“World facing” and the bittersweetness of milestones

Now that our baby is over 14 pounds and has excellent neck strength, we placed her into the Ergobaby carrier front-facing for the very first time today. “Front facing” in a baby carrier or stroller is also called “world facing.” While world facing, she gets to observe everything around her and make some sense of the world. As expected, she was extremely curious, constantly moving her head back and forth to take everything in.

Reaching six months is a big milestone. She’s strong on her tummy and with her neck. She’s pushing up on her hands and arms, constantly pivoting and getting stronger. She’s rolling over endlessly in the last few days. She’s world facing in her carrier, and we’ve already stopped using the bassinet attachment on her stroller. This weekend, we’re planning to build her crib so she can stop sleeping in the bassinet that she’s quickly growing out of. With rolling, it’s no longer safe to swaddle her, as well, so swaddling, even if just her legs as we’ve been doing since March, is now coming to an end. And tomorrow, I’m planning to feed her the first solid food she’ll ever have. It’s a lot of big changes all at once, which makes me a little emotional to think she’s growing so quickly, perhaps too quickly, but it makes me feel even more strongly about wanting to be there with her for all these amazing moments to watch her grow and develop into an independent human. Her crib is too big to have in our bedroom even temporarily, so she’ll soon be sleeping in a separate room from us. That makes me sad and a little nervous, but gradually, we just have to let these things go to allow our babies to grow and flourish on their own.

And on top of all that, I promised myself that I’d wean off my fifth pump and go down to four pumps per day once she hit six months of age, so I’ve been gradually pushing my 3pm pump back this week so that I’d officially be down to four pumps by this Monday. Weaning from pumping, even though it’s gradual, also makes me a little sad, as crazy as that sounds given how all consuming and emotionally, mentally draining my pumping schedule was. One day in the near future, I’ll be completely weaned from breastfeeding, and that will have its own set of emotional ups and downs in itself. My body has been able to nourish her so well for this long. And soon, she won’t need my body to nourish her anymore. It is a very bittersweet thought. I feel proud of what I have been able to provide for her, but sad that it’s gradually ending. This is all part of life, I keep telling myself. I have to let her be free to grow and gradually become more and more independent. Chris makes fun of me and says I’d want her sleeping in my bed when she’s 21, but well, that’s just not the case. I genuinely don’t think dads can quite understand this journey because their bodies don’t create or carry or give birth to babies. Their bodies also aren’t capable of feeding babies. This is a uniquely female thing. And in my case, given all I went through with fertility treatments and the insanity and intensity of IVF, it makes all these milestones felt even more deeply; this easily could never have happened for me. And because of that, I am even more grateful for all these moments, all these milestones, knowing my baby is happy and healthy and developing well. These are the emotional attachments that mothers can have to their children. They were once a part of our body. Then, they weren’t. Then, they needed us for sustenance and food. And then, they suddenly don’t. It’s a very emotional journey, one that I would think most mothers hold close to their hearts.

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