When I had my first child, the first few months of his life seemed to pass by in a blur, and yet, simultaneously, each day seemed to creep by at a snail's pace. I was so wrapped up in worries about latching, breastmilk production, developmental milestones, taking enough pictures, and dealing with infant gas that I sometimes forgot to live in the moment. As a new mom, I wish someone had explained to me that while all of those things are important, it is more important to be present and to savor the small moments with your baby as they rapidly grow in those first six months.
You've heard it before, but it deserves the repetition: as I wish I had learned, your child is only a baby once, and you don't get those moments back. So many of those milestones I just mentioned happen in the blink of an eye — that first smile; the first giggle; the first time your baby rolls from front to back, then from back to front; the first time they sit up. I could go on and on. Instead of reading about when those things should be happening, it's better to experience them in the moment and be fully present when they do happen. That means putting down the phone or the camera, closing that laptop, and checking in with your baby.
Giving my baby as much of my attention as possible meant seeing his first smile, hearing his first belly laugh (which then adorably scared him), and hearing the sweet sound of "mama" for the first time. In some symbolic way, hearing my son utter the name "mama" for the first time made concrete my motherhood and my lifetime role as his mama. That moment and that memory are more precious to me than anything I could have been looking up or reading on my phone at the time.
As a new mom, I enjoyed babywearing yoga and taking walks whenever I needed to in order to clear my head and recharge my batteries. Those brief moments of respite helped me to be more present with my son, and I have made sure to incorporate more self-care into a routine as he has gotten older and as I have had other children. I know I will never regret missing a post on social media or breaking news, leaving a few dishes in the sink, or ignoring the parenting book collecting dust on my coffee table. But I know I would regret missing my son's little moments — so I made an effort to really pay attention to him. I will treasure every memory made with my first child and look forward to savoring the changes and milestones to come.