This may seem a little premature when I am only 16 weeks pregnant but there are a few things that I know I will do differently with baby number two. I’m not saying that I got it wrong with Jake, I definitely did everything that was right for him at the time and for me as a first time Mum. Being a Mum has been the best thing that has ever happened to me but all babies are different and I am different this time around as I now know what to expect and I have so much more knowledge not only from experiencing it but also from watching what my friends have done differently too.
1. A natural birth
This is dependent on how my meeting with the consultant goes in September but in my mind, this is my only option. After a traumatic emergency c-section with Jake, I feel as though I have a clear plan of how I can prepare more effectively for this birth. I have already looked into ante-natal classes which I never made it to the first time around due to illness and I have been asking friends about hypnobirthing. I know I need to keep my realistic head on because the consultant may take one look at my notes and my scar tissue and completely blow my plans out of the window but I know I personally feel as though I need to experience a natural birth.
2. I won’t be scared of that first nappy
Oh, my word was I nervous? It didn’t help that the midwife handed me Jake and told me to ‘just get on with it’ and when I asked for her help she said ‘no you have to learn!’ Trying to clean up that black sticky poo whilst in pain from a c-section and not really having a clue what I was doing with this teeny baby was such a test for me. There will be no more surprises this time!
I haven’t ever written about my breastfeeding journey with Jake because it all ran so smoothly. He latched on as soon as he scrambled to my boob and he was a natural. I hope this second baby latches just as well and that I enjoy it just as much too. I didn’t want to give up feeding Jake until at least a year old but with his teeth coming in very early he became a biter and after drawing blood twice (ouch!) I felt I had no choice. We made it to 9 months. I hope I have another great feeder and hope we can make it a little longer.
4. Master expressing
Jake fed well from the word go but no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t express my milk. I’m guessing he was the pro and I wasn’t! This meant that I was limited to time away from him and no one else could feed him. I loved breastfeeding but it is exhausting when they go through growth spurts and it would be lovely to be able to even go to the hairdressers without worrying.
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5. Baby led weaning
I chose to wean Jake with bought pureed food rather than making my own food or choosing finger foods. There are two reasons for this, one because I am already useless in the kitchen and with him feeding from me every 2 hours at night I simply did not have the energy to think about learning what to cook/freeze etc and two, he was a choker and could retch on even purees if he tried to swallow too much. The doctor checked him but just told me he had a very good gag reflex which would mean he wouldn’t choke but he could easily make himself sick. The trouble is that I have had a very fussy child ever since and I wonder if it is because I didn’t introduce him to a good variety of foods early on. I will be more prepared this time.
6. Try more baby groups
I loved a few of the groups that I attended with Jake but others were just full of cliques which made me feel uncomfortable. I know I will do baby massage again but there are many more now available privately. I was mostly using the children’s centres but these are gradually closing so my options will change.
7. Be prepared for teething
Jake began teething at 6 weeks old and he was, of course, the inspiration for my book because I couldn’t find much information on this process. No one can prepare you for an early teether and the pain they experience when they are so tiny. It is heartbreaking, exhausting, confusing and everyone else has their opinion and are not afraid to say it. I can now be happy that I know so much about teething that I will know exactly how to help this new baby much faster than I could with poor little Jake.
8. Ignore others’ comments and input
When people put their two pennies worth in the first time around you tend to take a lot of it to heart. You haven’t been there before and you are looking for guidance from others but let’s face it, it isn’t always right! Hormones and tiredness can make you much more sensitive but after 3 years of being a Mum my skin has toughened to others opinions and can now nod in agreement but know that I don’t have to take on everything they are saying. I know that I know best for my baby.
9. Enjoy every moment that little bit more
The first time around we are all in a bit of a rush aren’t we? We are so eager for that first roll over, crawl, word, step and so on, that we turn around one day and wonder where our baby went! Jake has always wanted to do things quickly and that is just in his nature. He would watch older children at playgroups and want to go over to them instead of playing with babies his own age. You could see he was dying to run with them which is why he was able to stand and walk holding onto your fingers at 6 months of age. By 10 months he was walking unaided and once that happened he was off. I was so proud of him but it felt as though he was a baby for such a short amount of time that I have to really think to remember him being baby-like. I will definitely take all that baby-ness in much more with baby number two and hope that it won’t have quite the same determination as Jake!
Is there anything you did differently that worked for you?