First Time Mom Diaries: First year of motherhood

Started writing this when Greyson was 11 months old but got to finish when he’s about to turn 17 months (1 year and 5 months)

11 months in and I’m feeling sad my baby’s going to be a toddler soon but relieved we are over the newborn and getting to know stage. How time flies! He’s getting heavier by the week and it’s getting hard to keep up – both in carrying him and also his activities. As his birthday draws near we look back at the 11 months of his life and being new parents to the biggest, priceless blessing in our married life.

The first 3 months or what they call the FOURTH TRIMESTER: PURE CHAOS, and bliss, AND CHAOS.

It was living in the dark inside my room. Why was it dark? I do not know too! But we were creating an atmosphere for him to sleep longer as if he were in my womb. I couldn’t move much because of my leaking wound so I would often retire in the room and just sit for long hours. I felt Grey’s cry was so loud and hearing him cry inconsolably was stressing me out. I didn’t know if he was sleepy, hungry, or cold, or worse, sick. We were always always in a rush! To feed him. He would eat for an hour and wake up the next to eat. We were hoping to catch some sleep. Every time I would face him I would pray that God would give me more milk to feed him and after praying, I would feel peace. Despite the million things running in my mind, by God’s grace I am able to talk to Grey calmly and urge him that he can do it and that he should keep sucking to draw milk out. I am amazed at how God has created the human body and given us milk to supply to our babies.

The first few months was chaos but it was pure bliss as I remember him sleeping on my chest when I burp him or as Jason burps him. He was so small, so so thin and fragile. It was also so peaceful even as I drift off to sleep. It was the best feeling when both of us would sleep at the same time.

It was so chaotic when we went back to the pedia on his 4th week. I dreaded feeding him in public. My mind was a mess, I had a hard time thinking and even deciding what to bring, what to wear, what to do. My pre-pregnancy clothes don’t fit me yet so all the button downs are out of the question. I just bought 2 breastfeeding wear, I was so unprepared! Thankfully my mom bought a few that could get me by. It seems so trivial now but back then we were as confused and as lost as we could ever be! But thank God despite Grey’s cries his weight was growing steadily. Slowly but surely. I was so concerned that he looked super super thin and frail and I was kept questioning my milk supply. I was here and there! I was so anxious with his weight and would often compare him with other babies. They would say breastfed babies would often be lean but Greyson was soooo thin! It would worry us and we would often discuss if we should give him a top up of milk or just decide to mix feed him.

But all worry seemed to stop for a moment as it was pure bliss to see him SMILE for the first time sometime during the 6th week. In my confused state that time, I was honestly convinced he would feed on and on and on till he grows up. Crazy right?? So it was so new to me when around his 6th week he looked up at me, unlatched… and smiled! Then he would coo… Our hearts melted. We would talk to him and pause as if conversing with him. And he would coo. Oh what joy!! <3

By the 2nd month we were having cabin fever and we needed some fresh air – so we went out with Grey for leisure. Just a few minutes on his stroller and he was wailing! His outbursts are so loud it made me panic. We immediately packed up and rode the car so I could feed him privately. I dreaded feeding in public! Was this the way to cross cradle hold? I have no idea! I wondered if all babies cried like him, some moms would say they couldn’t stand the cries of their babies because it was too loud. But when I hear their babies cry it was just so little compared to Grey’s. The moment he cries it was so loud and high! It really made me panic and just want to stay at home until he grows up.

We tried different ways to transport him like the carrier and the stroller.  It was so confusing to use the various carriers lent to us no matter how much I tried watching youtube. I needed an actual demo. The Lillebaby worked best for me but he was still too small for it. Anyway, he would just cry in both carrier and stroller! Little did I know this was the season of letting him get used to it. There were times he would fall asleep in the carrier without me nursing him but then it would change again the next. We really needed a lot of patience and perseverance!

These were the months of teaching him tummy time to strengthen his neck! Tummy time can be done as early as 2 weeks old! He would often cry when we would turn him over. So we would pick him up again. Jason was in charge of the activities and he was so courageous in handling Grey even if he was so unsure about his daddy skills. He taught me how to hold the head properly so I could turn him over for tummy time. I didn’t have the time or energy to play with him because I was so spent just feeding him. My mom was also very helpful during these times as she would give Grey some sunlight in the morning as he had jaundice for almost 3 months! I am also thankful to my mom that it was so instinctive of her to care for Grey. It’s as if she’s been taking care of a newborn all this time! She also taught us that Grey has to have his “ME TIME” as she put him in the play mat / activity mat to look at the animals that dangled. When Grey could open his eyes longer nearing 3 months he would have his “me time”.

Websites like The Baby Sleep Site, WebMD, The Bump, and the app Wonder Weeks helped us to track developmental milestones and what Grey should be hitting every month. We would write this on our mirror. His height and weight and make a checklist if he hit his milestones. I discovered that when he would have longer waking times, he was following a schedule / a pattern. Eat, Wake Time, Sleep or it would often be known as E.A.S.Y. (Eat, Activity, Sleep. You – for me time)

Finally it looks as if we were getting the hang of it. Until the next month when this would all change again. 😛

4 – 6 months : More waking hours and personality coming out 

*More minutes awake and suddenly I do not know what to do during his waking hours! This was the time when I started to realize we do not have toys for his age that would keep him occupied and that we had to buy a few things.

