Next Time

Last week, my little baby toddler turned 18 months old. For some reason, that seems like a big milestone. One and a half. Closer to 2 than to 1. It is a big milestone.


I've been thinking a lot about Baby #2. And to be perfectly honest, the more I think about having another baby, the more I want to wait. I'm just not ready yet. Maybe tomorrow I'll be ready, or maybe in 3 months, or 6 months. But right now, I'm not. I'm soaking up every minute with A: he's so funny - so innocent - and I know that this time is fleeting. So today, I'm enjoying my one and only.

That said, I am also a planner, and naturally, like to think for a long time about big things. Like having another baby... how I would handle being a mom to two little ones... how our family dynamic would change... and how I would do things differently the next time.

The next time… I’ll ask for bonding time right after birth.
We were so blessed to have my mom in the delivery room with us, and my father and in-laws waiting right down the hall. All of them had been there, drinking lukewarm hospital coffee since 7:00 in the morning. A was born almost 14 hours later, and once they had him all cleaned off and C and I had a few minutes of meeting our little man, we ushered them all in to meet their new grandson. Those moments where a whirlwind, and oh-so special, but about an hour later I realized I hadn’t let A try to nurse. I fumbled with my nursing cover and tried to get A to latch while everyone smiled in new-grandparent bliss. It didn’t go well – maybe I was distracted, maybe there was too much noise, maybe he wasn’t ready…. Breastfeeding was a struggle from the very beginning, and while I realize there could be many reasons for this, I can’t help but wonder – what if I had more one-on-one time with A, right after he was born? 


The next timeI’ll bring the baby out early on.
I’m a rule follower. Most people see this as me being reserved, or overly cautious, but... it’s just who I am. If I’m following the rules, I’m happy. So when my pediatrician told me to keep A away from places that had re-circulated air, I listened. I didn’t bring him to the grocery store until he was 3 months old. So, we camped out in the house and took lots of walks around the block. Looking back, I wish I did more when he would nap in his car seat and in the Moby. We should have gone out to lunch more, or to see friends, or for walks around our favorite little towns. The next time, I won’t have the luxury of just staying at home (with a busy toddler, who can?!), so I’m going to have to bring the baby with me. But this time, I’ll be ok with it 


 The next timeI will throw away the sleep book.
A was the.worst.sleeper in the world. When he was a newborn, he’d sleep… but only on me or in the car. Once we hit 4 weeks, all bets were off and A was awake most of the day, until I gave into the swing, which he would eventually nap in until he was 7 months old. I know, bad mommy. I read every sleep book I could get my hands on. I wasn’t comfortable with cry-it-out, so I had to come up with my own approach. I’ll share my little secret with you: the baby will sleep eventually. A didn’t sleep through the night until he was 15 months old. And now? He's a decent sleeper. He's not doing 12-hour stretches, but most nights, he's doing 9 or 10. I put SO much stress on myself for months, for what? Because my child wasn’t sleeping like every book told me he should? He was happy, growing, thriving, meeting milestones. And me? I was a basket case. I talked about sleep to anyone and everyone. If the next baby is like A, it’s fine. I know I can survive on little sleep, and I refuse to stress myself out just because my little one isn’t doing something ‘by the book’.


 The next timeI’m going to give myself a little grace.
Next time, I’m sleeping when the baby sleeps. I thought I could be super-mom, and clean my house and do the laundry and reorganize my linen closet during nap time. Because nap time was never (until the swing… cue the angels singing!), I would just sit with A while he slept on me. And the whole time I’d be looking at the clock, stressing that my house was dirty and I could be doing other things. Next time, I’m going to savor those moments more. I’m going to sleep with my little baby, and cuddle when they want to. I’m going to slow down, and soak it all in. The laundry can wait until tomorrow, and so can the dishes and the linen closet and my email. Next time, I’m going to give myself a little grace.