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'The baby cries now and you don’t even cry along with her. A truly magical milestone'

Tanya Sweeney on a new mother’s milestones: The first walk, first date and first night out

As a parent, there's a very good chance you've heard a lot about "leaps". According to childcare experts Frans Plooij and Hetty van de Rijt, your baby goes through spurts in her cognitive development. Their best-selling book (and app) The Wonder Weeks, posits that there are 10 "milestone" leaps that every child goes through in the first 20 months of life.

But, given that parenthood is such a learning curve, it stands to reason that mums hit milestone moments, too.

Day 5: You might as well be moving to the Maldives as taking a circuit around the local park. Packing the nappy bag for the first time is quite the production. There's the change of clothes, just in case. The five blankets. Three nappies. A moment of panic. "Nappy sacks! We've only packed two nappy sacks!" The park is 57 steps from the house.

Day 15: Welcome to your new look: one unshaven leg at all times and spit up on everything. You start to wonder, possibly for the first time, if there's a concealer in existence that will make your eye bags look vaguely normal again. Conclude that, grouting aside, there isn't.


Day 18: Congratulations mum, you have a whole new lexicon! There's "bop-bop" (bottles), "dodies" (soothers), "windy wendies" (burping) and "poopy doopy" (well, y'know). You have taken to speaking at your partner via your baby, in the third person and in a singsong voice: "It's Daddy's turn to take out the bins!"/"Has Daddy given you a feed yet?" You know it's deeply unsexy, but you can't help it. Chances of your baby ever having a sibling: negligible.

Day 38: Now you're really talking like your mother. You've started making rules about how anything sitting on the stairs needs to go up or down. You get excited about good drying weather. You're buying the sensible biscuits.

Day 45: You now realise that while you've eaten like a competition winner on an all-inclusive cruise for the past six weeks, it may be time to start eating sensibly again. Not because you want to fit into a bikini or anything – but because the baby has started quizzically watching as you annihilate a packet of Fig Rolls as though we're entering a sort of Prohibition Era.

Day 48: Your first date night as parents. Too tired to make conversation, you hold hands under the table and drink wine. You then realise it's a bit ridiculous to not really talk at all. And so you do. About poo.

Day 50: Well done! You can now change a nappy in under a minute, and with one hand, too.

Day 56: At the exact point in time when you're wondering if you can be traced via your passport if you were to run away in the dead of night and take any flight anywhere, your baby lobs you a mercy smile. Not a wind-y, gurn-y one, a genuine social smile. You weep with gratitude. Her face wrinkles into confusion.

Day 61: Remember the days when you would accidentally touch a bottle teat with your fingertip and then sterilize the whole bottle again from scratch. Now, you pick soothers up from the floor, give them a quick suck and get on with your day. Be grand.

Day 72: Oh, you've changed. You passed the window of the Kilkenny store earlier and saw a dress that you actually like. Similarly, M&S is your new fashion Mecca. The hemlines in & Other Stories and Topshop now no longer work for you.

Day 88: You start dressing baby in clothes other than Babygros. Clearing out the newborn and 0-3 month items of clothing is surprisingly emotional. You spend the afternoon watching videos from the week your baby was born, wondering what air-pocket in the time-space continuum you managed to fall into.

Day 92: You use body lotion and conditioner for the first time in an age. But only because your partner has taken the baby out of the house for the morning.

Day 101: You finish the book you started in the labour ward. It is 288 pages long.

Day 115: First haircut since the baby was born. Instead of relaxing, you spend the hour on edge, wondering if getting your hair done always took this long.

Day 123: Your first night out out, and therefore the first time you drink like you did BC (before children). When you wake up on Day 124 with eyelids like sandpaper, you finally understand the full meaning of the word "contrition".

Day 140: Finally, the baby's crying doesn't sound like the emotional equivalent of a boot to the face. In fact, the baby cries now and you don't even cry along with her. A truly magical milestone.