It feels like it was only yesterday.
The day I woke up with a giddiness and profound lack of knowledge regarding labour and birth and found myself walking into a delivery suite with mixed emotions at the prospect of becoming a first time mum.
Like any new mum, I was initially warned of everything that could possibly go wrong in labour and birth and as for the pain, I was pre-warned it was something every woman couldn’t describe even if they tried their damn hardest to find the right words. I, also, was educated about how I’d have this overwhelming urge to cry uncontrollably, kiss my baby constantly for the rest of their life and possibly, within an inch of his/her life.
As for that overwhelming sense of desire to protect them at all costs, wrap them up in cotton wool and bubble wrap and make sure they’ve got a crash helmet on in case of accidents and you’ve spent hours of the early morning and researching which side of the vehicle will be less prone to accidents (I may or may not be talking from experience!).
I discovered some of the warnings and a few things I had to discover upon my own some were correct and an amazing but thoroughly tiring journey within its self.
With a fluttering of an eyelid, my son has grown from a tiny 5lb 2oz newborn babe to a scrumptious little toddler, who is a month shy of turning one when posting this. However, before I find myself opening a new box of Kleenex tissues (I really should buy some shares in this company!) and burst into tears; let’s talk about the exciting new discoveries, milestones and how motherhood has been treating me as I update you about Baby O’Chunky’s 9 months of life.
BABY O’CHUNKY 9 MONTH UPDATE
WEIGHT: 8.25KG / 18.18LBS
LENGTH: 72CMS / 28 INCHES
For a child who absolutely hated and despised tummy time and would scream non-stop, I’m excited to announce Baby O’ is crawling! While I must admit there were a few times where I questioned my parenting skills when it came to tummy time, I figured Baby O’ would take his time and get the feelings of the land before he surprised us.
At eight months of age, Baby O’Chunky had mastered the rolling from back to front and vice versa with often a surprised look on his face before the reality of how far he wanted to go seemed to settle in. The first time of seeing this amazing goal being achieved, I excitedly facetimed my parents and showed them the newest milestone. What I didn’t expect to be told was, “You wait. He’ll be crawling before you know it!”
Exactly three days later, my baby went from rolling with glee to scooting around the living room like an army soldier.
While it’s fabulous having a baby who loves crawling around the living room, peering out the front door when Mr. Darcy comes home and staring at me, while I’m informing him that pulling out the books is a massive no-no (I’m not going to gentle-parent my child); I cannot get over the safety gates around the house and find them to be a pain in the rear end!
Speaking of safety, I’ve now resorted to firmly closing the gates behind me as I leave a room. Merely for the fact, Baby O’ has begun to pull himself up with the assistance of gate bars and is beginning to show signs of wanting to walk!
So much so, we were at the beach recently and put Baby O’ down at the water edge and he decided to start walking with some help from his Aunty Kaffy. This moment was beautifully captured for us to look back on but I’m not ready for him to be independently walking, just yet.
Teeth! Baby O’ has 4 teeth!! 2 on top and 2 on the bottom.
Boy, does he love to flash those puppies non-stop and at any one given notice, boom… teeth! Those little beauties are more times than not, the showstopper to any conversation as people are often finding themselves distracted by these little pearly white teeth. As a result, Mr. Darcy and I often find ourselves being complimented by family members, on how adorably gorgeous Baby O’Chunky looks like and how much he’s changed since they last saw him.
Although I’m super-duper proud of Baby O’ and his teeth (can you tell?), the teething journey hasn’t been as enjoyable as one would originally think and its been a rough patch for all three of us.
While Baby O’s teeth came in quite quickly, normally within a week or two of showing the typical signs of teething and the early morning scream sessions and us stumbling around the dark (you think we’d have discovered electricity and turned on a light or something…); our teething journey began around 6-7 months of age and its not showing any sign of disappearing.
However, the past month or so has been a slightly long winded and drawn-out process of checking Baby O’s gums almost on a daily basis and struggling in the dark. Its safe to say, after a few days of little to no sleep, the whole dynamics of teething really got to us.
It resulted in there being plenty of moments spent on the couch, cuddling a crying and ear grabbing toddler while crying myself as a sleep deprived and slightly dazed Mr. Darcy sat next to me on the floor, holding onto my foot.
I can see the funny side in this at the end of the teething tunnel and that being, it almost feels like I’m in labour all over again! Except this time, I’m not struggling with trying to breath my way through contractions, dance around the room to bring that baby further down in my pelvis and Mr. Darcy standing there like a deer caught in the headlights.
