Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mama Guilt- Second Child Edition

Going from one to two children has been completely different than I expected in many ways.  It's been a much easier process than I expected.  Much more simple than transitioning from no children to one baby.  But definitely different in almost every way possible.

Before little lady was born, I was so concerned about little man in this big life transition.  I had all the normal second time parent thoughts, like...

"Am I destroying his happy little world?"

"Will he miss all the time between just the two and three of us?"

"Will I have enough time to give little man the attention he needs?"

And then little lady was born.  And everything changed.

Because little lady has been so laid back and calm, the exact opposite seems to be happening.  Little man is a rambunctious toddler who is constantly taking my hand and leading me to whatever toy he happens to be interested in at the time, but he's also still my baby.  He still wants me to feed him sometimes, still needs his diaper changed, still needs to be comforted when he trips or has an ouchie.  Little man is a baby that can get into things- which automatically makes his needs more pressing at times.

So now I'm asking myself the opposite questions:

"Am I giving little lady the attention she needs?"

"Am I holding, snuggling, cuddling her enough each day that she is comfortable and happy?"

"Am I relying on the pacifier too much as a quick fix to keep her happy while I tend to little man's needs?"

Little lady will lay quietly in her swing, nurse on the fly in a sling or on the my brest friend pillow as we run around the room, and practice tummy time with only a few grunts and honks as trains and matchbox cars are raced around her by little man and myself in the background.

And I feel guilty.

I think of all those moments just staring into little man's face while he slept away in my arms, and I think about just how much time we were able to spend with each other.  I think about those moments at night where it was just him and I alone, seemingly the only two people awake in the world.  I think about his little eyes just staring right back up at me.  And right now I'm just not getting that with little lady.

Because of how much she has been sleeping while little man is sleeping, because of how efficient she is at nursing, because of how there is always a sweet, little voice calling, "Mama, play?"

We're working on it though.

This is one of those situations when I am so happy that I became a babywearer.  I've been making significant attempts to have little lady in a wrap or sling for at least an hour or two each day.  That way, she is snuggled close to me.  She can feel my heartbeat and my breathing.  I can feel her little hands and face softly rested on my chest and know she is happy, she is comfortable, and she is feeling just as connected to me as I still feel to her.  Having that bit of closeness together is really helping to meet both of our needs.  And, no matter what I'm doing with little man, I can have little lady up in the carriers and still have two hands for what he needs.

I know that I don't have unlimited time now with my second child, but I also know how I want to make her feel.  I want little lady to feel just as needed, just as hoped for, and just as loved as little man has felt/feels.  I want her to always feel that same comfort that she felt in my body while I was fighting to keep her with me.

I just want her to know I love her.

What are some ways you stay connected with your second child?

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  1. I'm having the same experience. My 2.5 year old son is so demanding and emotional right now, that my easy-going baby girl sits in her bouncer/swing/RNP while I try to keep the crying and tantrums OR questions and requests to play of #1 at bay.

    I'm happy that I'm nursing -- that helps to ensure a fair amount of "built-in" bonding time with my little girl. We also get in snuggle time with our daughter after our son is in bed for the night.

  2. Question for you, or anyone else who has a young toddler and a baby. My son will be about 20 months old when little sister is born. He has been sleeping through the night since about a year, up until very recently. For the last few weeks he has been up in the night at least once almost every night. I'm starting to get concerned. My husband will only be able to help a little because of his job. Did you have any issues with both kiddos awake and needing you? And, if so, what did you do?

    1. Hi Carrie! I haven't (knock on wood) had any nighttime situations yet where both babes have been up at the same time, as both my kids tend to be sleepers. If I did have both wake at nighttime, I'd probably enlist DH to get little man back to sleep while I nursed little lady. In a rare situation where DH wouldn't be able to help me? Little lady would probably be tucked into the ring sling and I'd read little man a story or cuddle him a bit as well!


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