Before I had William, I had a bit of a think about how I wanted to do some things differently with my second baby,9 to be specific and these included trying more classes, not listening to others’ comments, giving baby-led weaning a go, mastering expressing, breastfeeding for longer, amongst others. Well, he is now 18 months old so I thought I would do a follow-up post on what I have done differently with my second child that have worked because if I had known some of these things the first time around, I would have had an easier time and less stress I’m sure.
I never thought I’d say this because I had always been against co-sleeping in the past. I worried about the risks involved, I’d heard horror stories via social media and had been completely put off by every health visitor going. Anyway, fast-forward to me having a premature baby who then developed colic and reflux once he came home. There was no sleep, there was no let-up, the medication wasn’t working and neither were all the tips everybody gave. So, began the co-sleeping and my god did we need it?! I was desperate for the rest, William was desperate for the relief that laying on my chest gave, as did my body warmth and it meant all of us stopped crying and stressing throughout the night.
Now, I understand the risks and I obviously understand that they were higher with him being premature but I took all of the necessary precautions, I naturally slept much lighter because I knew he was there and at the time I had to do what I had to do. I had an older child to also look after, who I had to drive to pre-school and to classes and there was no chance to nap during the day so for us, this was the only option that allowed me to rest at night. Even now, he will come into our bed at some point in the night and it is still the best way for all of us to get the sleep we need. It won’t last forever and I have experienced sleep deprivation at its worst and I cannot go back to that!
I had always wanted to get to my one-year milestone with Jake, but unfortunately, he was a biter and after drawing blood twice I felt that I had no choice but to end our breastfeeding journey at 9 months. When I had William I wasn’t even sure if breastfeeding was going to happen because he was born at 32 weeks and I was told that he wouldn’t get his suckle reflex until 35 weeks and as that was a few weeks off I was worried that he then wouldn’t take to my breast. However, I am pretty stubborn and I pushed the nurses to let me try and lo and behold he latched on! I was over the moon and even though he was still tube fed for a while, I could at least give him a bit of milk directly from me when I visited. As our breastfeeding journey got stronger, so did he and after just 3 weeks (I say just because it’s now long in comparison to others. It still felt like a lifetime to me) he came home. I was determined more than ever to get to that one year mark and we have now surpassed that and I am still feeding him now at 18 months. What breastfeeding brings for me is that bond, that time to cuddle, the feeling that I can make things all better, the ability to comfort him quickly and that one on one time that nobody else can experience. I just love it.
I was so scared of this concept the first time around, all I could picture in my mind was my baby choking and I couldn’t understand how other parents managed. But as we all know, all children are different and my second child was the complete opposite to my first. Jake didn’t like textures, he choked easily and he was fussy. William on the other hand, had his eye on our food long before he was ready, he easily chewed on all foods from the first day of weaning and he had the taste for a wide variety. Now at 18 months, we have very few problems with meal times, he is eager to give things a go and it makes feeding him so easy.
This has been the best change for us, cloth nappies and cloth wipes. No more costs, no more running out and most importantly, no more plastic waste being sent to landfill. It took me a while to get my head around making this swap but once I bought them and tried them, I got into the swing of it, I worked out a good routine and now I wish I’d known about them when I had Jake. I feel so much guilt over how many nappies and wipes I have sent to landfill and considering they will be here for up to 400 years, I just still cannot believe that we are not told about reusable nappies in antenatal classes, at baby centres, by the health visitors, in the baby packs we are bombarded with. If you have been thinking about swapping from single-use to reusable I have plenty of other blog posts to help you out but my biggest bit of advice would be to go for it!
I couldn’t afford to take Jake to swimming lessons as a baby but I always managed to take him to a pool once a week to ensure that he had some water sense. However, as he grew up it became more obvious that there was a slight fear and that his reliance on water aids were too great. I knew I didn’t want this for my next child and thanks to my blog, I was given the opportunity to give him swimming lessons with Turtle Tots as brand ambassadors. He absolutely loved it, as did I, and we continued to swim with them after our ambassadorship came to an end. To watch him confidently go in the water, to learn to blow bubbles, chase toys and swim underwater were all amazing milestones and I just wish I’d done it all the first time around with Jake.
Ignoring The Tantrums
When you have seen it all once, you soon learn that reacting to tantrums often prolongs them, can cause further problems and can feed into the behaviour. It can also drain you as a parent which is precisely why I have learnt to just chill more. I can happily walk away and allow my child to get it out of their system, I know when to hug it out and I can predict exactly how long a certain tantrum is going to last because I have seen. It. All! Save yourself and your child the extra stress and just go with the tantrum flow.
Encouraging The Dirt
I was far too concerned about how Jake looked, about him keeping his lovely clothes clean etc. but now I embrace the dirt! I take changes of clothes everywhere with me because I am far more relaxed about William getting mucky and if he’s getting dirt on him it just means he is having fun and he is being a typical toddler. Messy play is no longer cringed at and I’m sure it has helped him to develop and learn more quickly and it has certainly stopped me from being so worried and stressed. I’m not going to let a bit of extra washing get in the way of his fun.
There are probably a lot more areas that I have become far more relaxed with and little things I do differently now that I have a second child but these ones really stood out because I remember them so clearly from the first time around and it is very clear to me that I am an evolved parent and the changes are all good.
Have you made any changes with your second child compared to your first?
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