If you’re like me, you are still in the throes of middle-of-the-night feedings, lots of diaper changes and an extra appendage — your baby — nearly all of the time. However, the old unsolicited advice from waxing-nostalgic moms to “enjoy your baby because the time goes by so fast” really is the truth. That is why you should make the time to do these 5 things before your baby turns one.
Take a lot of photos.
My camera is always out, and that’s because I don’t want to forget a thing. Take pictures of milestones. Slap on the monthly stickers to commemorate each passing month. I love looking at the changes that happen in just one month’s time and I enjoy looking back at my older kids’ pictures from their first years, too. Also, make it a point to print some copies of the photographs and send them to family. Grandparents eat that stuff up!
Give them a bath just to play.
Between spitting up and blow-out diapers and messy baby food, it seems like babies can always use a bath. It’s easy to let the mundane task feel like a chore, like it’s just one more box to check on the never ending to-do list. In reality, it can be a lot of fun. Not only is it cute to see your little one splashing happily in the tub, it’s also a great opportunity for your baby to learn. Use some stacking cups to sprinkle water on your baby. Offer him a range of toys like rubber ducks and squirt and float toys to encourage free playtime.
Read aloud to them.
It’s hard to keep up with so many rules and suggestions, and if you try to do everything everyone tells you to, you will make yourself crazy. One thing you should always remember to do is to read aloud, and sing and talk to your baby every day. Reading books will encourage your child to love reading and help prepare her to learn words and speak. Hearing spoken words is an important part of your child’s brain development.
Dress them however you want.
If you have older children, you already know that soon this innocent and sweet baby of yours will have his or her own plans and opinions about what to wear. Go ahead and go all out now while you can – put your baby in that adorable Halloween costume or frilly tutu before you hear the words, “I don’t like it” or “It bothers me” coming out of his or her mouth.
Cherish every moment.
While it may sound cliche, it’s so true. It’s easy to feel bogged down by the growing mess in your home when your baby does nothing but cry, eat and refuse to nap. Remember that these moments will pass, and they’ll pass quickly. Don’t sweat the small stuff – the dishes can wait. Today’s high standards and the expectation that we must be moms who can do it all put so much pressure on us, but take those standards with a grain of salt. The first year of your baby’s life will be a whirlwind, so let that wind take you on a joyride with your baby. Don’t blink for too long or you’ll miss him transforming from a newborn to a baby who can smile and maybe even walk and talk. While you’re busy figuring out your new normal, make sure you take the time to enjoy your newest little love.
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