A Thank You for My Four “First Years”

As I write this, my baby is a few hours away from turning one year old. I have subconsciously anticipated this day for weeks. I am not one to plan a big first birthday party, but the significance of this day is not lost on me. You see, this is my last baby. My last baby to turn one. As sure as we are that this is our last baby, it is a huge turning point in our family dynamic. We are quickly leaving the “babies and little kids” stage and moving on to bigger and also good things.

A lot of things, and people, have helped us make it to where we are now, with four babies, four “first” years. And today, I’d like to show some gratitude for a few things that have eased the chaotic first year of schedules, feeding, sleeping, changing, bathing, and endless others new baby issues.

Thank you to Kirkland brand formula. At this point in my motherhood journey, I have no shame or guilt in saying that breastfeeding was not for me for a myriad of reasons. With my first and second, I felt a great amount of guilt when I switched to formula. My third and fourth babies brought a newfound confidence that I was, in fact, doing the best thing for me, and Kirkland formula from Costco stood by me and was there for me all those years. So while I loved it for the price point, I also loved it because it gave me peace of mind and eased my anxieties around feeding my baby. That in turn made me a happier and more peaceful mother.

My next thank you goes hand in hand with the first. Thank you to Gerber baby bottles. Coming in a 3-pack for about five dollars, these bottles have once again seen me through four babies. It taught me that sometimes things don’t have to be complicated or as expensive as we might think. They weren’t fancy, they were the simplest of simple bottles. But they did the job perfectly. Thank you. Sometimes simple is best.

Thank you to the baby snuggles. Admittedly, I wish I could go back to the first year of my first baby’s life and do a couple things differently. She came into this world under some rough circumstance. It affected how I interacted with her. I was so focused on feedings, wet and dirty diapers, sleeping, that I think I missed out on some important baby snuggles. I more than made up for them with my second, third, and fourth babies. There is nothing better than picking up your baby and having them bury their head in your shoulder knowing you are their favorite person. Those snuggles make all the struggles worth it.

Thank you for the slowdown. The first year with a baby brings a natural slowdown. You are not on your own schedule anymore, much of your day and night is dictated by the tiny person in the room next to you. But because of that, it causes you to slow down, appreciate the small things and realize that sometimes, less is more.

Thank you to the sunrise. As any mom of a newborn or baby in the first year, the night can be an unpredictable time. Especially in the early newborn weeks, the nighttime hours were a source of great anxiety for me. I worried about the amount of sleep I wouldn’t get, whether the baby would go back to sleep quickly or not at all. A post I saw in passing on Instagram from a fellow new mom, stayed with me through those weeks and months. After each night, there is the sunrise. And each morning, especially on the rough ones, the sliver of light peeking through my window signaling the sunrise, brought so much peace to my mind and heart.

Thank you to my babies. My four beautiful babies are growing up into wonderful, special, and unique children. And one day they will grow up into wonderful, special, and unique adults. For now, I am holding to the memories of their first years and how they changed me. It has been an honor to see each of them through their first year.

Amanda Stewart
Amanda moved to the Dallas area as a child, moved away for college, but then returned “home” with her husband and new daughter. Now five years later, she and her family are putting down roots in Collin County. Her educational background is an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and a graduate degree in Early Childhood Studies. Most days you can find her doing her best to put her knowledge to work with 3 of the sweetest students around- born in 2010, 2014 and 2015. Once bedtime hits, you can find her doing some instructional design work, blogging, or finding the next great series on Netflix, usually with a cookie in hand. You can read more about her collection of thoughts on everything from motherhood and parenting to DIY and fitness, and whatever else is on her mind at her new blog <a href "http://www.thiscollectivelife.com/" This Collective Life .