Time has flown by as it always seems to do in motherhood. Luca is a month old and it’s now hard to imagine a world in which he wasn’t a part of our family. The transition from one to two kids has been a big one with many challenges, but it has been infinitely easier than I thought it would be. Amalia is thriving as a big sister and I’m a lot less anxious than I thought I’d be.
Pretty much all of my fears around having a second baby have disappeared. Logistics are new and challenging but everything I was scared about emotionally hasn’t been an issue thank goodness. I will be writing more on this topic at some point in the near future. But for anyone wondering, the transition from 0-1 was much harder than 1-2! And it’s true that your heart expands for a second child.
The last four weeks have been blurry and beautiful while at the same time exhausting and frustrating. Being home with a newborn is a weird alternative universe where time crawls and flies at the same time. It’s lonely and isolating but you’re also never alone. Babies are hard, even when you’ve done it before!
Knowing that Luca is my last baby, however, has made me appreciate the little moments more. I let him sleep on me for long stretches and I give him an infinite amount of smooches every day. I’m soaking up his sweet newness and enjoying it more than I thought possible for myself.
Please excuse any typos or sentences that make no sense. I’m writing this on fumes!
My anxiety: I’ll start with an anxiety update because it’s such a positive one to give. In my first month with Amalia, I was an emotional wreck. If we left the house, even for a walk, I would shake and cry. When she would cry or get off her schedule, I would completely panic. When Anel would leave me alone with her, I was afraid that I would mess up somehow. It took months plus therapy and medication for me to bond with her and feel comfortable as a mother.
When Luca came out I felt an immediate connection to him and I’m thrilled to share that the feeling has lasted. I have a better grip on how to handle every situation and I can be calm when he’s upset (not always, but most of the time). We took him out with us as a family for ice cream on Friday and it was the first time that I felt really anxious since he’s been born.
He was fussy and I was out of my comfort zone but what was great about the situation was that I know now that when we try again in a week or two it will be easier. And that this phase isn’t forever. I remember feeling like we’d never be able to leave the house again without fear and anxiety when Amalia was little, but this time I have a glimpse into our future and that helps a lot.
I’ve also been able to take him for walks with Boots and to Amalia’s daycare dropoff without anxiety which feels like a very big deal. That isn’t to say that I don’t cry from time to time or get stressed out. Because I definitely do. But my overall feelings are happy and sleepy… not crippling anxiety!
The amount of support I’ve felt from friends and family has been incredible. I have friends who have texted or called me every few days since his birth to check in on my mental health. And the hospital did an amazing job of keeping an eye on me after I had him.
Because of my history and the medication I’m on, I had to meet with a social worker before I left and it was so nice to know they were looking out for new moms. Although I fully believe every mom should get that meeting, whether or not they have a history of PPD or PPA!
One moment that really touched me was when our pediatrician told me that as Luca’s doctor, she is giving me full permission to stop breastfeeding at any time. She told me that for moms with anxiety, breastfeeding can be a big trigger and that he would be fine on formula. Hearing her give me that “permission” made me tear up. I wish I had heard that the first time around. I think it would have made a world of difference.
Breastfeeding: On that note… Breastfeeding was a huge challenge for me the first time around. It gave me anxiety, we had some latch issues, and I felt more stressed by it than anything else. But with Luca, it has come much more naturally. I love nursing him which is not something I ever thought I would say ever.
That said, I still hate pumping. But it’s worth it for me to do it so Anel can do some of his feedings and I can get more sleep at night.
We have had to supplement with some formula from day one because he had low blood sugar (you can read more about what happened in his birth story) and even though I’m producing a lot more milk than I ever did with Amalia, it’s hard to keep up with his appetite, so we often add an ounce of formula to my pumped bottles.
Before he was born I committed to two weeks of breastfeeding and then I would decide what to do next. Those two weeks have come and gone and it’s still working for us. I’ve decided that if and when the day comes that it gives me anxiety, I’ll start to wean. That could be in a week or in a month or in a year. I don’t really have a solid plan beyond that. We’re taking our breastfeeding journey day by day.
Luca’s disposition: While Amalia was the happiest little newborn, Luca is a little fussier. I feel like the universe only gave me what I could handle with each child, and I’m able to handle more this time around. After 4 weeks, we’ve pretty much figured out what his cries and fusses mean, however. He cries for three main reasons: 1. He’s hungry. 2. He’s tired. 3. He’s bored. Luckily each of these things is easy to remedy and each cry sounds a little different. As long as we stay on top of his giant appetite, he’s a happy little dude.
As of yesterday, he’s started smiling when we smile at him which is just the most heart-melting moment of motherhood. There is nothing like making your baby smile or laugh!
Luca’s schedule: We’ve been following On Becoming Babywise again, and while Amalia thrived on it from the very beginning, Luca is still figuring it out but doing a great job! He takes two great naps during the day then this third one can be a touch dicey. We start his night at 7 pm and he’s been sleeping until 1ish then again until 6ish for the last few nights which is awesome.
If you’re not familiar with Babywise, the idea behind the book, written by two doctors, is that if you get the baby on a schedule during the day, the night schedule will follow. We try our best to stay on schedule, but always feed him when he’s hungry or put him down when she’s tired so, while it’s not perfect every day, it’s pretty good.
The “dream feed” worked well for Amalia but Luca is not a fan and it messes up his sleep at night so that is a definite change this time around too.
His schedule as of this week is that he eats every three hours during the day and we let him go for as long as he can sleep at night. During the day, he’s sleeping in the SNOO and at night he’s in his crib now.
Awake time: He’s alert for about an hour at a time now and definitely needs to be entertained. He likes to lay on his sensory gym for about 10-15 minutes and then I’ll put him in the carrier or the stroller and take him for a walk. If Anel is home, he’ll walk him around the garden too.
My recovery: It has been quick and relatively painless. I had a 3rd-degree tear and an episiotomy with Amalia but this time I had a minor 1st-degree tear and the fastest labor ever so recovery was easy. Weight-wise, I still have 25 pounds on me but I’m really trying to focus on getting enough calories to feed Luca and not worry about that for a while.
Amalia as a big sister:
I’m so proud of how Amalia is handling the change. I was worried that after almost 4 years as an only child she would freak out to be getting less attention but she is thriving as a big sister and takes that role very seriously. She loves feeding him a bottle, helping us change his diaper, picking out his outfits, and holding him on a pillow. When he cries, she’ll say, “It’s ok baby boy, I’m right here.” Just go ahead and rip my heart out, kiddo!
She was dealing with some anxiety before he came which I’m sure was just because of my own anxieties that she picked up on. But the second he was born it was as if a weight lifted from her (and my!) shoulders and she has really come into her own. She’s happy and loving and just a delight.
We’ve obviously had a few hard moments which seem to always fall when I’m nursing Luca and she either hurts herself or she’s tired and needs my attention. The best advice I’ve gotten as a mom of two is to always tend to the big kid first if both kids are crying because they’ll remember it and the baby won’t. So that’s what we always try to do when it’s possible.
That is my update for Luca’s first month! If I missed any topic (which I’m sure I have), let me know what you want to know. And thank you for sticking with us during this big change.