When you have your first baby it’s a huge change, it’s amazing, exciting and scary all at the same time. You never feel fully prepared for the baby to arrive. You have either read a bunch of parenting/baby books or you have decided to just wing it. You have advice coming at you from every direction, from your parents your in-laws your family member’s sister’s brother’s cousins, to your friends and friends of friends and also from your cashier at the supermarket.

You hear everyone’s labour and birth stories and experiences and their opinions on everything. You have people judging your opinions if it doesn’t match theirs. They are all pro breastfeeding and you’re all like yes I would absolutely love to breastfeed as long as I can. Or you might be like HELL NO I do not want a mini human draining the life out of my boobs till there’s nothing left and they look like saggy empty water balloons, but they really think you should at least give it a go because you will totally love it and its sooo natural and beautiful and formula is soo bad and full of sugar and you’re a horrible mum if you don’t breastfeed.

Well, guess what while breastfeeding is natural and is a great way to bond with your baby it isn’t for everyone and that is ok. Some mums aren’t able to breastfeed and others just don’t want to and it is 100% YOUR CHOICE. So you want any and all drugs possible for labour you shouldn’t do that it’s not good for the baby. You want to have a totally natural labour and experience all the pain, your soo brave, labour is soo excruciatingly painful. Again it’s YOUR CHOICE.

Then after you have the baby in the hospital it’s pretty alright, you have the nurses and midwives there to help you with whatever you need. You have visitors coming and going and bringing you gifts. It’s not until you get home that it really hits you that you now have this tiny little baby that is so reliant on you for every little thing. Coming home with your first baby is a bit like a whack in the face.

When I had my first I stayed in the hospital for three days and wanted to go home. They wanted me to stay longer till the end of the week but I just wanted to leave. But then when I left and got home I was a bit like SHIT what do I do now?! It hit me I was a mum I was responsible for this little person. My partner didn’t really get time off when we had our first while we were in the hospital he was at work he came and visited on his lunch break and came back after work and then when we got home he was back at work. I didn’t notice it so much when we were in the hospital because I had visitors and the nurses and midwives and of course my baby slept all day so I didn’t have a whole lot to do.

So coming home and being in this house and having dishes and cleaning and washing and cooking to do as well as looking after this baby. I didn’t really know what to do with myself, but now that I have had three babies I think back and think to myself it was sooo easy with the one baby. It was so easy to just sit on the couch and let her feed for hours and just sit there and let her sleep on me and not worry too much about the housework.

Even just simple things like going out leaving the house were so easy with one. I would make sure my nappy bag was packed and ready and just feed her pop her in the pram or car and off we went. Doing the food shop was easy with just one, one of us would either wear her in the carrier or just carry her around. Meeting up with friends or getting to an appointment on time was easy 9/10 times. There was the occasional time we were running a little late but we can’t all be perfect, can we?

I can still remember getting up every day and making sure I had a shower and got dressed and got her dressed even if we were just staying at home we were always dressed. She had a nice outfit for each day. I loved dressing her up. As a new mum though I had no idea about sleep routines or any kind of routine. I demand fed my baby cause that’s what worked for us and just let her fall asleep whenever and where ever she did. I co-slept with her for almost a year as she refused to sleep in her cot and it was soo much easier with the night feeds. Just to be able to flop a boob out when she got hungry and go back to sleep.

Having my second I had no idea what to expect but I knew things were going to change. When you’re expecting no. 2 people still have their opinions and theories and advice. The difference this time around is you’ve been through it before so you know what to listen to and what to ignore. You have an idea about what you want to do when it comes to labour and birth and feeding and parenting.

If you had a girl the first time around like I did, you have people saying oh hopefully you get a boy this time. When I was pregnant with my first I was dead set on her being a girl, I had it in my head she had to be a girl, (my partners family is predominantly boys) I just really wanted a girl cause I was worried I wouldn’t have one. Then when I was pregnant with my second I wasn’t too fussed about which gender we had, I, of course, was slightly hoping for a boy but at the same time I was totally fine with having another girl, which we did end up with another girl, our hospital stay was shorter this time around, was a totally different experience.

