I think in the 15 1/2 months that we've been raising Hunter we've done pretty well at keeping him happy and healthy and not completely losing our minds in the process. It helps that, for the most part, he's been a fairly easy baby/toddler. We never had to deal with colic or reflux or food allergies or any other number of issues that parents encounter and I can only hope and pray that if we're blessed with another child in the future he or she will be just as easy-going if not moreso.
With all that said, knowing what I know now there are a few things I would like to use or do differently next go round.
1. My birth plan will include two items- deliver a healthy baby and make sure I'm conscious when the baby is born. Whether I end up with a VBAC or scheduled repeat c-section I just want to be awake when the next child is born. I don't think I would handle it very well if I'm knocked during the birth of another child.
2. Should I have another c-section, we will send the baby to the nursery overnight for at least a few hours (but have it brought back for nursing). We kept Hunter in our room that first night (before he went to the NICU) and I was so sick and in so much pain after the c-section it was impossible to take care of him and poor Kristian really had no idea what he was doing so it was hard.
3. Don't immediately start supplementing with formula unless absolutely necessary. With Hunter I breastfed and that's what he primairly got but from day 1 (because he was in the NICU) we supplemented with formula and I didn't put up a fight because I just wanted him healthy. I'm not opposed to using formula again but I would like to try to keep from using it as long as possible. Not because I think it's bad but because it's expensive.
4. In the early days/weeks only use sleepers that zip or the gowns. I learned quite fast that sleepers with a million snaps are a HUGE pain in the ass for all those middle of the night diaper changes when you're half asleep.
5. Skip the swaddle blankets and go straight for the HALO sleep sacks with the velco swaddles. I could never get the blankets tight enough and Hunter was always breaking free of them and then waking up, once we started using the sleep sacks he couldn't get out of them until he was around 5 months old.
6. Get a SWING! I don't know why we didn't get a swing early on with Hunter, when we finally did after a couple months he loved it and would nap in it so well. Next time I will probably forgo the bassinet (which Hunter hated) and let the baby sleep in a swing or the infant cradle part of the pak n play (which Hunter also liked). I don't know why but I felt like he NEEDED to sleep in the bassinet and really there are so many other options, the main goal is just to get them to sleep.
7. Baby-wear more. This was hard to do with Hunter for the first few weeks because he was always hooked up to his monitor that checked his breathing and it was too hard to put him in a wrap or carrier without disturbing his leeds. By the time he was off the monitor I was just used to carrying him around and the few times I tried to use the Moby or Baby Bjorn it just wasn't comfortable for me. I think next time I will splurge for an Ergo which I've heard good things about. Plus I will be chasing a toddler so I think baby wearing will be imperative.
8. On a similar note, I will try to really sit and just enjoy cuddling and holding the baby. I now know how quickly it really does fly by and how fast they grow and since the next one will probably be our last one I want to savor every last minute.
9. Take more than 6 weeks off for maternity leave. Now so much of this will depend on where I'm working and our financial situation but I really want to try to take 8-12 weeks off. Six weeks just goes by too fast and they are still just so small, I hated taking Hunter to daycare when he was so young.
10. Not be so afraid to take a newborn places. I was terrified of leaving the house with Hunter in the beginning and really when they are newborns and spend most of the day sleeping, that's the easiest time to actually take them places. Granted next time I will also have a toddler to deal with which will be the real challenge.
For those of you that plan to have more children what do you want to do different next time?