Someone asked me the other day if I’ll be doing anything differently this time with the new baby. Since I’ve been through it before and think I’ve at least become a little more experienced, I feel a lot more confident in my parenting approach this time. Rather than relying heavily on baby books, advice from other people, and good ‘ol experimentation, I hope my experience with Lily will help me immensely.
So on this blog, I’m going to post some things I’ll be doing differently, with the first being what I’ll be doing differently during the newborn stage. Of course nothing is to plan and I’m flexible enough to know if something doesn’t work I’ll change strategy to see what works best for the whole family.
First here is what I plan to do the same:
1. No strict routine during the first 3 months
This worked so well for Lily and rather than looking at the clock all the time and pumping milk like crazy, I was focused on the task of feeding and getting baby to sleep. The first 3 months is extremely difficult as the baby is going through growth spurts and adjusting to life outside the womb. And even though it’s very tiring on both mother and child, this time is precious in establishing that mother/child bond. This is also a good time to learn to read baby’s cues which allows introducing more of a structured routine later on.
2. Introducing a bottle once breastfeeding is established
The bottle saved my sanity during the night and when I had to leave the house and didn’t want the baby to starve while I was gone for an hour. I wasn’t pumping like crazy, but one bottle feed a day worked really well and helped later on when Lily was older and I wasn’t around to breastfeed.
This really worked well with Lily and involves demand feeding during the day and evening, except for the last feed of the night. During this last feed, you feed the baby (usually they are still fast asleep) before you sleep, so the baby is fuelled up and will sleep a bit longer during the night.
You don’t know how important sleep is until you have several days in a row of serious sleep deprivation , so I’ll definitely try dreamfeeding again.
What I’ll be doing differently:
1. Self-settling earlier
As you may know, I was rocking Lily on the fit ball to calm her crying. It was quite tiring at the end, so I plan to introduce self-settling earlier at around 4 months. This doesn’t mean control crying but to ease off the rocking bit by bit and gradually leaving the baby to get to sleep while they are awake and giving them the opportunity to try to get to sleep on their own. This is a long process and won’t happen overnight but something I want to start gradually at 4 months. Baby steps they say!
2. Introducing a routine earlier
With Lily I very adamant that I wouldn’t be doing any routine with her, after getting scared of books such as Gina Ford’s ‘Contented Baby’ detailing strict routines even down to when you eat lunch. But after months and months of rocking a screaming baby, I knew I had to change my tactics. I wasn’t reading Lily’s cues, so automatically rocked her when she cried rather than keeping track of when she should be sleeping (babies aren’t very good at putting themselves to sleep).
So doing the whole feed-activity-sleep routine is important in helping baby learn structure and routine and gradually learn to self-settle too. After 4 months, I’m planning to also record times (I didn’t do this with Lily) to better understand my baby’s natural schedule and get some predictability for myself too.
3. To take some time off
I didn’t do this enough during the first 3 months with my first baby, so felt quite stressed and frazzled. Even a walk around the block and getting some fresh air without the baby everyday, will help clear my head.
I hope to have one-on-one time with Lily so perhaps taking her to the nearby park will be a good idea too.
4. Resting for a month – aka ‘confinement’
I’ll blog more about this at a later date, but this is basically a Chinese tradition which restores yin and yang back into the mother. It means resting for a month and being strict about not having people over once I’m home from the hospital. Okay, there can be a few exceptions (I’m not that mean) but I planning to host a party after the first month, so people who missed out on the hospital visit can come meet baby.
The first month is full of sleepless nights and trying your hardest to get breastfeeding to work – so basically you are exhausted and to be honest you will look like absolute shit. So the last thing you want to be doing is stressing over when people can come over and looking fresh enough to entertain.
What did you do differently for your second child during the newborn stage?