When my oldest son was born in 2012 and I was released to go home from the hospital, I was terrified. They gave me TONS of brochures and information, which I am sure was meant with good intentions, but instead left me anxious and thinking that if I didn’t follow all this information exactly, it would harm my baby or worse.
I followed everything to a T. I had him sleep alone, in his bassinet, with no blankets. I “woke him up” (though he was already usually up) every couple of hours to change him and feed him. Any time he cried during the day, the first thing I would do is change him and often it was an empty diaper, but hey, it is what they told me to do! The problem was, on top of wasting tons of unused diapers, I wasn’t getting any sleep. I was delirious, cranky, and depressed. I’ve always been someone that could easily sleep for twelve hours straight, so on averaging two hours of sleep a night, that was broken up in about fifteen-minute increments, was just torture to me.
After about six weeks of living this way, I had to figure something out as I had to go back to work in a couple weeks. My “crunchy” (she described herself this way) ex-sister-in-law had suggested co-sleeping. Initially I was like “No way! The hospital says he will 100% die if I do that!” But I finally gave in, and I slept. And the baby slept. I was no longer delirious, cranky, and depressed. In time I also learned that every time he fussed, he didn’t need a diaper change. Babies fuss for many reasons and that isn’t necessarily the first reason. Therefore, I also saved a lot of money on diapers. You eventually learn a lot with your first baby.
Fast-forward to 2018 and my second son comes along.
This time I delivered at a different hospital and they didn’t send me home with any brochures, just a little board book on “safe sleeping” (first time moms that give birth at this hospital probably leave a lot less anxious than I did at the first hospital). The first night home when the baby fell asleep, we tried putting him in his bassinet, but as soon as he first woke up, into our bed he went. I slept. He slept. My husband slept. I did change him maybe a couple of times in the middle of the night the first few weeks, but for the most part if he woke up, I would happily nurse him back to sleep.
Another thing I have noticed is that I am less concerned with the diaper bag this time around. With my first baby, at least in the beginning, I had it packed perfectly for every situation. Tons of diapers, wipes, clothes, toys, food, etc. You bring it everywhere, even into the grocery store. You even bring it to the hospital with you despite the fact that you won’t need it because they already have everything you will need for your newborn. With your second baby, you are lucky if you even remember to bring it with you. Most of the time I just leave it in the car unless I am going to be inside a particular place for a while, such as a friend’s house.
With your second baby, you don’t plan your days around their naps and feedings.
If you have errands to run, you know they will sleep in the car, stroller, or carrier if they are tired, and you will feed them in the car half way through your outing if they are hungry. If they are bored and cranky at the store, you will give them the unopened bottle of cinnamon that you are about to buy to entertain them because you probably forgot or didn’t bother to bring in their toy from the car.
You also realize what worked for your first baby might not work for your second, and “must have” products that you had for your first baby, you don’t even touch with your second. With my first, I absolutely loved my nursing pillow. I used it constantly and regretted not having it at the hospital with me. With my second, I brought it to the hospital and it unfortunately ended up just being another object taking up space in the room and I barely even touched it since then, besides to put behind him when he is sitting up. I don’t know why either.
With your first baby, you don’t want anyone else holding them. With your second, you welcome the break and realize that they will be ok. With your first, if they fall a little or slightly bump their head, you call the doctor and stay awake looking for signs of a concussion. With your second, again, you realize that they will be ok.