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Preparing for your first baby and preparing for second baby are two are two different ball games. With you first, you think you need ALL. OF. THE. THINGS. with your second baby you realize
a) you don’t need that much stuff and
b) you don't know what your baby wants until they’re actually here
c) in the beginning is more about what MOM needs.
Plus, with the second baby you know you could throw the carseat in the car on your way to the hospital, you could do the newborn load after they arrive back to the house… it's just so different.
So, I'm going over the short list of things I am doing and getting to prepare for second babe and things I'm doing the same!
If you've seen anything of mine, chances are you've seen me talk about Hypnobabies. It's both a course and audio tracks to train you to relax through your labor.
The course walks you through your options during labor and different situations that can happen to prepare you.
The audio tracks teach you how to relax your body and get out of your own head as much as possible to let your body do it's thing. And, I've even heard from moms that have had c-sections that hypnobabies helped release anxiety of heading to the OR.
I have done hypnobabies throughout both of my pregnancies and it has helped me to stay calm, release fear and feel ready. During my first pregnancy, I actually had the time to go upstairs and lay down during the day to listen to the tracks. Now, I don't have as much time for it and use it to fall asleep (they say it's totally okay if you fall asleep while listening because your mind still processes it, and have heard from many women who have confirmed this)!
I have a video explaining my hypnobabies birth experience, another video with a lot more information about what hypnobabies really is. And, here is the course I took and reccomend!
I'm working with a clinical nutritionist who is AMAZINGGG. You can check her out here. I also had her on my podcast and she is totally data driven, figures out what labs need to be run, and gives you natural solutions to fix them. She has helped me immensely with my mood and serotonin support. She's running labs for me now and postpartum which my nerdy self is SO excited for to see how things are changing, what my hormones do postpartum (last time this was gnarly), and if the changes we are making are working.
3. Placenta Encapsulation
I am also looking into placenta encapsulation. Seth thinks this is disgusting… I kinda do too. My midwife said she's not sure she'd recommend it because we had COVID. Apparently some Covid placentas come out looking more “aged” but the woman I have been speaking to said she does it on a case by case basis to make sure it is not calcified. My clinical nutritionist recommended as glandular support. So, I'm dabbling with the idea of it. I had insane moods last time so if it helps with that, it will be worth it. I also interviewed a Doula (AWerkingMama on YouTube) on my podcast (Episode #31 going live may 5th) to discuss some of the benefits.
I found Expecting and Empowered in third trimester with AJ. I did them during pregnancy, postpartum (two times through), and most of this pregnancy (it can be hard to get them done with a toddler). What I love about Expecting and Empowered is that it was created by a two sisters, Krystle, a women's health PT and Amy, former nurse and doula. They put this workout with 1. pelvic floor work that prepares your body for labor 2. stretching and 3. strength specific to where you are in your pregnancy and postpartum with what will be beneficial and safe.
It's not about bouncing back, it's about preparing and healing (and not peeing when you sneeze). I have had the sisters on my podcast (Episode #11 and #17). I highlyyyy recommend it. Sometimes I just do the pelvic floor work if I don't have time to do the whole thing. This affiliate link gives you $20 off annual $5/month app or $10 off any physical product.
5. Postpartum Support <<<<
I'm reading this book called The First Forty Days and it's a Chinese tradition where for the first 40 days, mom does nothing. Someone comes to take care of the baby and make you warming foods (they have a bunch of recipes with bone broth which I plan to make and freeze so I have them ready postpartum) and other things to help take care of yourself. Most of us Americans don't have this type of support but I needed to read this book because I was ready to power through and needed to remind myself to slow down. With a toddler and a business, I needed the reminded to rest. It's such a sacred and sweet time with your baby and you deserve and need to slow down and soak that up.
With my postpartum support, I am also looking into a postpartum doula. You get a doula that will come to your house to cook, clean, make sure baby is latching correctly, that you can take a nap….ultimately that you're getting taken care of. I don't know about you but that sounds incredible to me.
You might think “oh, I have my partner, why do I need that?”. Your partner is freaking exhausted too. So you're two exhausted people leaning on each other but having this postpartum doula would provide some relief for both of you.
Last time, being postpartum with COVID was gnarly. Gnarly I tell you. I didn't want people to come into my house to keep us (and especially the babe) safe, but that also meant I had no support. So, this time I'm working to create my support system so I can thrive.
6. Meal Kits
We like to eat healthy but we won't actually make healthy meals. So, we either end up eating healthy snacks or just not really eating. SO, we've started using meal kits. I've tried a lot of these. Now I'm just starting this one called Cook Unity. I am an affiliate with them so you will get a discount if you use my link. I'm super excited about these because you can select a bunch of your preferences. I can't do dairy so I can super easily select no dairy and all of the options for non-dairy recipes come up and I can choose whatever I want. And they look delicious.
The first time, having meal kits postpartum was crucial. To have an easy and healthy meal that you just have to warm up was literally everything. Not only are you trying to recover, your partner is also trying to figure out what the heck is going on with them becoming a new parent (or adding another kid), with you and your hormones and your lack of sleep. You guys just need to be nourished and this is a super easy (and healthy) way to do that.
7. Birth plan
I am obsessed with learning about labor and delivery. Like I seriously think I might become a doula when I retire (or sooner). It's just so cool to me to empower women like that and support them through whatever happens in their birth and whatever choices they make.
