Having a second child has given me loads of time to look back at how I was when I was a first time mum. And I’ve realised many of the mistakes and the unrealistic pressures I put upon myself.
I think when I first became a mum to my son, I had this idea of how I’d nurture this beautiful innocent soul. I wanted him to have the best start in life and I felt that only with the right tools could I give him that opportunity.
I remember signing up to all the classes that I could. I forced myself out of bed just to kick-start the day and through bleary, heavy eyes I’d get myself ready before tackling my son who by this stage would have been crying. His schedule obviously didn’t match that of the class we’d be heading to.
Still, I powered through because other mums did. And while the other mums may have had smiling, giggling babies I’d be fraught with anxiety knowing I was often on borrowed time before my little man started screaming the place down- usually because he was overtired and I was over stimulating him.
This time around I’ve lived in a blissful baby bubble. We have no schedule, and we have no where we need to go.
Zip up sleepsuit| Bear Cub Company
As a mother, this time I’m much more fulfilled and content. I get great sleep because I’m not on anyone’s schedule but my own and those of my children. I never arrange anything for the morning. Mornings in our household are slow and lazy.
It means there’s no mad rush and I can meet the needs of both my children as and when they require it. I’m able to take better care of myself too which is important.
For a small amount of time I did feel guilty that I wasn’t taking my daughter to a baby music class or some sensory lesson. And please don’t get me wrong, the classes themselves are great and they’re a great way to get out the house and meet other mums. But I think they definitely have their place for slightly older babies who prefer a more structured routine and for when napping becomes less frequent.
A small baby gets everything it needs from the environment around them. The world is so vast, and they have so much to learn that really things should be more sedate and calming as they start to process life. All my daughter really needs is just reassurance, some one on one time and being able to watch and learn.
I hate it when my daughter cries. It literally tears me up inside. And I’ve discussed this with my partner, and he thinks it must be some form of motherly instinct, because he can listen to her crying and it doesn’t internally eat away at him. Perhaps it is mothers instinct or maybe he’s just a cold hearted… well you get the point 😉
If we’re in the car for example and she cries I have to pull over somewhere safe and make sure she’s ok. I’ll take her out of her car seat, chat to her, feed her… basically I just reassure her in any way I can to try and make her stop crying. Whereas he can block out the noise if it’s not too long until our destination. I just can’t.
I very rarely let her cry, so when people meet her they often comment on how calm and chilled out she is. And I think that’s because she knows I’m there and I’m her reassurance. The slightest hint of a cry and I’ll have it fixed before most people even know she’s about to cry.
Although perhaps I’m setting myself up for failure in the long run (time will tell), I find that she’s more open and accepting of new sounds and faces because she seeks approval from me to know she’s somewhere safe.
One on one time
Having one on one time is difficult when you have two children. But I try to make sure my daughter gets time where it’s just the two of us because I find that it’s the best way for us to bond. I make use of all those times that probably seem insignificant and it becomes our time.
For example, she’s the first to wake up in the morning, and I’m always the one to peek in at her smiling face in the crib. I get that very first giggle of the day and then I get her into bed with me to feed. We’ll lie in bed together and she’ll breastfeed as I cuddle and kiss her. It’s the best way to wake up, and for me the morning feed is my favourite part of breastfeeding. That lazy, chilled out long-lasting cuddle.
She can be latched on for maybe an hour, although on occasion she’ll take her sweet time and just lie down next to me for a couple of hours. I doubt she’s feeding that whole time but it’s something we both enjoy and take comfort from. When she’s done she’ll either fall back to sleep or she’ll just start chatting baby babble at me through gummy smiles.
Changing her nappy is another way in which we bond. Unsurprisingly when it’s time to change her nappy no one else wants to join in!
As soon as her back touches her changing mat her face breaks out into a huge smile. She knows it’s our time and she’ll often start giggling as she quite enjoys having her nappy changed.
I’ll grab a new nappy and some HUGGIES® Newborn Wipes and put them next to her mat ready for the task of trying to get her wriggly little body out of her clothing.
It doesn’t matter how long we take over a nappy change she’ll smile throughout because she knows the process is comfortable and she knows she’s secure.
Part of that I attribute to our ridiculous little conversations, usually where I’m telling her what a grim little baby she is and she’ll respond with perfectly timed baby chatter. And the other part I attribute to the changing products we use.
Huggies Newborn Wipes have always been our go to wipes since birth with Baby London.
The wipes don’t contain many ingredients which has always been important when it comes to what I’ll use on her delicate skin, because I associate products like this with being better for her.
Being hypoallergenic and clinically tested, Huggies Newborn Wipes are completely free from phenoxyethanol and parabens. So for me Huggies Newborn Wipes certainly do tick the natural box, even down to the natural fibres used to make each baby wipe. The perfect accompaniment to our relaxing nappy changing moment.
At four months old my daughter hasn’t suffered with any skin irritation even though she’s having to be changed frequently day and night and having to have the same area cleansed on repeat.
The British Skin Foundation recognise Huggies research into healthy skin which also gives me peace of mind and trust in the brand.
Our changing mat is a Sofalange by Lilikim. And I have loved it from day dot. It’s very popular in France but hasn’t been advertised or distributed much in the UK. It’s cocoon shaped which means Baby Girl is cradled within it so she’s always comfortable and she’s at a good angle for me to chat to her as I change her- she’s not staring at the ceiling flat on her back.
The shape of this changing mat definitely helps sooth Baby London, in fact for about 8 weeks she would only go to sleep by lying on her changing mat and then I’d have to transfer her into her crib. I think the shape really helped with her reflux and kept her body at a comfortable angle for it to not be disruptive. And the tilted sides helped her to feel safe and secure because it helped to keep her steady in the same way her Sleepyhead Deluxe does.
Watch and learn
Having an older brother is paramount to her watching abilities. She can sit for hours watching Little London play whether that’s with Lego Duplo or he’s making up pretend worlds.
I love how he acknowledges her watching him and he makes her part of his imaginative games, often he’ll speak to her throughout his playing time. On occasion he’ll answer a question he’s asked her by pretending to be her. It’s so cute.
His brightly coloured toys scattered all around her give her loads to focus her attention on, and because his games change throughout the day she always has something different to try to learn from. In the mornings he might be putting puzzles together, and by the afternoon he’ll be smashing his trains together on train tracks he’s built around the room.
Bonding isn’t just for me, it’s for everyone that’s part of her life, and she absolutely dotes on her brother. She recognises him and loves his heavy-handed clumsy cuddles. These little moments are what will create the bond between brother and sister and I love watching them interact even if it is nose sucking- yes that was an actual thing today when Little London went in for a kiss and she thought his nose was a nipple.
What I’ve learnt is that bonding with my baby second time around isn’t about forcing myself to do things I’m not ready for, just to keep up with an expectation or social pressure. Life turns upside down when a baby enters your life, so instead of leaping ahead I’ve taken two steps back and just relaxed into the more insignificant moments.
Those moments, such as nappy changing become my baby’s world and I can help create the right environment which gives her the confidence to showcase her personality. By spending time with her or watching her when she’s interacting with others has given me the chance to learn all about her needs and wants, and who she’s slowly becoming. Her character gets stronger every day. Right now she doesn’t need anything else externally to excite her world. I know that time will come, and no doubt I’ll be subjected to a baby group or two but at least I know we’ll be there because she wants it and not because I felt an obligation for my child to do it.
I’m working as a HUGGIES® Wipes ambassador this year. For more information about HUGGIES® Wipes product portfolio and to discover what variant better meets your needs visit: https://www.huggieswipes.co.uk/products/.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.