I did not have the “typical” second baby experience. Early on in my second pregnancy, even when I was just thinking about having another baby, I thought about all the things I would do differently or improve upon when my second baby arrived. All of this went out the window when first, we found out we were having twins, and second, when there were lots of complications.
For those mothers who do have a healthy pregnancy, and a more typical (is there really such thing?) second baby experience, I wanted to share another mother’s perspective.
Today, I have a guest writer and mother of three, who would like to share her experience, and the things she learned from her first baby. Here is Tracey Clayton with The Second Baby- The Things That I did Differently.
Like any first-time mother, I had lots of frustrating baby-related experiences in the postpartum period, and many of them taught me lessons for life. In fact, I sometimes think of the first pregnancy as a training of a kind for the next time a baby-bearing stork knocks on the door – so here are some common pitfalls I avoided the next time.
In my first pregnancy I heard tons of wise advice about baby care. I regret some of my choices in the postpartum period, like excessive cradling of the baby in loving arms when putting her to sleep. Babies quickly get accustomed to being carried around, and once the habit is set, the way back to freedom is a thorny one indeed. Before your turn into your baby’s slave, teach it independence, and make sure everyone in your environment respects your decision. When my first daughter was born, we lived with my husband’s parents, and they just wouldn’t let her out of their hands. Looking back, I understand the reasons for their overly protective behavior – she was their first grandchild and they wanted to make her happy, or at least get her to stop crying (elderly folks are highly intolerant of sobbing babies). After my husband got transferred to another town for work, we moved, so I put that habit back right, although it took time, effort and a whole bunch of wrecked nerves. So, if you’re about to climb the baby train, get a home of your own – too much tender, love and care are counter-effective with a baby onboard.
Extreme cleanliness is another of my motherly failures. Eager to protect my child from germs, bacteria and other potential hazards for baby health, I cleaned the house daily, ironed all baby clothes and napkins, sterilized spoons and bottles etc. I did it all on my own, as I had nobody to help me out (even if I had, I would’ve felt reluctant to ask for assistance for fear of losing credibility as a responsible adult). So, that’s another tip for a young mother: number one, always ask for help (pay for it if you must, it’s money well spent), and secondly, don’t overprotect your child. Babies need to be exposed to their natural environment to build immunity, which is impossible in a 100% sterile home.
One more mistake I made with her was to avoid pacifiers and bottle-feeding. As a baby, she was often irritated and angry and she kept sucking her thumb but I refused to give her a pacifier because I was told it would be bad for her teeth. Sometimes she’d fall asleep in my arms and wake up when inside her cradle – in those moments, a pacifier could have saved me a ton of nerves, energy and rest time. I was also told to avoid bottle-feeding, so I spoon-fed her instead, and consequently, I always had tons of laundry to do after mealtime. When my second baby was born, I used pacifiers and baby bottles from the beginning – with mother’s persistency and commitment, babies can grow out of them over time.
Another mistake yet: I spent hours busying around the kitchen making her meals she wouldn’t even taste. For added flavor and smoother feed-time, add a pinch of salt to your baby’s veggies, and use a food-prep gadget – I didn’t want to spend extra cash on it, but now I know it could’ve saved me a whole lot of time and strength. The same goes for hers first birthday – trying to save some cash, I organized the birthday party free of charge in a local pub owned by our friend, I made the cake myself – and the whole deal went disastrously. Knowing what I know now, I would’ve booked an indoor play space and hired professional animators like Superheroes to entertain the little ones – that would’ve been a party to fondly remember for the rest of my life.
With my other girls I didn’t repeat the same mistakes and I strongly advise you to take my piece of wisdom seriously: after all, you have to be the boss of your life, even with a baby in it.
Tracey Clayton is a full-time mom of three beautiful girls and dedicated housewife. She loves cooking, baking, sewing, spending quality time with her daughters and she’s passionate in writing. Hers motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.” Find her on: Facebook, Twitter and Google +.