Bringing your bundle of joy home for the first time can feel terrifying! We’re also sure that the last thing on your mind (while you’re sleep deprived and changing endless nappies) is to slow things down, but trust us, your baby’s first year will whizz by before you know what’s happened, and you’ll want to look back on the special times and memories you’ve made together as a family. So before you think about what type of cake you want for her first birthday, follow our fun to-do list and enjoy your baby’s first year.
Hold her a little longer
Before you know it, your little one will be mobile and not too keen to be held for more than a few seconds, let alone minutes, so enjoy the early days where you can snuggle her for as long as you like. Plus, studies have pointed to countless benefits of having your baby close to you, from helping her to feel calm and secure, to boosting her brain development, regulating her body temperature and helping her sleep more soundly. You can also invest in a sturdy baby sling or carrier and ‘wear’ your baby while running errands or simply going for a walk.
Keep a journal
As life gets busier, you’ll soon forget all those precious moments and milestones your little one has reached in her first year. Now is the time to keep a journal of how she’s growing and changing as well as how you’re feeling, so that you can both look back on this special time together one day. Don’t be afraid to jot down the not-so-nice experiences, too. Expressing your feelings about those sleepless nights or difficult days will not only give you a therapeutic release, it’ll also be great for her to read one day when she’s a parent too.
Show her the world
It’s never too early to start introducing your little one to the great outdoors. Fresh air and a little sunlight are good for babies, especially in the mornings and early evenings, as this helps to regulate their circadian rhythm and boost the immune system. If it’s a little chilly, bundler her up with a beanie and blanket and go for a walk, explaining everything you see along the way. This will be a wonderfully stimulating activity for her, while you get some exercise in.
Have moulds made of her hands and feet
Your baby’s hands and feet are growing at such a rapid rate – soon she’ll lose those cute little creases and chubby toes. The good news is that there are companies like Treasure Me who can build exact replicas of her tiny hands and feet using non-toxic mould. The process only takes a few minutes and washes off easily. Have the castings framed and hang them in her nursery for a beautiful keepsake you can look back on for many years.
Take more videos
One of the best things about this digital age is that we have a video camera in our back pocket most of the time. Whip out the camera and record your little one crawling, eating solids for the first time, or simply making cute noises or funny faces. You can then play them back to her while changing her nappy. It’ll keep her amused for a good few minutes. You can also download the free Video Editor app for iPhone or android and create unique slideshows to keep or share on social media.
Read, sing and talk to her
Key findings in ongoing studies in China and Canada reveal that even before babies are born, they know their mother’s voice and can distinguish it from other voices. The study also showed that even while your little one is in the womb, her brain is being set up to learn language. This means that she’ll delight in listening to you talk, read and sing to her from the minute she’s born. No need for fancy toys when you are your baby’s best form of entertainment. If you’re not a fan of singing the same song over and over, use your smart phone to record yourself singing or reciting nursery rhymes and play it back to your baby during the day.
Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike. Learn more about Tammy Jacks .