Noah – 12 months, Paige – 3 1/2 years
I'm much more relaxed. Therefore, I don't second guess my decisions with him.
Toys are a big change. With Paige, all the toys were wooden and simple; I was worried about the influence on her senses if the toys were too noisy. Now, all the toys that come in are more noisy and plastic and you know what? They are having fun and they don't seem to care one way or another. No matter what, the kiddos find a way to play with things how they want. I don't sweat the issue anymore.
I'm also much less worried about trying to entertain my second child... he explores and gets into things and I let him. He keeps himself quite busy and he's learning while he's at it. But I DO find I'm much more smothering with my love on my second because he's the baby and there won't likely be more! I guess overall I'm able to have more fun and be in the moment. I wish I could give that to my first!
Lily – 15 months, Joseph + Nicholas – 3, James – 4
I think my biggest thing was to relax more. I consider my three boys as my "first" as they were infants at the same time. I had a difficult time being a first time mom and having to adjust to so many babies. With my daughter I was able to relax and enjoy her infancy. I wasn't worried as much about weight gain or illness. I was much more comfortable in my mommy role by then.
Also once my daughter gets to her "terrible twos," I will probably try some more positive reinforcement techniques. With my boys I felt like a constant nag or referee breaking things up.
Lil’ CB – 3 years, 3 months
With our second child, we'd like to keep up with speaking Korean to her (hopefully revive it with Lil' CB once she's home!). We tried this with Lil' CB and it was great until I went back to work. I found that once I went back to work and was talking in English all day, it became harder to switch back with him at home, especially because I don't think in Korean. But, I really want to be able to keep up with it and offer the ability to be bilingual to my children because I can. As adopted children, my kids will lose so much of their first culture, so I want to do what I can to keep alive what we can.
Olive – 15 months, Charlie 3 years, 1 month
1) Sleep - We made every mistake in the book when it came to Charlie's sleep including rocking or feeding him to sleep for every nap and at bedtime. We vowed to practice good sleep hygiene from the beginning with our second child. But I actually end up coddling Olive way more than I ever thought I would because she was a little peanut born 5 weeks early. We did end up sleep training Olive eventually, but she never cried more than a couple of minutes and luckily she was the easiest baby to sleep train.
2) Breastfeeding - Breastfeeding didn't really work out with Charlie and I threw in the towel around 4 months and pumped exclusively until he was 9 months old (when he became allergic to my milk). I really wanted to breastfeed my second, and here I am 15 months later with the opposite dilemma -- how in the world am I ever going to wean my little nursing addict?
3) Daycare - We put Charlie in daycare when he was 21 months old, and I was so, so, SO nervous about the decision. But he has absolutely thrived in daycare and now we're such fans we want to start Olive even younger than Charlie. Though I do prefer having a nanny when they're babies, I think around 1 year is a great time for kids to enter daycare. They're so social and curious then!
4) Food - Charlie was (and still is) a picky eater, so we did everything the complete opposite with Olive including baby-led weaning, no snacks like puffs/Cheerios, cooking everything from scratch... but she's actually ended up being even pickier than Charlie. I can't believe that I wish she were as picky as Charlie because at least he had a couple of foods he would eat... Olive often won't eat absolutely anything at all! I think it could be because she's such a nursing addict.
5) Obsess less - I wanted to obsess less with my second child, but ultimately I'm just an obsessive person. I obsess about their sleep, eating, and the temperature in their rooms daily! But because I have less time with two kids, I haven't had a choice but to obsess less over Olive than I did with Charlie.I felt like I always had to entertain and engage Charlie and that probably contributed to his lack of independence. Olive, on the other hand, has always been used to getting less attention and is so much more independent. She can easily play for an hour by herself (and has been able to since she was a baby) whereas that's difficult for Charlie to do even now!
