The nice thing about having a baby for the second time is that you feel a bit more prepared.
I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared as every birth / baby is different but I certainly have a better idea of what to expect then last time.
Here is a little list of things that won’t be quite as shocking second-time round….
Post-pregnancy bleeding a.k.a lochia. No-one told me that following giving birth you bleed for around 4-6 weeks (average). I think mine went on for about 5 weeks but I have heard it stops sooner second time round. I have already started stockpiling maternity pads to save me running out and making Dad2BabyInsomniac dash to the supermarket with the instructions of looking for MATERNITY PADS, NOT SANITARY TOWELS – he has enough trouble trying to find bread!
Leaky boobs. I know this is actually a positive thing as it means you have lots of milk but I really wish I had been more prepared for just how much they would leak and bought a mattress protector because there were a few nights when I woke up and it was like someone had got a hose and sprayed water all over me, I was drenched! Even the pads weren’t enough at the start and I literally had to put a towel down my top whilst feeding Iyla from one side as the other one would just empty at the same time! I did try and express it for a while but as Iyla never drunk it I stopped. I also went out once for the day without spare breast pads, it was Winter and there were no shops to buy any so I ended up leaking through THREE JUMPERS! It wasn’t very pleasant so this time I am going to make sure I have pads everywhere this time.
Before having Iyla, I always assumed that babies liked dummies / bottles. I was wrong. I only wanted her to take a bottle so that Dad2BabyInsomniac could feed her whilst I was in the bath, I ended up getting out mid-shampoo so many times! She used to go mad though, she liked her milk direct from it’s source and there is only so many times you can pour away breast milk without wanting to cry at the effort it took to extract it! The same applied to the dummy. She used to act like we were trying to poison her. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t worry about either of these things this time as the good thing about them not having them is that you don’t need to try and wean them off them. Iyla might have been extremely dependent on my boob for 18 months but once she stopped feeding, that was that. That is not in any way to say that I wouldn’t offer a dummy this time though, anything for a bit of peace!
Eating cold food. Babies know when you are about to sit down and eat. They then decide they need feeding. I don’t think I ate a hot meal for a good few months.
Post pregnancy hair loss – A few months after giving birth your hair will start to all fall out, in handfuls. I had no idea and had to message my friend who had given birth at the same time to see if it was happening to her too. It went on for a good few months and I honestly used to worry about going bald but luckily it did stop again. Apparently it is all the hair you don’t lose during pregnancy, but I still lose mine so who knows!
Having a Moses basket doesn’t mean that your baby will like sleeping in it. It’s the main thing anyone seems to buy when having a baby but Iyla hated hers and I know for a fact she’s not the only one. In fact Adele from Circus Queen wrote a lovely post – If This Is What A Baby Is Like – which touches on the same issue.
Walking around for three hours, listening to white noise apps all night or switching the hoover on while you sit down. These are all things I did because they made Iyla sleep and you will do ANYTHING to get them to sleep. We slept to the sound of a train chugging (Is that a word or have I been watching too much Chuggington?!) down the track for a good few months, in fact we got so used to it that it was a bit strange when we stopped using it.
Baby poo – it can be green, watery, slimy and likes to leak out into clothing and shoot out during nappy changes. This time I have the added delight of being wee’d on too!
I am no expert, and like I said every baby is different but if I had to give a list of tips for new mums then here it is…
Have lots of maternity bras, I only had a few last time and due to the leaking problem I ended up having to hand wash them to make sure I always had a spare. Obviously you need to wear them all night too so this time I am going to make sure I have at least six.
Always have a drink and snack to hand during feeding because it makes you really thirsty and hungry. Having a book / phone to hand is also a good idea as you might be sat around for a long time!
If you are anxious and think you will be checking that your baby is breathing all night then invest in a sensor pad monitor. I bought a Tommee Tippee one and I have mentioned before that I still use it with Iyla. I am way more relaxed with it these days but in the first few months I had it switched up so it would click and flash every time she took a breath. Some people find they make them more anxious but I would class it as essential, and in fact I am also going to get one with a video monitor too this time.
I personally won’t be avoiding baby wipes for the first two weeks this time. They advise you not to use them initially and if I see any signs of soreness then I will stop but I use the natural, unscented ones and it makes like so much easier. Last time I was piddling around with pots of water and cotton wool which is a nightmare when trying to clean up poo that resembles tar!
Don’t bother with fancy outfits for at least a month. Newborn babies are really hard to dress and like to puke / poo (see above) on their clothes frequently so I found having a big pile of babygros to be the easiest and most practical solution. However it is very hard to resist buying little outfits to dress them in when the shops are full of such wonderful things, such as this little number! Photos of him in this will definitely be saved to pull out on his 18th birthday!
I am sure I have forgotten loads of things, it’s surprisingly hard to remember back to two years ago.
What are your top tips for new mums?