My favourite products for the first year of baby
12 months of Tilly
When I was pregnant, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of baby stuff out there. There were so many options for just about everything- and so many things that claim to do wonderful things, it makes you wonder how on earth you can store it all!
But as I navigated through the first year of parenthood, I discovered the things I did and didn’t need, and realised that wading through all that extra crap (and believe me, there was a lot of extra crap!), I was able to settle on a tried and tested bunch of useful baby products.
ONE. My girl is one. It’s amazing. I can’t imagine life without her, and yet at the same time, can’t believe it’s been a whole entire year since she arrived.
I’ve documented a bit about how I found the early days of motherhood, and it’s true, I’ve found it to be really tough. But I’ve also more recently discovered how much I love being Tilly’s mum. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than with her.
So this is to celebrate one year of Tilly. My light, my life, my best girl. Oh how she’s grown x
The great paradox of parenthood
The first time Tilly got a cold, she was about 8 weeks old, and I didn’t sleep a wink that first night- checking on her constantly, terrified she’d stop breathing because of the congestion in her nose.
She survived that (obviously) and on we went with our life. Sniffly noses have popped up occasionally, but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that we really encountered a sick baby, and it was an experience I won’t forget lightly- especially as it happened twice in a matter of weeks.
Parenthood has got to be THE weirdest thing in the world, because it constantly makes no sense. It is equally the most fulfilling and exhausting journey any person can experience- and even in the worst moments of it, every single person who does it, will still say it’s completely worth it.
Oh good Lord, the dreaded development leaps. Those necessary evils that help our babies become thinking, feeling, doing machines. If you have little ones, and you don’t already have the Wonder Weeks app, download it now- it will make soooo much sense!*
So we are currently one week into leap 4, which, for those who have been through it before, know it is a longggggg one, almost 5 weeks! As with the first three, Tilly hit that fussy bit bang on time- she goes from being part-time Velcro to full-time Velcro and loud to boot. My eardrums don’t know what’s hit them.
What you do and don't need
They say sleep deprivation is the worst form of torture. I've been tired before, but nothing like what having a newborn baby does to you. And the irony of the situation hasn't escaped me- you lose sleep over getting them to go to sleep! And it's quite often the basis of conversation about baby- people ask 'are they a good sleeper?', 'are you getting any sleep?', or comment- 'get your sleep now, it will get worse!', or 'sleep when the baby sleeps' (which, for the record, is next to impossible to do. Am I supposed to eat and shower and converse with other people when the baby does that too?!).
What's in a name?
Okay, so when you're pregnant, you've got a lot of time on your hands, right? I mean, it's growing away in there, but there's not much else you can do with it, except spend all your time thinking about it, and shopping for it. Right? Of course I'm right.
So, you see all these cute, pretty, itty bitty things that capture your eye and your heart, and make your ovaries squeal with delight, and, if you're anything like me, you find yourself building a little collection of baby things (and sometimes hiding things from your other half, shhh). Super fun!
The need for PERFECTION
I've always been fascinated by names. I struggled with accepting mine for most of my childhood and teenage years- it took me a long time to recognise the beauty in a less-than-common name, and especially a name with such an integral meaning for my life. Felicity is Latin for 'happiness', and I've long known that I was given that name for a reason. I live for happiness, for myself, my loved ones, and everyone I meet. It is the basis of my business, it is the basis even of this blog, to share what makes life happy, and worth being a part of.
The desire to be perfect has long been my greatest hurdle in life. From a young girl, I had this indescribable need for everything to be a certain way, and I fell down hard whenever things didn't live up to the expectations in my mind. It's proven to be both a blessing and a curse, but as a parent, it is most definitely proving to be a curse.
Tilly Mae : a birth story
I always knew I was going to at least attempt to breastfeed my children. It is the most natural step forward from childbirth, to then feed your baby, as your body has been preparing to do so for 9 months. During pregnancy, it took me a while to adjust to the idea of having someone sucking on my breasts though, I won't lie. I actually even remember the day I noticed my nipples were changing, and I genuinely freaked out and cried about 'turning into a cow'. I called my mum, and had a weep over the phone about how I hated that my body was changing.
A love letter to my unborn daughter
At 12:39pm on Friday 18th May, 2018, our daughter Tilly Mae Cook entered the world. Weighing 3.98kg and 53cm long, she was perfectly pink and healthy, and our lives changed forever.
But the process of getting her here was just as life-changing for me. Pregnancy and childbirth have been two of the most challenging and forcibly soul-searching experiences I have ever been through- and those who know even a little of my past know I have experienced some extremely challenging times.
Pregnancy: the halfway mark
In 2006, at the age of 19, I found myself in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship with a man whom I had thought cared for me. For three years, I lived in fear, pain, and isolation from the world. When I was finally able to get out, I discovered it wasn’t the end of my journey. In fact, it turned out to only be the catalyst for what was to come.
I spent the better part of the next decade firstly falling deeper and deeper into a hole, before finding help, a purpose, and myself. Now, at 31, I have discovered just how resilient the human mind and body can be. I’ve built an award-winning business and a social following to go with it, found forgiveness and love for myself, discovered and developed a truly loving relationship with my now husband, made in-roads into my campaign against domestic violence, and as I write this, am awaiting the birth of our first child, a daughter.
Pregnancy. It's an elusive thing. You don't know when it's going to pop up, or if it will pop up, you don't know what it will do to your body, or what it will produce (although as long as it's human, you're probably doing okay), but most of all, you don't know what lessons it is going to throw at you.
In terms of the generic pregnancy timeline, #thelove and I had a textbook beginning. As with all couples who decide to try for a family, we didn't know how long it might take to fall pregnant. It's such a question mark- even doctors can't answer that question.