Lil Miss Wagon – 5 months, Wagon Jr. – 36 months
Sleep: Wagon Jr. was a phenomenal sleeper from day one and fell into a sleep schedule very well. We followed the methods from Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child to sleep and nap train at 4.5 months and he has had great naps and slept thru the night every night since. With Lil Miss Wagon we are at the 4.5 month mark and nowhere near sleep training status. This is mostly because she hasn't figured out how to self-soothe and won't keep a pacifier in her mouth, while Wagon Jr. took a pacifier beautifully and then dropped it when he figured out how to suck on his fingers all on his own. I'm not sure when we will sleep train, but I'm secretly hoping that we won't have to. She has already been able to fall asleep on her own, even when swaddled, so I'm hoping things will go smoothly once she figures out how to self-soothe. We can't even unswaddle her yet because she scratches at her ear until it bleeds!
Breastfeeding: I nursed WJ until he was 7 months old and he got one bottle of pumped milk each day to ensure he'd be able to transition to bottles smoothly when we weaned. Then we transitioned to formula and one bottle of thawed milk each day until he turned one. Since I was a SAHM with WJ and I'm now a working mom with LMW, I nursed her for the first few months and then decided to exclusively pump. Even though juggling pumping times can get annoying, I'm so much happier as an exclusive pumper. I never enjoyed nursing with WJ and neither of my babies loved it either, so everyone is happier with bottles. I'm just glad my supply is enough to keep LMW exclusively on freshly pumped breastmilk and freeze a few bags of milk each week.
SAHM vs. WOHM: Like I mentioned above, this time around I'm a working mom and I'm so very much happier this way. I do appreciate the fact that I was able to experience being a SAHM with WJ, but I'm happier and therefore a much better mommy as a working mom. I look forward to seeing my kids every night and I treasure each precious moment rather than seeing them as work and looking forward to the moment I could hand them off to someone else so I could get a break.
Watching the clock vs. watching the baby: Since I was a SAHM with WJ I relied on a schedule to keep me sane. Luckily WJ was a very compliant baby and fell into a schedule relatively easily, but the schedule was changing all the time as he got older, and it caused me constant stress. This time with LMW we watch her instead of the clock, so when she's hungry she eats, and when she's tired she sleeps. If she misses a nap or sleeps too long in the morning, we just let her. She's not nearly as good a sleeper as WJ was, so we let her sleep whenever she can. She's very chunky and just keeps on growing in height and weight, so we only feed her when she shows us that she needs it!
Wonder Baby – 11 months, Toddler Girl - Nearly 3
1) Co-sleeping. TG was a pretty good little sleeper and I was terrified of smothering her in my sleep so we never co-slept. Wonder Baby is a brutal sleeper and ends up in bed with us nearly every morning, and sometimes earlier. I'm a bit more relaxed, and she just seems to need the snuggles more.
2) I'm being more careful with my back. Especially once TG was an older baby, I carried her on my hip a lot. Totally screwed up my back. Wonder Baby gets to go in the Ergo.
3) Disposables at night. TG had the worst diaper rashes and it took me ages to figure out that she simply couldn't be wet for any length of time. Most babies are fine; she was not. So with Wonder Baby we use cloth during the day and disposables at night. No rashes (after the dairy issue was resolved).
Jack Jack – 10 months, Little Jacks - 2.5 years
1) Sleep - we did everything wrong the first time around from feeding her down to holding her while she slept to inconsistent sleep times. This time around we were so careful and did everything right. We had scheduled bedtimes from early on, we put her down in her own bed from the get go, and we had a formalized bedtime routine. Also, as she reached 4 months, we stopped feeding during nighttime wakenings and instead just comforted her. Wouldn't you know it, Jack Jack is a great sleeper!
2) Using child care - with LJ, we didn't leave her with a sitter until she was a year old. Naturally, she was quite fearful by then about strangers. It made it really hard to take a date night for a long time. Jack Jack still prefers parents best, but we are able to leave her. (I think it helps that she has her sister there too!). This is good for the marriage and therefore for the girls!
