My baby is 5.5 months old and I think he might be ready for solids… Unfortunately (for him) I’m not.
It’s not that I’m dreading the mess, the nappies, the food preparation (though in all honestly, I am dreading all those things). No, it’s something way deeper. Something that makes my heart ache.
It’s that my baby is suddenly approaching 6 months of age and it has just hit me like a freight train that half of his baby-stage is over.
The newborn period disappeared in the blink of an eye. I remember it being so long with my daughter. In fact, when she was around 8 weeks old it felt a bit like Groundhog Day. Same thing, day in, day out. But not so with my son.
Maybe it's because he's my second and being busy with my older child has made the time go faster. There certainly weren't any days beyond the first 2 weeks where I would lounge in bed cuddling him all day long like I did the first time around (oh if only!)
Or maybe it's just because everything has been easier this time… Easier birth, easier recovery, easier breastfeeding journey, “easier” baby (though I suspect an “easy baby” is subjective).
Regardless of the reason, his newborn stage disappeared when I apparently wasn’t looking, and now his first 6 months have almost disappeared with it.
Before I know it, my baby will be gone... again... and replaced by a toddler.
This is the cold, hard reality of the baby stage. Yes, it may be one of the hardest and most exhausting stages (although actually, I'm not totally convinced of this now that I'm dealing with the big emotions of a 3 year old), but it is also, literally, the shortest stage of your child's life.
I appreciate every day my children get a little older. I am grateful that I get to watch them grow and I am thankful that we are blessed with good health.
But at the same time, I am constantly struck with a type of grief... the grief of knowing how temporary this is. How my days of holding, rocking, snuggling and drinking in a baby are limited.
There will come a day, probably sooner than I would like, where I won't have a baby ever again. That part of my life will be behind me forever and all I will have left are memories (and a grown man who will prefer kisses from a pretty girl in her twenties, rather than kisses from his daggy mum).
So this is why I’M not ready for solids. Because it's just that next step away from my baby. And it's a step that I took so easily and eagerly with my first, because back then, my baby growing up held so many exciting promises - more time out, more fun, more sleep...
Yes, I did get those things (eventually) and they were wonderful. But I realise now that nothing compares to the intoxicating nature of your squishy new baby and that's exactly what I'm holding onto… Even if it's just for a few more days or weeks. Before I have to let go and take those first steps down the road towards toddlerhood... And finally feed the poor kid some pumpkin.
Georgina Dowden is a mother, midwife and lactation consultant (IBCLC).
In her day to day life, she looks after her two beautiful children and also supports other families on their parenting journey.
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