You’d think the fact that I have two kids would put me into the ‘seasoned mom’ category, but I still lose my cool, wonder what rash that is this time and find myself wishing I could take another stab at a situation. Just when I think I have a handle on things like schedules and activities, out seems to pop another baby, which means I start back at ground zero.
But I’m learning that every pregnancy, birth, newborn and toddler are different, and you have to adapt to the needs and personality of every child. Knowing that, I still have grandeur visions of doing a few things differently before and after Miss Scarlett arrives in December.
» Being packed and ready by 36 weeks. Beau surprised me a bit by coming two weeks early, but thankfully I had just put together my hospital bag and was at least practically ready when they sent me to Labor & Delivery after my 38-week OB appointment. I have a feeling little Scarlett may be early as well, and though I’d prefer she wait until at least 38 weeks, I’m not taking any chances. I plan to have a bag packed by 36 weeks, as well as the carseat installed. I have visions of going into labor while James is at the gym and I’m home with the boys. Needless to say, go-time will be chaotic enough without having to worry about what I’m taking to the hospital. I also plan to have a bag packed for the boys that will include snacks, toys and a change of clothes.
» Using swaddling wraps. When James Michael was born, we attempted to continue swaddling him after we left the hospital, but he always seemed to break out of it so we eventually switched to a loose swaddle beneath the armpits for a few weeks before giving it up. Because Beau was born in the summer, the swaddle was very short-lived as well. But after hearing the success of several other moms with swaddling and getting their babies to sleep well at an early age, I’m planning on giving it a more concerted effort by using a special swaddle wrap for the first three months. This Mama will try anything to get an extra hour of rest while taking care of a newborn and the Rowdy boys.
» Instituting sleep training earlier. We started sleep training JM very late–probably 8 months or so–which means I was a walking zombie at my corporate job the first couple months after I returned from maternity leave. As a first-time mom, it’s hard hearing your baby cry at all, even if you know they aren’t hungry or hurting. I had planned to train Beau before 6 months, but he got so sick this past winter that it wasn’t an option. Little Scarlett, I have big plans for you. In my mind, you’ll be sleeping through the night by 6 months, just in time for next year’s family vacation 🙂
» Moving to crib earlier. JM only slept the first night in our room, then we realized how noisy little babies can be and moved him to the nursery. Not that it helped me sleep, because I was a first-time mom on high alert for every little whimper. And then he came down with a little cold around 2 weeks old, so I slept in the twin bed in the nursery next to him, which meant James was the only one getting good sleep. Beau slept in a pack and play in our room for the first 6 weeks. I’m not exactly sure why I kept him in our room that long, but I know it always makes me feel a bit calmer knowing that my tiny newborn is an arm’s length away. But I plan to move Scarlett into her crib in the nursery fairly soon after her debut. I think (aka hope) it will help her to sleep better and ensure there are less people and noises to wake her up in the middle of the night. Of course, that means Beau must be completely moved into JM’s room and adapted. And seeing as how he’ll be 17 months old, that means he’ll still be in a crib. But luckily we have two, since the boys were both in cribs at the same time for a stint. That’s what happens when you have kids close in age 🙂 But just my luck, little Scarlett will be a great sleeper and once the boys share a room they will be up at all hours of the night.
» Stocking the freezer. I had time to make several freezer meals before JM was born, and had started my maternity leave with Beau two weeks before his due date with the intention of stocking the freezer, but things don’t always work out the way you plan them. This go round, knowing how most freezer meals are good for 4 to 6 months, I’m starting to prep much, much earlier. As in, I just froze three stews this week. The issue now is how much of this frozen food will make it to December because it’s so easy to pull out some frozen chili for dinner if I have nothing else planned. This fall, I’m getting together with two of my girlfriends to prep some freezer meals. Not fully cooked meals, but frozen ingredients that you just pop in the crockpot in the morning and voila, dinner is ready that night.
» Cutting myself more slack. I feel like I cut myself a lot of slack as it is, but I’m prepared to get even more lenient when Scarlett gets here. I rarely rested when Beau was a newborn because there was always something to do or someone to entertain (like an 18 month old). It may take weeks, more like months, to transition to life with three young kids who are always in need of Mama. I’m really hoping I don’t run myself ragged, because cleaning can definitely wait.
» Savoring every moment. It’s always easier said than done, I know, but this little one may very well be our very last child. And instead of just surviving, I’m hoping to really cherish the newborn stage, the tiny fingers and toes, the middle of the night nursing sessions, the naps on my chest and the first smiles.