Aren’t there just times when it seems like everyone you know is graduating/moving/getting married/having a baby?! This is definitely one of those times! I know so many families right now who are expecting an addition in the next year. AND we are too! Super stoked about #3 joining us in August.
So today I wanted to share a few thoughts for first-time mamas and/or mamas adding their second child who may be facing some anxiety about how it’ll all work out, like I was before Hudson was born! I still wonder how we’ll do it with 3 who are 3 and under, so those of you who KNOW – pass on the info! 😉 And my kids are 20 and 22 months apart, so my thoughts revolve completely in the newborn/infant/toddler stages – anyone with thoughts on a new baby and older kids, feel free to share your insight too.
Here are some things that might make your journey to family of 3,4+ a little smoother…
1) Lactation consultant & breast pump. If you are planning to breastfeed, I would really recommend making sure you and your baby have a pretty solid working partnership especially with latching before you leave your hospital or birthing center. It can be awkward at first if you are kind of shy and modest like I was, but in my experience lactation consultants are awesome and give you the confidence that you will be just fine taking your precious baby home and caring for it on your own. If you struggle once you get home they are available via phone at most hospitals. I also was thankful for my inexpensive, manual breast pump. I will probably buy another of these before too long (Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump). Even if you plan to exclusively breastfeed it is nice to have a way to release pressure when you’re full and in pain, and having a little stash of milk in your fridge or freezer frees you up for the occasional babysitter or to let daddy bond with the baby by feeding too. Plus, in the event that you are sick at some point, your baby won’t automatically have to switch to formula or solids. If you will need to pump a lot for work or something else, you might consider an electric pump (I hated the one I tried…just a preference thing, maybe?), and you can try them at the hospital and often they rent them out and your insurance may cover it.
2) Miralax, tucks wipes, foam pain reliever. No one told me I’d be terrified to go poop after having a baby. (GROSSSSS…I know!) But I was. Your experience might be different based on your delivery and whether or not you tear or have an episiotomy…but more than likely you will be very sensitive “down there” for a little while. Taking a stool softener will help relieve any pressure, using tucks wipes (or any witch-hazel soaked wipe) is cooling and cleansing and your doctor can prescribe you a foam that relieves pain and keeps the whole area clean to prevent infection. Oh, and make sure you have plenty of maxi pads in the house! And I do mean maxi! 😉 It’s easy to forget when you haven’t had a period in ‘many moons’…ha ha.
3) Dry shampoo. Showers are not always a high priority when you have a newborn! Sometimes they happen, but…mostly anything beyond eating and sleeping is a BONUS! 🙂 I wish I had started using dry shampoo earlier…I like Tresemme Fresh Start...Spray it in, comb it through. It smells fresh and dries up any grease. I still sweat enough (esp. post partum!) that I really need to take a shower every day, but at least I won’t feel greasy-headed all morning until I can squeeze one in during the afternoon or evening! TMI again? 😛
4) Slow cooker liners. A wise woman told me after Hudson was born – have your dinner plan early in the day and everything else will fall in place! It’s true! The crock pot is definitely nice for yummy and simple to prepare meals. The only thing I hate is cleaning the baked-on-for-hours pot after the food is gone. Liners for your slow cooker can be found at the grocery store next to the Ziplocs. Food + plastic kind of grosses me out, but it’s not that bad and if there’s ever a time for easy, quick clean up after.baby.is.it. Oh, and paper plates…totally acceptable!
5) How to navigate a parking lot. I was so nervous about this when Hudson was born. I had horrible visions of my little toddler Kaya dashing into the street while I unloaded baby! A friend recommended parking as close to the carts in a parking lot as possible. Park, grab a cart immediately, load up child #1 (the walker must be secured!!), then unload baby (either in car seat or move to sling or other carrier). No matter how well behaved and responsive your child is, a busy parking lot is no place to take chances! This is also a good idea if you only have one baby but are still healing from birth and don’t want to carry the car seat very far.
6) Have a post-partum prayer warrior/counselor. About 15% of women face serious post partum depression (PPD) and just about all of us have some serious exhaustion, hormones and ‘blues’ to sort through. Our enemy the devil attacks us when we are vulnerable through loads of change and fluctuation. Prepare for this by staying connected with the Lord and with a woman who has been there. Don’t feel ashamed to ask for prayer or support. Plan on it.
7) Babywise. This book was really helpful! At first it’s all about survival – but after that, getting on a flexible schedule is so helpful and healthy for the whole family. A friend loaned me this book right after Kaya was born and I am so grateful (THANKS, APRIL!! 🙂 …you saved us from many sleepless nights!). We were not rigid with it, but the eat-wake-sleep patterns described in this book were very helpful in getting both Kaya and Hudson to eat and sleep well…which in turn helped my husband and I to feel saner, sooner.
8) Take first born on a date. Adding a baby is wonderful and super crazy and maybe a little traumatic! Taking out some time for a one-on-one date with your firstborn will be a special time you both enjoy. I could tell Kaya knew she was still my baby treasure after we went on our first date when Hudson was just a week or two old! Having a special bag/basket of special things for them to read or play with after the baby is born gives them something to look forward to also (just make sure it’s not all stuff you have to supervise in a hands-on way…i.e.: maybe no finger paints!).
Something I haven’t tried yet but plan to is the postpartum corset/belt idea from Making Home. Anyone tried that before? How did it go for you?
Thoughts?! What else do you wish someone had told you prior to your first baby? Anything to add to the list?
More than ANYTHING, trust the Lord! He has given you this good gift of new life and will help give you wisdom to care for your precious little one. Graciously accept advice, but don’t feel like you have to follow everyone’s – because you will hear a lot of contradicting things. Everyone’s family can and should look a little different. Take your spouse’s input above anyone else’s. You will make a great team, and God put you together to be just that! ❤