Sunday, August 21, 2016

Newborn life: what I'm doing differently for round 2

I actually started this post when Royce was 3 weeks old (and uploaded pictures from back then OMG so tiny) because I had been noticing some differences in being a second time mom vs. a first time mom. I forgot about it but it kind of works out because I have more to add now. I'm clearly still very, very early on in my parenting journey, but I think enough time has passed for me to be able to speak on the transition from 0-1 kids vs 1-2 kids. People generally have strong opinions on which one of these transitions is the hardest. Without a moment's hesitation, I can say that for me 0-1 was significantly more difficult than 1-2.

Two kids is a breeze! Or something.

I mentioned struggling when Dalton was a newborn on the blog, although I kept a lot of things private and, as most struggles do, it went a little deeper than I was comfortable publicly sharing. Now that I have a little more perspective, I realize that I didn't recognize how much of an adjustment it was in the moment. When we attended childbirth classes, the nurses went over the signs for PPD and we paid close attention. They described very specific scenarios, which centered on the new mother crying a lot, not wanting to take care of her newborn, wanting to escape, and things like that. I'm sure many women do feel like that. But I didn't. Except, I was crying a lot. Partially because I never wanted to be away from him even for a moment, partially because I was terrified at the finality and responsibility of being his mother, and often for reasons that weren't remotely clear to me. It wasn't anything like what the nurses described. I was never ever unhappy being around my baby, and I never wanted a break from him. In retrospect, I think that since I was so happy being with him, I didn't allow myself to process that it still was a huge shift in my identity and lifestyle. Even though it was a wonderful transition, it was still a momentous upheaval, one that caused me a lot of anxiety and fear.

I felt this picture showed anxiety and fear.

Going from 1-2 was naturally a change in my day to day life, but I'd already undergone the enormous change in identity that motherhood brought. Having a newborn and toddler has been busy, but not scary, at least not beyond the normal levels of parenthood. I have confidence in myself, which is not to be confused with actually knowing what I'm doing, but I feel better about making it up as I go along. I also have a lot more perspective. With Dalton, I would agonize over every minute decision like it would make or break his entire life's success. Is he hungry or sleepy? Should I put him in the crib or keep him in the rock and play? Did I overstimulate him by reading him that book too energetically? Seriously, I was a psychopath. With Royce, I just do the best I can in the moment and as long as he's healthy, fed and dry I consider everything fine.

Clearly nailing parenting.

So with all that knowledge and experience under my belt (ha, my whole 22 months of parenting), here's a few differences in how I approached the newborn stage, round 2 vs round 1.

Not clock watching: Sometimes you hear things like newborns should eat every 2-3 hours. With Dalton, I used an app to track when he ate, especially since in the beginning we were told we had to wake him to make sure he ate every two hours. I wasn't too obsessive about it and thought I was going by hunger cues, but now I wonder if I did keep an eye on the clock too much. With Royce, I completely threw all that out the window. I remember joking to someone that I knew nothing anymore when he was about two weeks old and she said "I bet you know how long ago your baby ate and when he needs to eat again!". And I was like nope, actually I don't even know that, but he'll tell me. People would constantly ask how often he ate, how long he slept, how many times he was up at night, etc, etc, and I would be like I DON'T KNOW. To me, taking care of a newborn was a bit easier without also trying to do math. Baby cries, give him the boob, change the diaper, repeat. Simple.

Cosleeping: With Dalton, I thought I would want him in our room forever. I had no idea how loud newborns were. I'm an extremely light sleeper to begin with, and every tiny little noise he made had me waking in a panic thinking something was wrong. He was in our room for one whole week. Then he moved out to the living room with Eric. He started sleeping in his own room in the rock and play at about 7 weeks. Prior to that, he pretty much would only sleep on our chests. People can talk about sleep training all they want, but if you've had a kid who will only sleep with you, then you KNOW, amiright? We transitioned him to the crib at 9 weeks, which was fine, he slept crappy in the rock and play and continued to do so in the crib and generally continued to end up on one of us at some point in the night from birth to age one. However, my point was, he was almost never in the bedroom with me until he was old enough to fight back if I accidentally rolled over and crushed him, which was pretty unlikely considered I woke up every time he took an extra deep breath.

With Royce, I've turned into the mother I expected to be with Dalton, meaning that he sleeps in our room and I'm only 50% convinced that I can let him sleep on his own in time for college.

Because he's SO CUTE when he sleeps, and also when he's awake.

I'm not sure if he's quieter or I'm just less anxious, but I love having him next to me and it works out just fine. The first few nights home from the hospital, I tried to get him to sleep in the cosleeper, but he just wanted to nurse all night so he pretty much just stayed in bed next to me (following safe bed sharing practices). After that, we experienced the rock and play being the miracle baby tool that everyone touts it as (we did not experience this with Dalton) and at 3.5 months, he's snoozing there next to me right now and we have a "if it ain't broke don't fix it" situation.

Nursing in public: I have a distinct memory of attempting to nurse Dalton under the cover at some Christmas event. There was snow on the ground, and I was pouring sweat attempting to help him stay latched while he tried to rip the cover off, probably because it was hot and annoying. I didn't even bother to throw it in the diaper bag this time. If I was sweating in December, there's just no way I'm doing that in summer when the temperatures have often been in triple digits. There's certain situations I'll use it in, or times I'll go someplace private to make sure everyone is comfortable but I've had two labors and two c-sections at this point, I'm just not modest anymore.

Products: During my first pregnancy, I stocked up on lotions, creams, and baby products of all kinds. Now, if breast milk and/or coconut oil can't fix it, it's probably time to hit the ER. I have a whole drawer of useless store bought diaper rash "fixers". FYI, butt paste smells terrible and doesn't work in my experience.

Questions for the doctor: With Dalton, first my OB and then our pediatrician would take a seat and get comfortable after the examination portion of each appointment and patiently let me go through the long, written out list I dutifully brought each time. With Royce, I find myself rarely being able to think of even a single question. 

That's all I've got, let's conclude with these pictures of the boys holding hands in the double stroller and my heart completely exploding. 


Just all casual, holding his baby brother's hand like the sweetest little boy in the world that he is. 

I would love to hear thoughts on other people's experiences on their transitions in number of kids! 0-1 vs 1-2 or 1-3 or 2-3 or anything!


  1. I agree with everything you said - especially about not watching the clock and not giving any effs about the nursing cover! What I'm doing different this time around is...still nursing a two year old. That's not a #humblebrag either, I just don't know how to stop. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  2. 0 to 1 was murder. I've never been so tired in my entire life. 1 to 2 (with #1 being 17mo when that happened) was a total cake walk. It helped that #2 was a decent sleeper, but mostly I wasn't afraid like I had been the first time, instead I was just super happy.
    Now to finagle a #3... :D

  3. That's so interesting! 0-1 was easy and delightful. 1-2 was SO HARD. Even with a 4 year age gap. My 4 year old adjusted really well and quickly. My husband and I are just starting to figure things out 9 months in.

  4. Thank you for making this site very interesting! Keep going! You're doing very well
    my us

  5. I can second almost all of these. Except the cosleeping. We pretty much never put Xavi in his crib and eventually we started bedsharing which made middle of the night feedings so much easier! We are doing cosleeping with Archie too and he ends up beside me in bed at least once a night because I fall asleep after the feed rather than swaddle and place him in the PNP newborn napper. And I only tracked feedings and diapers for a few days while we were waiting for him to get back to birth weight. Not struggling with breastfeeding is making it so much easier and I agree that transition to 1 to 2 is easier than 0 to 1.


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