Posts Tagged ‘baby #2’

Mothering Your Second Baby

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Mothering Your Second BabyBy now, I’m sure we are all familiar with the Luvs commercials touting the expertise of second-time moms. I know for my first baby I was so nervous to “do it right” and make sure I was covered in my minimal knowledge of caring for this little person. Reading the books, searching the sites, hunting down the best, most educational, natural, perfect toy to entice my little guy’s budding brain, I learned so much. And then, baby #2 came along.

If you’re thinking of a second baby, or maybe you’re already expecting, there are many things that are completely different with #2. You, as a mother, are different. Many mamas wonder if they can love another baby like they do their first–the answer is no, you won’t. You will love them differently and completely separately for their own uniqueness and individuality. Love doesn’t get cut in half, it is not finite, rather it is multiplied by the tenfold instead of just doubling.

Your parenting is different as you have gained confidence as a mom. You’ve gained patience and a bit of understanding toward your baby, and this comes in handy as you travel the newborn days. You know and understand how short these days truly are, what a blur they become and how they fly by in a haze.

Birth can be a very different experience the second time around. Along with being better prepared for labor and delivery, often just knowing what to expect eases the stress. If your first birth ended in an unplanned c-section, just having the chance to plan and prepare for a second one is reassuring. Also, having had one newborn you have the chance to prepare for help, meals, and child care.

Nursing can also be easier with baby #2. Did you know your milk comes in faster and more abundantly with the second baby? Your body has worked hard to produce extra glandular tissue with each pregnancy and menstrual cycle between babies and is a well-oiled machine when #2 comes around. You understand that pain is bad and know to seek help immediately. If you’re bottle feeding, then being able to know how to prepare the bottles, how much and how often, and what you need to pack when you go out is very helpful.

As far as the ease of juggling two babies, well, as a second-time mama you learn the ropes pretty quick. The older sibling is usually fascinated by the baby, which allows for some very tender and sweet moments between the family. You also know what to expect as far as the difficult parts of early parenting: you understand a bit better that things pass and change and to parent with the whole person in mind.

One benefit of being a second-time mama is that you get a chance to figure out who you wish to be as a parent. You know what your preferences are and yet you do have the wiggle room to try something new this time. You can easily give something a shot that you maybe were tempted with from afar the first time around. Anything is game with the second child.

If something didn’t work out when #1 was a newborn that you wished to do differently–whether sleep training, nursing, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, babywearing, birth–any of these things can be done the same or differently. It really depends on you and how your baby’s temperament is.

The biggest difference with baby #2 is that you are just much more relaxed as a mother. You have a chance to really enjoy the baby and breathe!

My second son allowed me a chance to try a more natural approach to parenting, which I found more reassuring. I felt more in control having gone through it once before, especially as the frustrating moments of sleep regression, teething and the long sleepless nights. Knowing that it would get better, and that it would change before I knew it helped ease my frustrations. I jokingly refer to my firstborn as my  “test baby” with whom I learned the ropes and learned how to be the mom I could be. My second son definitely benefits from this experience.

Pia Watzig is a stay at home mom of three boys. She lives, loves, cooks, gardens and knits in Portland, Oregon.


Cleaning Out Between Kids

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Cleaning out between kidsWhen you have your first baby, you buy and receive way more stuff than you’ll ever need. If you’re planning on having another, or even three or more, you may feel the need to hang on to that stuff, and even buy more stuff ”just in case.”

In my case, it meant extra junk sitting at the top of the baby room closet for a few years. After I had my second, I dreaded the point at which I would have to make decisions about what to keep for the next baby and what to toss. It can be a really hard process, and one that you should not attempt if you are feeling emotional or depressed. Attack this job at a time when it will make you feel good and accomplished to clean out this stuff.

We had three lovely daughters, so I can share with you the de-cluttering steps I took, and what I found helpful, and what I ended up throwing out anyway.

  • Clothes. For me, clothes were the hardest to sort through. Everything had memories attached to it, and it’s all so cute. But I did learn that no matter the memories, everything is not worth saving. Since we had three girls, we had a TON of clothes, and if I kept everything I would have way too much, so I gave myself some rules to help me make the hard choices. I limited keepsake clothes to:
    • Items that were boutique/handmade. These things are usually better quality and have a chance of making it intact to the next generation.
    • One item (whether it was Target/Old Navy/whatever) that reminded me of each daughter.
    • Special items (Sunday dresses, holiday items, outfit they came home from the hospital in, etc) that had been worn by all three girls.
    • Socks and shoes. Baby shoes are so wee and cute, they are impossible to get rid of. I did go through my baby sock drawer and throw away every orphan, and I saved out each baby’s first pair of shoes, bought matching organza ribbon and used it to hang them on the Christmas tree. It was as close as I could get to throwing them out.
  • Blankies. I did throw out/give away blankies that had stains or holes, but the rest I kept. These little blankets have so many uses even after the kids don’t use them.
  • Toys. I learned after baby number one that most baby toys are totally useless. Newborns just want to nurse and sleep. And when they are old enough to sit and play with something, your keys, a wooden spoon or their sibling is just as entertaining as some plastic thing. I did keep a first stuffed toy for each girl, but got rid of all the plastic stuff that wouldn’t last, and anything broken. Also be sure and look over the toy recall list in between kids in case something new has been found to be dangerous that you didn’t know about before.
  • Check your car seat. Car seats do expire, and no, it’s not a marketing gimmick. Plastic is constantly heated and cooled during the course of a year or more in the car, and changing temperatures weaken the integrity of the plastic. Every car seat will have an expiration year molded on it. Check your seat, and if it’s expired or recalled, cut the straps and check your local baby store to see if you can get a discount on a new seat for bringing in the old one.
  • Baby contraptions. I got suckered into a lot of these that I never used, among them baby washcloths, the strainer thing to put fruit in so your baby can gnaw on it, baby bathtub (not as convenient when you have to take it out for your toddler to take a bath afterwards) the Bumbo seat, playgym, and more. Your list will vary, but really look at the stuff you have and consider if you would miss it. It can make a big difference when you need more room.
  • Cloth diapers. I found new baby time was a great time to re-evaluate my stash, get rid of any diapers that had saggy elastic, and buy some perky new covers with some fresh prints. Now you also have more doublers–bonus!

White items or anything with a stain will just get worse over time, so don’t save light-colored items that aren’t in great condition. Plus, you’re going to get a ton of new stuff from other people, so anything you save that looks haggard probably won’t get worn anyway.

If you know someone who can use those clothes right now, give them away–you may not know anyone with a baby when you have a toddler and a preschooler. I loved knowing someone was getting use out of my girls’ clothes. And if you don’t have any friends who can use them, check your local crisis pregnancy center, women’s shelter, church or just take them to a thrift store. You can also try consignment boutiques, but I found most of them aren’t worth the trip unless you have designer items that are in new condition.

The biggest thing to remember is that you don’t have to keep everything—not even if it fits someone or could possibly fit someone in the future! More clothes equals more laundry because you can put off laundry longer. Remember: It’s OK to throw away.

Erin Hayes Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls who is up to her eyeballs in adorable girls’ clothes that currently fit none of her children. She lives and writes in Queensbury, New York.