Montessori at Home – The First Month with a Newborn

We finally welcomed our second son, Owen Charles Grugan into the world on the 9th of May. Due to his size, we were guided to have an elective caesarean after our firstborn Liam was an emergency caesarean five years ago.

Owen was born 4.63kg, 54cm tall 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 my firstborn Liam was 12 months old, so this was the first experience with Montessori from birth. I have read books, blogs, attende training and spoen to many people over the years, getting ready for this period. As I learnt more about the 0 to plane of development, the more and more I learnt 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 help be somebody else, we used the Toppocino. I spent the time to hand make our Toppocino 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 moviles 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 a seller on Etsy as a pack. I also have the bell and ring on elastic ready for when Owen is reaching and grasping.

The mobiles included in the pack are the Munari Mobile, Gobbi Mobile, Hexagons and, Dancers.

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, I then painted the bright colours black so as not to distract Owen. This is used more 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 own movement area. I chose this space rather than in his room as this is where most of this 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 sleeps in a bassinet in out room or with me in my bed. He is actually a pretty good sleeper at night and I’ve 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. It depends on what is happening on that individual day.

Floor beds scare a lot of people, mostly because they’re not something people often see, and it’s 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 designed for the adult, not for the child.

One of the common responses to a floor bed is, “But it’s so dangerous.” What is dangerous? If the room is childproofed, and made safe for the moving child, what are the actual risks that a bed on the floor has over a cot? Once Owen is moving we will put the mattress on a frame close to the ground. I would say the floor bed won’t be used until he is about six month of age for night sleeps.

In his room we have the nappy change area on top of some shelved I purchased on Gumtree, I love used wood! We have somer black and white images for own 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. I talk through what I am doing at each step which helps enriching his language but I also believe he will start lifting his own bottom when he can.

I have tried to use clothing that does not restrict Owen’s physical movements much and he is rarely swaddles had doesn’t seem to like it, and it also 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 expect lactation consultants (five), 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 often was in hospital for two night and he was 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’ve accepted this and am okay with the decision. I now enjoy being a mum again. I think Dr Robyn Thompson for her support in my journey as well as everybody else. Breastfeeding so 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 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 dilly things to get attention, at home and at school. This whole balancing act is new, and hard, and fun. I’m excited to reconnect with him now we have settled 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, Paul’s family, friends, neighbours and everyone else. I am extremely grateful for the people I am surrounded by.

It’s that village that makes the first month with a newborn easier and I’m looking forward to the next few months and overseeing Owen’s development and how Montessori from the start really makes a difference to him and to me as a parent.

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