I am a planner. Like, life does not move on without my paper planner in my hands. I'm the one that struggles with spontaneity, because...there's a schedule to follow... So now as I plan for our someday future, I look back at my whole birth and new-to-motherhood experience and think, "Well that was dumb." So, of course in my planning nature, these are six things I'll do different the next time around.
Birthing and Parenting Classes
Maybe I'm naive, or maybe I just think incredibly highly of myself. Either way, I thought I didn't need to take classes before I had my baby. Oh, but my dear hubby needed to. So he got sent to "Daddy Bootcamp." Well, guess who was asking the new daddy for help and what his class "taught him" at 2am when the baby wouldn't stop crying? Yeah, lesson learned on that one. Turns out that babysitting since I was 10 doesn't count as real newborn experience and I didn't know it all... next time I'll be taking every class I can get my hands on.
Find a Lactation Consultant
Did you know that most insurances actually cover lactation assistance? Problem was that I didn't have a consultant within 100 miles that was covered by my insurance. Oh, and in order to get coverage for an out of network one, I had to submit a petition prior to using their services and they wouldn't retro-reimburse me for that. So long story short, next time I'll be doing more research on Lactation Consultants, and doing the groundwork with insurance BEFORE I have a newborn who's struggling to latch. I also didn't know that a "bad latch" was a thing, or that babies and mom could struggle with nursing. I didn't know nursing could be hard! See, I told you I should have taken classes...
I actually did this a little bit with my first, and really loved it and wish I had done more! Now I was a full-time teacher at the time and didn't have a lot of time to spare. So my meal prepping consisted of just making bigger dinners. When I would make a batch of enchiladas, I would double the recipe, throw half in a disposable foil pan, and pop it in the freezer. Same with crock pot meals! If I was making beef stew, I'd make enough for two batches. One went directly into the crock pot, the other went into a freezer plastic bag and into the freezer! I didn't do this everyday, but tried to do it once a week and had a few meals stashed up. I only wish I had started earlier to have a lot more meals in our freezer! I loved having dinner already done to just throw in the oven or crockpot and not even need to think about it! Just make sure that when you do this, you put the date you froze the meal on the outside and try to use up the "oldest" ones first!
Help for Mama
Did you know that there's women who specialize in caring for mom after the baby is born? I'm talking about doing your dishes, baking you lactation cookies, or letting you catch a shower! Yes, my mom was a HUGE help in this area, but I know I'm not the only one who feels guilty asking for help. Regardless, I plan to be more bold about asking for help. Wether its from friends or family, or hiring someone. My goal is to ask for more help around the house or even just giving me a chance to sleep or shower and not feel guilty for asking! Registering for Education
Prior to having my first, I had no idea that online courses were even a "thing." I have completely loved learning from area experts and only regret not having them sooner! So when we're planning for round two, I plan to put gift certificates for online courses on our registry. Two of my favorites I plan to include are for Taking Cara Babies and Feeding the Littles, I wish I had found out about them when my son was a baby! In fact, I've loved these resources so much, I plan to start giving gift certificates to my new mom friends!
Ironic, I know... Maybe a better way to phrase this would be "expect less." I think with the world of social media and instant answers at our fingertips, we can build up our expectations so quickly. I didn't anticipate having pre-eclampsia or being induced. I didn't anticipate having some complications and having a baby with low-birth weight. Somedays I feel like I got "robbed" from the labor experience. I didn't get to feel contractions or drive with anticipation to the hospital. However, the fact of the matter is this feeling comes from expectations that weren't really important in the end. We were blessed with health and both being okay, and it truly could have ended up much worse. So I am grateful for the way things turned out and I will choose to expect less in the future and just "go with the flow" more.