Having said this, I’m not sure whether its due to being sleep deprived (some nights) and highly emotional over the fact I’m rediscovering my baby is growing yet again, that time is slipping away and the knowledge of this being incredibly hard upon a little body has played a toll upon us all.
It’s been within the past two months of having written Baby O’Chunkys 6 month update, that Mr. Darcy and I have truly seen his little personality take affect and really shine through.
What has really became evident is that Baby O’ contains a mixture of both of our personalities. Thankfully, he has Mr. Darcy’s laid back and highly thoughtful approach to all things pertaining to life and Baby O’ has the unique capabilities of morphing himself into a miniature male version of myself.
Either way, Baby O’Chunky is an ultra-laid back and chilled out little guy with an equal amount of sass and attitude. Least to say, Lois (my mother) finds it highly amusing when karma comes in the form of a 9 month old and isn’t afraid to remind me of what I was like as a child.
While Baby O’Chunky is utmost content hanging out and about with me, he’s been showing signs of pure fascination with the outside world. Particularly enjoys it when he can interact with other adults and children of various ages and is enjoying being taught the foundations to being gentle with other children.
As my sister in law is about to give birth (has given birth at time of publish) and we want to have this foundation established before the next Baby O’Chunky no. 2 arrives.
One of my greatest amusements is Baby O’ has discovered the art of being shy around people before giving someone a toothy and highly cheeky grin. He’s also learnt what strangers are and doesn’t like it when they try to give him a hug or pat as he’ll arch away from them and if it were possible, glare at them. I suspect he’ll be a cautious little guy until he reaches his early teenage years and if it’s anything to go by with my brothers… oh dearie me!
Mr. Darcy and I also firmly believe it’s a great time to start introducing the concept of communication skills by reading a vast quantity of books. Having signed Baby O up to our local library at the tender age of 9 weeks (can never start too early!), a majority of the books I often tend to borrow come from a wide range of genres and ages. Thus far, he’s experienced plenty of nursery rhymes and the ever-popular childhood books of mine as there is something absolutely soul-warming about reading Beatrix Potter and mischievous Peter Rabbit, The Tailor of Gloucester and my ever favourite, The Story of Ferdinand.
Recently, Baby O’Chunky has become a fan of splashing and trying to drink the pool and bath water. He’s discovered if he splashes the water and leaves his mouth open, he’ll cop a load of water and will be able to drink the mouthful. Something of which, Baby O’ is quite pleased with himself as he chuckles away while Mum and Dad mop up the water in the bathroom.
While being carefully watched in the bathtub, Baby O’ has started teaching himself the basic mannerism of breaststroke and has transitioned smoothly into the pool. In fact, he has shown an immense liking to the pool as we often spend hours splashing and or being carried around on his little inflatable toy (man he looks adorable!) and is a real water baby.
Although, he’s not particularly a fan of the beach. Whether it be because of the sand under his toes or the waves rolling in and out and the possible fear of being eaten.
I spoke of introducing Baby O’Chunky a trial taste of solids around 4 months in his last update and after a few tantrums and sobs, we both came to the conclusion that neither of us were ready for solids. We both mutually agreed to continue breastfeeding and it wasn’t until Baby O’ started watching Mr. Darcy and I eating our dinner and licking his little lips, we decided to give solids another go. Baby O’ had his first real taste of pureed apple and super berries at 6-7 months and he hasn’t looked back since.
Like many things, I’ve learnt the hard way that he hates anything with real lumps and will actually throw his food over the edge of his highchair tray or he’ll slap it with his hands and play with it.
However, if you’ve got anything that looks, smells and tastes like toast with butter or almond butter and real milk custard, Baby O’ is down for it!
Speaking of playing with food, I did read about baby led weaning almost being a similar way as it encourages the baby to feel, hold and eat their food with their hands and familiarise themselves with different textures. While it sounds like a great idea, Baby O’ isn’t doing the laundry. So, we’ve stuck to using a spoon, plastic bib and a drop cloth that used to be an old quilt cover, brought from an op-shop.