Noelle – 2 Years
My 2nd isn't born yet, but this is what I'm thinking about already:
Breastfeeding: I mainly exclusively breastfed until I went back to work when Noelle was 7-months. I weaned her from breastmilk and switched to formula at 11-months because my supply was dwindling from pumping at work + traveling for work. I wish I made more of an effort to keep it up for at least one more month. With this next baby, I really want to shoot for one-year (maybe more).
Bottle: I was scared/nervous about nipple confusion, so I didn't introduce the bottle until Noelle was 6-weeks... and by then she was really anti-bottle. We did not get her to successfully take a bottle until she was 6-months when we had to go out of town. I would probably pump more to build up a good stock and introduce a bottle sooner with my second because I heard a lot of babies have no problems switching back and forth between nipple and bottle. It would be nice to let others feed her once in awhile. I put a lot of pressure on myself as a first time mom and thought I had to do everything perfectly.
Solids: I would follow the same process I did with Noelle, but choose a different first food. What we did was... we did purees for one month when Noelle hit 6-months, and started with rice cereal, then moved onto BLW at 7-months. I want to start Baby #2 on purees for one month too to help him get used to the sensation of swallowing and using his tongue. However, I would completely bypass rice cereal and do mashed up avocado as a first food instead. I loved BLW and plan to do it again.
Sleeping: We sleep trained Noelle really early, but I think we'll delay sleep training with Baby #2. Maybe we won't even have to sleep train depending on his temperament (a mom can only hope!). I followed Weissbluth and the Baby Whisperer's EASY method, and plan to do it again. I'm also a stickler on naptimes and bedtimes and I don't think that will change - I love that Noelle has an early bedtime, and I would like that for our second as well.
Vaccinations: We did a delayed vaccination schedule with Noelle because we felt it was right for her situation - we didn't plan to put her in daycare until she was close to 2 yo, and we had no plans to travel anywhere. I do think we made the right decision for her. However, with Baby #2... we're planning to travel internationally with a few friends when he's only 3-months old so we're definitely following the CDC recommended schedule. We may also put him into daycare sooner than we did for Noelle... so these two things are big factors into our decision to vaccinate according to the CDC schedule.
Baby Yoyo – 18 months
1. Pumping - I got really, really lax about pumping since I only worked out of the home a couple days a week, and even then I could run home, which was all of two minutes away. But after my small milk stash dwindled, I really couldn't leave for more than a few hours. So I would definitely try to commit to pumping a little more, even though I hated it.
2. Food - Watch what I eat during and post-pregnancy more. I put on a lot of weight, dropped about half of it, and then gained some back! Sigh. I haven't had much time to exercise, but I'm pretty sure it's because I just haven't made good food choices. I haven't wanted to make the effort, and it has caught up with me.
3. Child care - Use it earlier and more often. With Little Y, we weren't in a place where it was easy to find a trusted babysitter. Now that we've moved, reliable childcare is more easy to find, but he's not accustomed to anyone but us and because of that I feel really guilty leaving him.
4. Dual parenting - I would really hope to get Papa Y involved a little more in the nitty-gritty. I think this partially goes hand-in-hand with pumping, but I really did a lot of the heavy lifting myself the first year and was constantly waving him off since I "knew how to do it better" and all that crap. Even now, I'm the only one who puts Little Y to bed.
Baby Checkers – 18 Months
I'd have to agree with Mrs. Hopscotch and Mrs. Wagon on some of these:
Watching the clock vs. watching the baby: My mind was so stuck on schedules, how long she was supposed to be sleeping during the day, feeding every 2-3 hours, making sure her awake time was not too long as a newborn. I watched the clock and it drove me mad. I also set alarms in the middle of the night for every 3.5 hours because my pediatrician said she couldn't go longer than that as a newborn... I'm definitely not going to be such a stickler with the 2nd. I will let the baby dictate more and just follow cues rather than driving myself crazy (Why is she sleeping so long? Why is she NOT sleeping? etc.).
Get out of the house - And early. I didn't actually go out of the house by myself at all until at least 3 weeks (and when I did go out, I went to Target for about 15 minutes), and not all together as a family until 5 weeks. I had major cabin fever and I think staying indoors also drove me a bit mad.
