This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.
What a wonderful thing to bring a beautiful baby home! The love we have for our kids is instantaneous and insatiable – we just can’t get enough of them. But getting them home and getting them settled into their role as part of the family can be interesting. When we had our first baby, after she was settled into a sleep schedule that was predictable, I became obsessed with filling her every moment of every day with activities and new experiences. I was afraid that if I left any quiet moments in the air, I would be missing out on her development. It took me a long time to realize that she was experiencing new things and growing each and every day, even when I wasn’t creating activities for her every waking moment. And it took a while to figure out how to fill her days with memorable moments while not being exhausted.
After three babies, I have kind of discovered the activities that really matter in the first year. The ones that fill our days and have created some of the most memorable moments for our family. They create a sort-of schedule or a checklist that I can look back at when I feel like I have exhausted all the things a baby can do in a day. And being able to check off the list helps me to know I have done my job as a parent, even if we haven’t left the house!
Babies of a certain age absolutely LOVE mirror time! There is a sweet moment when you see your child switch from thinking they are looking at another baby in the mirror and recognize they are looking at themselves! But even before that switch goes off, sitting with baby in front of the mirror every day can be such a fun experience. One of my favorite pictures from our baby boy’s first year was taken during our early mirror time! Our little man is about to turn 1 and he just recently started playing in front of the mirror and smiling fully at himself. He also loves to watch me get ready in front of the mirror in the morning because there are two mamas! Here are some simple ideas of what to do during mirror time with your little one.
Meal times with babies are the best! And the worst – in the mess department. But, Oh the fun to see baby’s reaction to each new taste and texture! Our little boy was very slow to get into the table food, which was different this time around. But as he is approaching his first birthday, he is getting much more interested in eating everything we are eating!
My favorite first food for AG was definitely strawberries this summer. My husband, on a whim, tossed a strawberry in one of those mesh feeder things and gave it to him. No bib. No high chair. Just the middle of the floor with a super cute onesie on. It was a BIG HUGE sweet mess!
This was the first time we were absolutely SOLD on using WaterWipes to clean up our kids after messy meals – if only for the no-fuss factor because they don’t have chemicals. We now have a pack of WaterWipes in our diaper bag at all times to use for all THREE of our messy eater kids! Since then, we have found all sorts of uses for our WaterWipes!
Early and often reading with babies is so beneficial, but it is also so fun. Our first baby LOVED books from the start. Our second took some time to warm up to them, but now she loves them. And our third baby is interested in certain books – he definitely has his favorites! What is so important with reading to babies under a year is to choose super simple books and only read one or two at a time. Babies do not have the attention span for long reads. Picking a small number of books you love for your baby and reading them hundreds of times in the first year will definitely get them excited about books!
One of my favorite parts of reading to babies is when they discover how to turn the pages of the books. I encourage them from an early age to turn the page at the end of each page we read. And after just a really short amount of time, they can do it themselves. I personally think it keeps them engaged longer when they have a task to do while reading short books.
And I love that my girls LOVE to read to their younger brother. From the very earliest days of his life at home, they would ask to read to him. And he would sit patiently and watch them read to him, listening to the sweet sounds of their voices and getting connecting to them. What sweetness!
Tummy Time/Back Time
Typically tummy time needs to start being part of baby’s daily routine right after he loses his umbilical cord. And there are some babies who LOVE it…and some babies who HATE it! We have had a good mix of reactions to the tummy time process, but it is one of the absolute essential parts of a baby’s day that we do it any way! One of my most popular posts is a list of tips for tummy time.
I love the bonding that happens during tummy time for baby and the rest of the family. Our girls could barely wait until AG started tummy time each day. They would lay down on the floor with him and talk him through the entire process! It was the sweetest.