From the first time of having introduced solids at 6-7 months, I established an eating routine and have been pretty determined to follow it. I’m not sure where I got the routine from as I’ve read plenty of books and mum groups posts relating to baby food, introducing solids at what age and cooking meals for babies, I discovered the ‘eat, play, sleep’ routine. So our typical day’s routine goes something like this:
Baby O’ wakes up and has some milk, which is followed by having something for breakfast. Whether it be some toast and scrambled or boiled egg and apple and oatmeal. Afterwards, I normally give him a toy to play with so I can clean up and bring his toys out for independent play and then, I move him to the lounge floor and I sit back with a cup of coffee. Normally after 45 minutes, I’ll read to him a few books and sing a few nursery rhymes and by the end of the fourth round of ‘der glumph’, Baby O’ starts showing signs he’s ready for bed. I give him some milk or water before putting him down to self soothe and when he wakes from his nap, we do it all over again.
As for breastfeeding, Baby O’Chunky began to show signs of wanting to wean himself off the breast roughly around the age of 8 months and it was a few weeks after our wedding in September of last year, that he’d completely weaned himself off. No amount of me walking around topless, cuddling him in bed or prompting him by sticking my nipple into his face would encourage him to want to latch on and suckle away.
It also didn’t help that my milk supply had dropped as I wasn’t pumping often like I’d originally been and I was secretly gearing up for the return to work in the new year. I also knew with my line of work, I wouldn’t necessarily have the vast opportunities to pump; unless I sat huddled in the women’s toilet, trying to eat my lunch and pump at the same time.
I must admit after 211 (yeap, you read correctly!) days after having started my breastfeeding journey, I had a bit of a silent cry while putting my nursing friendly bras and shirts into a plastic tub and stashed them for my next pregnancy.
Having thought about a few of the mums from my mum’s group who hadn’t been able to breastfeed for various reasons, I thought about how they’d felt when realising it weren’t possible and their baby would be nourished and nurtured with formula milk.
During the time of my milk supply dropping and trying everything to keep it flowing, I finally took the plunge and opened the container of formula milk I had stashed away in the back of my pantry for my ‘what if’ day. Since that moment of giving him a bottle of formula, I discovered the benefits of not having to juggle a baby, a breast pad and keeping my modesty intact while people stare at me.
Not that I cared in the slightest as to what they were thinking or feeling while I fed my baby, either way. Because at the end of the day, I realised knowledge is best and having a happy and healthy baby means a happy, healthy and content mama.
Baby O’Chunky has fully transitioned into being a big boy!
Upon returning from our little honeymoon, we made the discovering one evening that Baby O’Chunky had had a growth spurt and was a smidge off from not being able to fit into the basinet anymore. A part of me was a little bit upset because it meant he was now having to sleep in the cot, which had been sitting there for over a year, empty. While another part of me was delighted beyond anything as it meant a new start to sleeping, a new phase of introducing Baby O’ to his bedroom and adult entertainment without fearing a psychologically damaged infant.
The transition to Baby O’s big boy room and bed (cot) began with weaning myself and the notion of having an infant beside me, so I could check on him for the 1747376th time during the night. Having come to terms of transitioning him out of the basinet, I introduced Baby O’ to his bedroom and bed for daytime naps or I’d leave him in his cot for half an hour of playtime as I tidied up his bedroom.
As for night time, we moved Baby O’Chunky out into the little area off our bedroom and I knew he was close enough for me to be able to feed him (in case he woke for a feed) and do my routine SIDS check.
Nearly a week after having begun my detox, Baby O’Chunky was transitioned fully into his bed and has slept there ever since. Although, there has been a few times where I’ve been woken up to Baby O’Chunky hysterically crying due to what I’d describe as being the ‘bogey monster’ being in his room. Least to say, we haven’t had any issues since I got rid of the bogey monster and his mirrored home.
As Baby O’ is on the go more and more each day, we’ve become incredibly aware of the dangerous zones in our home and my biggest zones are the kitchen and hallway leading to the guest bathroom and laundry. Having experienced Baby O’ joining me in the kitchen while cooking on Boxing Day and as he stared at the hot oven in fascination, we decided it was officially time to establish safe zones. The next day when the shops reopened, I went shopping and brought Target’s Deluxe Safety Gates and returned home to set these puppies up. Now, I’ve got the kitchen, hallway to the guest bedroom and laundry and our lounge room section off into areas for Baby O’ and I’ve got peace of mind while I’m cooking in the kitchen and he’s playing in the lounge.
Having experienced a few technical difficulties with my family heirloom SilverCross English pram, that nearly resulted in Baby O’ and I tumbling to the ground; I started researching prams and began to write a list down of what I wanted. My list included travel compatibility, reversible seat option, adjustable handle bar (because I’m 5’7 while my siblings and husband are over 6 feet tall), multiple backrest recline, adjustable leg resting positions, storage basket and your standard rain and shade covers. I originally brought Maxi-Cosi’s Zeila 2-in-1 Bassinet Stroller and after a few uses, I returned it for Steelcraft’s Strider Compact Deluxe Edition Pram and oh my!
