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13 Feb

what I want to do differently with our second baby

What I want to do differently with second baby

Our second child is due at the beginning of the summer, at the end of June. The closer and closer we get to my due date, the more and more I think about what I want to do similarly and what I want to do differently. We feel very blessed with Luca – he slept through the night on his own (no sleep training necessary) around 9-10 weeks, he’s always been a playful and happy baby who rarely cries (he whines for sure, but rarely ever cries!), and he’s extremely affectionate and loves to give kisses and hugs (without being provoked to do so!)

While we hate to change anything, because Luca is such a wonderful boy, there are certain actions we may take differently now that we know they aren’t as “life or death.” Many decisions you make as a first time parent seem like they are crucial and make or break, but, after you’ve been through it, you realize you added unnecessary pressure and stress onto your experience as a parent and spouse. You need to make these “mistakes” in order to live and learn!

what I want to do differently with baby #2

Looking back at Luca’s earlier months during his newborn and infancy stages, there are some things I’d like to do differently (and Lu is on the same page.) Here is what I’m thinking:

bring my own swaddle blankets to the hospital

I have a whole hospital bag list that I’ll follow again (I updated it post-birth), BUT something I do want to do is bring the swaddle blankets! I found it hard to swaddle the baby in the hospital blankets (they were so stiff from all the washing and drying, I’m sure.) I used these June & January blankets with Luca (when he allowed us to swaddle him, haha), and I am going to buy a little set with a hat for the hospital. they have elasticity in them, making them easy to swaddle tightly and firmly. and if you remember, I had DOZENS of swaddle blankets (and grateful for all the brands that sent them to me), so I tested many, haha. I definitely need to brush up on my swaddling, though!

take photos during and post-birth

Lu asked me if he could take a video of the birth with Luca, and I said no. I said no because I wanted him to be part of it 100% and also, because I didn’t think I’d want to see it, haha. However, I do wish I had more pictures of the birth and post birth. We were just in SUCH shock, we barely took any photos! We don’t even have a photo of the three of us while I was in the hospital, isn’t that crazy? I’m considering having a photographer come for the birth! We’ll see.

less stimulated time, more downtime

I think as a FTM (first time mom), you are so concerned about providing educational and developmental activities for your baby. from “mommy & me” classes to sensory toy overload, it’s hard not to overdo it. it’s almost like you feel that your child won’t develop appropriately if you don’t go to these classes and buy these products. for us, Luca is an extremely aware and active baby and if he’s not being entertained, he’s whining and wants attention. he literally cannot sit still for 10 seconds. we’re always aware of this when we’re in public, like on an airplane. we’ll see other babies just sitting there looking around at their surroundings, happily, while Luca’s trying to pull out every item in the seats’ back pockets.

Now, maybe this is just Luca’s personality – he’s a curious explorer and very imaginative. and we totally encourage that, but we also want him to be able to play more independently and be stimulated just by his surroundings, not necessarily by a toy or an activity. so, with baby #2, we’re going to encourage more self-exploration and be less focused on jangling everything in her face and keeping her occupied 24/7. LUCKILY, I think this will happen naturally, because we’ll also have a toddler, so the attention will have to be split!

what I want to do differently with our second baby

give more bottles in exchange for more of a social life

Okay, okay… I’ll finally admit it. I was a little psycho about giving Luca a bottle. he didn’t get a bottle for MONTHS. I can’t remember exactly, but it must have been around 6 months when he got his first bottle. Now, this was partly because pumping sucks, partly because I loved nursing Luca, and partly because I had a little bit of separation anxiety. I’d worry, “what if he doesn’t have enough milk!” when you’re breastfeeding, you don’t know how much milk the baby is actually getting, so when you give a bottle, you’re kind of just giving the “recommended” amount.

Yes, that means that Lu never did a night feeding, ever. He ended up giving Luca bottles later on, when I was gone on a work trip (happened a couple of times) or went out with friends (way later down the road, like 10-12 months.) He really loved giving Luca a bottle, so I partly want to give Luca more bottles, so Lu can have that experience. Lu never once asked me if he could give the baby a bottle, so I never even thought of it, but I know that he enjoyed it.

There were times when my mother was in town and I wouldn’t leave the house to go out with Lu on a date because I didn’t want Luca to get a bottle! It sounds crazy now, because a little separation is healthy for the baby and me. However, it’s hard to think about leaving, just because I really did love nursing so so much. It was my favorite part of motherhood in the first few months – the only time we had together.

take monthly photos (consistently)

This is kind of a silly one, but I was so overwhelmed as a first time mother, that I wasn’t consistent with my monthly photos. It was weeks later when I thought of it. I think I took about 50-60% of his first month’s photos. They weren’t consistent, so you can’t really compare them. I’d love to be better at it this time, so I have the memory. I have friends who have made adorable baby photo books out of these photos! They say you care less about this stuff with babies after your first, but I feel differently so far!

teach the baby sign language

Especially because I plan on doing baby led weaning with baby #2, I want to take a stab at teaching some sign language. I wish that I knew when Luca wanted milk specifically (when he was older and not nursing as frequently), knew when he wanted water, food, etc. I think it’s amazing that a baby can learn this at such a young age! It’s my goal with baby girl!

