A few months ago, my husband and I made the happy discovery that our family was growing. A new life is once again growing inside me and in just a few short months we will hold it in our arms. This news brought joy and excitement as well as a slight feeling of dismay and apprehension. Adjusting from no children to one child was not a smooth transition for me, and I don’t expect this new addition to our family will be without its hiccups either. However, having done pregnancy, delivery, and the newborn stage once before, I have learned a few things along the way. I know what I will do again, and a few things that I would like to do differently with my second child. Here are a few of those things.

On a practical and physical level, I have been faithfully taking a prenatal probiotic and plan to continue taking it while breastfeeding. Our first baby was extremely gassy and colicky and often cried from stomach pain. After trying nearly everything I could for him with little improvement, I introduced infant probiotic drops, which really seemed to help him with passing gas and bowel movements. Studies show that taking a probiotic while pregnant may already have a positive effect on the baby’s developing digestive system. I’ve also heard good reports from a few other moms who tried it, so I decided it can’t hurt to try, with the hope that this baby will be more content.

I’m going to try to be more faithful with bottle feeding this time around. With my firstborn, I was breastfeeding, which, mercifully, was one thing about motherhood that actually went smoothly for me, and I didn’t return to work, so there wasn’t really a reason for me to bottle feed very often. Eventually, my son refused to drink from one at all. This made leaving him with anyone else for any period of time very inconvenient. While I still plan to mostly breastfeed, I want bottle feeds to feel familiar so that I have the option if necessary.

I’m going to use a pacifier and introduce it sooner. With our first, I had heard about, and was very concerned about, nipple confusion from introducing a pacifier too early. Looking back, I wonder if it would have helped during those first horrible nights to give our son a pacifier. It may not have, and I do realize there is truth to the nipple confusion thing, but I will certainly be quicker to try this time.

This time, we plan to find out our baby’s gender before birth. I genuinely loved being surprised with our first. The anticipation was half the fun and the feeling of finding out when our son finally entered the world was more thrilling than any roller coaster I’ve ever been on, but this time, we just want to know so we can prepare more practically.

Finally, I’m not going to compare this baby to anyone else’s baby or to my first baby. If reading children’s books to my toddler has taught me anything, it’s that each of us is unique. Each of us has something different and special to offer the world. This child is not the same as any other baby who has ever been born! How amazing! And furthermore, I’m not going to compare myself to other moms. The way I do food, sleep, discipline, and playtime for my children is not going to look exactly like other people’s lifestyle. And that’s ok. As a new mom, I felt like an imposter. Everything, the way I held my baby, rocked my baby, and fed my baby seemed to me to scream, “Incompetent new mother over here!” Because I felt this way, I was constantly looking around at how other people parented, and when what I was doing didn’t match, I was sure I was doing something wrong. Luckily, I’ve been learning to be a bit kinder to myself, which is something I hope I can remember when I’m in the trenches of mothering a newborn and a toddler.


Chelsey Weiler


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