A blog by Dr Lin Day

GUEST POST- Gearing up for a magical first birthday!

Gearing up for a magical first birthday


During the first few weeks of our baby’s life, it felt like time suddenly stopped still. The 12-week milestone everyone kept raving about when things apparently get easier felt like an eternity away, and every challenge seemed to last forever.


But then something astonishing happened – our newborn baby turned one.


Waking up to a one-year-old


My daughter’s first birthday was probably one of the only times we were awake before her, waiting eagerly for her to get up. I don’t know why we were so excited to see her little face, it would’ve been just the same as the day before, and the day before that. But this was the first time we’d see her as a one-year-old.


Before, Moo* had been “x-days old”, then “x-weeks”, finally “x-months”. But now, quite simply, she was “one”. And it suddenly sounded so grown up.


It’s a mother’s prerogative to go overboard


As a first-time mum, I found it hard to work out how to celebrate our little cherub’s first birthday. I’d never done this before, so gauging what to spend on a present, what to do for a party and who to invite were all mysteries to me.


After confident declarations of “we won’t do much – she won’t even understand”, we did the exact opposite. Moo ended up having not one, but three, birthday parties, three birthday cakes, and a whole host of gifts.


We had a birthday party with her friends (aka our friends’ children), one with her NCT baby pals, and one with family. Of course, each party needed a separate cake, decorations and activities, and there were presents galore.


I still (perhaps naively) claim that this was a unique birthday – her first one! Therefore, it’s only natural to go a bit overboard and get excited, right? But I can’t help but feel there will be many more birthdays to come that are met with the same enthusiasm as her first.


Reminiscing about last year


Of course, Moo’s first birthday wasn’t just special because it was such an important milestone in her life. It was also significant because it brought me back to the events of last year – her birth.


I found it so poignant to recall the days leading up to labour, knowing our lives would change forever but not really understanding how. And then as soon as she was born, it was like we’d never been without her.


She’ll probably tell me to “shutup mum” when she’s older and I’m trying to tell her the beautiful story of her birth every year on her birthday. But I still find it moving – from the speedy labour and being rushed in a wheelchair to the delivery suite, to being told she’s a girl by my husband and holding her in my arms for the first time. 


All of it was difficult, painful but amazing. And that’s probably one of the main reasons us mums all go a bit mad over our babies’ first birthdays. Because it reminds us of such a phenomenal point in our lives, and all the amazing changes that have occurred since.


Seeing the years fly by


In the end, our baby girl becoming one was a huge turning point for us. Not so much for Moo, who had already been walking and chatting away for a couple of months.


However, for my husband and I, this was the first time we could see the years fly by in front of us. Instead of feeling as though time had paused and the weeks were passing ever so slowly, like they did in the beginning, it suddenly dawned on us we’d be preparing for her second birthday before we knew it.


And now as I spend my weekends learning how to bake a Peppa Pig cake and trying to throw a special (albeit much smaller) celebration for Moo as she turns two, I realise we were totally on the money.