Audrey is now twelve weeks old (tomorrow!). I can barely believe it. With my first, the time seemed to creep by as I impatiently waited for her to hit every little milestone.
Yes, it’s totally different the second time around. You’re more relaxed. You (somewhat) know what you are doing. You might be a bit more focused on routines, or a little less.
One thing I know for sure is that there is no going back in time, and although having my first child was ridiculously amazing and special, I sometimes wish I could perhaps go back in time with the knowledge I have now.
The first time around, I certainly wasn’t one to listen to advice. ‘I’ll figure it out’, ‘I know what my baby needs’ were common thoughts going through my head the first time. And although somewhat true, it perhaps wouldn’t have hurt to be a bit more open minded to some of the well-meaning advice I received. It potentially would have led to a less stressful time and definitely less anxiety on my behalf.
This time around, my parenting technique has definitely changed. I’m much more open to trying things, seeing what works. I’m also much more practical and a lot less anxious. As such, sometimes I get a case of the guilts over how anxious I was when Hannah was a baby. Although totally natural and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it now, I sometimes wish I could have been as relaxed as I am with Audrey with Hannah. But, some things you just have to learn for yourself.
So what have I done differently this time? For both children, I have applied a loose ‘attachment’ and ‘fourth trimester’ parenting style, of which I don’t really let them cry, I breastfeed, they sleep in our room as long as we can fit them, I don’t control cry; on the whole it’s pretty gentle parenting. I’m not one for super strict routines as I like to play things by ear however I do set a rough timeline that we stick to, especially with nap times.
Being the second child, Audrey has had to fit in with Hannah’s routine and luckily (or perhaps because of) she’s a pretty chilled out baby so far. But, there’s been things I’ve done differently this time that I think have gone a long way in helping all of us to cope (and enjoy) a new addition to the family. Here’s five little things I’ve done or used that have helped this time around.
1. Nap times are stuck to (generally). Hannah naps at around 12-2 each day and Audrey has fallen into a rough pattern of 9.30, 12.30, 4pm naps. This is totally great on paper however sometimes when Hannah does not go down for her nap easily it is an absolute nightmare, however we stick it out and ensure Hannah naps. Otherwise we’d all go a bit bonkers. Now Audrey is in a routine I make sure I’m either at home or she’s in the baby wrap (more on that below) at these times.
2. I use a sleeping bag/swaddle bag for Audrey to sleep in. With Hannah, I used a simple muslin swaddle and she rarely slept more than 1.5 hours at a time. (Plus I was awful, really awful at swaddling and thus I spent many sleepless nights with her asleep in my arms as I rocked her.) Audrey loves the swaddle bags. She sleeps 5-6 hours straight in them. Hannah didn’t sleep 5-6 hours straight until she was about 15 months old! We loved the Gro Company Swaddle Grobag AUD$35.96 and the Love to Dream SwaddleUp Lite AUD$41.95
3. I baby wear. I absolutely LOVE my baby wrap. There’s many available on the market however mine is a Chekoh. It’s the best baby ‘thing’ I have ever owned! Although we had an Ergo baby carrier for Hannah, I didn’t feel comfortable with it until she was about 6 months old. I’ve worn Audrey since she was 1 week old in the stretchy wrap, and I love it. Not only are your hands free, there’s no bulky pram to lug around and it also ensures she sleeps soundly wherever we are. And it has totally helped my anxiety. I remember when Hannah was about 6 weeks old we had a good friend’s 30th birthday to attend. We took along Hannah and we bundled her into the pram. I spent the whole time lurking by the pram waiting for her to wake up, stressed to my bones that she would cry and I wouldn’t hear her. It made me sick to my stomach to not be near her. And then when she woke up, she was passed around the party and I felt so out of control. In contrast, when Audrey was only two weeks old, we attended a 30th and I popped Audrey into the stretchy wrap. I could talk to friends, and relax, and enjoy the party without stressing out about where she was, who was holding her or if she was asleep or needed me. Best. Thing. Ever.
4. Live, rather than capture the moment. I’ve been cautious ever since Audrey was born that there would be as many photos of her as I have of Hannah as a baby. I’m the first born in my family and there are literally ALBUMS full of photos of me. My brother however, not so much! And he was a way cuter baby, too! I know many second or third born children who simply do not have many photos of themselves as a baby so I was determined to not do the same. However, I’m in two minds about this. I now realise how quickly time moves on and how I need to stop and smell the roses so to speak, and enjoy the moments with my babies. Especially during the newborn stage. When you’re pregnant, 12 weeks feels like an eternity, with a baby you’ll swear they were just born and here they are, walking and talking and singing Justin Bieber (yep, that’s Hannah). So, although I’m being sure to capture some special pics of Audrey, I’m also conscious of being in the moment and making sure she’s smiling at me, not the back of my phone or the lens of my camera.
5. I’m not paying too much attention to milestones. We’re lucky enough to have pretty healthy babies and although I knew that the first time, I probably paid a bit too much attention to what ‘the book’ or ‘that website’ said they should be able to do at each age. Sleeping through the night, crawling, sitting up and walking are huge milestones however they are different for each baby. I’m paying attention to them, but using it as a rough guide as opposed to something that is set in stone. And that’s making for a much more relaxed approach.
Having two kids is a massive challenge emotionally, logistically and physically, however I’m determined this time to take it a bit slower, relax and enjoy.
Do you have more than one child? If so, did you change your parenting tactics the second time round?