I did a lot of reading during my pregnancy. Reading has always been a way for me to understand things, cope with situations and feel in control and prepared. But even a book junkie like myself has to admit that some things in life you just can’t learn from a book. You have to experience them to truly understand and learn. I guess that is the difference between knowledge and wisdom. And man, did I obtain me some mama- wisdom over the past two years. Overall I feel pretty good about how things went. How we approached certain situations. The parenting choices I have made as a new mom. But inevitably there are a couple of things I would like to do different if we were to be blessed with another baby.
1. The Birthing Plan
I had a birthing plan. Everybody who was present during labor had read it and was under strict instruction to respect my wishes. But one of the things I was not specific enough about, due to lack of experience, was my wish to deal with my contractions horizontally. I wanted to stand, sit and lean. I did not want to lie down, because I felt like then I would be at the mercy of the pain, instead of in control of it. But there was one (kind) nurse who persuaded me to lie down at one point. She saw I was tired and the contractions where coming every ten to twenty seconds, so I had no time to recover. I told the nurse ‘no’ a few times, but after a while I just gave in. It was a bad decision. Up until that point I felt I could handle the pain. Once I laid down it was quite hellish.
2. The first day
The day Isaya was born she had to be admitted to the children’s ward. I tried to fight the nurses on giving her formula that first night, but they overruled me and told me I didn’t have enough milk. I was incredibly angry and convinced I did, but I had never used a milk pump, so I gave in. I know so much better now. Next time I won’t let anybody tell me what is best for my baby when it comes to breastfeeding. I know what is best for my baby, I know what my boobs can and cannot do, I decide.
3. The New Mom Worries
I was worried about so many things those first few weeks. Is she still breathing? Is she drinking enough? Is she peeing enough? Is she gaining weight? How about now, still breathing? And now? I am going to try and trust and relax more next time. And breathe. Just breathe woman! Also, due to the worrying I hardly slept the first few weeks after Isaya was born. Now that I have a toddler I’m like ‘o my gosh, she used to sleep so much during the day and I had so many opportunities to sleep with her! Why didn’t I?!’ So yeah, next time I am going chill and sleep.
4. The pacifier
I had this idea about not wanting to give my baby a pacifier. I didn’t want her to be comforted by a piece of plastic and I was also afraid it would interfere with the breastfeeding. I was able to keep this up for about three months. After that I caved. It was a great decision, because the pacifier helped with the tummy cramps, it made car rides easier and it enabled me to sleep a little more. So baby number two is going to get a pacifier, end of story.
5. The play pen
As you know I love baby wearing. I wore our daughter a lot the first year. She was so used to the sling, always being close, she did not want to lie in a playpen during the day. This was quite inconvenient for my wife – who is not a baby wearer – because she could never lay Isaya down to get anything done. So I am going to try and get baby number two to accept or even like a playpen. Otherwise my wife will not be able to look after two kids at the same time.
6. The move
When Isaya was five months old we moved house. Our apartment was getting too small, so we moved to a bigger house. If you are pregnant or have a newborn, avoid moving house, if you can, for at least a year! It is very stressfull, because there is always going to be one parent that can’t help with the move, because someone has to take care of the baby. I did pack a lot of boxes but my wife had to do so much by herself.
7. The weaning
I recently wrote about when I stopped breastfeeding. I breastfed Isaya for fifteen and a half months. I am proud of this and am happy I was able to do this for and with her for so long. But I regret stopping at fifteen months. So next time I would like to breastfeed longer. Obviously this intention also depends on my baby’s wishes and needs, but I intend to steer baby number two’s weaning even less.