I’m 5 weeks into parenthood with two children so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about how it’s been. First off, I think this experience could have been very different if Daisy wasn’t how she is. She’s made the transition, mostly, very enjoyable
Daisy has welcomed Marlie with open arms, quite literally! She’s not been jealous or possessive over me but she can be quite intense with her baby sister as she calls her. She loves touching her, kissing her cheeks, stroking her hair and intensely cuddling her, which is sometimes more of a squeeze. She loves it when I cuddle her and even asks me, a lot, to kiss baby sister and cuddle her.
On a few occasions we’ve had friends over and she’s started to misbehave and show off but I’d say that’s mostly out of boredom as we have had a few more days in the house than usual and my attention wasn’t on her, instead I was chatting with friends.
I wondered how Daisy would react to me breastfeeding because sometimes it can be little and often or Marlie could be feeding quite a while which takes a lot of my attention off of her. On a few occasions, more recently, she’s pulled my breast alway from Marlie. But mostly I will try and not let me feeding Marlie get in the way of mine and Daisys time. Sometimes I will feed Marlie while reading Daisy a bedtime story but mostly it’s just worked so far.
I’ve tried my best to involve Daisy with everything regarding Marlie but only if Daisys interested. I said from the start once Marlie was born, I didn’t want anyone telling Daisy off or saying no for being too rough instead I wanted people to be calm and explain to Daisy, maybe just stroke her instead of poking her, for example! I just didn’t want Daisy to see her new sister as an annoyance. She learnt very fast to be gentle. Don’t get me wrong I have shouted a few times if I’m caught in the moment but if I can help it I’ll try my best to remain calm and relaxed. Which sounds silly but if I remember back to when Daisy was born, someone only had to go near her and I’d worry or I’d panic if she was held too long. So being relaxed over my newborn being slightly manhandled by a two and a half year old was hard.
A change I have seen in Daisy though is shes much more tired. She’s been waking up earlier and I think it’s because she’s excited to see Marlie or maybe she’s having a growth spurt. She’s also been falling asleep in the car most days which I thought she’d stopped, i’m pretty grateful when she does though.
I’ve also never played with Daisy so much in my life. I’ve been enjoying it so much, it makes me feel bad that maybe I’ve not played with her enough but that’s absolutely ridiculous. I don’t need to give myself anymore mum guilt. Maybe I’m just noticing it more because I’m aware of it where as before it was just normal to sit and play. I hope that makes sense. Daisy also asks me to play with her where as before she was happy to play alone. I think part of this will be wanting more of my time of course, but also Daisys changing. She’s growing and learning and I can really see a change in her since she’s been at preschool, I feel like having a baby has made me look at Daisy differently. She’s growing into such a clever, intelligent, kind little girl.
SLEEP I’ve found the nights fairly easy if I’m honest. Of course Marlie wakes through the night but I’ve only had two nights where I’ve wondered how an earth I can do this! I think having a year of Daisy waking consistently and then on and off for her whole life, you’re kind of used to it. I feel like this time I’m more relaxed too. I’m not wondering why she wakes up like I did with Daisy. I think first time parents expect their child to sleep through, but majority of babies don’t. I actually class sleeping through as 12 hours and what newborn would sleep that long! I know she may just want a cuddle and nothing else and I’m happy with this, she’s so young, so of course she wants comfort. I feel like they don’t tell first time mums that. They tell you to check their nappy, if they’re hungry or if they’re too hot or cold. I don’t recall anyone saying my baby may just actually want to be close to her mother all night? Instead I’d google to see what was wrong with Daisy but in reality there was nothing wrong. ￼￼
I tell you what I do find hard though is the nappy changes at night time. Marlie will feed for a brief time, I’ll sit her up and rub her back and then I’ll do her nappy, fine. But sometimes I’ll put her down to sleep and she’ll do a poo, I’ll know as I’ll hear or smell it and so I’ll change her nappy again and in the process sometimes wake her up at the same time! Plus by this point I’m now really awake. Annoying…
Marlie and I don’t have a routine yet. I don’t particularly want one but I think it’s because I’m not that kind of person. I do think, in time, it would be good to have one though but I’m in no rush to establish one nor do I want that pressure. I’ve found Marlie wants to be held most of the morning while sleeping but it’ll get to around midday and she’s happy to be put down asleep. She’s a very calm baby but I think I’m more calm too. Occasionally she will lay there and fall sleep herself and if she’s awake she’s pretty happy to lay and look around. To be quite honest she rarely cries which I also think is because I’m more calm and I’m also more in tune. I don’t wait for her to cry before feeding her because I know her cues more.
