Monday, December 15, 2014

If I Could Do It Again...

As January 13th draws nearer--the nostalgia sets in. I find myself sifting through P's monthly photos. Sometimes I smile and laugh. Other times I sit and cry silently. I can tell that it is even starting to get to J a little bit. I find him wanting to hold onto P a little tighter. Almost as if he too is savoring this last month of infant-ness.

The last couple of days I have been thinking about what I would do differently if I ever have another child. I think that this is a common thought that most mothers probably have at one point in their lives.

I am sure you have noticed that I am a planner. Before P was even born I had a strong philosophy of how I wanted to structure her first year of life. That is just it--it was very STRUCTURED. The whole thing. When that structure was thrown off--we struggled to operate. Because I was like this--she was a great baby. She does things that a lot of mom's wish their babies would do. She falls asleep on her own. She soothes herself back to sleep. She sleeps 12 hours at night, and she wakes happy (most of the time). I am so grateful for all of these things. I give credit where credit is due, and I know that I worked hard at each of these things.

BUT...there is a downside to this. Because I worried endlessly about P being about to soothe herself and fall asleep on her own--she does not want me to soothe her. She does not want to fall asleep with me. Because I worried that she would be spoiled if I held her all of the time--I put her down and allowed her to play alone most of the time. Now, she does not like to be held, rocked, or hugged. I put such an emphasis on routine and keeping everything the same for her so that she would sleep well--and now she will not sleep without these things and that routine. She will not sleep in the car or in her baby carrier, or in your arms while out and about. She is a slave to the routine and not the other way around.

If I do it again--I will probably do it the same with some small modifications here and there. At least in the first 8 weeks or so I wouldn't worry so much about putting her down and not holding her all of the time. I would hold her as much as I wanted. I would wear her in that moby wrap and handle whatever needed to be handled. I would cherish those days mightily where they can sleep through anything. I wouldn't be so quick to put her down. Because next time, I will understand that those days are the only days in her life where she will completely and totally belong to me. Those are days and memories that I will cherish forever. They are moments that no one else gets to have with my baby. They are reserved only for us. I will not deprive myself of those next time because I am afraid of spoiling her. If I have to work harder later because of it--then so be it.

If I do it again I will be more proactive with breastfeeding. With P, we hit a bump in the road at 8 weeks, and I just switched to pumping. I gave up. At the time I just went with it because I felt like it was easier for P. While it was easier for P, it was devastating for me. I became attached to the pump, and I still am. If I could do it again, I would fight through the tough days and go to a lactation specialist. I would work hard for breastfeeding for myself and for my baby. I am so jealous of my friends that still breastfeed their almost 1 year olds. I want to have that time cuddled up with P. I want to hear those soft wheezes that she used to make. I feel that I missed out on intimate time with my daughter because I just didn't know any better. If there is another one--I will do everything I have to do to help us both sustain that relationship as long as we can.

Looking back, I think that J and I have done a great job so far. P is very happy and healthy. We too are very happy with her. So--my plan worked out in the end. But I think you would be hard pressed to find a mom that didn't have a thing or two that she wished she could change. These two things above are mine.

So my advice to you new mommies with tiny ones. Hold them close, nurse them often, and don't worry too much about spoiling them. When they are running around your house terrorizing the cat these are the moments that you will miss.

What would you do differently with your next child?

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