What a blur our first week home with Caroline has been. She truly is a little doll; she has the most delicate little features and the sweetest temperament. We’re absolutely in love and to say that Emilia is smitten would be an understatement.
My first instinct is to say we packed a lot into C’s first week but the truth is, since our too-long stay in the hospital, we have been very low key, hanging out at home and just adjusting to life with two kids.
My mom has been extraordinary as far as helping Emilia to adjust and has taken her out on fun excursions to give Brian and I some solo time together to be with Caroline. They went to Friendlies one day and over to her house for a visit another day. Emilia returned saying “I go Nana’s house and had SO MUCH FUN!!” As she stomps and extends her arms wide above her head for emphasis.
My mom has also made sure Brian and I were taken care of, dropping off sandwiches for lunch one day and rushing out to get me a sitz bath (sorry, TMI) after I burst into tears on our third night home. I’ll explain more on that in a moment but it was a combination of not getting a stitch I probably needed and nursing through some pretty severe blister damage thanks to baby girl’s slight tongue tie.
I’ve found it especially true this time around to sleep when the baby sleeps and accept any help that is offered. We had a few visitors but have generally tried not to overbook ourselves with guests and have found it to be far less stressful than our first time with a new baby in the house.
The general vibe around here has been very relaxed. Being a second time parent is a lot easier in many ways; we know a lot of the tricks and which mistakes to avoid this time around and I think the confidence of having already had one child makes a huge difference. But that’s not to say that having a toddler running around isn’t without it’s challenges. It also really helps that nursing is going far better than it did with E at this same point.
Emilia is really handling everything beautifully. Between Brian and I and my mom, we prepared her for months in advance of her sister’s arrival, but it’s the daily things we’re doing to make sure she knows how special she is and loved by us that I think are making the difference. She refers to herself constantly as “a big helper” and “a big sister” and seems so incredibly proud in her new role. And she truly has been an excellent helper. When I’m confined to the couch while nursing, she’ll run around the house looking for my cell phone or hand me my huge Mason jar of water . I think her most used phrases after “I’m a big sister” are “I take care of you” and “I a BIG helper.” I melt every time.
Brian has been doing the majority of the one-on-one with her so I can focus on the feedings and just recovering from those brutal first few days post-delivery, but we try to sneak in small moment together, just the three of us. Usually it’s around meal times or at nap or bedtime. I’ve also been careful to try to coordinate one of the baby’s evening feedings and naps with Emilia’s bath and bedtime so I’ve been able to sneak in to watch a little of bath time or for a book or two or put her to bed myself a few nights. I also try to take a walk with her or do at least one “special project” or “mama time” with just her. It could be as simple as just holding her and looking through photos together of her as a baby on my phone and chatting about what she was like then and how Caroline is the baby now but that she can always have “baby love” anytime she needs it. This idea was introduced to me thanks to the fabulous Oh Crap Potty Training book by Jamie Glowacki and has been hugely helpful as we navigate adjusting to life with two kids.
We do have moments of regression though. It’s largely her wanting us to hold her like a baby or wanting to get into the baby’s rock and play or co-sleeper. Thankfully, I received some great advice from my favorite lactation consultant at the hospital, Mickey, (who incidentally helped me to learn to nurse EMILIA two+ years ago). She advised that we not make anything forbidden as she adjusts to her life as an older sibling. If Emilia wants to nurse, let her. If she wants to lay in the co-sleeper, no big deal. It gets it out of her system and helps diffuse any jealousy she may feel toward her sister using all her old gear.
That said, the girls are absolutely adorable together and I melt every single time I see E holding her little sister. And Caroline is an absolute dream of a baby. She definitely is a bit more temperamental than her sister though. For one, she absolutely hates a wet or dirty diaper which is completely new to us, and is notably calmer than Emilia, but loses her cool when she she is even remotely hungry. Nursing is a bit easier thankfully and my milk came in very quickly so this hasn’t been a huge problem, but I have been on a bit of a short leash as far as my freedom to move about the house, or go out, since having her. She definitely favors mom at this point and I have a sneaking feeling she might just be a mama’s type of girl. Right now, I seem to be the most comforting source for her which definitely wasn’t the case with Emilia. She favored both Brian and I.
I need a few more days to gather my thoughts about her birth and our hospital stay since those are two very long posts in and of themselves, but for now, I’ll just say that even though I managed to eek out another “natural” or unmedicated birth, it was a much longer, drawn out labor this time around despite my efforts to avoid that by seeing a midwife for my pre-natal care and active labor was even quicker than with E.
I’m just glad she’s here and we’re settling in. XOXO