To read Part 1 CLICK HERE.
Many years ago, in one of the ‘Ask Me Anything’s someone asked me that if I could get a do-over, was there anything I’d do differently. As a (fairly) new mom back then (maybe even a little arrogant one) I was pretty sure I had done my best and had said that I wouldn’t change much. In hindsight, based on what I knew then, I did do my best.
But now, with some experience and perspective, obviously, my answer is very different My last list consisted of things I did right the first time around itself and would want to do the same way this time as well.
This list, however, is of the things that I got only partly right the last time. I either started off another way and course-corrected halfway through, or started right and lost track in between. And that’s why, here are…
10 Things I’m going to do DIFFERENTLY the second time around
1. Co-sleeping + Breastfeeding while lying down
2. Getting Sandeep to Babywear.
3. A routine and an early bedtime from Day 1
4. Managing MY expectations from both my children.
5. Reading to the baby from the very beginning.
6. Avoiding screens for as long as I can.
With Laddoo, I was home alone with her since she was 40 days old. As she grew older and began needing more of my time and attention, my husband’s work became more demanding and did not allow him to be back home in time to be with her even for a little bit. On most days, I was the one to do everything for her from the moment she woke up, till her bedtime.
When I fired my cook in January 2017 (Laddoo was around 4 months old), and didn’t replace her, another chore got added to my list. Back then, she had a set and predictable routine. But soon after the cook was gone, her sleep regression started. I was in my ‘I can do it all’ phase and so on some occasions, when I couldn’t put cooking off for any longer, I parked Laddoo in front of the TV for 30 mins or so from around 7 or 8 months of age.
This time, however, since Laddoo and Papa are both going to be home, I’m hoping to avoid it for a minimum of 2 years of age, and maybe longer, if possible. I’ve already told (read: lied to) Laddoo that she started watching TV only recently and when the baby’s awake, we absolutely cannot have the TV on. So far, she believes this and agrees with me. Let’s hope it stays that way even after the baby is born.
7. Outsource cooking
Like I said, things became unmanageable for me only after I fired my cook AND DIDN’T REPLACE her. BIG MISTAKE! This time around, I’m one step ahead. Not only have I already had a cook for almost two months as of today (this is because right now, I am in a position to help her get used to our taste preferences and how things are done in our house, and make sure she’s the right fit for our family) I am also determined to hire another one ASAP should this one leave for any reason whatsoever. With cooking taken care of by someone else, not only will I have ample time to spend with both my children (and for work if/when they let me) it will also ensure that we all eat healthy, home-cooked meals ON TIME.
Speaking of outsourcing and delegating tasks…
8. Pumping breastmilk regularly from month 2 or 3
Last time, pumping was extremely impractical because I was alone with Laddoo and directly breastfeeding her was waaaay easier than the hassle of cleaning bottles, and pumping and storing milk only to feed her myself. But this time, I have Laddoo and Papa both, and once my supply is established and I am certain that there won’t be any nipple confusion, I will start pumping and ensure that at least one feed a day is taken over by Papa himself, or by Laddoo (under Papa’s supervision, that too only if she’s willing to). This will allow me to step out for some fresh air, even go grocery shopping, maybe to the gym and salon too on a regular basis, without having to worry about being back in time for the next feed.
9. Cloth Diapering from early on
Laddoo was almost 5 months old by the time I discovered the wonder that Cloth Diapers are. And even then, it took me months to build a stash. This time around though, I am starting very early on. Many weeks ago, I had a conversation with Akshaya about newborn diapers and their longevity, and arrived at the conclusion that from a cost + effort point of view, it’ll be easier to be on disposables for the first couple of months at least because:
a) newborns poop very often. 6-10 times a day is their normal. In such a scenario, I’d need at least 15-20 newborn diapers, which the baby will outgrow in a few months. So it’d be a good idea wait until baby isn’t pooping so often and then directly buy cloth diapers that can be adjusted for size to fit the baby till it’s time to wean off diapers as well.
b) with multiple feedings and hormones all over the place, because of (a) above, did I really want to take the stress of one load of diaper laundry every day? Even if delegated to the husband, with his work and another child to care for, will we be able to commit to this? Especially considering the cost aspect of (a) above?
And then I saw dry-feel langots on Tamanna’s stories and checked them out. 3 langots for the price of 1 cloth diaper seemed to be much more cost effective and made the extra laundry efforts worth it and I am more inclined to do this early on. Not from day 1, but definitely as soon as we’re back home from the hospital. Superbottoms, here we come again!
10. Baby Led Weaning
Remember the * this had on the previous post? Well, that’s because I started this right from the first day – finger foods so Laddoo could self-feed, which she did, no salt or sugar until she was a year old, she was on family food by 11 months of age (adjusted for salt and spices) and even ate rice with a spoon. I had absolutely no issues with her, meal-wise.
But then I lost track somewhere in between. Maybe it was the regression that happened around 14 months of age and went on until she was almost 18 months. Maybe it was the need to take a break and have her dad take over meal times on weekends (he wasn’t as confident about BLW and was more comfortable feeding her himself).
Whatever it was, but ‘arre, feeding her once in a while won’t make a difference’ or ‘giving her a little bit of biscuit won’t matter’ waala attitude landed me in a soup, and I went from having a baby who happily ate carrots, peas, broccoli, mushrooms, and all kinds of healthy food ON HER OWN, to a toddler who wanted to be fed most of the time, who’d eat only a few healthy meals without a fuss but will happily eat ANY junk food or snack offered to her.
And at almost 4.5 years old, that’s still the case with Laddoo. She will eat her breakfast and all snacks on her own (and these are healthy options 90% of the times) but we need to sit with her and even feed her lunch and dinner if we want her to eat a decent amount and get some nutrients in her. Give her a bowl of dal chaawal and she’ll say, “Can you feed me, Amma/Papa?” but give her a bowl of ice-cream and Little Miss is capable of wiping the bowl clean without any help from us whatsoever. So it’s not like she doesn’t know how to use a spoon, or that she doesn’t like dal chaawal. It’s just that she prefers having us feed her.
Well, this time, I will be stricter. With the husband, and myself.
Having tried it first-hand, I know BLW works. The trick is to be consistent and not lose hope. This time, even the husband is on board because he’s witnessed what happens when you relax even for a day. We both know that powering through the mess and the tough days where you’re tired and just want to be done with meal time is worth it. Being patient and letting the child be themselves and take as long as they need is going to be beneficial in the long run, and hopefully, by the time the next one is 4.5 years old, we will have two kids who don’t need any help with meal times at all.
Well, that’s it for this list. The next one is… Well, stay tuned for that.