The Charlie O'Brien Blog: Parenting second time around
In about 15 weeks I will become a parent the second time around.
I am in NO way an expert at this parenting thing (is anyone?) – but I think you do learn and become more confident as time goes by.
Here are two lists – things I’ll definitely do the same again, and things I definitely won’t...
THINGS I’LL DO THE SAME WITH MY SECOND BABY
Feed on demand: I’m a big believer in being led by the baby when it comes to feeding. I plan to hopefully breastfeed again and like last time - I’ll feed when my baby shows hunger cues day or night. Not when my watch passes a certain point.
Say no to visitors in the first two weeks: This one sounds harsh but for us, it was the best way. I was really strict with visitors after Noah was born. I’d had a difficult labour, was struggling to breastfeed, and the last thing I needed was Aunt Bev and Uncle Tom knocking at the door while I sat topless with tears rolling down my face. The only people that were allowed past our front door and into our safe baby bubble were my mum and dad because not only did they come with support, knowledge and cuddles – but also food!
I’m told second time around people aren’t that bothered about visiting anyway – small mercies eh?!
White noise: This was a lifesaver when it came to getting our sleep-resister to sleep! Even now aged two years and four months he still sleeps with special music on! Last time we actually recorded our vacuum cleaner and my husband made a 12-hour loop soundtrack. It’s all ready to go again!
Co-sleep: Always a controversial one. But I believe that safe co-sleeping can be extremely beneficial to a successful breastfeeding relationship. It’s not for everyone and that’s fine. We only did it for short spells and now my son sleeps in his own room 12 hours a night. But when we needed to – it was a brilliant way for us to all get some sleep.
Read to her from day one: One of the first nights we were home from the hospital I read Guess How Much I Love You to my son Noah. It made me cry A LOT – damn those hormones and baby blues! The habit stuck and we read to him every single night without fail, and during the day if he asks. As a result he adores books and I often treat him to something new to read when we go out shopping. I’m not naïve – there will be a time when friends, football or the X Box take preference– but for now, I’ll take it!
THINGS I’LL DO DIFFERENTLY WITH MY SECOND BABY
I won’t listen to unsolicited advice: As a first time mum you find that EVERYONE wants to dish out the advice – about feeding/sleeping/what nappies you should use/discipline etc etc. Oh my goodness. It’s overwhelming. After a few months I got pretty good at learning to ignore, but this time I will let unwanted advice and opinions wash over me from day one.
I won’t sign up to every baby class going: Last time I signed up to every single class that my NCT friends were going to. Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. It got us out of the house and stopped the loneliness from creeping in. But it meant we did some classes that we both hated – including Sing and Sign! Never again. This time we may do one class when Noah’s in childcare and that’s it.
I’ll leave the cute outfits until she’s a bit older: Cute newborn outfits are all well and good – but when socks literally don’t stay on their tiny feet, and they need changing every 10 minutes – the only practical things for them to wear are baby grows! So I’ve stopped looking at all the pretty newborn dresses that require contortionist moves to get on and off and I’m just stocking up on the practical stuff instead.
I’ll ditch the books: Gah, most baby books I read last time either made me want to cry or scream. This time I’ll listen to my instincts and my baby and I’ll pack the books off to charity shop!
I won’t necessarily do baby led weaning: Another controversial topic – how to wean your baby? With a spoon, or by letting them eat normal food from day one using their hands? I did the latter as that’s what was strongly recommended and is supposed to make them less fussy. Didn’t work in our case! I’m not saying I’m against the principal at all – but this time I won’t feel pressured to do it unless it feels right.