September 16, 2015

10 Things I've Learned the First Year of Parenting

Adalyn is almost 1 year old! I can't even believe it. This year has flown by so quick. I thought that I would be sad when she turned one, but I am not. Since about 8 or 9 months old, Adalyn has become so fun and is constantly learning and I can see her understanding so much. I am excited for the future, not scared of it. Time, just don't fly by too fast now!

The first year of parenting has a ton of ups and some downs. So many moments are amazing and make you smile. Your heart will feel like it is going to burst from the amount of love you feel for this tiny human. There are also some hard times such as lack of sleep and teething but they always get better.

Here are some of the things that I have learned my first year of parenting:

1. The first few weeks are hard- but they get better
Those first weeks! Wow, they were hard. There are around the clock feedings, lots of crying (from all parties involved) and it seems like there is no time. I say give it 6 weeks and things get easier. Then, after 8 weeks, things got a lot easier for us. Just hang in there and I promise, things will get easier!

2. Labor is not as hard as I expected
I'm sure that many moms will not agree with me on this one but I imagined labor to be a lot more painful than it actually was. Sure, it was painful but not that bad. Plus, you know that at the end of it, you will be holding a beautiful baby.

I will say, that for me, the hardest part was recovery after birth (I was in fairly severe pain for 1 month) and the endurance that it took to push her out.

3. Babies grow so fast 
It's crazy to look at pictures and see how much Adalyn has grown. It is hard to believe that it wasn't long ago that she was not eating, feeding herself, walking, crawling, sitting up, etc. Love each stage that your baby is in because in no time at all, they will be doing something new.

4. Babies love toys that are not real toys
My baby rarely plays with her actual toys. The best "toys" are tupperware, water bottles, my phone or anything really that is not hers.

5. Breastfeeding is hard
We made it to 1 year of breastfeeding and do not plan to stop yet! Yay! That first month much pain, sores, leaking, etc. I suggest asking a mom for tips who has been through it and calling a lactation consultant. These two things were so beneficial to me and helped me make it as far as we have.

The pain eventually fades, the leaking stops, feedings are no longer every 2-3 hours and instead, it is beautiful bonding experience for you and your baby where you are giving them the best nutrition possible.

6. It is super important to keep your relationship strong with your spouse
In those first few weeks of being a parent, all of your time and energy goes into taking care of your little baby. After you get out this fog, make sure to spend time with your spouse and keep your relationship strong.

Troy and I talk about it all the time how parenting is hard enough as is and we cannot imagine being a single parent or parents with a weak relationship. Talk things out, divide up duties and most of all, don't forget to say thank you for all that they do because that goes further than anything.

7. Sleep deprivation sucks- but it will get better
It has been a hard year in terms of sleep. In the beginning, baby is up to eat every 2-3 hours making sleep very broken and making you exhausted. I was terrible at sleeping when the baby slept because of blogging, chores, etc.

Adalyn still gets up sometimes in the night. Last night, she was up at 4:30 AM making today at work very difficult. Something that Troy and I realized awhile ago that helped us a ton is that everything is a phase. Bad sleep for a few nights may be due to teething or an upset stomach and goes away eventually.

8. My husband is an excellent father
This comes as no surprise to me because when I met Troy, he was always playing with his cousins and I knew he would be a great dad one day. Fast forward to this past year when Troy became a dad and blew me away with how amazing he is. He is there with me helping out every step of the way. I could not do this parenting thing without him and am so thankful!

9. It takes a village
Along with a great spouse, it has been so necessary for us to have family to help us out. My mom, sister and Troy's mom watch Adalyn while I am at work. At family get-togethers, everyone is obsessed with Adalyn. We are so thankful for the support through this first year of parenting.

10. Life is so much more fun with a kid
I hope that this post didn't sound whiny in any sort of way because having a child is the best thing to ever happen to me. Life is so much more fun with Adalyn and I know that the future is going to be amazing with her as our daughter. Holidays with a kid have so much more meaning.

Going on simple trips such a walk, to the park or for ice cream are just so much more awesome. Troy and I love being parents and look forward to seeing what this next year brings.

I love you Adalyn Grace!

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