The evenings can be hard. I’d say this is the only real time she will cry and fuss and I think to myself, what an earth do you want. It’ll only last about 30 to 60 minutes but once it was a few hours. She will root for the breast as if she wants feeding, milk will make her seem stressed or annoyed. I’ll cuddle her, wind her, she seems annoyed, I’ll walk around, she’s annoyed, I’ll feed her, she’s happy, then she’s annoyed again, I’ll sit her up, annoyed, I’ll do everything I can think and she will seem annoyed. I’ll feel like I can do nothing and then boom, she’s fine. She’ll rest and she’ll go to sleep. I know that this is entirely normal and again, I won’t look for reasons. I won’t google. It’s such a strange feeling. I remember Daisy being the same and I’d cry, I’d call the heath visitor, I’d google colic or wind or how to stop my baby crying. But with Marlie I know it’s relatively normal so I’ll just keep soldiering on.
It still on occasions makes me feel useless though. It’s still hard too. I’ll go and have a bath once she’s asleep about 8pm and then she’ll cry. My partner will struggle to settle her much the same as me but I’ll still get out the bath as I’ll have an overwhelming urge to make her happy. I’m sure you’ll resonate but I feel like I don’t get a minute to myself but it’s though choice. It’s a common thing but we wish for space and time away but we just can’t! My partner will take Marlie on a Sunday morning downstairs and the slightest peep from her and I’ve got my eyes sprung open wondering what she’s doing.
GETTING OUT THE HOUSE
I’ve found days out far easier than small trips to the shops. It’s starting to get a little warmer but at first I avoided going anywhere that was a quick trip like popping to the shops because I found it annoying that I’d have to get her out the car seat, put her warm suit on and her hat, get Daisy out, put her coat on, walk into the shop and five minutes later go back to the car, take off their coats and put them both back in the car seats.
The other option would have been to drag a car seat around the shop while holding my toddlers hand. OR get the buggy frame out and push the car seat around the shop while holding the toddlers hand too, then fold the buggy, put it back in the boot. Absolute faff, this has been the part I’ve not enjoyed the most. Car seats are heavy, toddlers are heavy.
But since it’s warmed up slightly, I’m able to put Marlie in something warm but safe enough for her to be in her car seat. So now I just carry her out and in to a shop in what she’s wearing.
Seems silly doesn’t it and I was probably over thinking the whole thing but any change is hard at first and I never had this issue with Daisy. She was born during a May heatwave so we never needed to worry about coats, snow suits and winter hats.
I love getting out the house and going on a day out with the girls. I find it easy going somewhere open and green like I always did with Daisy. Marlie loves her sling and loves the buggy too. So far she’ll pretty much stay asleep the entire time. I’ve only had to feed her outside once, which wasn’t an issue but it would have been annoying if it were raining or really cold.
The part I really struggle with though is remembering everything. I’ve only had to remember snacks and my purse for so long now that I forget I need spare clothes, nappies, muslins, wellies for me and snacks for Daisy.
I’m either super organised or not at all, there’s no in between usually. As each week passes I’m learning something new. I now know if I’m going to get out, I need to drag my butt off the couch and shower as soon as possible in the morning. I need to use every single 5 minutes of freedom where Marlies happy on her own to get things done like make a packed lunch or brush my hair. My morning can soon spiral out of control if I’m lazy and don’t use Marlies down time to get ready. And if it gets too late in the day or I’m tired I’m getting quite good at righting the whole day off and staying in which isn’t healthy for me or Daisy or any of us really, plus it’s bloody boring inside.
IT WILL BE OK
I hope reading this puts your mind at ease if you’re expecting your second child. It is harder of course but you have no choice but to keep going as you have another child. You already know you’ve raised one child so you can do it and you can do it well.
You’ll have your highs and lows but it will be ok.
I went somewhere last week, finally packed the car away and Marlie started screaming in her car seat, you know the feeling when your baby cries that horrible cry and it pierces your soul. Daisy was shouting and asking for a snack. I then couldn’t figure out how to put the buggy back down. In a flustered, panicked state, my mind about to blow, I bent the buggy as well as I could and put it in the boot almost fully open! I have never forced a boot shut and jumped in the car so fast in my life. As soon as I started the engine she stopped. There will be more times like this. I’m not even going to lie and say I’ll get better at coping with those situations but you try and you get by. I might shout when Daisys demanding every ounce of me while Marlies crying or about to wake up. I’m human but it will all be ok in the end just remember that.
I’ve really enjoyed these last 5 weeks, I feel like I’ve been able to enjoy every single moment and I’ve not wished any of it away.