There’s no delicate way to put it, I was a very frazzled first time mom (who isn’t?!). I really had no idea what I was doing, but I did the very best I could with the knowledge I had. When preparing for our second baby, there were things I knew I wanted (and needed) to do differently this time to make life easier, especially since I had a toddler running around.
What I did differently between my first child and my second:
The BIGGEST thing that changed this go around is that I trusted my mommy instincts and didn’t let doubt cloud my judgement. With Mason, I doubted myself and my ability to be a good mommy to him almost constantly. I let other people bombard me with their thoughts, advice, and opinions so often that it drowned out the only voice I really needed to hear: my own. With Jensen, I was a more seasoned mom and my inner voice was much stronger than it had been before. I took any and all advice with a grain of salt and moved on. It also helped that I had been there, done that, so not too many people were telling me what I should and shouldn’t do with Jensen. After all, I must have known a little something since I had kept a kid alive and thriving for 3 years! Since having Jensen, I have allowed myself to be more confident and it is one of the best things I could have done for myself, my husband, and our boys.
We introduced Jensen to his crib much earlier than we did Mason. Although, in hindsight, we should have started Jensen in his crib from day 1, we didn’t. We just started putting him in it at around 6 months. Before that, we co-slept both with him in a bassinet next to our bed and in our bed. We co-slept with Mason for the first year and a half of his life and it was a disaster trying to get him to transition from our bed to any kind of bed of his own. Mason hated the crib and wanted nothing to do with it. We also made the mistake of trying to not only transition Mason from our bed to his own, but his crib was set up in his own separate room, which played a huge part in why it was such a struggle for him. It was too much change all at once for Mason. We didn’t want to relive the nightmare, so we decided to do something different this time. We moved the crib into our room and have been putting Jensen in it at both nap time and bed time. We do still co-sleep when we are absolutely exhausted and don’t have the resolve to fight to get him to sleep in his own bed, but the times are becoming fewer and farther between. Eventually, we’ll move him out of our room, but for now, let’s let sleeping babies lie.
TO EAT OR NOT TO EAT
We are trying our hand at baby led weaning and making our own baby food. Mason got store-bought baby food from almost the day he turned 6 months on up (in addition to being breastfed on demand). I felt really pressured to start feeding him baby food and I wish I had slowed down and let HIM decide when he was ready. Mason was a picky eater as soon as we moved away from baby food and that’s another road we just don’t want to travel down again. Since the hubby and I have cleaned up our diet, we decided that needed to trickle down to our babies, too. I steamed and pureed fresh veggies to make homemade baby food for Jensen and have given him fresh fruit (and frozen fruit for his teething!) in his mesh feeder. He, too, is breast-fed on demand, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to try what we’re having! We’re open to letting him eat what he wants and not forcing him to finish anything, especially if he seems disenchanted with it. I love the saying, “Food before one is just for fun!”
JUST HANGING OUT
Baby carriers! We invested in a Tula carrier and it has saved us on more than one occasion. We bought a wrap type carrier with Mason, but it was too complicated to get into while running errands solo so it didn’t last long. It ended up in the back of a closet, never to be used again. We REALLY needed a carrier with Mason because he was a very needy baby and wanted to be held all the time. I had a hard time getting anything accomplished since Mason would have a fit every time I’d set him down. I couldn’t go through that again either (are you sensing a pattern here?)! I had heard great reviews from my friends about Tula carriers, so I decided to do a little research and check them out. I fell in love with how convertible they are, how easy they are to get both parent and baby into, and the adorable prints! It has saved us time and again on shopping trips when Mason wants to be in the stroller and around the house when Jensen just needs to be snuggled, but we need to get things done too.. I wish we had tried a different carrier with Mason! It would’ve saved us the headache in the long run!
LET SOMEONE ELSE TAKE THE WHEEL
We are all about sharing the love nowadays. When Mason was born, I had a completely irrational fear of letting others take care of and watch him for any length of time. I was exhausted, but I never allowed myself a break because I held myself up to impossible standards and kept telling myself that I should be able to do it all. I really needed a breather, but never gave myself the grace to admit that I needed one and that I couldn’t do it all ALL of the time. Learning from my mistakes, I give others the chance to enjoy time with my boys and don’t begrudge them that opportunity. Although I’m still afraid that something might happen to them while I’m not with them, it’s a fear that I have to let go of because, after all, Mason will be starting school in the next few years! I have since learned that when I try to do it all, I fail miserably and end up stressed and grumpy and I am not a pleasant person to be around. Jensen loves other people and I wouldn’t dream of keeping him from sharing his sweet self with our family and friends. It’s a win-win for everyone!
With experience comes wisdom and I have had my fair share of lessons learned over the past 3 years. Our two boys keep me on my toes, especially with them being polar opposites. You live and learn and figure out what works the best for you, your child, and your family. No two children are alike and if you’re a mom of more than one, you know what I mean! I’m learning how to parent all over again because what works for one may not always work for both. Sometimes you have to let go of what you think you know and let the kids be the teachers.