Nothing can prepare you for motherhood, and the way it completely overhauls life as you know it. But they should tell you that nothing can prepare you for a second child, no matter how experienced you think you are. And “they” didn’t tell me, so I’m telling you just in case you find yourself in that place down the road.
After Mia was born and we brought her home from the hospital, I was ready to get back to real life. None of this hazy newborn hibernation for us, no sir! Of course we took it easy and mostly stayed home those first few weeks, but I had a very active almost-two-year-old and a business getting ready to undergo a huge transition.
So I was thrilled that things pretty much went my way in the early months. The hormones didn’t hit me nearly as hard as they had after Parker’s birth, and I felt like myself pretty quickly. Breastfeeding was a total breeze. Mia was a sweet and adaptable baby.
I was getting a bit more sleep this time, too, and even found plenty of time to work (mostly in the wee morning hours after nursing Mia back to sleep). I figured out how to survive and keep two tiny children alive by myself for entire days at a time. I took the summer “off” as a “maternity leave” — and while I didn’t see clients or students, I put in more hours than I can count on the business and my own personal projects. I didn’t miss a single week of my podcast. Sure, I hadn’t had a full night of uninterrupted sleep since before Mia was born, but I wasn’t going to let my exhaustion get in the way of productivity.
It was all working beautifully, until it wasn’t. All of those things I had been sweeping under the rug — lack of sleep, wacky hormones, absence of time to myself — hit me like a ton of bricks in December. I remember having an anxiety attack on a Tuesday afternoon, shortly before it was time to go to work. I was standing in the middle of the family room, holding Mia, feeling completely paralyzed about how I was going to get through the rest of the day, let alone the coming weeks and months. I honestly had no idea.
Before Mia was born, my friend Crystal told me about a photo shoot idea she had. Her daughter had gotten an American Girl doll-sized grand piano for Christmas — a tiny miniature version of the grand piano in their living room. When Mia began sitting up on her own, we created the vision Crystal had been planning for over a year!
Mia was such an angel through the whole shoot. I’m so grateful to Crystal for capturing her so perfectly and in such a meaningful way. Before I know it, she’ll be old enough to sit at that big piano (I can’t even let my brain go there right now) and I will look back at these photos to remember how tiny she once was.
Technically I could call this post “almost eight months of breastfeeding” because, you know, second baby…but let’s pretend I wrote this two months ago just like I did the first time around.
The thing about breastfeeding for the second time is that you actually know what you are doing from the get-go. I get that all babies are different, and Parker and Mia are no exception, but I learned from my rookie mistakes and have had a much smoother experience this time.
I thought Parker was a good nurser, but Mia has been an even better one since day 1. Her latch was perfect from the start, and she is nowhere near as distracted as he was (even at almost eight months). She took longer to get used to bottles, but now she takes them like a pro when I’m at work.
My body has also gotten much better at feeding, for which I am so grateful. I had some supply issues with Parker a few months in, and I dealt with plugged ducts on a weekly basis. This time around, I can count on one hand the number of plugged ducts I’ve had, and my supply has been great. Having both experiences has helped me to really appreciate the smooth sailing with Mia — especially since life is busier and more demanding now.
We introduced Mia to solid foods at a little over six months, and so far, she’s not a huge fan. If she’s anything like her brother, she may not come around for a while longer, which is okay. I’m not going to sweat it like I did with Parker, because now I know that eventually she’ll enjoy eating food and for now, she gets everything she needs from breastmilk.
I’m planning to continue nursing at least through Mia’s first birthday, if not longer. Parker self-weaned at 15 months, on the same day I found out I was pregnant. Since I’m pretty sure there are no more babies in my future, I won’t mind going even longer with Mia.
We don’t have much downtime other than when she’s nursing, so it’s wonderful to have quiet moments built into our day. The bittersweet thing about the second baby is that now I know how fleeting this time is, and every second I spend snuggling and rocking her is so precious.
At just 5 days old, Mia was the perfect model for her newborn photo shoot — she slept the entire time! Our photographer, Tara Long, took advantage of her sleepiness by using lots of different fun props and even taking the shoot outside. I couldn’t believe that despite all the outfit and prop changes, Mia didn’t wake up until the very end.
There was a videographer there filming a promo video for Tara’s website, which turned out so beautiful (and not just because Mia’s sweet face is in it!). You can check it out here. Now on to the GORGEOUS photos of our tiny baby.
I can’t get over how stunning these photos are. There are over 100 of them, and they are all equally as beautiful. The hard part is deciding which ones to have printed. I do know that there will be a giant canvas of the first one (Parker and Mia together) hanging in our house. I’m pretty sure that’s my favorite photo of all time.
The question everyone is asking these days: “How is Parker adjusting to the new baby?” I think this video pretty much sums up his relationship with her.
In all honesty, I thought we were going to have some serious jealousy issues to deal with once Mia arrived. Parker is used to having 100% of our attention, and he thrives on it. But from the moment he met her, he was completely in love.
Every morning when Parker wakes up, he asks to see “baby”. And he gives her about 500 hugs and kisses a day. He can be a little aggressive with his affection, but what do you expect from a 2-year-old? ;)
It will be interesting to see how their relationship develops over time, but for now I am soaking up the mutual admiration. Mia is one lucky little sis!