One whole year of Jacob

A few days ago my littlest boy turned 1 and I’m still trying to process how quickly the last 12 months have flown by! It’s been the fastest year ever but it’s also been one of the best.

So how did we celebrate such a great year? Well if I’m totally honest, the day itself wasn’t what I had planned at all.

The idea was to open presents and cards in the morning then for me to leave work a little early so that we could take the boys to a local soft play centre for the afternoon. Great idea in theory but by the time the big day rolled around we were all at various stages of being ill, so I ended up having to call in sick, cancel our plans and spend the day curled up on the sofa instead.

Jacob had a great time playing with all his new toys and chasing balloons around the house though, so it wasn’t all bad. We also had family over for a little tea party (with the most amazing cake!) the day before so at least we were able to do something to mark the occasion but I’m still a bit gutted that things didn’t work out quite as I’d hoped they would.

On the plus side, being off of work not only meant that I got to spend the whole day at home with Jacob but it also gave me some time to reflect.

When Finley turned 1, I wrote a slightly rambling blog post about what a shock to the system my first year of motherhood had been. I can still remember those feelings so clearly and yet Jacob’s first year has been the total opposite - obviously I’ve had to re-learn a lot of things with a second baby thrown into the mix but, generally speaking, I have loved my first year as a mum of two!

When Jacob arrived I found myself becoming a much more confident mum right from day one, which I totally wasn't expecting. I bonded with him a lot faster and felt far more in tune with him and that seemed to make everything else just fall into place.

So what made us click so quickly?

Was it the birth? 
As I mentioned in a previous post, Jacob was born via emergency c-section and although his arrival wasn't overly smooth, it was a lot more positive than my experience with Finley. I felt so much calmer during the birth and even have fond memories of our hospital stay afterwards. Giving birth to a healthy baby meant that I got to soak up those all-important first moments which was something I missed out on the first time around with Finley being admitted to NICU. Jacob and I were able to have hours and hours of uninterrupted skin to skin time and I’m certain that was one of the things that got us off to such a great start.

Was it breastfeeding? 
Another experience that was totally different this time around was feeding. After only a handful of breastfeeds, Finley needed to be formula fed for medical reasons so I was fully expecting Jacob’s breastfeeding journey to be shortlived, too. He totally proved me wrong though and took to the boob like an absolute pro! In fact, we never once had any problems with latch, supply, positioning, etc. which I still feel incredibly lucky for. 
We ended up mix feeding because it turned out to be what worked best for us until about 5.5 months when Jacob started showing an obvious preference for formula and weaned himself off the boob (that’s basically a nicer way of saying that he kept screaming at it...!) but the time I did spend breastfeeding him was genuinely amazing and gave us some really special moments together. 

Was it being thrown in at the deep end? 
Two weeks after my c-section I was back to doing the nursery run (albeit very slowly to begin with!) every weekday with Finley in the buggy and Jacob snuggled up in the sling. I feel like I’ve barely stopped rushing around since then which seems to have made the last year a blur of activity. As well as getting Finley to pre-school on time, there was also a never ending stream of appointments, check-ups, food shops, baby classes, return to work meetings and play dates to keep me busy in the first few months of maternity leave. It sounds like total chaos (and at some times it really was!) but being busy helped to keep me focused and give me a sense of purpose. It also made me appreciate the moments of calm even more - so much so that I always made a conscious effort to just stop and enjoy cuddles with Jacob whenever we had nowhere to be, which was pure bliss!  

Was it going to baby classes? 
Although signing up to classes added an extra element to all the chaos, they totally saved my sanity whilst on maternity leave! Our weekly yoga and massage classes were definitely some of the highlights of Jacob’s first year and gave us some lovely chilled one on one time while Finley was at pre-school. 

Or was it simply becoming a mum of two?
Obviously the biggest challenge over the past year has been learning the ropes as a mum of two. I really thought that this would be the hardest part of having a second baby, but you know what? It's totally given me a new lease of life! It's not always easy but generally speaking the good stuff outweighs the bad and watching the boys giggling together makes it all worthwhile (and I’m sure anyone in the same boat will agree!)
On the whole, having two little humans that rely on me has made me feel so much stronger and more capable. I know that no two babies are ever the same but the confidence that comes from having done a lot of it before and the ability to trust my instincts has really helped me to find my groove as a mum of two.

Of course there’s no way of knowing exactly what made the last 12 months so great (probably a combination of all those things along with a big old dollop of sheer luck!) but one thing’s for certain - Jacob has totally completed our little family and life has become so much brighter with him in it. 

Happy 1st Birthday, Jacob - here’s to another year of fun!