Little Big Moments in Baby's First Year
Your baby’s first year is filled with hundreds of milestones. Everyone talks about the big ones, but some of the smaller milestones are just as memorable.
First Day Home
Bringing your baby home from the hospital and knowing that you are responsible for this tiny creature is a memorable–and sometimes scary–moment. I’ll never forget my husband giving our firstborn a tour of the house when we brought her home and thinking, “Our journey is just beginning.”
Bye-Bye, Umbilical Cord
When your baby is around 10 to 21 days old, you will change her diaper and find that her dried, shriveled-up umbilical cord stump has fallen off. It might be hanging around in her diaper, tucked into her pants or, in the case of our daughter’s, it might be MIA, prompting Mom and Dad to search frantically (we found it behind the changing table). Now your little one can have a full-fledged bath!
Parents never forget the first time their tot flashes them a big, toothless grin that cannot be passed off as gas or a random facial contortion. Babies first smile in response to auditory stimuli, such as Mom’s or Dad’s voice, around 6 to 10 weeks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. By 3 or 4 months, your baby will respond to your funny faces with eye contact and big smiles.
All Night Zzzz’s
The first time your baby sleeps through the night, you will likely waken in the early morning hours, jump out of bed and run to his room to make sure he’s okay. You will find him sleeping soundly and breathe a sigh of relief, then be amazed at how refreshed you feel after a good night’s sleep. Enjoy it while it lasts, because the road of sleeping is full of bumps and potholes for the next several years.
One of my favorite memories from my daughter’s baby days is having “conversations” with her when she was around 3 months old. She would look me in the eye and make vowel sounds like “oo-oo-oo” and “ah-ah-ah.” I would do the same thing in response, then it was her turn again. Our conversations were intense and animated and brought me joy. You can encourage cooing, and later babbling, by talking to your baby regularly.
Whether you are running out for a quick errand, having a date night with your spouse or returning to work after maternity leave, there will come a time when you have to leave your precious bundle in the care of someone else. Overland Park mom Allie remembers when her parents watched her baby girl for a few hours while she finished up her Christmas shopping. “You worry the whole time, and then you come back and realize everyone survived!”
I have pictures in my kids’ scrapbooks of their first experience eating solids. Their befuddled expressions and cereal dripping off their chins say it all. Like most new experiences, eating solids takes a little time to perfect, but it’s thrilling for parents to know that their infant is well on his way to eating “big people” food.
Laughter, the Best Medicine
Kristin, a Belton mom, says that “hearing the first laugh” was one of her favorite moments during her two sons’ baby days. Around 5 months, babies begin to respond to your tickles and raspberries with sweet little giggles, a sound that is music to parents’ ears. Oftentimes, a dropped fork, sneeze or stumble can make tots erupt in laughter. Who needs the Three Stooges when you’re the funniest person in your baby’s life?
Be prepared to play this game over and over and over and…well, you get the idea. Around 6 months, babies start to understand the concept of object permanence. Even though he can’t see your face behind your hands, it’s still there. Seeing your smiling face pop back into view is downright hilarious to your little one.
Once your baby has enough balance and control–usually around 6 months–she will sit on her own, allowing her to explore the world from a new point of view. Have the camera ready; the first wobbly sit will likely last only a few seconds! To encourage her to rely on her torso and legs for balance, set her favorite toy in front of her, then move it side to side.
Last Time Nursing
Most moms find weaning their babies to be rather bittersweet; they miss the closeness between mom and babe during nursing sessions, but at the same time, they know that chapter of life is over and it’s time to move on. “I loved breastfeeding, but I was also ready to reclaim my body!” says Jennifer, a Raymore mom.
Step by Step
One moment your baby is pulled up against the coffee table, playing with a toy. The next moment he’s taking a couple of hands-free steps toward the couch. Most babies take their first tentative steps between 9 and 12 months of age and are racing around the house by the time they’re 15 months old. Put on your running shoes—toddlers are as fast as Olympic sprinters!
Ok, there’s nothing “little” about this milestone. Turning 1 is a monumental occasion that deserves a celebration. Whether you have a small gathering at home or a blowout birthday bonanza, make it a memorable day. Congratulate yourself on a job well done; you’ve survived the first year!
Tisha Foley lives in Belton with her husband and two “babies,” ages 8 and 5.