This post is sponsored by AVEENO® Canada. All opinions are my own!
Despite her namesake, Summer was born in the dead of Canadian winter – in fact, her birth seemed to set off a whole series of snowstorms!
I’m a summer baby myself, and since I’m originally from Vancouver I never really dealt with below freezing temperatures as a kid, even in January. When Summer arrived I was totally unprepared for how much careful bundling would be involved in just getting to the car for a grocery trip. There was so much more to think about when it came to keeping her healthy and safe – including taking care of her skin!
Baby skin is just like any of their other tiny organs: always growing and still developing. They’re not used to all of the toxins and pollutants we experience daily in the outside-the-womb world, which means they’re prone to all sorts of skin issues in their first few years. Add in the extreme cold temperatures and the “hard” water here in Ontario – newborn skin doesn’t stand a chance!
Summer had pretty constant skin issues right from the get go – dryness, cradle cap, and a couple weeks of red swollen baby acne that looked so painful I took her to the pediatrician in a panic. He assured me everything she was going through was normal but there were a few small things that could help. His main recommendation: slather her in lotion from head to toe!
Summer’s skin doesn’t seem to like much, even simple natural solutions like coconut oil, so we turned to Aveeno baby products. Both their Aveeno Baby Daily Care and Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy collections are #1 Pediatrician recommended, and contain ingredients like oats that are perfect for sensitive newborn skin. All of their products are also hypoallergenic, phthalate and paraben-free, and since they’re stocked at most drugstores they’re easy to pickup in a pinch.
Now that winter has passed and the weather has warmed up, Summer’s skin has improved drastically, but we still enjoy the ritual of nightly bath time (more like splash time these days!) and a relaxing lotion massage before bed. The sun has also introduced a whole new set of considerations, and we never leave the house without our Aveeno Baby Sunscreen and Baby Sensitive Skin Face Sun Stick!
I started off planning to do monthly updates with all of our favourite things, milestones and more, a sort of digital baby book filled with cute candid photos and memories, but here we are at 6 months and all of those drafts never quite made it into existence. I kept thinking to myself “well at least I have so much time to get my act together for a big six month update”, and well, all the sudden, here we are.
My “monthly update” plan may not have come to fruition, but I still wanted to honour this big day with an overall update about life with baby, and some of our most-used items month-by-month (plus a couple of things I never actually used!)
It’s hard to put these precious, challenging, beautiful past six months into words. I can so clearly remember announcing my pregnancy around this time last year and daydreaming how my winter baby and I would spend our first summer together, and now I’ve blinked and we’re almost halfway through these golden dipped warm days. I get asked so often if motherhood is everything I thought it would be when I started out on this crazy adventure and honestly, it’s everything I ever wanted and so much more. Summer is a truly unicorn baby, and has been nothing but a delight since day one – she’s so chill and calm, her glittering energy is infectious to everyone she meets. Seriously, I don’t know that I’ve ever met a baby that’s just so totally… happy. She sleeps well, eats well, has yet to have been sick (knock on wood), and smiles LITERALLY nonstop. There isn’t a second that passes where I don’t thank my lucky stars that she’s mine.
In a lot of ways motherhood has been much easier than I expected, because I truly prepared myself for the worst. Being Summer’s mom comes super naturally to me, and it’s almost like all of the anxious, extra energy that was making me bored/destructive/depressed in my early years has finally found an outlet in caring for her. I had all of this love and nurturing in me for so long and nowhere to put it!
That said these past six months definitely haven’t been a cake walk – my motherhood challenges have taken different shapes that I had never really anticipated. While I have never felt any anxiety about taking care of Summer, I’ve definitely struggled with taking care of me.
For all of the planning I did to make my dream come true, I definitely overlooked how hard it would be to work full time AND take care of a baby on my own. I assumed because I work from home, I’d have plenty of time to work while being around for my baby. Unfortunately between breastfeeding, nap schedules and playtime, there’s a SHOCKINGLY small amount of time left in a day, and when that rare time does appear, all I want to do is glaze over with a fun TV show or nap myself. There is SO LITTLE LEFT TO GIVE. The weirdest part? When you do collapse into bed, you’re not even sure what it was you were doing all of those hours. Not having a second income to rely on so I could take some time to just be Summer’s mom has really been the biggest hurdle for me as a single parent, single income household. If I could do things over again I’d definitely try to find a way to give myself a proper mat leave.
I’ve also experienced a very unexpected identity crisis. I have always been so 100% confident and sure of myself, but having a baby and handing my life over to this tiny human in so many ways shook me to my very foundation. It’s hard to keep tabs on who you are (other than “mom”) when you’re thinking about someone else 24/7, with absolutely no time to workout, or get dressed up and go out with friends… even just sit and read a book without one eye on a bassinet across the room. Being a mother is truly all-consuming and it has a way of making you second guess your priorities, your values, and what kind of human you really want to be. As I mentioned on Instagram I’m trying to do a thing or two just for me, without Summer, every week, even if it’s just a 45 minute workout while a friend strolls her around the block. Taking these little moments for myself has really helped me feel like a stronger, better mama for her, and hopefully set the example that though it’s important to take care of others, it’s also important to practice self care too! I’m still learning, but aren’t we all?
Scroll down for a few of our favourite things, month by month!
Things we still haven’t used: Frida Baby Snotsucker (she hasn’t been sick yet!), ring sling (I can’t figure out how to use these and not feel like she’s falling out), car seat cover (I want to see her!), fancy bottles (she has no interest in anything other than the Playtex ones listed above)