I often day dream back to those first few weeks with Leo. They were definitely the toughest weeks of my life, yet today I can think back on them with happy memories. I really never thought I would get here. It was just so very very hard, I cried so so much, I just thought I would never get over it, never become strong again and never feel like me again.
But to be honest, I don’t even remember what it feels like to be the old ‘me’. I learnt that I had to let her go to grow and be at peace with my new life as a Mom.
During these day dreams into the past, my mind often wanders into the future… I wonder if we will ever make another little human? Right now I just can’t imagine having another one, even though everyone keeps saying… “just wait til he’s 2, then you’ll see!” Hmmm.
So if I were to have a second time round, hypothetically speaking… I thought I would share what I would plan to do differently to make life easier for myself.
Please note: this is not a list of things that I recommend that you should definitely follow. Every Mom’s journey is a totally different one, but for me, if I had known these few things beforehand, it would’ve taken some of the pressure off during those first few weeks. Which is why I’m sharing it with you today. (Not because I’m going to have another baby – I know my Mom is reading this so I want to be clear on this matter before she rushes off to the newborn section in Earth Child!)
1. I would have a better birth plan
We planned for a homebirth and we planned well. I was so confident that things were going to go as planned, that I didn’t plan properly for if things went wrong. Having a solid birth plan would be my number 1, second time around.
2. I would try to breastfeed again, BUT…
I was planning to be one of those breastfeeding activists with my boobie profile pics. I thought breastfeeding would be a breeze. I thought my baby would latch on like a dream and away we’d go. And if I had to get it right second time round, I’d probably still be that girl…! Because I do believe that breast is 100% best.
However… I also don’t believe that formula is the poison that it’s often made out to be. If it weren’t for formula, we would’ve been in serious trouble, as our issues with breastfeeding lead to a dehydrated little 4 week old who landed up in hospital for 5 nights. If there were to be a second time around, I would most certainly try to breastfeed as much as I could, on demand all the way, but on the really bad days, when my nipples just couldn’t take anymore and my exhaustion was starting to take it’s toll… then yes, I would most certainly say “honey – I’m sleeping for the next 8 hours, here’s the bottle and the baby. Good night.”
3. I would not use a breast pump
If you have ever expressed with a breast pump you will know that apparently these breast pump companies expect your nipple to stretch to around 10cms long. It was a little frightening to say the least the first time I attempted it.
2 Reasons why I hated expressing: it’s bloody noisy and it takes FOREVER. All that effort while baby is asleep, when I could rather be sleeping. Breastfeeding is a hundred times easier than expressing. And then you still have to store the milk and date it and wash the pump… which all takes brain power and energy which new Mom’s have none of. It would be straight boob, or formula top-ups.
4. I would use a dummy as soon as I needed to
I was strongly advised against using a dummy from the very early days by many. The reasons were endless, and I listened, but as soon as I introduced a dummy, my life was easier and my baby was happier. The end.
5. Modern cloth nappies all the way
The amount of times I’ve run out of nappies… I hang out in a group of awesome hippy mama’s and most of them use modern cloth nappies. In my head I thought that cloth nappies would be disgusting and gross and even though they are way better for the environment than tons of disposable nappies, I just couldn’t get my head around making the initial investment. But now I see how convenient (and utterly cute!) modern cloth nappies are, I would definitely go that route second time around. The image below illustrates the difference between disposables and cloth nappies.
6. I would babywear from day 1
I only discovered the real benefits of babywearing and how it took the strain off just about everything when Leo was around 1 month old. He would cry less, sleep longer and was just generally a happier and more content baby. It also allowed me to start socialising with friends again which was a big part of my life before I had him. Keeping him upright in the carrier after a feed also really helped with his reflux and digestion, which in turn meant less crying and tummy cramps, and longer periods between his feeds.
7. I wouldn’t care about other people’s opinions
During those first few weeks I put so much pressure on myself to live up to other people’s expectations that I constantly felt like a failure. Second time around, I would be more confident in my abilities to be the best Mother I could be, and that would be good enough for me and my baby, despite what other people think.
8. I would Google less
As a new mom, Google can be your best friend but it can also be your worst enemy. There is so much conflicting advice out there and it can be super confusing and make you feel completely overwhelmed. The best thing to do is to follow your instinct and if you need some advice, call a fellow mama friend.
Now I would love to hear from you – is there anything you would do differently second time around? Please share with me in the comments area below.