They say parenting the second time around is easier. There couldn’t be truer words spoken and the reason is you learn from your mistakes and change your ways. First time moms please learn from my mistakes!
I always thought the firstborn is luckier as he gets undivided attention, as he is the whole and soul, the apple of the eye, the one with the silver spoon so to speak. Well in this case though he was all of the above, I did a few things the first time that I hi am not proud of and this time I’m doing things totally different. I’m no longer sure who is the luckier baby…
Breastfeeding: While N was exclusively breastfed for 6 months and continues to nurse one morning out of 3 for half a minute, I made some mistakes in the early months. The first time though I thought I was nursing on demand I clearly wasn’t. I was trying to have a type of a schedule where even if he got fussy before the two hours were up I’d try to distract him and then nurse when I ran out of options. This led to tons of energy being spent on fruitless tasks. This is a must read for any one making the mistake of timing feeds.
This time I nurse completely on demand so even if A has been well fed half an hour ago and he makes gestures that he wants to suckle I let him. I have been nursing on the go too so while he is in a sling and I am walking on the road, at the park, taxi, everywhere I will whip out the breast and pacify as soon as the baby starts rooting.
It feels so good as it makes me a more confident mom and the baby is much quieter and there is far less crying this time. I feel so free because I don’t have to worry about schedules or worry at all for that matter.
The first time when N wanted to cluster feed or just nurse nurse nurse some evenings, I used to worry about my supply being low and used to Google search all the time wondering why my helpless little baby cried so much or was fussy or wanted to nurse all the time. I even gave him 5 ounces of formula when he was around 2 weeks as I had it at home as emergency back up. But this time I have no such worries as I know the more he nurses the more my supply is being made to keep up pace with him.
This time I don’t even own a pump or a bottle. The sling and my baby are my only accessories and I am thoroughly enjoying the closeness.
Baby wearing: my two woven wraps – The Saamipya and the Anmol Wrap are my lifelines. I feed in them I go out in them, I use them to pacify baby, I put baby to sleep in them and put him in for naps when I know he won’t sleep down because his brother is around to scream in his ear.
The first time I used a horrible crotch dangler with a front facing baby, I am so sorry my darling firstborn.
Sleep: this time I have absolutely no schedules for naps. When baby A is fussy he either needs to be fed or put to sleep and normally both. Which I do; any time, all the time. If he wakes up at a certain time far earlier than he did the previous day it’s no problem, as I don’t really remember when he had slept the previous day. I am working on putting him down for his night sleep by 8:30 – 9 though as it frees us up sooner.
This time my sleep at night has been pretty much undisturbed as I have slept cuddling him from day one and he nurses on demand and both of us barely wake up.
The first time around I used to sit up, nurse on both sides, then put him back to sleep in his cot. I used to make a note on an app on my phone – how much time he nursed each side, what time he woke up etc. don’t ask me why. Call it the crazy first time mom syndrome.
No fancy things. The first time around I had an expensive cot mobile, a cot, a bouncer, a swing, a pram the works and nothing worked. This time I have nothing except a simple carrycot loaned to me by a friend and my woven wraps and that’s all I need! Even if A was a high needs baby like N was, I still would’ve been able to manage him with just my wraps and wouldn’t have needed the carry cot as much. Infant toys are pretty much useless. All an infant needs is your voice, your touch, your smile and face to face interaction, cuddles and to be held close. And of course access to suckle away to glory.
The biggest mistake I made first time was I believed it when many people told me don’t do this or he will get used to it and you won’t be able to break the habit! Little babies have needs, which are the same as wants, and they don’t do anything out of habit. And habits are easy to break if your really want to. It just takes a few nights of gentle parenting to change something.
I learnt with experience that everything changes as the kids grow and no your baby won’t want to be carried or held or nursed forever no matter what it feels like right now!
I learnt there are good days and there are really bad days and never make a decision to wean or change something just because it’s a bad day!
Thanks for reading! Are you a second time parent? What changes did you make the second time round?