Well, mums; well done - you have celebrated your baby's first birthday, and you're getting ready for the amazing journey that lies ahead in the toddler stage.
A mother's journey is like a rollercoaster, full of ups and downs, and there have undoubtedly been testing moments - but you knocked them out of the park each time. For this, and for so many other reasons, you deserve a massive pat on the back.
Here are some of the reasons why your heart should be swelling with pride and excitement at this time.
1. You got through the tough moments
Everyone told you that motherhood would be tough, and you have witnessed the dizzying highs and tear-jerking lows - often together in one day - at this stage. When you look back at the low points - sleepless nights when you couldn't get your tot to nod off, moments when you just didn't know how to stop their tears - you can reflect on the fact that you got through it. Everyone questions their abilities as a mum, and pulling through those moments is an amazing achievement that deserves a pat on the back.
2. Your baby has already hit amazing milestones
When your baby was growing in your womb, there were days when you would try to imagine what they would look like when you finally got to meet them for the first time, and beyond. Even still - and after following all of the advice on nutrition, stimulation and care - we're still amazed when they start to hit those milestones: that first smile, the sight of their first tooth breaking through, when tummy-time turned to crawling, and that very first step. Each milestone - as small as it may seem - is a huge achievement.
3. There is so much to look forward to
You deserve to be so proud of that first year with your baby, and the best part is that the next phase - the toddler stage - will bring so much more excitement. When your child hits the toddler phase, they are growing as fast as they ever will, at any time in their life - meaning there are so many more developmental milestones to look forward to: from starting to use and understand basic words (13 to 18 months), to naming parts of their body (19 - 24 months), and speaking clearly (25 months and beyond).
4. You and your baby have a wonderful bond
You and your baby have gone through a rollercoaster 12 months together, and your bond is probably stronger than any you have ever experienced by now. This means that not only are you the first person they will turn to when they need comforting, but you are also in tune with their needs. This is important on every level, as they enter a new phase with teething and nutrition, in particular. This is also where your in-built mother's intuition will really come into play.
5. You have learned great lessons that will inform you for the toddler stage
If you ever start to question if you have learned enough by the end of your baby's first year, just consider the following: you carried your baby for nine months, then delivered them, and have brought them to the edge of toddlerhood - you're doing a top job! And while everything is new with a toddler, what you have already learned so far will come in handy once again. For example, you know just how important a role nutrition and diet played in your tot's healthy growth and development; so now, you know that - as this is a vital time for your child's development - you will need to approach their nutrition with just as much focus and care. Ensure they are being supported at this time with a product like Growing Up milk as part of their balanced diet, fortified with vitamin D and calcium to support normal bone development, and iron to support normal brain development.
6. You are confident and prepared for the toddler stage
Think back to how scared and nervous you were when you arrived home for the first time from the hospital, with a newborn to look after. While we all need support, advice and education at each new stage; these nerves have been replaced by a confidence and the knowledge that, with a little love and help, you and your little one can take on anything. With so many fond and empowering memories past, and more to come over the next few years, take pride in your achievements and give yourself a much-deserved pat on the back.