My baby girl is nearly 19 months. Nineteen months!
Each day, my sweet girl looks less like a baby and more like a toddler. While she used to sleep in my arms for hours, she rarely sits still long enough now for me to hold her. She comes up with new words every day, and she loves chasing her big sister around the house.
Going from one child to two has been wonderful–and hard. It takes twice as long to go anywhere. And now I have two little girls vying for my undivided attention.
I recently took some time to reflect on mistakes I made in parenting the second time around. I hope I remember these when baby girl #3 arrives in August.
I didn’t get her used to a bottle, so my husband and I went nearly a year without a date.
I’m a breastfeeding advocate, but I could have pumped milk. After working (and thus pumping) full-time with our firstborn, I had no desire to do so. I should have risen above that to give my husband and me more time together.
I didn’t follow any kind of schedule with my baby.
With my firstborn, I followed a strict schedule since I was working and needed her to cooperate for the babysitter. For my second, I held her most of the day, especially during her naps, until she was eight or nine months old. While I would never give up those cuddle times, not having her on a schedule as an older baby cut into time with my firstborn and my husband.
I didn’t spend enough individual time with my oldest child.
My firstborn was 28 months when the baby was born. She went through a period of jealousy and acting out that may have been prevented if I had been more intentional about one-on-one time with her.
I didn’t rest enough.
I jumped right back into writing when my baby was only three weeks old. I also continued attending two Bible studies per week, volunteered at Mother’s Morning Out and started blogging soon after. By late summer, I burned out.
I took my baby out too much as a newborn.
Whereas my oldest was born in June and has rarely ever been sick, my second was born in October – right at the beginning of flu season. While she didn’t catch the flu, she had multiple ear infections, bronchiolitis and croup during her first year. She also has already had pneumonia and the norovirus this year.
I didn’t take care of myself.
I pushed myself to take on more work and didn’t exercise. I also stopped taking many of my vitamins and supplements. Since I was breastfeeding, I believe not taking care of myself also affected my daughter’s health.
What are some mistakes you have made in parenting?
(p.s. This list barely scratches the surface of mine!)
*This post first appeared as a column in the Mooresville Weekly newspaper.*