I know when I was pregnant with my first four years ago that joining my online mom’s group was a life-saver. To have contact with hundreds of women all going through similar stages in pregnancy, birth, and child rearing, was both reassuring and enlightening.
One of the benefits of having your own kids is that you get to do things the way you want. As a result, I know I read and read and read to find out what I ‘should’ or ‘should not’ be doing, giving, or avoiding! However, the reality is that this realm of information is overwhelming so I thought I’d poll the same moms now, three years later to see what they were 100% committed to at the time they had their now 3.5 year olds to see what they would change, if anything. Many of us have had one or even two more babies since that time, and it was nice because some of the moms in the group were moms already, so we had some seasoned vets.
I loved all of these responses and it serves as a good reminder that each of us is doing our very best to raise our children and that moms need to retain their sanity as well, so being pragmatic in your approach and doing what works well in your family is usually the best answer.
My question was:
Is there anything that you were 100% committed to with your baby that now looking back you’ve decided wasn’t as big of a deal as you thought? Or something that changed in your beliefs from first child to second or multiple?
”There are a few things. With [baby #1], I was really into the whole “attachment parenting” thing. Babywearing, bedsharing, cloth diapers, exclusive breastfeeding, etc. But with [baby #2], I think I’ve found a better balance. I wore her quite a bit for the first few months, but not really anymore. Decided that cloth diapers weren’t going to work for us this time around for convenience sake. We have different sleeping arrangements, and I wasn’t so afraid that introducing a bottle would derail breastfeeding. I would still consider myself an attachment parent, but it’s not a checklist this time.”
“Looking back none of it was as big of a deal as I thought it was at the time lol. I think i was caught in the moment and was a bit crazy lol. If i did it again, i think all of it would be very different.”
“My biggest one was a soother. For some reason I had it in my head that soothers were bad for BFing and bottles…. I remember sitting on the floor crying, reading all my books, and asking on here about soothers……. He still has a soother for bed time. Actually five. He sleeps with five soothers every night and I don’t give a shit if he sleeps with them until he doesn’t live with me anymore.”
“1. Cosleeping. Quickly realized if I wanted sleep [baby] would need to get into bed with me lol
2. Extended bf: thought it was odd to bf past 6 months, then kiddo was attached and couldn’t wean until 2.5!”
“Yeppers. Never co sleeping was a big one. Never did it with my first. But my second and 3rd totally threw that out the window when they never slept. 98% of the time one or both still crawl in at some point. Also remaining a working mom. I thought I needed that. Who i was. But it wasn’t and happy to be a [stay at home mom] now. Breast feeding. The first time. I was so mad at myself for quitting early. But he was allergic to stuff. And I didn’t know much. I had less expectations after that and it helped. Really I tried to be open minded beyond those things. I am a little more a car seat nazi now… Since the rules have changed so much in 9 years.”
“Cosleeping was super important the first time around for me. I, also think it helped me with my post partum issues and getting lots of rest. With [baby #2], I decided to not co-sleep and have her in bassinet by the bed. She’s been able to sleep on her own better and I feel, in my opinion, more independent, if that makes sense? I definitely think they have pros/cons for each family and I feel that it differs for each child? [Baby #1] is a very affectionate lovable kid and relies heavily on it(I love cuddles!) [Baby #2], however, is completely independent and not super affectionate. So I think for them, the sleeping arrangements worked for each of them. I feel I can even relate my breastfeeding experience to it as well(regarding their individual temperaments). [Baby #1] nursed 45mins a breast and would often fall asleep nursing in bed with me. [Baby #2], speedy girl. 5-7 mins per breast and would push away to either nap or play. I think overall, from being a first time mom to now, I’ve learned to not get hung up on what I should and shouldn’t do and go with the flow of the child and family situation.”
“My first (7 now) I coslept with furtively not letting anyone know, it was my dirty secret, we’d wake up to nurse and fall asleep together, I even lied to my husband (who slept through it all) oh yeah, he’s only been here since like 530. My second and third slept with me from birth. My parents ask ‘is that baby still sleeping with you’? I grin and say yes! They shake their heads ([Baby #2] sleeps on his own since 18 months, 7 mo is still with me). I hated soothers, used them with all 3. Gave up on Babywearing way too soon with my first, but love it now. Buy toys I’d say I’d never buy. McDonald’s ”
“Tv. Not so much for the baby stage but toddler…I was like my kids are not watching tv until they’re 2! Well hello Umizoomi and paw patrol lol – all in moderation and I’m not going to lie, my winter baby watches like a movie a day (sometimes more yikes) since my second was born in March. It’s hard! I’ll add one thing I didn’t change was “sleep training” as a baby. I don’t believe in CIO at all. Yes a couple times we had to let him cry when we tried to reach him to fall asleep on his own when he was older or yes cry a bit when I tried to cut out sippy cups of milk at night but not CIO method. And sometimes crying is inevitable especially now with two kids one might cry while I attend to the other but I don’t believe you can spoil babies and I believe that not responding to their cry doesn’t teach them anything other than no one is responding to their needs.”
“100% cloth diapers! It wasn’t that I thought sposies were bad, I was just being stubborn and wanted to prove a point. So I travelled everywhere with them – camping, cross the country, etc. There wasn’t a sposie on [her] butt until she was 14 months old and only because there wasn’t laundry facilities where we were going. I didn’t even know what size to buy her.”
“I didn’t change much with my 3. Guidelines for food and carseat changed so I changed accordingly. I breastfed my 3rd baby longer than my other 2, mainly because it made bed time easier. With my first I made all the baby food from scratch and only offered milk and water. With the other 2 I caved on juice and they had pre-made baby food. I think I just got lazier as I got older lol!”
“Crying! (Not sleep training). For my first barely a whimper passed her lips before it would break my heart and now with more than one someone has to wait, and I’m totally ok with it.
Number two came straight into bed with us, number one joined at 6 months and has never left, didn’t see the point doing all that midnight nursing on the sofa again when we could just stay snug under my duvet and fall straight back to sleep.
Keeping track of [breastfeeding]. I was obsessed with timing, sides and how often. Just went with the flow this time.”
“Not really an answer to your question exactly…. But kind of. With my third, I stopped letting my husband pressure me into things that I didn’t feel comfortable with. Like he forced me to try sleep training with my first, and I am still scarred and feel so guilty. He would force me to sometimes give them a bottle… Stuff like that.”
“I can’t really think of things I went into parenting as a hard no on and changed. I was 18 when my oldest was born so I hadn’t really formed opinions on parenting yet. There’s a lot … like A LOT I did different with the twins. First baby I questioned everything a lot, I didn’t trust myself and took advice I wasn’t today comfortable with. To a lesser extend really it was the same with the twins. I…hid things I did that people didn’t agree with (like Co sleeping) because I didn’t want judgment. With the twins I did a lot of research on different things but ultimately learned to trust myself more. I bf them, when we added in bottles I ordered their formula from Germany, I coslept without shame, I did a mix of cloth and disposable diapers and was happy with it. I rear faced their car seats until well after 2… Actually that’s a big one. Without doing any research I super judged people who rear faced past 2 as being crazy over protective. Then I got pregnant and was like what’s the hullabaloo about and became team [rear-facing] for life lol.”
“I haven’t changed much… whenever I was debating something with #1 I would always think to myself “am I actually going to do that with #2 or #3?” and promptly give up, lol. With #2 I’m a tad more relaxed with food (she’s had a lot more French fries ?) and tv, but not by a ton. Anyway, the point is that the biggest change for me was trusting my gut and my research.”
A great big thanks to all of the moms from my online mom’s group who participated and commented!