No matter how much you educate yourself and how many books you read – the birth of your first child always catches you off guard. Turns out other people’s experiences are not that relevant, because each mommy-baby relationship is unique. Fortunately, it gets easier with the second child since you get the chance to pick up a few tricks along the way to make motherhood easier. Here’s how I learned from my mistakes.
You don’t have to do it all by yourself
This is, undoubtedly, the most important thing I learned while raising my first daughter – asking for help doesn’t make you look bad. On the contrary, when you don’t have to worry that much about laundry or dishes, you’ll have more time to devote to your baby. Let your husband, parents or parents-in-law help you – trust me, you’re going to love it. If you don’t have this option, consider hiring house help, at least for a while. Besides the baby, you’ll need some time for yourself, too, especially if you experience common postpartum depression, so don’t take this for granted.
Teach your kid to be independent
In my first daughter’s early days, I used to get petrified every time she cried; so, naturally, I used to carry her around a lot. My husband’s parents didn’t help either – it was their first grandchild and they wanted to do everything just to stop her from sobbing. The truth is – once the baby forms the habit of being carried a lot, there’s only one way back and it’s not an easy one. That’s one of the things I did differently with the second baby. I didn’t, of course, let her scream all the time but I taught her independence. In fact, she was crying far less than my first because of this.
Pacifiers are not a bad thing
I was told that pacifiers are bad for my child’s teeth development and that it’s a habit very hard to kick, so I avoided them with my first one as much as I could. As a result, I think she cried a lot more, so I had to carry her around. I know today I could’ve saved so much energy and time back then because, in fact, pacifiers become a concern for your baby’s teeth once they turn into toddlers, meaning it’s perfectly fine to use them in their first year. It’s true that they get attached to it – for a while, I couldn’t get my second one to sleep without it. However, babies at that age learn a lot and I was a bit surprised how quick she had forgotten all about it – we tried the three-day approach and it worked!
Don’t be overprotective
I know this is a tough one to break to a new mom, but you don’t need to overprotect your baby. Kids learn from socialization, so let them meet their peers. I, for example, didn’t want to let my first go to kindergarten – I was afraid she would be sick all the time, she might get hurt, or, worse, she would miss me. In fact, it was hard for me to get separated from her, even for a little while. When the second one came, my husband sat me down and convinced me that it’s a good idea to enroll her in a good early learning centre. I relented, finally, and haven’t regretted it for a second – she learned so much and I had so much more time for other things.
By the time my third daughter came, the things I listed above became a norm for me. I grow as my girls grow and I’m learning so much along the way. It’s true that there’s a lot of work with three little kids around, but once you learn where you can minimize stress – it all becomes a lovely ride – the ride of your life.