I have one beautiful wonderful child, and I am officially done having children. HOWEVER, after almost 5 years, here are some things I would do differently a second time around.
6. I would buy the car seat that weighs the LEAST. I always bought big heavy duty car seats, and as my car has aged (nearing 200,000 miles now), I have taken those d*^( things in and out more than any person should ever have to. Using the LATCH system in a car is bad enough. Using it several times a year with a 10+ pound car seat is torture.
5. I would go caffeine free the minute I started breastfeeding. My daughter had an undiagnosed diary allergy that caused both of us a lot of anguish for 2 months. However, she still had problems sleeping after I eliminated dairy from my diet. It took another 3 months for me to eliminate caffeine. My La Leche League leader told me caffeine was a problem - I wish she had told me earlier! Heck, I wish ANYONE had told me that earlier. Instead it was all "Don't eat broccoli" and "breast fed babies don't poop daily." So don't make my mistake: go caffeine free if you're breast feeding.
4. I would've hired a babysitter to give me 2 hours of alone time every day, starting the day of her birth. OK, maybe I'd start once she was 2 weeks old. Having some time to myself daily would've helped me a lot. It might even have eliminated or reduced the post partum depression I suffered from.
3. I would've built our daily schedule around outings. I started Kinder Music when she was 6 months old, and I wish I had started earlier. There were lots of opportunities for us, which I didn't take advantage of, partly because I couldn't make it all work with her napping schedule. If I were to do it again, I would get out of the house for a mommy-baby activity at least 4 times a week. I would've built her nap time around that. Story time at the library. Kid gym programs. Story time at local bookstores. Kinder Music. Getting out of the house was key to my mental health, and I wish now that I had found a way to get out of the house to do things WITH my baby. And yes, she was with me most of the time, but she was with me sitting in her stroller or in my Ergo baby carrier. Not the same as story time.
2. I would've immediately started with co-sleeping. We never got into a really good co-sleeping rhythm, primarily because I have a water bed, which is a "no-no" when it comes to co-sleeping. If I were to do it again, I'd plan to sleep on the regular bed in her nursery, with her.
1. I would use one of those sleep monitors and let her sleep on her tummy. This is probably the most controversial idea here, and I'm certainly not telling you to put your baby to sleep on her tummy. Don't do that. BUT, if I had a time machine, that's what I would do. And I'd get one of those monitors that sounds an alarm if the baby stops moving so I could do so "safely." Why? Because as soon as that little girl could turn over, we put her to sleep on her tummy, and her sleep improved about a thousand times. She wanted to be a tummy sleeper. Heck, whenever I did "tummy time," the second thing she would do would be sleep! (The first thing she did was cry).
So here's my top 6 for Tuesday!