My first child was born just at the end of my 32nd year. I was like all brand new parents, wondering where the baby manual was and was I prepared to take care of this little helpless bundle. I was older than most moms at that time, but not quite at the oh-so flattering geriatric maternal age of 35 and over. Motherhood was a fun time. I had already had a career and traveled quite a bit. So when my maternity leave was ending, we were fortunate enough that I could stay-at-home and decided not to go back to the office. Flash forward ten years, and I am sitting here with my one-year old. I’m now definitely in the old-mother category. You’d think that I would remember what it was like from the first time around, but nature has a way of glossing over those details.
So what has changed this second time around as a new parent? Well there are more nifty baby gadgets, tons more information about safety and nutrition, and my body is definitely different. Below are 10 things that I noticed.
1. Didn’t need a Boppy nursing pillow this time – apparently my boobs have dropped low enough to reach my nursing baby in my lap – alas the dark side of having bigger breasts from pregnancy.
2. I don’t know what I did without my smart phone back then. Though I didn’t have it when I was 32, I know that having access to my email, the internet, Facebook, and those addictive Words with Friends games staved off any post-partum depression with this second baby. I never felt the isolation that sometimes comes with motherhood, when I can read and type about it with the internet-at-large.
3. I’m more tired. Boy, I thought I was tired at 32, I’m doubly tired at 42. Definitely take the time to nap with the baby this time around.
4. I’m more patient. Maybe because I’m more tired, I don’t feel like I have the energy to rush things. I can read the books over and over again or re-stack the cups for the nth time without feeling like I’m going insane (probably because I’m making moves with Words with Friends or checking my email on my smart phone at the same time). This is also probably the second child syndrome where parents are more relaxed about their expectations from the first time around.
5. Baby food comes in disposable pouches with resealable caps! Much easier to travel with than the jars or the plastic boxes that once you tore the top off, you had to use it. Now they even have the kids drink directly from them.
6. So many choices for baby carriers. Back when I had my son, I was the odd mom who wore their child in a sling. Now, at least where I live, you see babies in all sorts of front/back/hip carriers or wraps that it is truly a fashion statement.
7. More organic/natural options for baby food/products. People are becoming more educated about what they are using and companies are responding. I’m happy to have access to non-toxic baby products and cleaners for my home, more organic food choices than I did ten years ago that don’t make me look like some radical environmentalist.
8. Babies recommended to stay rear-facing in their car seats until 2 years of age or 30 pounds. Ten years ago, we waited until their 1st birthday as the big milestone to turn them face forward. For my son, that made all the difference in his happiness in the car. He couldn’t stand it otherwise. Now, studies show that there is a 500% increase in crash survival rates if the car seat is kept rear facing. Too bad for my daughter. She hates her seat too like her brother, but she’ll be rear facing for as long as I can keep her that way.
9. Baby bullet and Easy Squeezy feeding spoon. I lumped this together because I just have to go back to how neat the gadgets are for feeding babies have become. Ten years ago, I had to use a regular steamer and my blender if I was making my own food. Now there are dedicated gadgets. And I love traveling with my Easy Squeezy Spoon where I don’t have to carry a separate bowl and spoon to feed on the go. Just cap it off if the baby isn’t finished.
10. Each child is definitely their own personality. I know we say to each other, don’t compare the kids, but you just can’t help remark on how each of them reached different milestones at different times. A current issue that is so different is weaning. This second baby loves to nurse and I have no idea how I’m going to wean her. I went cold turkey at one year with my first but he would accept a sippy cup. She on-the-other hand doesn’t drink well from a sippy cup, but likes to drink from a regular cup (and splash it down her front, which doesn’t help fill her tummy as she lays down to sleep). I’ll have to write another post about how I figure out that dilemma.