Second children are like do-overs, right? You do everything wrong on the first kid, and then you try to get it right on the second. (Only to find, most likely, that the second kid is so completely different that nothing you learned on the first kid is any good.) I'm hoping that by the tenth kid, I know what I'm doing.
Here's a short list of a few things I want to do differently this time around:
1. Home birth. I'm going to have a home birth, and it's going to be perfect, of course. (I am practicing thinking only positive things about it, in the hopes of at least not being scared. If I thought it was going to be like Marko's birth, I'd be dreading it.) Home birth means a lot of things are automatically different. I will not be waaaaay out of my element. I won't be confined to bed. I won't have my water artificially broken. I will be able to eat and drink if I want to. I will be able to get in the bath or shower if I want to. I won't have any monitors (except for a friendly midwife with a stethoscope). I will not have to yell at the doctor not to do an episiotomy. I won't get any internal exams that I didn't ask for. And as for my greatest dread, having my baby taken away at birth -- the midwives just laughed when I asked them. "We don't cut the cord for at least half an hour," they said, "so it would be hard for us to take your baby away. Besides, where would we take him?"
2. Breastfeeding's going to go so much better. I mean, it can hardly fail to, seeing as I now know what I'm doing. And since I'll have the baby right away, we'll be able to try to nurse right away. Odds are very good that the baby will be nursing within an hour of birth. If not -- this time I have a lot more knowledge and heaps of support. I hope to nurse this one longer, as long as I'm not pregnant.
3. I'm not going to have my in-laws over right away, but instead awhile later. That way I can have some time to bond with my new baby. When they do come -- in fact, when anyone visits -- I won't be shy about nursing my own baby in my own house. I can't believe I felt myself banished to the bedroom to nurse when Marko was a week old. I now know that none of our guests would have minded if I'd stayed in the living room, and I would have been a heck of a lot more comfortable and less lonely.
4. I'm going to teach that baby to nurse lying down right away, so I can actually get some rest. (I did try with Marko, but we had too many issues.) And I don't think I'll fuss around with a bassinet -- I want to cosleep from day one. I'll set up the sidecar crib and have the baby right there for nighttime nursing. The short period of time when I coslept with Marko -- even though he wouldn't nurse lying down, and even though he didn't sleep as well next to me because he wasn't used to it -- was the time in his life I've gotten the most sleep. And now that I know that starting your kid off in his own bed does not make him a good sleeper, I am not going to bother. I sacrificed so much sleep when he was a newborn so that I could give him good sleep habits and reap the rewards later, and here he is still waking at night.
5. Speaking of sleep habits, I'm going to ignore what everyone told me and just nurse that kid to sleep. Every kid has a sleep association. Nursing is one that is available anytime, anywhere, and in any position. Marko's is motion. Turns out that's not half as easy as nursing ... and the bigger he gets, the less easy it is. Plus, you always have to shift him into bed once he's asleep. When you nurse to sleep, you can do it lying down and then roll away -- so there's not this drastic shift when they realize they're not in the rocking chair anymore. (Of course, they might still be mad when they wake and you're not there anymore ... but it's a smaller difference than being in a completely different place that isn't moving.) And as for putting a baby down awake in his crib? I might give it a shot, but I'm not sold on the idea. It really never worked for Marko, and I did try. Besides, then they have to have their crib. It was nice to be able to travel with Marko and have him still fall asleep just fine.
6. I'm going to babywear a lot more. This isn't because of any deep philosophical reason -- I just realize I'm going to have to be up and moving a lot more, and I may as well make the baby happy at the same time. When Marko was tiny, I was usually sitting down and didn't have anything particular to do while wearing him. And babies hate being worn when you're sitting still. He loved being in the wrap at work, though. This one is just bound to get a lot more babywearing time ... and who knows, maybe it will help him or her be more relaxed.
7. I'm going to be very aware of my diet so I can nip any food sensitivities in the bud right away. I might try going gluten-free, even, because I hear if mom is gluten-sensitive, it can cause fussiness in the baby if she eats gluten. And lately gluten has been giving me awful gas, except when it's in sourdough. (And a little even then.) It might be better just not to chance it. Not sure on that one. In any event, I'll probably keep a food diary and see if I can track down anything that seems to cause fussiness.
8. I really want to start elimination communication from day one, or at least from month one. I find it much easier than diapers, and it's really fun to reach that level of communication with a baby.
Other than that, I think I'll do things about the same! Marko and I have always had a very good rapport, and I'd like to develop the same with this baby, figuring out what his or her signals mean and responding right away. I also hope to take just as many pictures (if I can only get my camera fixed!) and dote on this one just as much. I know now what I didn't then -- that the tiny baby stage passes in about four seconds and I'd better soak it in while it lasts. (And if it's awful, that too will pass fast.)
Do you think I'm expecting too much? Did you parent each child a little differently?