Put the baby down - Also like Mrs. Hopscotch, Baby Checkers was always held if she wasn't in her bouncer. And if she fussed a little, I always thought something was wrong. Next time, I have no qualms about letting baby fuss! I think one night I held Baby Checkers in my arms for 3 hours straight...I thought they were going to fall off.
Baby Stroller – 12 months
1. Take probiotics during my entire pregnancy: I was GBS+ and had to have IV antibiotics during labor. This set little M and me up for having thrush very early on, which was miserable. Plus, I couldn't labor at home as long as I would have liked. Probiotics from the time I POS onward, if there is a next time.
2. Be more aware of my breasts earlier: Little M slept a long stretch at night when he was 9 days old and I went five hours or more without nursing. I got mastitis the next day and landed back in the hospital overnight (on Christmas Eve, no less!). A few weeks later he slept 9 hours for three nights in a row and I got mastitis again in the other breast. After then I made sure to pump whichever side he didn't nurse on when we woke in the morning, but I wish I'd thought to check my breasts for lumps that morning on day 10 and pumped if I'd felt any. Of course, it's probably something that couldn't have been avoided, but since then I've paid good attention to my breasts.
3. Use white noise earlier and in our room: Little M was in our room for 2.5 weeks before we moved him to his own room with a white noise machine. Moms on Call recommended white noise, but Mr. S didn't want a white noise machine in our room. I wish I'd overruled Mr. S, kept little M in our room longer and done white noise. Of course, he's a marvelous sleeper, so I'll probably give in and do the exact same thing next time around too!
4. Give in to the 4 month sleep regression: If I knew that one day sometime just before his 6m birthday Little M was going to magically take long naps again, I wouldn't have bothered to stress about his taking 20 minute micronaps from 3.5-5.5 months. I read, ferbered and read some more for the first couple weeks of the regression. Next time I'll just take faster showers.
5. Take a longer maternity leave: 12 weeks wasn't enough. Period. I moved to a 4 day work week while pregnant, and that was one of the best decisions I've ever made, but I wish I'd stayed home with my baby longer. Everything has worked out wonderfully and he loves his daycare family, but there was nothing so urgent at work that I couldn't take another 3 months.
Liam – 9 months
At this point, I can't think of much I would do differently when we have a second baby, but I do hope to be more relaxed at the beginning and enjoy the newborn stage more, even though it is hard. I remember feeling SO tense all the time (about breastfeeding and sleep in particular) when Liam was very young and I wish I could re-do it knowing what I do now.
Sadie – 8 months
1. Get out of the house more. I had major fears about her crying in public, having to nurse (with a cover!) in public, just in general have a situation that would be hard to handle. Our trips out were short and we never ventured far from home. Now I obviously know that in almost any circumstance we would be 100% fine. And due to my lack of getting out, Baby H doesn't nurse well with a nursing cover.
2. Put the baby down more! If she wasn't in her bouncer or her swing, Baby H was always in someone's arms for quite a few weeks. We hated seeing her fuss and we didn't know what else to do, so we were alway holding her. And while that snuggly time was great, I wish I could go back in time and see if she could chill out in her crib a little bit more without me swooping in immediately.
Baby Scribble - 4 months
Limit the amount of rocking-to-sleep that we did. We really relied on motion to get him to sleep and that was a hard nut to crack later on!
Do practice bottles once or twice a week. We introduced a bottle quite early because of some medication I was taking. Later on I stopped pumping because of my oversupply and Scribble didn't have an opportunity to use a bottle after that. So now he won't take one at all!
Get into a schedule early. We had some medical issues that kept us on the road after Scribble was born, so it was easy for us to depend on him sleeping in the car seat. Plus everyone wanted to visit, hold, and play with him and I found it hard to limit his interaction with family and friends. He was also a really good sleeper (actually a little too good! He was a touch jaundiced.) for the first few months so we actually thought we were going to get through this whole parenting thing without being on a schedule. WRONG! By the time we found out how desperately we needed one, we were all sleep-deprived and miserable.