is crawling and cruising).

Baby weaning

As a first-time mother, I did my best to adhere to all the ‘rules' I read about baby weaning – what good starter foods I should feed my son, when, how, and so on. I exhausted myself making baby purees and other fancy concoctions, only to find that my child was picky. Eating was one of the most stressful times for both of us. With my second, I decided to relax, and let him lead the way. Sure, he eats baby porridge, and I do make him some baby-friendly food, but he also joins us at the table, and *self-feeds broccoli, bread, yogurt, and rice. He makes a mess, and I don't mind. He loves eating, and the whole experience is fun for both of us.

* Note: All meal times are strictly supervised, and my son graduated from purees, to slightly chunkier food, to proper food gradually. He is also monitored for any signs of allergy or stomach upset from the food he eats. 

What do you love most about your baby's first year?

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Photo via Sharlene Lee

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3 Things I Love About the First Year

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, she traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison is a former blogger (Writing, Wishing), and her writing has been featured on Mamalode,On Parenting at The Washington Post,The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, Club Mid, andDrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists ... More

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25 comments

  1. Profile photo of Alison LeeAuthor Alison Lee says:

    Haha! Methinks the husband won’t be pleased with that. 🙂

  2. Profile photo of Alison LeeAuthor Alison Lee says:

    Thank you, Galit! xo

  3. As much as I love the independence of kids who can get in their own carseats, I miss the baby stage so much. I love baby slobber and the smell of spit-up. I’d have another in a minute, but I’d have to find another husband.

  4. Profile photo of Galit BreenAuthor Galit Breen says:

    Love this sweet friend, and love those first years? Absolutely yes. xo

  5. Profile photo of Alison LeeAuthor Alison Lee says:

    It’s the gift of insight!

  6. Profile photo of cyu888 cyu888 says:

    I absolutely love the snuggles and celebrating the milestones. Boy, that first year the first time around was hard. It’s amazing how different the second time can be and how much more we appreciate these things about the first year and parenting.

  7. Profile photo of Alison LeeAuthor Alison Lee says:

    Oh yes, the first year REALLY flies by. They do change a lot, and quickly. This is why I take pictures almost daily of both my boys, I don’t want to forget how little they were. Days are long, years are short.

  8. Profile photo of Alison LeeAuthor Alison Lee says:

    Yes, me too!

  9. Profile photo of Alison LeeAuthor Alison Lee says:

    It truly is wonderful, watching them reach their milestones. You’ll get used to the fatigue. It’s all worth it!

  10. Profile photo of Shelby Shelby says:

    I am not looking forward to that feeling. It’s hard for me to get anything done because I want to put all my focuss on my baby and cuddle her while I still can. And stare at her, and try to keep that image in my head, because pictures never do justice to how precious she really is.

  11. Profile photo of Shelby Shelby says:

    I’m past my 3rd week and it’s not that bad. I’m blessed with content none/fussy beutiful angel. I love every moment with her. Even if those moments are at 2 am (like right now). She’s changing way to fast for me. Her eyes are changning colors, her bodies taking a different shape, her elf ears she was born with are gone and rounded off. I’m afraid if i take my eyes off of her I won’t recongnise her. I favor everything. What I don’t favor is how short it is!

  12. Profile photo of octmama octmama says:

    i love every moment i spend with my baby.i get to know my baby’s routine and personality as she make small changes everyday

  13. Profile photo of Jeanetta Jeanetta says:

    Other than being really tired the first few months and still scared of SIDS, I’ve found every minute to be fun and exciting…can’t wait for all the fun and exciting things to come.

  14. Profile photo of Alison LeeAuthor Alison Lee says:

    Motherhood is definitely bittersweet!

  15. Profile photo of Alison LeeAuthor Alison Lee says:

    I wish the first year didn’t pass by so quickly!

  16. Profile photo of gfunkified gfunkified says:

    I love these things, too, and am grateful that I still get to experience them a little bit.

  17. Profile photo of Theresa Theresa says:

    I remember feeling a lot of anxiety when I first took my daughter home. I never would have guessed I would feel that way but I loved every second of her! I miss her sleeping on my chest also, now she’s about to be 1 and she won’t even sit with me for 5 seconds. It’s been a while since shes really cuddled me. Although I am still breast feeding at night so she probably looks at that as our cuddle time. I am slowly weaning her off, most of me is ready to be done but a small part is not lol. I also miss all the Fing noises she would make the first few months while feeding. So much to miss but a lot to look forward to, bitter sweet! 🙂

  18. Profile photo of Alison LeeAuthor Alison Lee says:

    It’s really a gift, the extending of babyhood.

  19. Profile photo of Laura Laura says:

    I still found the first two months really hard with my second too. But once I got through those, I have to agree with all of your loves from the first year. I am not at all concerned about his next step, but I am loving each and every moment. Babyhood is being extended in this house, and I’m loving it.

  20. Profile photo of Alison LeeAuthor Alison Lee says:

    Awwww. Love that you’re enjoying it, they’re not small forever, right?

  21. Profile photo of Alison LeeAuthor Alison Lee says:

    Babies on chest – best thing ever. Cuddles are awesome too!

  22. Profile photo of Leigh Leigh says:

    I love how much easier it is to relax for the 2nd (or in my case, 3rd) baby so you can just enjoy that time! Zoe stopped letting me rock her at 4 months, but picked it back up later when she dropped her nap. So at almost 3, I still sit with her every night before she goes to bed, and most times she falls asleep on me. I love it.

  23. Profile photo of RobinFarr RobinFarr says:

    Funny, I was just thinking last night that I wish the baby would sleep on my chest. He will sleep cuddled on me, though, so I guess I can’t complain.

    I think I managed to enjoy those things the first time around. Definitely enjoying them the second!

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