*Tried sleep training for around 5 days, putting him down to sleep at 7PM and let him cry it out in his crib (just beside us) but it was so tiring and draining for us and I figured he still needs the extra feed at night since he looked so thin. We ended up with him sleeping beside me again.

*We heard some babies are already sleeping through the night (meaning 4-5 hours straight) or from 12 midnight-5am. But not with Greyson! I was still breastfeeding him every 2-3 hours but it wasn’t so bad because as soon as he latched, he would fall asleep and I would sleep as well.

*Sleep regression! was real. When we would get used to him sleeping longer now, he would suddenly wake up from 30 mins in his naps and wake up every 45 minutes at night. wahhh! Sleep when will you come to me??

*What we discovered: He was such a smiley baby! He was crying so much during the first 3 months but then by the 4th month he made up for all the crying with smiling and giggles. His personality is starting to show and we were so glad he was smiley it was pleasant taking care of him.

*We were also trying to let him sit with the tripod position wherein his hands would prop him up.

This was also the series of months wherein he was starting to get chubby cheeks and chubby legs and I was getting chubbier too! :)) I took the advice of my friend to eat lots of fatty food like a thick slab of butter on my toast, lots of oatmeal and cocoa with it. She said she lost weight anyway when the baby was 1 year old and somehow assured me I would lose weight by then too by caring for Greyson. Oh how I wish we were the same body type and had the same metabolism!!

This was also the first time Greyson developed a cold on his 4th month. It lasted about a week and a few days. I honestly thought that breastfeeding would prevent him from getting a cold but it’s not the case. It’s not the case too that he would heal faster. It was something all babies had to go through what with all the virus around, they need to be immune from the various strains. I remember it being tough since I had to sleep sitting down yet again while feeding him since his head needs to be elevated. But nevertheless we survived his first cold and his body could only get tougher!

7-9 months – The beginning of fun and messy feeding times. ALSO his waking hours just got real.

I decided to feed him his first solids on his 7th month and his first was squash with breastmilk. In my other blog entry, I recalled how difficult it was for me to collect milk. I could barely pump even if I tried manual and electric. It was normal to collect about 1.5-2 oz after every feed but I had barely since Greyson would often feed on and on. I had to hand express every time I fed him solids and I would collect another measly amount of milk.

He enjoyed his first solids and he seemed to want more! Our pedia advised 1 tsp a day was enough, and then it became 1 tsp per meal and soon we were increasing it to 2 tsps. I remember steaming them along with rice and storing them in little cube containers that resembled an ice cube tray.

These were the months he was becoming more interactive and was already showing his personality. Greyson can get easily frustrated since he would know what he want and he couldn’t communicate it.

On his 9th month, the water crisis struck us and it was such a challenging time since we live on the 3rd floor and water supply was low to none. It was so tiring caring for him, trying to stick to his routine and running the home. But I thank God for sustaining me with super energy to accomplish the things that need to be done! These were the months I started to get back up and cook at home. I started regaining energy to work at home.

Every month we would research about the developmental milestones and this would be our goal to help him reach this. At the end of his 9th month nearing his 10th, he started to stand up with support! We were thrilled but at the same time, I feel his baby-ness slipping through my fingers.

Around these months he uttered his first word “Mama” and I was floating! I loved hearing it over and over again. I have been waiting for this moment.

This was also the first few months he did his first hand signal which was to wave bye! It was so funny and he has been using it to call things too. He has been doing lots of funny things like wiping the table and sleeping. He learned his first chore probably because he can see us around the house wiping and sweeping.

10-12 months – Eating table food and walking a few steps

On his 10th month, our pedia gave the go signal for Greyson to eat table food! Of course we need to avoid salt at all costs. But when we go out to eat, I just had to choose what seemed safe enough for him. He was so fond of eating and I was so glad he wasn’t a picky eater (just yet!)

*These were also the months we intentionally taught him hand signals so if ever he needed to  communicate something, he could gesture. He wouldn’t gesture back until probably his 12th month, wherein he would gesture “more”. He signaled More because he wanted more rambutan! He is such a foodie!

After he turned 11 months, while I was on the phone and he was leaning towards my legs, he got so bored, he took his first few steps going to his play fence! I almost dropped the call to catch him on video =))

Milestones happen so swiftly!! I am so thankful to God for providing for us and to Jason that he gave me that option to stay at home for the meantime to be a full time mom to Greyson. It was so wonderful to witness his every milestone, to know what all his little sounds and gestures meant and to be able to interpret them. Sure it wasn’t everything and there were times I would feel crazy at home because time seemed to pass so slowly and yet so fast at the same time. It was like watching TV in black and white and everything was in analog. After the busy-ness and excitement of life and work, suddenly it would all be in slow motion. It takes a lot to be intentional and observe Greyson to be able to train him in the way he should go. But God is giving me the grace to endure and be joyful about what seems to be mundane things to me but exciting times for Grey. I thank God for giving me fresh eyes to see from Grey’s perspective – to see things anew, to just be amazed at this tiny little being He has given us for us to love and care for. True that some things can wait and all the things I used to do are put on hold. But seeing the joy in Grey’s face, watching him grow and all his antics, I wouldn’t trade being a mom to Grey for anything. <3

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