I recently read a post from another mummy blogger about your first child effectively being the guinea pig. It got me thinking about what things I’ve done differently with my two boys and I was surprised to learn there were quite a few! So I have decided to list them. It seems I’ve learnt a lot more second time around! For the sake of clarity I am going to refer to the boys as big bee and little bee.
1. Shorter stay in hospital
With big bee I stayed in hospital just under 48 hours, I was in no real rush to leave and whilst there I got the hang of breastfeeding with the help of the midwives. However second time around, I was in hospital less than 24 hours and couldn’t have got out of there any quicker! I left the hospital too soon, assuming that I would be able to breastfeed again was a big mistake. I realise now I was lucky with big bee but things were not as easy with little bee, being tongue-tied he struggled latching on and my technique was all wrong. Without the help of the midwives in those first couple of days, it resulted in my breastfeeding days being cut short due to a poor latch and sore nipples. I truly learnt the meaning of the term toe-curling and gave up within two weeks 😦
2. Bottle fed
I managed 4 months breastfeeding with big bee but only 2 weeks with little bee. Even though big bee took a bottle at 4 months, on reflection given the chance I would not hesitate in breastfeeding again. At the time I thought breastfeeding was hard work and sometimes the on demand feeding was…well…pretty demanding! By 4 months I was ready to make the switch however in hindsight compared to bottle feeding it’s a no brainer. Apart from the obvious health benefits, breastfeeding provides instant, ready made feeds, I could get myself nice and comfy with big bee and I still had a free hand to drink my cup of tea, use my phone, grab the remote etc. I needed two hands for bottle feeding, and sterilizing/making up the bottles was just another chore I could have done without. Plus with breastfeeding, I was able to feed and stay in bed which beats having to go downstairs in the middle of the night to fetch a bottle!
3. Tummy time at night time..
..ok, so this is a controversial one. Big bee slept as advised on his back and woke often throughout the day and night unless of course when he was held then he would sleep for longer. Obviously with just big bee this was not too much of a big deal but by the time little bee came along I needed him to sleep anywhere as long as it was not in my arms! Little bee was a wriggler from the start and constantly woke himself up by fidgeting around and hitting himself in his face. This led me to change his sleep position, he napped on his tummy during the day, at first, when I could still keep an eye on him but once he had good head control, he slept on his tummy at night too. This made a huge difference because I am sure sleeping on his front helped him to self soothe himself back to sleep.
4. Baby-led Weaning
I will post another blog on this in more detail in the future but basically big bee was spoon fed and traditionally weaned from 5 months old and is now an incredibly fussy eater. Whereby little bee has been baby-led weaned from 6 months old and even though he is only 10 months old now, he is a more confident eater and is still so far enjoying lots of different foods. Plus the BLW approach has been an amazing experience and so much more enjoyable. It has also been easier preparing meals as little bee just eats pretty much the same as what we are eating.
5. Left little bee with Grandma a lot sooner than big bee
Ok, maybe this had something to do with breastfeeding big bee for longer but I left little bee with my Mum a lot sooner than big bee. I think little bee spent his first night at Grandma’s at just 4 weeks old whereby big bee was nearly 1! Ha, this makes me smile looking back. We are always happy to have the opportunity of a night off now!
6. More maternity leave
I decided to have more leave this time around. Rather than rushing back to work I wanted to enjoy as much time off as possible with my two boys as I am not sure whether this will be my last maternity leave… I’ve taken the full 12 months leave plus a little bit extra due to holiday allowance and even though it’s been hard work, I’ve enjoyed every minute being at home 🙂
7. Went on holiday a lot sooner
Our holiday was already booked before little bee made his appearance into the world. He was just 8 weeks old by the time he was clocking up some air miles however big bee was 18 months old before he went on his first flight. Not that this has made any difference to the boys, it’s more about learning to be more laid back and relaxed with your second child and carrying on as normal. Babies are more transient than you think!
8. Not joined in as many playgroups
Ok, so this one makes me a little sad. I haven’t been able to join in with as many playgroups this time around as I did with big bee. Having two children at home, even though big bee does attend nursery a couple of days a week, not only makes getting out of the house for morning playgroups a nightmare, the difference in ages of my two boys has prevented me from joining in some of the local playgroups. Therefore I have not met any new mums this time around 😦 On a optimistic note, however, I still have 3 months of maternity leave left so maybe there’s still time…
9. Kept to a routine
Because we have stayed at home more since little bee has arrived, I have been able to get little bee into a good routine. He naps brilliantly during the day and is easy to go down most days which leaves me with time to get things done in the house and attend to big bee whilst little bee sleeps. This has been a God send with two children, however I do miss the spontaneity of our days when it was just big bee and me but at the same time I do realise that a routine is essential when you are juggling looking after two children.
10. Less Googling
When big bee was a baby, I was constantly on my phone googling baby related questions. When I wasn’t googling, I would be reading a book or talking to people to find out the answers however with little bee I have not had the time to google as much. I have just had to think logically about the best option and pretty much get on with it. I would say that perhaps I’ve used more intuition and perhaps this is what you learn to do as you have more children?
Looking back, even though I have done things differently with the boys, I feel confident that I did the best I could have done at the time and reflecting in this way has made me feel more confident about the choices I have made, albeit I may not have been thinking this at the time!