Coming home was different I felt good coming home I felt better being at home with both my babies. The second time around my partner was able to have some time off so that made a difference it was a great help just having him there to help with the transition I think made it a little easier. Trying to leave the house with two kids was damn near impossible. I struggled with two, just trying to get us all ready to leave, making sure I had everything. We were always late. Never got anywhere on time. In the end, I never made set plans and got up extra early when we had an apt to get to. I think the fact I express fed for the first couple of months made it harder, because not only did I have to make sure I had fed the baby before we left I also had to make sure I had milk defrosted and ready to go to take with us for the next feed, and I had to pump before we left so I didn’t have engorged boobs while we were out either.

Even when we swapped to formula feeding it didn’t really get any easier because then I would have to make sure I had enough bottles prepared and ready and had the right amount of formula ready to take with us and make sure she was fed as well. There were a few occasions where I left the house without formula, I had packed the bottles and forgotten the formula. So of course when it came to feeding time and I realised I then had to leave and rush home so I could feed her. It got easier as she got older. I learnt from my mistakes with my first. I made sure to have a routine in place I started from about 1-2 months old with her bedtime routine and then as she got older and her day sleeps became more regular I started a day sleep routine, it was a very strict routine. My second bub was so different to my first she needed that routine if we were any more than 10 mins late with a sleep she was a nightmare and was a struggle to get her to sleep. She would only sleep in her bed co-sleeping was not her thing. She would sleep in the car or the pram if we went for a walk but if we were to stay somewhere she wouldn’t sleep. She needed her routine and her bed, anywhere else and she wasn’t having it.

I don’t know if the fact they were born during totally opposite seasons or just the fact it was easier or a bit of both but my second bub lived in onesies, I would dress her up on the odd occasion or if we were going out but most days she lived in onesies. Again I guess you just learn new things with each baby you have. I also struggled with PND with my second so I didn’t really enjoy her in the ‘baby stage’ like I did with my first. Not to mention the mum guilt for not being able to breastfeed a second time.

When it came to my third baby the advice and opinions stopped but the gender guesses continued. This time around I really wanted my boy. I was hoping we would finally get a boy. I had a lot of oh you’ll probably have another girl, hopefully, this one’s a boy. I would have been happy either way but I was pretty glad when they told me he was a boy. I was still nervous about the labour and birth I think that’s one thing we women will always get nervous about no matter how many times we do it because you never know exactly how it’s going to go. So much can change so quickly when it comes to giving birth. But I was as ready as I could be, third time around.

Third time around I enjoyed my time in the hospital but also wanted to be home. Coming home with no.3 was such a different experience, I felt more relaxed more at ease, more prepared this time around. (even though I still hadn’t set up the nursery) My third baby fitted in perfectly with our little family the fact he was and still mostly is (apart from the teething) such a cruisy baby made it that much easier. This time around I know routine is good but we are a little more relaxed with it. Sleep times sometimes vary depending on how the day goes. I am lucky enough to be able to be breastfeeding and with that, we are co-sleeping as well. He starts the night in his bed at bedtime and then when he wakes for a feed he comes into bed with us. It’s what works for us and what allows us to get some sleep, cause with 3 kids 3 and under you need your sleep!

He lives in a mix of onesies and clothes. Onesies were life in the beginning but now he’s getting older it really depends some days he has his morning nap still in his pjs and will sleep through till after lunch so he stays in his pjs for the day, some days I will dress him up nice to just stay home some days to go out. We mostly just roll with whatever happens these days.

Leaving the house has gotten easier. The fact the girls can do things themselves now helps a lot like they can get their own shoes and put them on so that’s one less thing I have to worry about doing. Getting the three of them in the car can take a good 5 or more minutes, we are still late to places on occasion but mostly we get there on time. Breastfeeding means I don’t have to worry about packing bottles and formula. But now solids have started I generally need to pack food for him if we won’t be home for lunch. We had a system worked out for grocery shopping, baby in the carrier and the girls in the trolley. But now I have rediscovered online shopping so that is one less thing to worry about. Yes having three kids so close are busy but it can be soo much fun and have its advantages.

For me going from 1-2 kids was difficult, hard and a struggle. Going from 2-3 was a breeze, so easy and felt good. It’s all about learning from your previous experience going with what works for your child/children and not being too hard on yourself when things don’t work out or go to plan.

There’s always tomorrow.

 

You may also like to read:

Getting Along: How to Skip the Sibling Rivalry and Raise Best Friends

Why its ok not to “just enjoy it”.

Only a Mother’s Love