say no to the phone during nursing

now, of course, this one is all dependent on if I’m able to nurse successfully again (every baby is different, they say), but, if I am, I want to say no to the cell phone, especially in the early months. The nursing sessions are sooooo long in the beginning (some can be 30-45-60 minutes!) and it’s easy to grab your phone for some entertainment. However, these times are so important to be focused and just so precious. I hate that a lot of the time, I was on my phone and kind of autopilot nursing. Halfway through my early nursing journey, I left my phone outside of the area I was nursing, and I was so much happier! Think about it – you may see something on social media that upsets you or makes you feel less than and all while you’re nursing your baby and surging with emotions? No bueno.

pelvic floor therapy

I’m currently looking into pelvic floor therapy for this pregnancy, but I definitely want to do it after this birth as well. I can’t imagine my incontinence getting worse, so I know it’s an issue I need to focus on. Another case of a mama not putting herself first! I’ve been doing many more kegels this pregnancy than the first (I rarely, if ever did them – ugh!) My advice to new/expectant mamas: DO THOSE KEGELS, LADIES!

I think that’s it! I’m sure as we raise baby girl, things will come up, but for now, this is what is top of mind! what are you looking forward to do doing differently your second time around, for those of you expecting your next baby?

  • Kayleigh Nicholl

    Disclaimer: I am not pregnant nor have I ever been. However, I LOVE Good for the Swole workouts. I’m currently on her “regular” plan but I know she has pregnancy and postpartum workouts available too. When I hopefully become pregnant, I plan on using her workouts.

    Wed February 13 at 5:38 pm Reply
  • Laura Lynch

    I just had my second, and set goals for how we would interact with her for the sake of my oldest. We also did a lot of prep with my oldest, so jealousy didn’t happen.

    Also given your part about entertaining the baby, maybe look into Montessori principles. It is a follow the child and let them explore type thing vs look at this loud moving toy. It also encourages a lot of practical life which is great, so kids can dress themselves, make a snack, help in the kitchen, etc. early. It is purposeful work vs pretend work.

    Wed February 13 at 5:50 pm Reply
    • Paola

      I worked in several Montessori schools and can agree to this! Children learn to play on their own, learn valuable “life” skills (which they absolutely LOVE- like mopping, cleaning, “washing” dishes, etc.), and they learn to take care of their things/stuff they play with.

      Wed February 13 at 7:54 pm Reply
  • Kathy Mannino

    The “less stimulated time” section is EXACTLY what happened with our second… with our first (girl) we were SO hung up on stimulating and entertaining and teaching.. she wasn’t able to play well by herself. Our second came along, and is SO chill and calm and happy to play by himself. Now at 15 months, he can just sit and absorb his surroundings, or can happily entertain himself. They have opposite temperaments, which was evident from a few weeks old, so it may not be as much nurture as we think…. and just so you know, our daughter (now 3.5) happily plays by herself and has a huge imagination. So, it will come eventually :). Congratulations on baby #2! Love watching you go through this awesome journey. xoxoxo

    Wed February 13 at 6:37 pm Reply
  • Tati Rosales

    Hi Ali! Last week I found out I was pregnant and you’ve been my go to source!
    I had no idea about the sign language, where can I learn more about that?

    Wed February 13 at 8:24 pm Reply
    • Molly Clarke

      We have been using the “Baby Sign Language Made Easy” book by Lane Rebelo and it’s really great, it has 100 words that are helpful for day to day life with a baby and even explains how to recognize when they’re doing the sign but it might not come out looking exactly as you taught it.

      Wed February 13 at 9:00 pm Reply
      • Tati Rosales

        Great! Thanks Molly!

        Thu February 14 at 12:42 am Reply
  • Elyse

    This is one of the most honest, transparent, and real posts I’ve ever read. It makes me appreciate and love you all the more. Congrats on Baby Girl!

    Thu February 14 at 2:51 am Reply
  • Anna

    Thanks for sharing this! We’re on baby number 1, and I’m doing pelvic floor physical therapy. It’s totally weird, but I think it’s great!

    Thu February 14 at 3:10 pm Reply
  • KNatGU

    On the subject of a cellphone while nursing, with both of my girls, I read out loud while nursing, when I was in their rooms alone with them. I’m not talking about “Pete the Cat” I read serious lengthy adult books, I figured the sound of my voice was more important then what I was actually saying. We have a funny family story of my husband turning a corner and seeing my bawling and he asked if I was fine and I was bearly able to get out it, this story is so sad! So I also say it helped with purging some post-partum tears. Also, I had to keep the older one occupied during nursing. That was an adjustment for me with a second baby. There are a few years between my girls, so I played lots of go fish.

    Fri February 15 at 7:43 pm Reply
  • Austyn Jenkins

    This is a great post! I agree with everything you wrote. I have two little boys and I wish I would have given more bottles to my second for all of the reasons you mentioned. Self care for Mama is so important, too!

    I had a birth photographer at both births and it is 100% something you will never regret. I love having pictures of what my face looked like the first time I saw my babies. I made a photo book with the PG pictures and documented my birth stories. I love to look back at the books now that they’re older.

    I also did monthly and weekly pictures for both boys. I definitely felt like I had bit off more than I could chew with the weekly pictures at the time, but I’m glad I made the time to do it! It only took a few minutes and the picture doesn’t have to be perfect. I set a reminder on my phone to remind me. And give yourself grace if you don’t take the picture on the exact day of the week or month.

    I love your blog and feed!

    Thu February 21 at 4:28 pm Reply

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