4 Things I Will Do Differently with Baby #4
You know, it's funny to think about the fact that I'm going to have four children.
Because, in reality, it doesn't seem like I am really the mother of four. Four seems like a gaggle of children — a tribe, a group of long-limbed, jabbering children. But I tend to think of them individually, as in, Oh, I'm not the mother of four. I'm the mother of my first daughter, my second, my son, oh, and now there's another baby on the way.
In other words, four kids sounds like a lot, but it doesn't necessarily feel that way.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it really does go by so quickly, and it seems like just yesterday that I was walking down the aisle to my husband. Sometimes I look at my kids in amazement and think, Well, where did you come from? How peculiar that I am your mother.
A mother of four seems to me like she should be someone who is rather well organized — a mover and a shaker. A woman of to-do lists and easy-to-style hair who can whip up an outfit out of scarves and accessories on the fly that always looks appropriately elegant, but not overdone.
She seems like she should know what she's doing and have the answers to the burning questions of motherhood, like how to get a baby to sleep through the night and how to make sure you never get mastitis again.
Yes, a woman with four children seems to me like she should be some sort of motherhood guru.
Which I am definitely not.
In fact, I kind of wonder if I have what it takes to do this again. But regardless, by the looks of my two positive pregnancy tests and my most recent ultrasound, I've got no other choice. And this time around, I am determined to do a few things differently, like …
1. Consider formula. All of my babies have been exclusively breastfed, which is not the same as saying that nursing has been carefree and wonderful. I find breastfeeding really hard — downright painful, in fact, especially after getting mastitis a whopping seven times with my son.
I've always had a formula phobia, but I can't help but wonder if this time around I shouldn't be so opposed to letting my baby have an occasional bottle of formula … and maybe enjoying a nap while she does.
2. Give myself a break. OK, so maybe I have learned a thing or two after all of these years, primarily in light of the fact that instead of focusing on what I think a good mom is supposed to do, I finally know what I need to do to make myself a good mom: get enough sleep, find some time to myself, and spend some time to my career as a writer.
None of those things make me less of a mother.
3. Slow down. With my other children, I feel like I was very focused on getting through to the next step: the next child, the next point in my career, the next phase where I could finally have a free arm.
This time around, I really, really get that the first year really is a fleeting time in our lives, and I want to try to take it for what it is — a year where a lot of things are focused on my little one and other things (my house, my body) take the back burner.
And that's OK.
4. Try a pacifier. None of my children have ever taken a pacifier, but I've also never really encouraged them to take one, either. It was more of a pop-it-in-and-when-they-pop-it-out-I-give-up kind of effort.
In the back of my mind, I thought pacifiers were bad — substitute for breastfeeding, a crutch habit I'd eventually have to break anyways, so why bother? But with this baby, I'm simply not going to have the time to nurse just for comfort or go for every demand, so maybe a pacifier will help us all.
Are you on your second (or third or fourth or more)? What things will you or have you done differently?Read More