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Being a New Mom: At 32 and Again at 42
My first child was born right at the end of my 32nd year. I was like all brand new parents, wondering where the baby manual was and if I was ready to take care of this little helpless bundle. I was older than most moms at the time, but not quite in the oh-so-flattering geriatric mom age of 35 and up. Motherhood was a fun time. I already had a career and traveled a lot. So when my maternity leave ended, we were lucky enough that I was able to stay home and decided not to return to the office. Fast forward ten years, and I’m sitting here with my one year old. I am definitely in the old mother category now. You’d think I’d remember how it was from the first time, but nature has a way of glossing over those details.
So what has changed this second time around as a new parent? Well, there are nicer baby gadgets, a lot more information about safety and nutrition, and my body is definitely different. Below are 10 things I noticed.
1. Didn’t need a Boppy nursing pillow this time – apparently my breasts dropped low enough to reach my nursing baby on my lap – alas the dark side of having bigger breasts from pregnancy.
2. I don’t know what I did back then without my smartphone. Although I didn’t have it when I was 32, I know that having access to my email, internet, Facebook and those addictive games of Words with Friends prevented any postpartum depression with this second baby. I’ve never felt the isolation that sometimes comes with motherhood when I can read and type about it on the internet-at-large.
3. I am more tired. Boy, I thought I was tired at 32, I’m doubly tired at 42. Make sure to take the time to nap with the baby this time.
4. I am more patient. Maybe because I’m more tired, I don’t feel like I have the energy to rush things. I can read the books over and over or put the cups back together for the nth time without feeling like I’m going crazy (probably because I’m making moves on Words with Friends or checking my email on my smartphone at the same time). time). This is also probably the second child syndrome where parents are more relaxed about their expectations than the first time around.
5. Baby food comes in disposable bags with resealable caps! Much easier to travel with than the jars or the plastic boxes that once you ripped the top off you had to use it. Now they even make the children drink directly from them.
6. So many choices for baby carriers. Back when I had my son, I was the odd mom who wore her child in a sling. Now, at least where I live, you see babies in all kinds of front/back/hip carriers or wraps that it’s really a fashion statement.
7. More organic/natural options for baby food/products. People are becoming more educated about what they use and companies are responding. I’m glad to have access to non-toxic baby products and cleaners for my home, more organic food than ten years ago that doesn’t make me look like some radical environmentalist.
8. Babies recommended to stay rear-facing in their car seats until 2 years or 30 pounds. Ten years ago, we waited until their 1st birthday as the big milestone to turn them forward. For my son, that made all the difference in his happiness in the car. He couldn’t stand it any other way. Now, studies show that there is a 500% increase in crash survival rates if the car seat is kept rear facing. Too bad for my daughter. She also hates her seat like her brother, but she will stay back as long as I can keep her that way.
9. Baby bullet and Easy Squeezy feeding spoon. I put this together because I just have to go back to how neat baby feeding tools have become. Ten years ago, I had to use a regular steamer and my blender if I made my own food. Now there are dedicated devices. And I love traveling with my Easy Squeezy Spoon where I don’t have to carry a separate bowl and spoon to eat on the go. Just cap it if the baby isn’t finished.
10. Every child is definitely his own personality. I know we tell each other don’t compare the kids, but you just can’t help but notice how each of them reached different milestones at different times. A current issue that is so different is weaning. This second baby loves to nurse and I have no idea how I’m going to wean her. I went cold turkey at one year with my first but he would accept a sippy cup. She on the other hand doesn’t drink well from a sippy cup, but likes to drink from a regular cup (and squirt it down her front, which doesn’t help fill her belly as she lays down to sleep). I’ll have to write another post about how I figure that dilemma out.
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