So, I just created my own birth plan checklist, which you can get here. It lays out ALL the options you have (and there's a lot). Like 13 pages a lot. Obviously, at 13 pages it's not something you are going to laminate and bring to the hospital with you. It's a prep. You get to read through it, figure out what options you don't even know about, decide your preferences, and make sure you and your provider are on the same page BEFORE labor. It's meant to be a conversation starter with yourself, your partner, and your provider so everyone can support you and what you want.
Remember when I said that with the second baby, it feels like you'd be ready if the baby came anytime, you mostly need stuff to take care of you afterwards? Yeah, this is a great place to start. It's kind of an investment but it's called Frida Mom and it's amazing. There's a $50 option and a $100 option. The $50 option will get you through the first 4 days. It's really good if you don't know what to buy. It gives you everything you need to heal and comes in a little caddy that you can just set on top of your toilet.
The only thing not in this box is stool softners. Please, do not stop taking your stool softners too soon. I did and I cried when I had to poop.
Besides the box, also a good idea to ask your hospital what they provide postpartum. My hospital gave me everything and let me take it all home.
When the new baby comes, we're keeping our daycare and our babysitter. I seriously think when you see the positive line on the pregnancy test you need to start looking for daycare. I wanted to get AJ into a Spanish immersion daycare and we are on the list and are months out from getting her in. The waitlist is usually even longer for infants than toddlers. So, if you're pregnant and will want childcare, you should start looking now.
Not only is the daycare helpful for me. It's helpful for Seth and for AJ. Of course, I want to play with her but I will also be exhausted and breastfeeding and not a very fun playmate. So, I'm so happy to have her go play with other kids.
This one seems silly to even right because it seems so obvious but also, we had no idea. We didn't do this ahead of time with our first. So, at the hospital, whoever was on call just came and we figured it out and it's all fine. But, now we're moving on to our third pediatrician. The first one, we switched because we moved. The second one, I didn't like. And now, my doula recommended that I call the pediatrician's front desk and ask them to give a recommendation on who their most holistic doctor is that would give a natural remedy before a medical remedy. We also do delayed vaccines and want someone who would be onboard with that. I did this and it worked great. They immediately had a recommendation. So, if you too like a holistic approach, try asking the front desk person who aligns with that.
I am due a week before AJ's second birthday and asked if we could do a two for one and do her 2 year appt at the same time as the new babe's newborn appointment and they said yes. So, I'd also highly recommend trying to get all your kids in at the same time when you can.
11. Hospital bag
I don't know what the hype is about the hospital bag is. There's so many YouTube videos out there on this. You're just going to pack like you're going somewhere for two nights. You need comfy pajamas, sweatpants (don't pack leggings…you're going to be walking out in a diaper), comfy clothes for a day (remember, you'll be chillin' in a hospital), toothbrush and toothpaste, chapstick and lotion (hospitals can be kinda dry), phone charger, a camera (I love taking some cute polaroids), an outfit for baby to leave in.
And here are my “maybe” items: a computer if you think you'll use it (it can also be kind of nice to not have that stuff and just enjoy the time with your newborn), some essential oils if you want, nipple balm (but your nips don't usually get too chapped right away), extra clothes for your partner if you think they won't remember (Seth didn't pack anything).
But really, don't overthink the hospital bag. You just need essentials for a couple nights and a few comfy things to change into.
12. Car seat
We need to install the second car seat in both of our cars. Apparently, the infant should be in the middle and the toddler on the side. But this is not my priority right now. If I went into labor right now, I could grab the car seat and my hospital bag and throw them both in the car and be ready to go. Seth could install the car seat at the hospital right before we leave and it'd all be fine.
13. Sleep items
My friend is renting me her Snoo. Seth thinks we won't use it because it kind of goes against everything that I do but my mental health might love it because I think it might ease my mental health to have something to soothe baby when I have to do something with Aliya. He also thinks we should buy a side sleeper which is basically a bassinet where the side comes down so they're basically co-sleeping but they're in their own space, not in your bed.
So, I'm going to try the Snoo and give it a good effort and if it doesn't work then we will have a side sleeper
We use cloth diapers and do Elimination Communication. I have a video for cloth diapering here and one for EC here. Both things we will do again this time. You don't start cloth diapering until they are 8 lbs. So, typically people will just start with disposables (especially because it's just a lot less intimidating with a newborn). But, my friend lent me some newborn cloth diapers and now that I feel confident with cloth diapering (it's actually very easy once you figure it out), we're just going to do that. However, we do an 80/20 method. 80% cloth diapers and 20% disposables, usually at night or when we're on the go so we will be doing a mix again. And AJ is basically potty trained so we will just have to worry about one in diapers which will be super nice.
I was super OCD about the clothing and organizing it all. We know the gender but are not sharing it, but I have all of AJ's clothes organized by age, I just need to go through it and decide what will also work for this babe and wash it all so we have it all ready. Clothes are also a great thing to get hand me downs from friends, family, FB marketplace, etc.
And I'm surprised I haven't done this yet because the nesting purge is happening. I want to get things out of the house I don't need, make sure I have everything we do need, we are redoing the basement, and we are getting a nice outdoor space set up.
Carriers are my bonus item. I have the Onbuhimo which can go on the back and Aliya loves it still. Plus, it's super comfortable and I probably could put a newborn in the front. I also just bought the Scout. These are not cheap carriers, but to me they are so worth it. I think with baby #2 especially, I'm going to be carrying everywhere. AJ will still want to be active so I will probably just be carrying #2 around everywhere she goes.
So, there you go. That's everything. I really think second baby is so different. You're like baby's fine. What's everything else we need? These 15 (and a few bonus items) are it for me. We are so excited yet so terrified for baby #2. Parenthood truly is a wild ride.