New mums’ manual: The A to Z of baby’s first year

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A to z of babies first year

You’re prepared for the contractions, the crowning and the colostrum. But what’s beyond the birthing suite? What comes after bub is born?

One of the most memorable years of your life, that’s what!  A year filled with amazing firsts as you get to know your wee warrior and get used to being a mum.

So what’s in store during this first year? Our A to Z guide will give you the inside scope on every hiccup, hurdle and heartwarming moment along the way.

From first cuddles to first birthday

Baby massage on a change table

A is for advice – Congratulations! You’ve had a baby. Now prepare for a truck load of advice on how to raise bub. It comes with the new mummy territory. The best advice? Do what works for you. Have a look at our articles on the most helpful advice as well as outdated advice that you can happily ignore.

B is for BUY all the BABY things – Babies need a lot of stuff. We mean A LOT. Clothing, bedding, furniture, things that bounce, things that sway, things that sing, things that play… the list goes on and on (and will continue to grow along with your baby).

C is for cries – Cries of hunger, discomfort, tiredness, pain – these are only a few of the reasons your newborn may be crying. As the first year continues, the reasons for tears will expand. Just remember that crying is your baby’s main method of communication and the waterworks are perfectly normal.

D is for development – Baby has a lot of developing to do! From rolling over (at around three months) to learning to crawl, from sitting up unassisted to pulling up onto furniture, the first year marks so many magical milestones in development.

E is for entertainment – Newborns don’t need much stimulation but as your cherub grows, so does the need to be entertained. Look for engaging, educational and interactive toys and activities. Our gift guide for infants will certainly provide you with some great ideas.

going out with newborn baby

F is for the fourth trimester – The first three months is often dubbed the fourth trimester. Newborns will require a womb-like environment, which includes constant contact with you. Baby wearing, demand feeding and plenty of skin-to-skin contact can help make this transitional phrase easier.

G is for GER – Also known as gastroesophogeal reflux or, more commonly, as baby spit up. It’s common for your little one to spew after a feed and this lovely little trait can continue for many months.

If you notice your infant is uncomfortable and constantly spewing after feeds, it could be a sign of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and warrants a visit to the doctor.

H is for Human Services – Regardless of what your financial situation is, when you have a baby, you are entitled to some sort of assistance program through the government.  Register with the Department of Human Services to claim paid parental leave, family assistance and childcare rebates.

I is for illnesses – There’s nothing worse than having a sick bubba, especially when there is not much you can do to speed the recovery along. Babies over the age of one month can have pain medications and natural remedies. But the best medicine for sick bubbas? Plenty of cuddles.

J is for jibber jabber – Although bub won’t start stringing sentences together quite yet, the first year is all about experimenting with new sounds. Coos, babbles and possibly a few easy words like ‘ma-ma,’ ‘dad-dad’ and ‘ba-ba’ all come out during the first year.

K is for kiddy proofing – A crawling baby is a curious baby. And a curious baby will find a way to get into EVERYTHING. Time to kiddy proof the house, which includes adding locks to cupboards, placing gates in entry ways, moving items that are hazardous and checking your baby for boo-boos pretty much every day.

L is for lost sleep – New mums lose an average of 750 hours of sleep during the first year. Exhaustion is pretty much part of the norm, but the up side is that you learn how to operate on very little sleep. This is an important skill to add to the resume!

mother breastfeeding her baby

M is for milk –  For the first six months of life, all the nourishment your infant needs is provided by breast milk (or formula). Expect to feel like a milk machine, especially during those growth spurts. After the six month marker? It’s time to start introducing solids (and the need for a heavy duty mop).

N is for is for night and naptime – New mums will spend hours stressing about sleep. Although infants require a lot of sleep, it isn’t in a full increment. All babies will require day sleeps (usually two or three) as well as a longer stint of sleep at night.

O is for outings – Oh the places you’ll go! And the stuff you will bring! With every trek to the shops or trip to a playground, you can expect to need a boatload of stuff. Our tips for heading out with a newborn in tow can help make outings and errands with baby a little easier.

P is for purees – Weaning often starts with purees, which means chopping, steaming, blending and storing an assortment of fruits, veggies and meats. Check out the ultra-innovative Beaba Babycook which does all the prep for you. Winning!

Q is for questions – So many questions and concerns! Am I breastfeeding right? Is bub growing properly? Do I need to call a doctor? Let your instincts guide you. You are most likely doing everything right. But, when in doubt, call a doctor to double check.

R is for routine – At some stage you will probably want to start bub on a routine, including regular times for naps, meals, bath and bed. A good daytime routine can lead to better sleep habits (CAN…not will). Have a look at our guide to getting into a good bedtime routine with your little one.

Baby wrapped in a white swaddle

S is for swaddling – One of the talents you will learn during the first year is how to swaddle. Swaddling provides a safe and secure way for baby to sleep soundly. Check out our handy guide to swaddling baby with videos.

T is for teething – Growing teeth isn’t an easy job. As each tooth erupts, baby may drool, develop a minor rash and be grizzly. Have a read of our low down on teething for teething tips and products worth looking into.

U is for urine – Babies like to wee. In fact, newborns wee every 20 minutes, on average. What this means is you will spend A LOT of time changing nappies. Invest in plenty of wipes, a sturdy change table and a great organisation station to help make nappy changes a breeze.

V is for vaccinations – At two, four, six and 12 months, babies will require a shot (or three) to protect them from whooping cough, measles, mumps, rubella, rotavirus, diphteria, tetanus, hepatitis B and other vaccine-preventable illnesses. Find out more through the Department of Health.

W is for witching hour – Clinginess comes with the first year territory. The time when bub is extra clingy, extra whingey and extra hungry is known as the witching hour. It normally arrives around 5pm and can last for several hours, especially during the first few weeks.

Plan ahead (with frozen meals) and pull up a comfy spot on the couch. You may be there for a while…

X is for Xplosions – Of poo. All over the baby, car seat and probably your hands too. We have all had our run ins with poo explosions, also known as Number Threes. Wipes and no rinse soap will be your new best friends.

Y is for YOU –  The first year is all about baby. But a little bit of it has to be about you. Take care of yourself, ask for help when you need it and continue to do the things that made you happy pre-baby. You deserve some time out too.

Z is for zombie – Exhausted, emotional and living on very little sleep – welcome to the pinnacle in new parenthood – the mum zombie stage. No one likes to talk about it. But we’ve all been there at one point during baby’s first year.

Mum zombiehood, like everything in parenting, is only a phrase. And one that you will look back at later in life and laugh. Because, if you can make it through the mum zombie zone, you can make it through anything!

These are only some of the countless reasons why baby’s first year is so incredible – these every day feats (and failures) not only stay with you forever, but they help prepare you for the rest of your parenting journey. You made it through the first year. Now you’re armed and ready for anything your little one decides to throw your way.

So what’s next? The fun doesn’t stop after the first birthday cake smash is over! Have a look at our A to Z guide to toilet training. Potty on!


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