Let’s just start by saying I’ve titled this post very intentionally. These are the things I PLAN to do differently. If you learn anything when you become a parent is that you can plan all you want but certain things don’t always go according to plan with children. But, these are some of the main things I’ve been focusing on as we prepare for baby 2.
Have a More Prepared Postpartum Wardrobe
I was super unprepared to dress myself the first 3-4 months after Miles was born. Firstly, I had never breastfed so I had no idea what was best and easiest to wear for nursing. And, second, everyone told me I could just wear my maternity pants postpartum but even though I still had plenty of weight to lose post-labor, maternity pants felt so uncomfortable, like they were constantly sliding off without the baby belly to hold them in place.
To see what I’m buying for my postpartum wardrobe this time around, check out my new post Postpartum Clothing Must Haves. I share the products I’ll be living in postpartum as well as some little tips and tricks I’ve learned for preparing my newborn-life closet.
Give Myself (even more) Grace About Breastfeeding
If you were around for Miles’ breastfeeding journey (you can read it here, and get the update after 10 months here), then you know it wasn’t a walk in the park. Miles was a very slow eater and took weeks to properly latch and even though I was pumping constantly my supply suffered. I spent the first 10 weeks of his life breastfeeding, supplementing with formula, and then pumping AT EVERY FEED. Considering your little ones eat every 2-3 hours, and this entire feeding ordeal took about an hour every time, it was exhausting. I’d spend an hour feeding him, 30 minutes cleaning and prepping bottles and storing breastmilk, and maybe get 30 minutes before I had to do the entire thing again.
Breastfeeding was (and still is) really important to me. I honestly loved it, as hard as it was. That being said, I have no way to predict what baby 2 will be like with breastfeeding. And, if she is anything like Miles I’m going to have to let go of some of that desire and give myself the grace I need to do that. What I did with Miles will not be sustainable with a second child.
While I’m proud of what I achieved with Miles, I also partly only made it that far because I put immense pressure on myself to breastfeed. I didn’t know anyone close to me who struggled with supply or a baby who didn’t BF well, and I felt a little bit like a failure. I didn’t find true “grace” with breastfeeding until MIles was about 7 months old and I started doing breastfeeding + formula. That was my happiest and most peaceful time in my baby feeding journey. I really hope I can get to that place of “grace” sooner with baby too. And that I can just give myself more credit for what I can do, and at the end of the day be able to make the best choice for my babies and my well-being.
Prepare My Bedroom More Than the Nursery
I plan to keep our baby sleeping in our room until about 4-5 months, like we did with Miles. This means, the nursery is pretty much unused except for some naps, clothing storage, and a little playtime. So, this time around I’m going to have a stocked nightstand instead of a stocked nursery changing table.
I’m going to prepare my bedroom a little more for those night feeds and late night changings. Things I plan to prep and put in the bedroom:
- Portable changing pad
- Diaper caddy
- Nursing snacks for mom
- Nightlight for night feedings
- Sound machine
Longer Paternity Leave
Michael actually gets some paternity leave from his work. I can’t remember what it is but I think it’s 2-3 weeks. With Miles, we opted to split it up and he took a week when Miles was born and saved the others to take some time off in December (around the holidays). He worked from home full time, so it’s not like he’d be driving off to an office for 10 hour days. But, the first week home with a newborn is a total whirlwind that it literally just flashes by. And after a week you’re barely standing upright again.
Yes, newborn life is hardest on mom, but dads put in a lot, too. He was exhausted and in a newborn fog. Michael has already said “I”m definitely taking at least 2 weeks,” and I wholeheartedly agree.
Prep Some Freezer Meals
I didn’t prep freezer meals with my first and honestly, that was fine. But, with baby 2 I know my time is going to be spread a little more thin, so I’m definitely planning to have some things made ahead of time. I also think having some easy meals will make it easier getting into a routine a little quicker – which will be more important this time around since I have not just a newborn to think about, but also a toddler.
We don’t have a second freezer, so I am not going to make a ton, but enough to have a few quick meals ready. (Although I am considering a deep freezer in the basement but have yet to convince my husband I need it). A few things I’m planning to make:
- 2-3 of Miles’ favorite dishes pre-portioned for quick dinners/lunches
- A few of Michael and my favorite dinners prepped and ready to go (probably enchiladas, coconut curry chicken, baked mac and cheese, and lasagna)
- Energy/Lactation Bites – I ended up making these after Miles was born but plan to have a small stash ready for baby 2. They are just super quick and convenient for a quick snack.
Having a Better Pregnancy Diet
Here’s the thing, I didn’t have a BAD diet with Miles, exactly. But, I also just feel like I wasn’t well-informed on the best things to eat. I knew all the stuff NOT to eat pregnant, but not exactly the stuff I should. I also had a really hard time balancing what was REALLY hunger and what wasn’t.
When not pregnant, I’m very good at intuitive eating (which means just following our body’s cues and knowing when we’re hungry, stopping eating when we’re not hungry, etc.) I struggled with inuitive eating with my first pregnancy but am finding it much easier this time around.
I’m also doing SO MUCH BETTER about drinking more water. I shoot for my 100 oz. a day and even though it makes me pee ALL DAY LONG, I feel so much better, feel less needs for snacks, and overall have more energy.
A lot of this is, I believe, in due in part to the fact that I read this book, Real Food for Pregnancy, in my first trimester. It’s honestly so informative and helpful. It really talks about the science behind prenatal nutrition, which I think is why it resonated with me (I’m all about knowing the why). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not following it like a bible – I still have my daily cold foam on my coffee. But, it’s helped me learn a lot overall, and given me what I feel I need to make better nutrition choices while pregnant. I highly recommend it.