It’s the best bloody decision I could’ve made pram wise!
Everything is ticked off my list and plenty more! There were plenty of reasons as to why Mr. Darcy and I made the formal decision to settle on spending a little bit more for a greater quality pram and really invested my time and energy into researching different prams. I kept coming back to Steelcraft for it had the tandem seat compatibility, which was right up my alley as I was thinking about what the future may entail and I knew, as a mum who likes to be out and about without a child on her hip, the Strider Compact will come in handy when Baby O’ is up and walking (aka running!) and I’ve got a newborn.
Double bonus points is being able to adjust the seat in a variety of different positions and has front and back optional for seating arrangements.
Plus, you can easily attach a capsule (for mama’s with capsules) and a bassinet for when the newest addition is exhausted! If that alone hadn’t sold me than I was definitely fan-girling over the extra-large canopy, peek-a-boo window and easy fold action.
To which, you don’t have to remove the seat if you don’t wish!
This is hands down, amazing! I get giddy at the thought of not having to remove the seat, dismantle the frame and try to squeeze everything into my boot space. Only downside is… it weighs 13 kilograms, but as I see it: I’m getting an ab, arms and butt workout!
Who knew I’d get so excited over a pram and all of its gadgets?
Mentioning family heirlooms, Baby O’ uses my childhood highchair. Something of which, brings immense joy to not only myself but also my parents, as I am often told by my parents that we have/had the same mannerisms when it comes to loving and appreciating food. Although, the only difference between Baby O’ and myself is Baby O’ loves his meat and I was gung-ho on being a vegetarian and refused to eat anything with meat in it.
As a family, Baby O’ and his parents are currently experiencing the most dreaded thing to raising an infant and that is: teething. There has been plenty of nights where we’ve been woken up to Baby O’ screaming in pain and after probe a gum, you can feel the razor edges of a tooth trying to break through.
Our go-to essentials during the day time for effective pain relief is frequent applications of teething gel, a dose of Panadol or Nurofen (if the pain is really bad) and chewing toys. I love chew toys filled with water as you can pop into the freezer, give it to infants to chew on and relieve the pressure and, they’re incredibly cheap. I haven’t used an amber necklace, which some mums’ encourage for others to use for teething, but I’ve heard about the choking hazards and other associated hazards and that really deterred me from using them.
As for the 3am wake ups, we often apply another coat of teething gel and some Panadol as Baby O’ often gets a fever while he’s teething and we give him another bottle of milk and plenty of hugs, kisses and encouraging words.
We are definitely more settled in our daily routine and I’m getting so much joy from spending my days reading, singing and entertaining Baby O’ with stories of my childhood. I don’t think I’ll grow tired of singing the ‘der glumph’ song and seeing Baby O’ grinning widely and giggling. Even though I am absolutely loving being a mum, I have to say it is hard and I’m struggling slightly.
I know it’s because I’ve returned to the workforce, I’m having to teach myself how to juggle everything without dropping anything and somehow, find the time to sit down and write a post.
At the end of most days and evenings, I am flat out mentally and physically exhausted and I want a large cheeseburger and a side serving of something dairy based. I’ve realised when making the decision to return to the workforce that it would be hard to balance work, family, a blog and college as well.
Let alone, finding a moment or two for myself. Speaking of which, I’m writing this post while doing a facemask and watching an episode or two of CSI.
Since starting work, settling into the idea of returning to work and
going on clinical placement come February, cleaning and maintaining my household chores and raising an infant, I’ve got less time for other things that once held my interest. I mean, I forget the last time I wore a full-face of makeup and curled my hair.
There’s been times where I’ve been more selective of how I’m spending my downtime and often resort to writing and scheduling posts while Baby O’ and Mr. Darcy are asleep and other times, have wanted to veg out on the couch with a box of chocolates and a glass of milk, with Netflix running in the background.
However, I’m come to realise and accept I cannot do everything and it’ll take time to accomplish goals. All I have to do is choose wisely, embrace the chaos of my life at the moment and when I graduate from university
as a Registered Midwife in the future, I’ve had one hellva journey and there’s been plenty of fulltime mama’s who’ve been in my shoes and have achieved their goals.
This little bit of knowledge continues to spur me onwards and like Dory once said in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming….swim, swim, swim!”