What a year. Isla turned one last month and I just still can’t believe how fast time has gone (catch up with this post for a mid-year reflection). Becoming a parent has been the most amazing thing but there were times when things were so difficult and I didn’t know what the other side would look like. I wasn’t sure who I would be as a parent and this first year has taught me so much.
If you read my previous post about breastfeeding, you know it has not been easy. Shortly after I wrote my previous post, breastfeeding was no longer making me curl my toes. I partially contribute that to our lip tie revision but I also think a lot of it has to do with Isla growing and her mouth getting bigger. Aside from the pain, I’ve always loved breastfeeding. It blows my mind that my body is able to nourish her and at nearly 13 months, we’re still going strong. She was a bit slow to take to solids, but around 11 months or so, she started eating three solid meals a day. She still nurses about 5 times a day, which sounds like a lot, but it really suits us both and I do not plan to stop until either or both of us feel ready. I won’t lie though, she got her first molar recently and breastfeeding was BRUTAL during that teething period. I’ve always surprised myself but our perseverance.
This is the parenting challenge that I did not expect. For the first 16 or so weeks of her life, Isla slept pretty well. My first day back to work was the first day she slept through the night. I am someone who has a relatively high sleep need, so this was very important to me. However, the four month sleep regression hit us hard. At first, I thought we were just going through a rough patch. She would wake up once a night, then twice a night, then three times or more. I put up with this for nearly FIVE months before I cracked. For the first 8 months or so, Isla slept in our room (in a basinet, then PNP, then her crib) and occasionally we brought her into bed with us (starting around 6 or 7 months). This helped us get by until we moved.
Looking back, I’m sure moving wasn’t helping our attempts to get Isla to sleep better. We moved her into her own room but she was still taking hours to get down for the night and then was waking at least 3 times a night and wouldn’t go back down unless I nursed her. Right before I left my job, I started reading Precious Little Sleep. This book (and podcast and Facebook group) saved me. We eventually got Isla to fall asleep independently and within a day or two, she was sleeping through the night. MAGIC. However, it took about 10 days for her to fall asleep without crying, which nearly broke me. Thank god for Chris doing the bedtime routine so I could wear headphones to drown out the tears. We pushed through and, knock on wood, now have a baby who sleeps without tears all night. HALLELUJAH!
I haven’t overly stressed about the various milestones and timing but I have been reminded over and over again that Isla will do things in her own time. My nephew took his first step at 10 months, so I sort of anticipated Isla walking sometime around or before her first birthday. She wasn’t. My pediatrician encouraged us to reach out to Grow With Me if Isla wasn’t standing within a couple weeks of her birthday, and lo and behold, she was days later. I think it’s easy to become consumed with timelines and the expectations of when our babies will achieve different milestones, but I have learned that Isla might not do everything when the average baby does, but she does eventually get there.
It has been the hardest but most magical year of my life. I feel like I’m overflowing with gratitude and love for my sweet girl. Staying home with her full time is such a privilege and I’m soaking it all up. We have really found a groove and I cannot wait to see what year two has in store.