Yesterday I talked about my difficult transition into motherhood after having my son. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was scared that her arrival would cause a similar emotional turmoil and I’d lose my confidence all over again. But then she came and things were so much easier than I expected. I was shocked (I mean seriously shocked) when the transition from one-to-two children came easily to me.
Now, every momma’s experience is unique. Some rock it from the start. Others struggle like I did. Some are blessed with an ‘easy’ baby the first time around. Some never get one. It’s all a crap shoot. All I know for certain is YOU CAN CONTROL NONE OF IT.
just because they share genes doesn’t mean they’ll have anything else in common
Even though the second baby didn’t come with as much emotional struggle, that’s not to say there were NO struggles. I learned SO MUCH about babies and their sleep habits my first time around (Colin was a catnapper and I read every dang book out there to try to ‘trick’ him into sleeping for longer than 20 minutes at a time. I never actually found the ‘trick’.) Unless Colin was rocked to sleep, he did not nap. I became a master at rocking & holding my breath during the crib transfer. This was how naps happened for two full years.
When Jill was about 4 months old, suddenly she turned from a happy, sleepy baby into a screaming-most-of-the-day (and night) baby. No one was getting sleep and my body went into auto-pilot. She’d scream & scream as I walked/rocked/sang/snuggled to try to get her to sleep. After weeks of struggling, I looked at her and suddenly KNEW… she doesn’t want to be snuggled. For her brother, snuggling was the ONLY avenue to sleep. For Jill, it was DRIVING HER CRAZY. (I totally get it, baby girl… I’m not a snuggler either!)
After that, we had some sleep breakthroughs where I witnessed the miracle that is putting down a drowsy baby and seeing them FALL ASLEEP ON THEIR OWN. I remember thinking, comically: this is a totally different ballgame. Not because I ‘knew what I was doing’ this time around, but because each child is sooooooo different. What works for one (be it an older sibling or a friend or relative), may totally NOT work for your baby. Oh, these tricky, tricky, tiny humans!
snuggling isn’t for everyone
Even though my babies were dramatically different when it came to sleeping, there was one magical tool that worked for both: THE ROCK n’ PLAY. I know, I know… I just said ALL BABIES ARE DIFFERENT, but this is one of those ‘wish I’d known about it sooner’ baby gear things that I can’t NOT share.
Good. Ness. The Rock n’ Play is pure magic. Both of my kiddos were a little reflux-y and wouldn’t sleep well when laid down flat. But the gentle incline of the rock & play… perfection. Seriously, add this to your registry instead of a bassinet. They are much more comfortable for babies + small enough to fit easily next to the bed!
Coming tomorrow: a tip I wish I’d received earlier for traveling with little ones!