I have been spending a lot of time with first-time moms recently and it has me thinking about how I was as a first-time mom and all of the things that were “important” to me with Leo and how they have changed and shifted the second time around. Looking back, I was a little crazy.
The first big difference is that now I am a stay at home mom. When Leo was this age (7 months), I was still working full-time. So little Lucy and I spend a lot of time together which is really nice. I get to see the teeny-tiny changes in her add up to bigger milestones and watch her little personality develop. With Leo, a lot of these things seemed to happen so quickly.
There were so many philosophies that I subscribed to, mostly learned from baby books (particularly The Baby Book by Dr. Sears), that I look back at now and wonder “what was I thinking?”
Firstly, co-sleeping and sleep training. We were never going to let Leo “cry it out” as a result he basically didn’t start sleeping through the night until he was three and he was still sleeping with us for part of the night even when I was pregnant with Lucy. We did co-sleep with Lucy but basically the day she turned 6 months old we put her in her bed and started sleep training. The cry it out kind. Now that it’s been years since I have had more than 3-4 hours of consecutive uninterrupted sleep I am starting to wonder why we didn’t sleep train Leo. At the time it seemed so cruel, I remember someone telling me that the only reason that babies stop crying and go to sleep when you are sleep training is because “they have given up any hope that you are coming back.” Now that I have given up hope of ever being (or looking) well-rested, I have no idea what we were thinking the first time around.
Breastfeeding. Yes, breastfeeding is best for your baby but it can also be really exhausting. With Leo my goal was to breastfeed for a year, and I met that goal and then some but I did have to start supplementing with formula around 8 months which horrified me at the time. I think I even cried the first time we gave it to him. With Lucy, I would do just about anything to start weaning her now or to get her to drink formula. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that she just won’t take a bottle. It’s hard to enjoy myself when I work out or go to dinner with my husband or friends when I am constantly worried that I need to get home and feed Lucy. Now, I can’t believe that I was so judgmental towards moms who chose formula. We’re all just trying to feed our babies and get through it!
Babywearing. This is another thing that Dr. Sears told me to in the “The Baby Book” that I just took to without question. Since Lucy and I are together all the time, she spends a good amount of her day in the ERGObaby 360. It’s basically the only way that you can do things like go to Costco or pick up a toddler at preschool with a baby in tow. But I literally have NO recollection of why baby wearing is supposed to so great but now I use Lucy’s stroller as much as I possibly can. Unfortunately, Lucy loves the Ergo. When she is fussy, it seems to be the only place she is happy and OH MY GOD MY BACK IS ON FIRE.
There are a lot of little things that just don’t phase me as a second-time mom. I don’t care if you bring your kid over with a runny nose; if something is going around we’re probably going to get it anyways. I let Lucy play with toys that have been dropped on the playground. I don’t care if she’s in the room when Leo is watching “Yo Gabba Gabba” (I seriously don’t think Leo had seen a screen at her age). Lucy just doesn’t do purees so her first food was a Baby Mum-Mum (these are made in China and the second ingredient is sugar), Leo’s was homemade organic sweet potatoes.
I hear a lot of new moms start sentences with “you’re supposed…” as in “you’re supposed to make your own baby food” or “you’re supposed to swaddle your newborn.” What The Baby Book or The Happiest Baby on the Block tell you might not work for your kid, and that’s ok. The second time around, I’ve just relaxed my thinking and become less rigid in my beliefs. I realize now that you just have to do what works for you and your family. After all, who knows your baby better than you…
Lucy’s doing just fine…