We have 4 kids now, Alba is 8 months, Bowie is 2, Marlo 6 and Ryder, 9. My friends think I’m either crazy or amazing - but it honestly got easier each time we had a baby.
I still remember bringing my first born Ryder home from the hospital. He was 2 days old and we just didn’t know what to expect, what to do. When I took his nappy off, he weed all over himself. I was desperate to get him clean so we filled the bath with about 2 cm of water and popped him in. He just bawled! Of course now we’d just use a wipe, but with your first baby you’ve got this real drive to do everything right, even though you don’t know what that is!
Sleeping was the same. With Ryder I’d pick him up the instant he cried. I felt I had to sooth him constantly - in fact I rocked him to sleep every night til he was 18 months. And in the end, he was a terrible sleeper. Wouldn’t settle by himself. With the others I was way more relaxed, didn’t hover over them every second, let them figure things out themselves a bit more, and they all slept through from around 8 months. It was such a big difference and life seems so much easier without the sleep deprivation.
Breastfeeding was way tougher the first time too. With Ryder, I gave up and switched to formula at around 6 weeks. It just hurt so much and I was scared he wasn’t getting enough to eat. I didn’t feel bad about the decision, but I did want to learn from my experience and try again. And with Marlo, it was totally different. I let her lead, rather than trying to manage how long she fed for. I remember the midwife telling me that it would always hurt to start with - that it was like getting a new pair of shoes and you’d get blisters til they’re worn in. I guess I just accepted that with Marlo and the others. It still hurt but I was less stressed about it all, and went on to breastfeed until around 18 months.
I guess after the first baby, you realise they’re just not that fragile. They don’t need to be constantly soothed, and it’s ok for them to cry a little. I also learnt that I didn’t have to do everything myself. With Ryder I would never ask for help, never take advice even. But with the others I just didn’t mind as much. The grandparents wanted to help and I was happy to let them.
It’s just a shame they’re not so keen now that there’s four of them!