These days, I look at my baby and I don’t see “baby” anymore. Isn’t that terrible? I see a boy. I see a personality! I see opinions forming and preferences developing and I have to say, even though his first birthday is still two and a half months away, I feel like the baby in him is just about gone (of course, I reserve the right to decide to change my mind and insist he is my baby until he is 30).
I’ve been thinking a lot about baby number two (a baby we are not working on just yet, don’t get excited), and more specifically, what all I’d do differently.
So, inspired by this post, here is a list of 8 things I’ll do differently the next time around.
After the jump.
8. Get a Car Seat
In New York City, a car seat is only legally required for leaving the hospital. For every other cab ride, a baby can be in an adult’s lap until they are old enough for a seat belt. Naturally, the car seat seemed like an obvious expense we could skip, so we borrowed a car seat from a friend and planned to borrow again any time we needed to rent a car or travel outside the city. Thing is, we left the city an awful lot more than I expected, and a car seat of our own would have saved us countless last-minute emails and late-night runs to friend’s apartments the night before a big trip.
7. Don’t Stress The Crib
Before Huck was born one of the things I worried about the most was picking a crib and bedding. I felt so strongly that he needed to have it starting day one! And then, well, what do you expect? He didn’t actually sleep in it until he was six months old. Classic.
6. More White Onesies, Less Everything Else
I love to look back on the photos I took from those early days. Without fail, I’ve noticed that my favorite photos were the ones where he is wearing a classic white onesie. Especially when they’re so little, most “outfits” just look silly, and they take away from a baby’s natural sweetness. Maybe that’s just me, but next time around, I’ll be stocking up on Carters white onesies and simple, white pajamas.
5. Invest In A Really Great Swing
We happen to have the greatest trash day luck, and one day on trash day, a baby swing was found in pristine condition, and passed onto us. We didn’t have the budget for anything superfluous (and, being dumb first-time parents, we thought a swing was superfluous), so we gladly took the free swing. Turns out, it was free for a reason. Every time we put Huck in there the awkward angle would make him spit up. Next time, I’m reserving a hunk of our baby budget for a good, gentle, sturdy swing.
4. More Naps Together
I was so terrified of SIDS those early days that the minute Huck would fall asleep I’d start scheming for ways to get him flat on his back in his crib ASAP, at the expense of his naps (and mine). Next time I’m going to relax and enjoy the Sleeping Baby On Chest stage. Isn’t that stage the best? Some of my very favorite memories are of those long afternoon naps with Huck on my chest.
3. Get Dad Involved Sooner
When Huck was born my mom flew in to stay and help for two weeks. That time was so wonderful, and I loved having my mom around to keep me company on late-night feedings and commiserate in that special kind of post-birth soreness. But for the next time, I think I’ll have her wait a week, so Dad can enjoy those early days (and mom can come and hold the baby when sleep deprivation really kicks in).
2. Request A Private Room (And Pay Extra If Needed!)
Oh, the recovery suite at the hospital. Where I gave birth private rooms weren’t an option, and oh goodness did I have a stressful stay. My roommate and I could not seem to get our scheduled synched, and as a result, nobody got rest. In the end, my roommate requested that my nurses stop coming in to check on me because they kept waking her up. Absurdly, they followed her request, and I stopped receiving regular check ups: no vitamins, ice packs, lactation consultants or Motrins for me! So, we left a day early. Next time, I’ll request a private recovery room, and if one isn’t available, I’ll just go home as soon as we’re cleared. Anything is more relaxing than a shared recovery suite!
1. Stop second guessing.
I came into this parenting gig with no preconceived notions about how I’d do things, except that I knew I wanted to trust my gut. At about five months, when sleep training attempts didn’t go like they were supposed to, I started to feel like I had no freaking clue what I was doing. Occasionally I’d come to my senses and remember to try and trust my gut, and then things seemed to magically click into place. I’d do what felt right, he’d sleep through the night, and I’d wonder, what was all that about anyway?? Confidence is key! They can smell your fear!
What about you? What would you do differently next time? Or, what would you keep just the same?
Parenting hindsight is 20/20: Things I wish I had done differently in those first 12 months