AG is different from our girls in that he had a very rough start to sleeping (at all). He would only sleep for extended periods of time if he was laying on my chest as I sat in a recliner. It was sweet, but it was ROUGH! Every time we put him down to sleep on his back, he would awake with a start (thank you, Moro reflex!) and cry until I put him back in his preferred sleeping position. After he lost his umbilical cord, I was playing with him during tummy time one day when he went to sleep within seconds of getting in a comfortable tummy position. The house was quiet and I needed to get some things done, so I left him to sleep in the living room. He woke up 3 hours later!! That is when we realized we had to break the number one sleep rule. And we haven’t looked back!
NOTE: I will caution you, if you are a rule breaker like us, remember to give your kid “back time” each day. They need to learn how to roll over from both positions. We now have a little one who fusses for “back time.” But we do it anyway, because it is so important for his development!
I think a lot of us forget just how important it is for our kids to get the proper amount of sleep each day (and night). And in the first year of baby’s life, they need a LOT of sleep! And figuring out how that works best for your kid is priority one! Do they need a super dark, quiet room? Can they sleep anywhere? Working through the process of figuring out what makes your kid’s sleep button work is not easy, but it is so worth it! And developing a schedule your baby can count on is an important part of that process.
With AG, we are pretty blessed that when we put him down for a nap in his room, he goes right to sleep. But if we are out of the house, sleep is not going to happen, EVER. Since our schedule requires us to be out of the house in the morning three mornings a week, I try to make sure he is as comfortable as possible on those days and that he gets a super long nap in the afternoon. On the mornings we are home, I put him down for a morning nap, too. He seems to appreciate the extra nap on those days!
This was the hardest thing for me to realize as a new mom. That I could leave my little one alone to explore and discover for herself and I would not be scarring her for life by my inattention. As I said before, I thought I needed to fill her every moment with some sort of stimulation. Instead, as I noticed later, she was getting sensory stimulation at all times. She was discovering the rhythms of our household, she was hearing new noises, trying to discover what made the noises, and seeing new colors and images all the time.
Giving our baby a chance to explore to the very edges of his world as it expands is so fun to watch. During baby’s first year, their world goes from a crib, to a blanket, to the entire area of the house very quickly! Currently our little man loves to go into the play area and pull up the foam mats on the floor. He has discovered the one “no-no” in the house so far. And I think he revels in the reaction he gets when he goes in there. He also tries to crawl fast enough to get into all the rooms we typically close off to him.
Setting up simple sensory bins for baby is a great way to focus their attention during this part of their day. But whether you have the energy to create a sensory bin or not, rest assured, your baby is still growing and learning every day! They may even figure out how to open up and pull out each and every wipe in a wipe container!
It has been said a million times by a million of wise parents: “Soak up every precious moment!” And it is SO TRUE! Each moment with your baby is a potential memory. But there a thousand tiny moments that slip by unnoticed that you can never get back. If there is anything I get bummed about when my kids get bigger is the decrease in cuddle time. There are so many things to do and places to go as kids get bigger. But those precious few moments of cuddle time they are just indescribable!
Lately, as our AG has been getting bigger and is sleeping better through the night, I have been taking a few moments when he is awake at night to cuddle with him. To soak in his baby-ness! To smell the sweet scent of his hair. To relish the sweet small head resting gently on my shoulder. These moments are fleeting.
If I could tell you the one thing that HAS to be in every single one of your baby’s days in the first year, I would say this! And it is not just for your little one. In fact, it is mostly for you! You will still get cuddle time with your little ones after they are walking, but it will not be the same. Soak it in, parents! It is just so precious!
I want to thank Water ipes for sponsoring my stroll down memory lane for the past year! I have been wanting to share our simple schedule for baby’s first year, but they provided an opportunity to share it while thinking of the sweet and silly moments we have shared with AG this year. We love WaterWipes for their softness and purity and think of them as a must have for our diaper bag!
To find out more about WaterWipes, check out their website. They have some super sweet videos to get the nostalgia flowing. Like this one: