Saturday, May 03, 2008

Maybe not twice as easy, but certainly twice as nice

I'm participating in a virtual baby shower for three fine ladies of the blogosphere who are about to have their second babies: Her Bad Mother, Chicky Chicky Baby and Mrs. Chicken.

For their shower, the organizers have asked moms to share their best advice about going from one child to two.

Peanut was 19-months-old when Loaf was born, still a baby herself in so many ways, and I have to be honest and say it wasn't always easy at first. But in 100% honesty, I found motherhood much easier overall the second time around. I knew the drill so to speak, having a better sense of what was required to keep a baby happy throughout the day, but more importantly, I was more confident.

I struggled, horribly, with breastfeeding Peanut. It is nothing short of a miracle that I nursed her a full year because I endured eight weeks of toe-curling pain each and every time she latched on in the beginning. With Loaf? I had no issues at all.

Of course, there were other challenges: Loaf crying inconsolably while Peanut pulled at my leg. Peanut's jealousy and first tantrums. Having no time to shower, eat or rest. But despite it all, we made it through and are all doing well today. So here's my advice for the mommies-to-be. I hope something here helps ease the transition for you:

1. Take it moment by moment—The first days/weeks will be hard, but only in bursts. When those difficult times strike, take a deep breath, stay calm and remind yourself "this too shall pass." Take a few seconds to assess the situation (whose need is most pressing?) and then address it accordingly. And most of all remember you can handle everything: you're a mom!

2. Don't try to be Supermom—Your house will likely be a mess. You will realize it's 3:30 p.m. and you haven't brushed your teeth yet. You'll still be in your PJs when your husband comes home from work. And you know what? It's all OK. You can clean up the house another day. You can all eat cereal for dinner. You can take a quick shower when the kids go to bed (if you have the energy; if you don't, that's OK too). In other words, eventually it all gets a lot easier, but in the beginning, don't stress out about things that don't matter in the short-term.

3. If you are going to nurse, learn how to do it lying down—This saved me. I nursed Loaf at night, in my own bed, lying down on my side so that I could doze a little. It made a huge difference with handling sleep deprivation.

4. Get a Bjorn or a sling and use it—The sling and Bjorn saved my life. Seriously. Loaf never wanted to be put down and cried the minute her backside hit any surface that wasn't human. So I just wore her All. The. Time. Was it perfect? Nope. But it at least allowed me to fix myself and Peanut a sandwich or fold laundry or do whatever needed to be done with both of my hands free.

5. The kids are important, but so are you—Finally, listen to your own body and its needs. You will need to rest and recover. You'll need a break. You'll need to leave the house sometimes - even for 30 minutes - with no kids and no guilt. Put a video on for your older child, and ask for and accept help from others (including your husband). You can't look after the wee ones if you aren't taking care of yourself.

OK one more thing: Enjoy every moment. I'm shocked by quickly time has flown. Yesterday I had a toddler and a newborn and today I looked up and they were both preschoolers - 4.5 and 3, bounding around my living room pretending to be horses. Every day is a gift. You are very, very blessed.

Thanks to Kristen, Julie and Liz and the Playdate posse for making this shower possible.

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Blogger motherbumper said...

Nursing lying down probably saved my sanity. Sleep depravation was bad and being able to grab some zzz's that way was amazing.

And it sounds like we had experienced similar nursing war stories - my legs used to shoot out from the pain back in the first few months. Ack, I wince just remembering.

Fantastic advice for the ladies :)

7:01 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicken said...

Kimberly, this is all great advice - especially the part about remembering to breathe. I do forget that. I get all caught up and panicky. I will strive to be more zen with my Shaggy boy.

And that sling thing? You're the second one to mention it. TOTALLY getting one.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

YES YES YES to all of it. ALL OF IT. And, am totally getting a sling.

Thank you.

9:08 PM  

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