Montessori at Home - the first month with a newborn
We finally welcomed our second son, Owen Charles Grugan, into the world on the 9th May 2017.
Due to his size we were guided to have an elective caesarean after Liam ending up as an emergency c-section five years ago.
Owen was born 10p4o (4.63kg), 54cm long and head circumference of 40cm. The whole experience was good - weird (knowing what time your child was going to be born) - but good.
I wasn't aware of Montessori until Liam was 12 months old, so this was the first experience with living montessori from birth. I have read books, blogs, attended training and spoken to many people over the years, getting ready for this period.
As I learnt more about the 0 to 3 plane of development, the more and more I understood, the more it all made sense.
From the moment Owen was born, he was either skin to skin with myself or his dad Paul, and if he was held by somebody else, we used the topponcino.
I spent the time to hand-make our topponcino and two covers for it. I slept with it under my pillow for weeks before his arrival so it smelt like us. I have found he feels secure, and calm when being picked up or transitioned to another place. It really does work!
I purchased all of the mobiles needed over the next few months, rather than making them as I felt it was cheaper in the long run to do so. I bought them from Etsy as a pack. I also have the bell and ring on elastic ready for when Owen is grasping etc.
The mobiles included in the pack are:
- Munari Mobile
- Gobbi Mobile
The wonderful Kylie from How We Montessori also gifted us with the amazing Whale Mobile which is absolutely beautiful!
The frame you can see in the image above is from KMart for about $15 and I painted the bright colours black so as not to distract Owen. This is used more for the ring and bell. There is a hook from our ceiling with string that means the mobiles will hang directly over the mat.
We have also fixed the mirror in this area of the lounge room to create Owen's movement area. I chose this space rather than in his room as this is where most of time is spent. Our kitchen area is open plan so I can see him and he can see me as I get on with the day. Also Liam plays a lot out in this space so I felt it suited our family more.
Owen is sleeping in a bassinet in our room or with me in my bed. He is actually a pretty good sleeper at night and have found this arrangement works well for us.
At about four weeks, we attempted his first day sleep on his floor bed in his room. He cat naps in the day so very rarely is there more than an hour sleep unless he does one big sleep in the afternoon. Depends on what is happening on that individual day.
Floor beds scare lots of people - mostly because its not something they see often and is the extreme opposite to what they know. I was the same four years ago. As I researched this concept further it made more and more sense to me. Freedom in movement, respect for the child, is so clear. I always felt like cots were restrictive and designed for the adult, not for the child.
One of the common responses to a floor bed is - but its so dangerous? What is dangerous? If the room is childproof and made safe for the moving child - what is the actual risks that a bed on the floor has over a cot?
Once Owen is moving we will put the mattress onto a frame close to the ground. I would say the floor bed wont be used until about six months of age for night sleeps. I will keep you in the loop on how this is working for us.
In his room we have the nappy change area on top of some shelves I bought off Gumtree - I love used wood. We have some black and white images for Owen to focus on whilst nappy changing. I have conversations with him as I have learnt from the beautiful Peta Gibson that you can change the world with how you change a nappy. It is a wonderful moment for closeness, bonding and respect. I talk through what I am doing at each step which helps with enriching his language but I also believe he will start lifting his own bottom when he can :D again - will keep you up to date as he grows!
I have tried to use clothing that does not restrict Owen's physical movements much and he is rarely swaddled as he doesn't seem to like it plus again this practice restricts his movements.
Owen was breastfed for the first four weeks, however is now formula fed as the whole breastfeeding experience defeated me.
I gave it everything I had - I saw expert Lactation consultants (five to be exact), spent hours expressing, had mastitis twice, saw an Osteo and Chiro trying to work on our latch, oversupply issues, nipple shields and more.
The breaking point was after Owen was in hospital for two nights and we had to start putting thickener into his milk. I did not have it in me to keep expressing and then feeding with a bottle anyway.
I have accepted this and am okay with the decision. I now enjoy being a mum again!
I thank Dr Robyn Thompson for her support in my journey aswell as every body else. Breastfeeding is soo much harder than society lets us believe. I can see why women give up so easily however I would love to see statistics change so more women are breastfeeding for as long as possible!
Liam has loved the first month as a big brother and its time for me to focus some attention on him as we have started to notice he is doing some silly things trying to get attention - at home and at school. This whole balancing act is new and hard and fun - Im excited to reconnect with him now we have settled a little into this four person family.
I am back at work with Owen tagging along and it has been a beautiful experience to be able to juggle all of my passions - work, motherhood, and family. My village around me has been amazing - the girls at work, my family, Pauls family, friends, neighbours and everyone else. I am extremely grateful for the people I am surrounded by.
Its that village that makes the first month with a newborn easier and Im looking forward to the next few months and seeing Owen's development and how montessori from the start really makes a difference to him and to me as a parent!
- Rebecca Grugan