Ahhh, so many precious milestones in a baby’s first year. Their first smile, their first wave, the first time they roll over and sit up. There are so many heart-warming things the average baby will achieve in the first 12 months or so of their lives, all guaranteed to leave parents bursting with pride.
However, as a mum of three children, auntie to five and friend to many more little ones, I have noticed a whole host of other not so wonderful milestones that babies seem guaranteed to achieve before their first birthday. How many of these can you tick off the list? Should we demand a new page in the baby book for these not-so-precious moments?!
1. The first time they stay awake all night
Yep, literally all night. Not a single moment of sleep. This usually happens on the second night of their little lives, after they have lulled you into a false sense of security with a decent night’s sleep the previous night. Nothing you do will help your baby fall asleep. It’s actually a syndrome – Second Night Syndrome to be precise. Except it’s not limited to the second night. All I can say is that as rubbish as it is to survive on no sleep, at least you know where your baby is. Friends who are parents to teenagers tell me that being up all night with a wide-awake newborn is a lot easier than being awake all night worrying about a teenager who doesn’t come home at curfew time.
2. The moment the remains of their umbilical cord fall off
As much as I adore my babies, the way the remains of their umbilical cord turns into a crispy stump is pretty gross. All brown and smelly within a few days. Apparently some parents keep their baby’s umbilical remains. Now, I don’t try to judge other parents, and I admit I’m the kind of mum who keeps every little memento, but that’s a bit too far in my book. All three of my babies’ belly button stumps went straight in a nappy bag and into the bin. Cardiff Daddy wouldn’t even look at them, never mind touch them!
3. The first time they wee everywhere while you are changing their nappy
Their nappy is full, so you go to change it… you take off the dirty nappy… and then suddenly…. your baby is weeing. Everywhere. No matter how quick you are with a muslin cloth, you’re in trouble. A baby boy’s wee will go upwards, most likely in the direction of your face but certainly all over him and his clothes. A baby girl’s wee will trickle all down her back, resulting in a soggy wet back. Either way, they, and probably you, will need a change of clothing.
4. The first time they do an explosive leaky poo
The first time this happened, I remember how amazed I was that someone so small and beautiful could create something so big and messy. One minute you will be happily cooing over your gorgeous baby, the next you will see that familiar poo-face and realise it has gone all down their legs, up their back, straight through their clothes, even onto your clothes if you’re especially lucky. You will most likely end up with baby poo on your hands and in your hair. Both of you will need a shower. You can guarantee this will happen in public at least once.
5. The first time they feed constantly all day
Baby will have just finished their milk and will then start crying and chewing their fists. “Surely you can’t be hungry again?” you’ll ask, before trying to burp them, change their nappy, get them to sleep, give them a change of scenery. Eventually you’ll offer them some milk. And bingo! Happy baby. Well, until about five minutes after they have finished feeding, when it will start over again. It’s a growth spurt. It’s normal and is most common at 6 and 12 weeks. Just give in to it, know it won’t last forever and, whether you’re breast or bottle, eat a shed-load of chocolate to get you through it. If this is your first baby, put on a good TV show and make the most of it. Second time round, you’ll likely be dealing with growth spurts at softplay/the school run/the local park.
6. The first time they puke all over you
I’d like to add a little disclaimer here because I know for parents of babies with reflux this is traumatic and distressing. However, even with the least pukey of babies, there will come a day when you are cuddling them and they will chunder down your cleavage and into your bra. With your first baby, you’ll probably have a good wash and change your clothes. By number two and beyond, you’ll just resign yourself to a wet wipe and spritz of Febreze.
7. The first time your child eats something inappropriate
I don’t just mean grabbing a bar of Dairy Milk out of your hand. Or a slice of pizza. I know one baby who was proudly waving half a slug in her hand while chomping away on the other. Another somehow grabbed his dirty nappy before his mother could stop him. Another I know once chomped away on a woodlouse. I would like to stress these weren’t my children. They prefer sand, grass and twigs.
8. The first time your baby crawls off during a nappy change
You will be so pleased that your clever little baby has learnt to crawl… until the day, usually around eight or nine months of age, that they begin moving away from you while you are mid nappy change, with the contents of their half-off nappy trailing behind them. Let’s just say I’m grateful we have wooden floors in our house!
9. The first time they scratch you in the eye with those razor-sharp fingernails
Those teeny tiny fingernails might be adorably cute but they are as sharp as razors and they grow so quickly, sprouting back the day after you’ve cut them. I’ve had scratch marks all over my face, my chest and neck. One of my babies once jabbed me in the eye with a finger and then scratched the delicate skin just underneath. I know I’ve been through 100 hours of labour but it hurt like hell! Good job babies are so gorgeous you can forgive them instantly.
10. The first time they bite you
You can hardly blame babies for getting confused about what those brand new teeth are for. Toys can be chewed. Food can be chewed. What about Mummy’s shoulder? What do you mean, no? What about Mummy’s nipple? That’s food coming out of it, right? Noooooo, THAT HURTS! As with number 9 above, gorgeous baby equals instant forgiveness. As soon as you’ve stopped cursing in pain.