This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as a part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central.
One of my dearest friends and I are thankfully walking side-by-side through this season of raising toddlers who are close in age as well as our second babies who are very close in age, and we sigh all the time about how parenting our second kids often makes us feel like brand new moms in certain areas all over again. Her daughter is so different than her son was, and Sadie is also so different than Hadley was. Of course they share similarities too as siblings often do, but the differences are what make each of us feel like we’re occasionally back in Parenting 101.
On that note, thank you Jesus for friends in similar stages of life. Such a gift for my happiness and for the sanity.
Sadie’s first six months have been quite different than Hadley’s, not just because they’re different, but because I’m different too. I’d love to share some of the ways that parenting Sadie’s first six month has differed from Hadley’s, if you’re interested.
Physical & Mental Rest
When Hadley was born, I had the attitude of “keep my old life, just add a baby to it” type of thing. I was determined to keep up with my social calendar that I liked keeping full, and for the most part I did. It was overwhelming at times adding a baby to our outings, but I was determined to make it work.
After having Sadie, I now enjoy few things more than a low key weekend at home with my little family of four. I’m also more confident to say no to various things if I realistically know that it’s adding too much to my plate or my girls’ plates. My entire family is happier and more relaxed when we schedule plenty of days each month to do nothing.
Temperaments & Stress Levels
Hadley’s first few months were pure bananas. I hate that that’s part of our story with her, but there wasn’t much we could do about it. She was a classic colicy baby, and Jamie and I both struggled with how to deal with her constant unhappiness for the first 4-5 months. We also had a very unexpected cross-country move when Hadley was 3.5 months old, so that upped each of our stress levels in a number of ways.
Sadie’s temperament has been the complete opposite. Though she fusses like all babies do at times, she’s generally been a really joyful baby. We’ve loved her infancy so much. Hadley has been a super fun, relatively easy, happy-go-lucky toddler, so we joke that Sadie may turn out to be the more challenging toddler since their infancies were so different temperament-wise. 🙂
When Hadley was an infant, she was really the only big responsibility I had. Besides the big move, I was able to focus all of my energy on her.
With Sadie, I’ve felt guilt at times for not being able to give her the same undivided attention that Hadley had. Now I have a number of other big responsibilities – taking care of two kids, keeping up with a bigger, older home, and maintaining my part-time blogging income.
I gained a bit more than the recommended 25-35 pounds during my pregnancy with Hadley, and though it was all gone by the five month mark (not boasting – stay with me!), the journey to get there was totally miserable. During this time, I strictly followed a doable, healthy program, but losing that much weight that fast required major dedication. Sticking to this plan required clean eating, meal prep, daily planning, watching every bite I ate, and depriving myself of treats, even when I was stressed to the max and could have used an edible pick-me-up. It felt good to lose the weight, but trying to lose it quickly added unnecessary stress to a season of my life where I should have been happily focused on my baby and my new journey as a mom (a journey that carries enough stress on its own).
Even though I gained 10 pounds less with Sadie, it took longer to drop it than all of my weight with Hadley did. In being totally transparent, I had to have a lot of dialogue with myself about just letting go of the desire to be thinner and giving myself some grace. I bought a few pieces of bigger, non-maternity clothing that got me comfortably through the summer instead of trying to wish myself back into my smaller clothes. I knew the weight would come off eventually if I tried to make more healthy decisions than poor ones, and it did.
Giving myself some honest to goodness time to comfortably get back into my old jeans was one of the best gifts I’ve given myself… and my girls. (PS: It also majorly helped having said friend mentioned above who was also giving herself grace and time to lose the weight. We embraced and jokingly cursed our extra pounds together while light-heartedly reminding each other that our weight did not need to be our top priorities.)
Hadley was a rockstar napper from day #1, but she didn’t sleep through the night (more than 8+ straight hours) until she was 15 months old. We diligently tried a half dozen sleep training methods, and none of them ever worked.
Until recently, Sadie has been a great napper and a great nighttime sleeper, too. About three weeks ago, she decided that naps are for the birds and has given them up almost entirely, only cat-napping while nursing for 10 minutes at a time. She’s also waking up 2-4 times a night. I can handle the nighttime wake-ups, but the lack of naps is driving me pretty crazy.
My experiences with feeding the girls couldn’t be any more different. With Hadley, I ventured through exclusive pumping for 3.5 months before switching to formula.
With Sadie, I battled through 12 excruciating days of trying to make breastfeeding work, which it has for over six months and counting.
Bottle feeding Hadley allowed me much more freedom to venture out and about (even leaving her overnight at eight weeks old – not my proudest idea), knowing that anyone could feeding her. Sadie doesn’t dig bottles, so I’ve never left her for more than five hours since she was born. Both experiences have had pros and cons, but it’s been interesting experiencing the range of feeding options.
One major difference between formula feeding and breastfeeding is that I’ve had to continue to be constantly mindful of what I put in my body, knowing that Sadie gets everything that I get. I talked a couple weeks ago about how taking vitamins is a staple in my morning routine, and one of those vitamins is a Nature Made® prenatal. Because it contains DHA and iron, I’ve continued making it a part of my daily intake of vitamins and supplements. It’s inexpensive and easy to grab at Walmart, so it’s been a seamless addition to my morning.
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