I don't have any regrets or honestly anything I would change with my first baby because I learned A LOT and I think I had to experience everything that I did. However, there were a few things I wanted to do differently with my second baby, AND some things that I wanted to do exactly the same with my 2nd child. There's 5 things I'm doing the same and 5 things I've decided to do differently.
For starters, before I get into the list, I know that this time around I'm different. My first baby got ALL of my attention. Like aggressive, hyper focused attention. Helicopter parent, researching everything, trying to do everything “right”. My second has gotten a mother who has taken on motherhood (I have a video about the majorrr motherhood shift I had recently). I've read that it can take between a year and a half to four years to fully identify as a mother. I'm about two and a half years in and I feel like I finally fully came into motherhood. For the first two years I was fighting it and constantly wondering when I would feel like my normal self again and do all of the things that I used to do. Now, I'm finally settled and have grown to accept and love the fact that this is the new me and I should just enjoy it and enjoy all of the time I have with my kids. A book that helped a lot with this is called How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen. Changed my life, changed my relationship with my children.
So, my second now has somebody that who's embraced motherhood, isn't so stressed out that things aren't working the way I thought they would (because things normally don't pan out the way you think they will)
Now let's get into the list…
The things I'm doing differently:
1. You need SOOOO much less stuff
With any baby, you need so much less stuff than you think you do. We do a floor bed so we don't even need to get a crib.
Really, all you need are diapers and something to feed the baby (whether that's your boob or formula or both). My kid doesn't take a bottle so I don't even use a pump or bottles or anything…I literally just need my boob. I will say, it does put me on a bit of a leash, but it also means less stuff. The first time around, I fought this but now I have accepted it and just roll with it.
Toys…you can literally give kids a spoon and it can be a cool, sensory object that they get creative with to keep themselves entertained. We do a lot of Montessori, which likes to stick to natural materials (metal, wood, leather, cotton). So not plastic which is what a lot of toys are. Lots of times, I think regular, daily items are better than toys.
So, you really don't need as much as you think you do. If I were to redo my registry for my first, I would make sure I had a stroller that could converted into a double stroller (I just got the Bob jogging double stroller and it's incredible), and a bunch of gift cards. That way you can get the things you need when you need them…you don't really know what you will actually use until you're in the moment.
2. Postpartum knowledge
Holy, WOW did I not know anything about this with my first. I was preparing for birth, not breastfeeding or postpartum rest or any thing after the fact. Now I know, let your body repair, feed it the food it needs, chill, rest.
The first time I was doing work the day after because I was working on marketing for an online company, they were having a big sale, and said I needed to get some email promotions out. So I did it.
This time, with my second baby, I gave myself 3 months of postpartum leave. You just need to give yourself that time. You don't need to work out, you don't need to go on walk, you just need to lay down and bond with your baby. I know that can be hard but it is SO important.
3. Everything is a phase
Now, with my second baby, I know everything is a phase. Literally everything.
One example, our car seats were right next to each other. AJ was on one side, Esie was in the middle and AJ kept kicking Esie's car seat. I thought I was going to have to split those two up. My mom told me I should just give it a little time and that AJ would probably get bored of it.
She was right.
If you're baby's not sleeping well…it will pass. If they're sleeping well…know that could change. Knowing this has helped me so much! I used to think that when something like that was happening, that was just going to be how it was from now on. With this one, I know it's a phase and that it will end.
4. I let sleep go
Sleep used to be my biggest anxiety with my first. I know a lot more now about wake windows and use the Huckleberry app, which is super helpful, but I also just know that if they're not sleeping well, it will get better. So, I've made conscious effort to just let it all go and she will sleep as she needs to and when we have a rough patch, it's ok. If your baby has a shorter nap, they will probably sleep longer at night. That's ok. They will catch up and it will be just fine.
With this baby, I have let sleep GO! And I feel so much less stressed. When they need to sleep, they will.
5. Independent play time
Like I said, I gave aggressive attention to my first. I would be like in her face telling her here's the ball, it goes in here. I would crawl around, trying to teach her to crawl. If I wasn't near her, I felt like I was neglecting her.
There's something called RIE parenting, it's basically just let them experience the world. For them, everything is new so a ball rolling away from them is something they haven't seen before and they can just experience that, you don't necessarily need to roll it back to them.
I do this a lot more with my second baby than I did with my first. Partially because I have to because there's also a toddler that needs me to take her to the bathroom or put her down for her nap or whatever it is. So my 2nd gets a lot more independent play time. And I think it will help her in the long run.
The things I'm doing the same:
Using a floor bed
I have several videos that go deeper into this (one about why we do it and how, our review after one year, and many more).
I'm not necessarily doing this because it's the Montessori way. That's a bonus, but I'm doing it primarily because it's what has worked for us. With my first, I used to nurse to sleep and I couldn't transfer her to a crib after that so being on the floor bed to nurse and then leaving her there to sleep was easier. In some countries, this is the norm. You need to do it safely of course, but we have loved it.
Our first no longer sleeps in bed with us, but our second does.
With our first, co-sleeping was a necessity. I couldn't figure out how to get her to sleep without sleeping with us. I have an entire video on how to do it safely if you're interested. So, if you end up doing it, even if you didn't plan to do it, watch that and/or consult other resources so you can do it safely, even if it's just one or two nights and you won't be doing it long term.
Delayed vaccine schedule
We did this with AJ and will be doing it with Esie too. I read a book called The Vaccine Friendly Plan.
Do your own research and make that decision for yourself, but this is what we have decided is the best option for our family.
This is my favorite thing! I have a bunch of videos on this, from how to cloth diaper the easy way, how to choose a cloth diaper, how to wash them, our one year review, why we do it… the list goes on.
We do 80/20, so the majority of the time we're doing cloth diapers and the rest of the time (when we are traveling, at night, etc) we use disposables.
This is a pregnancy thing, but something I did before and during both of my births.
HIGHLY recommend, especially if you're looking to do an unmedicated birth. I also know a lot of people that have done it with c-sections and have loved it. So, really it's for anyone.
Helped me SO much to stay calm. I also have a ton of videos on this.
Hypnobabies is pretty much a course that describes the birth process and different options that you have and what happens with each option. For many women that I know that had an unplanned c-section, they didn't know what to expect which brought a lot of anxiety, but for those who knew what to expect, they had a much more positive experience.
Overall, this baby has been much less stressful. Partially because this baby was not born into a crazy COVID world. This time around, I get to see more people, we get to go more places, and I'm not as crazy stressed about illnesses. But also partially because I had a much better idea of what to expect and had learned from my first baby so I knew what things I wanted to do the same and differently. I hope my changes and learnings are helpful!