I’m gradually building a little library for my seven-month-old baby. We have upwards of fifteen books, ranging from the simple one word per page buggy books to the longer form, illustrated storybooks with important morals about kindness, fearlessness and so on. What we didn’t have, before now, was a book explaining why mummy and daddy are separated.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard and read about the importance of establishing a routine for your baby early. “Children thrive on routines,” everyone seems to agree. “Get your baby into a routine from three month/two months/six weeks,” they say. “Read Gina Ford’s Contented Little Baby Book,” advised one well-meaning mum. “At the very least act out a bedtime routine,” I was told by the internet. “Do Bath, Book, Bed in the evenings.”
The last six or so months have been the start of something incredible. They’ve flown past, and barely a day goes by without someone with older children telling me to cherish this time because it’s over so fast. I don’t want to miss a second of these babyhood days, but then I think of how much you’re missing out on.
Since becoming a single mum six months ago I’ve reached a state of acceptance within myself. That hasn’t happened without first visiting feelings of guilt and shame though. Were they put there by others or myself? Either way, I feel there’s a lot of work still to be done on society’s attitudes towards single parents.
When it comes to parenting, everyone has an opinion. Even people without children have an opinion on everything, from when (and how) you should wean to the importance of establishing a routine early on, their sleeping position and the clothes they’re wearing. Nothing, it seems, is safe from criticism or someone’s prying mind.
Motherhood is a total game-changer. I kinda knew that before embarking on this crazy, beautiful and messy journey though. What I didn’t anticipate fully was exactly how life would be different from before. Being a mum has brought with it a few surprises that I’ve been loving.
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Although 20 weeks isn’t exactly a milestone age (we’re way past three months and quite a bit short of six months), now feels like as good a time as any to share my breastfeeding story so far. I predominantly breastfeed but use formula every day, so hopefully there’s something here you can relate to however you’re feeding!