Thursday, January 12, 2017

Preparing for Baby ~ #2!

It occurred to me a few months ago that I really should start preparing for baby #2! I got pregnant during the summer and wasn't concerned about much but eating a good diet and exercising to try to keep swelling down until the temperature finally dropped! Here in North Carolina, it was much later than I would have liked. 

Thankfully there is less to do to prepare for baby #2. If you're running around after a toddler, you understand what I mean by thankfully! My son will be almost 21 months when his brother is born.

For Baby #2...

Things you can likely reuse:
Baby bathtub
Baby towels (we loved Spasilk 100% Cotton Hooded Towels and still use them, but will be transitioning Henry to a full-size towel to use these for baby)
Baby carrier
Infant carseat (and stroller if you had a travel system)
Swing/Rock n' Play/Baby seat
Tools for baby food prep (Baby Food Prep Overview)
Baby clothes (depending on gender and season)

Things you probably already have:
Diaper wipes
Diaper cream
Baby-friendly body wash/shampoo/lotion 
Baby grooming tools (nail scissors, hair brush, etc.)
Baby first aid (thermometer, tylenol - check expiration dates!)

Things your toddler will outgrow before baby #2 needs them:

Things you might need if you're still using for baby #1:
Baby monitor 
Changing pad and covers
Crib, mattress, mattress pad, and sheets
Doorway gate
A bigger or second diaper bag (This is something I'm choosing to ignore! I'm not sure what we will do the first time we try to pack up baby and toddler.)

Now with only 60(!) days to go, here is my recent journey on preparing for baby #2...

I did do some early thinking... My family lives in a 3-bedroom house which my husband bought many years before we met. My office is in our upstairs loft and my husband shares his office with the guest bedroom. The smaller bedroom is my son's nursery. When I returned to work and our nanny started, I wanted to keep Henry upstairs near me for several reasons: proximity to the changing table and breastfeeding being the primary ones. So the nanny and Henry have always spent the bulk of the day in his nursery. As he's grown, he has most of his toys, books, etc in his nursery. We have a play area for him downstairs in our living room, but he really prefers to be upstairs. As a bonus, there is no TV upstairs. My son has also always slept wonderfully at night. He will not be ready to leave his crib at 21 months and it converts into a nice toddler bed. For those reasons, I do not want to displace Henry from his nursery or introduce a baby into it. So, although I'd like my boys to share a bedroom someday, I'm thinking around ages 2 and 4 will be a good time. 

Preparing the Nursery...
I want the baby to have his own nursery. We moved my husband's office downstairs to the dining room but left the guest bed in the nursery-to-be. Henry started sleeping in his crib at 5 weeks. This go around, I suspect baby will stay with my husband and I closer to 8 weeks until family is done visiting and requiring use of the guest bed. 

Our neighbors were moving out and put a changing table out at the curb. I saw it while walking the dog early one morning and sent my husband over to grab it. I used a dresser/changing table for Henry because I felt this style was not very stable, but it's actually quite heavy (hubby was not in a good mood after muscling it across the street) and quite sturdy. My neighbor's daughter is around 8 so I'm guessing it had been in their garage for 6 years, this is apparently part of the reason why they never parked their cars in their garage! But then maybe they were trying for baby #2. I cleaned it up and it was ready to go. I've decided not to buy a dresser. Henry's clothes are already sorted into bins by age. I placed the 0-3 month items in some open bins for easy access (I was in a nesting mood) but will likely re-organize once we start using the nursery. 

I purchased the Naturepedic Organic 4-sided Changing Pad. A bit of a splurge, but I'll use it as my co-sleeper for the first weeks so it's important to me that it be organic and 4-sided to provide a safe spot for baby to lay. I did the same with Henry, just placing the changing pad between my pillow and my husband's, and it worked great. It was so easy to get baby in and out for nighttime feedings right after my c-section and the changing pad is then moved to the table and used, unlike buying an in-bed co-sleeper which has no further use after baby moves to a crib. The four-sided pad provided enough of a lip that we weren't concerned about rolling over onto it and the pad is really quite firm.

We are very fond of Henry's crib (bought with the dresser/changing table combo off Craig's list). It's a Baby's Dream Safety-Gate and the exact model was still on the market in 2015 when Henry was born, but no longer is. Baby's Dream furniture is solid wood and quite expensive so I was very happy to find the matching crib and dresser second hand. The feature we love about the crib is that the front folds down. Especially with the mattress in the lower position, it's a stretch for my husband and I (we are short) to reach to change the bedding. 

After our Thanksgiving company left, I started to feel the pressure of the calendar! I searched in vain for the same crib! Then I decided to post an "in search of" ad on a buy/sell/trade Facebook group for kids items in my area. I received a response back from a woman in York, SC that she had the same crib in a lighter color (the wood actually matches the changing table perfectly!) which she had been unable to sell. I'm sure her location was part of the issue, but we drove the 40 minutes each way to get the crib at a fabulous price. She also gave us a mattress (free). It's an inter-spring Serta which felt very cushy. Henry had an all organic mattress from Greenbuds, the Magnolia Deluxe (I splurged some during my first pregnancy). I felt the Serta was too soft for a newborn, but there are so many questionable reviews on mattresses...apparently the organic Naturepedic which I was considering are rock hard and develop sinkholes...and nearly as expensive as the Greenbuds! Researching mattresses is enough to make a mama tear her hair out! Since the Serta has the benefit of being waterproof and Henry will be potty training in the next year, I purchased a thick organic cotton mattress pad and switched the mattresses. Henry has been sleeping fine on the "new" one. 

Henry has Aden and Anais organic crib sheets and changing pad cover which I purchased off Amazon. They are difficult to find now and were definitely splurge items. This time, I added Burt's Bees Baby organic crib sheets and changing pad covers to my Amazon wishlist for Christmas and received them as gifts. They are wonderfully soft and the crib sheets have very deep pockets to be secure over the mattress.

My husband thought we should move the rocking chair out of Henry's room, but I hesitated because he is still at the age to sit on laps and read books. We had purchased the Dutailier Multi-Position Recline Glider new and have been very happy with it, although I paid less than the current price shows. We love the locking and reclining mechanisms. Luckily, I found a nice second-hand Dutailier through a Facebook group which also locks and reclines. 

Here's my baby #1 nursery project:

Decorating has just not been a passion of mine this go around... My mom is much better at that sort of thing though! She was here for Christmas and we found this great fabric for baby #2's crib skirt! My mom will also make an embroidered crib rail and utilize the fabric between some cute animals (she did dinosaurs for Henry's room above). She is so crafty!

Preparing Big Brother...
I think I started my google and Pinterest searching on how to prepare a toddler for a sibling a little late... However, most of the recommendations seem geared towards older toddlers. I'm fairly certain my 18-month old has no concept of what is going to happen. We've done the following things...

Stopped referring to our dog as Henry's "brother." As this could be very confusing! Henry knows "dog," "doggie," and "Frisco" so this wasn't an issue, just an adjustment for my husband and I.

Purchased books which introduce the idea of "brother," "baby," and being a "big brother." The ones we liked best are:

I am a Big Brother - this great book introduces the concept that big brother used to be a baby and now helps with the baby. I especially love the last page: "Mommy, Daddy, Baby, and Me. We love each other, a family." Baby is illustrated to be pretty gender neutral. There are more in the series, Big Sister, etc.

Brother's Forever - shows two brothers (maybe age 3 or 4) playing together. Great introduction to the idea of what a brother is (i.e. not a dog!). There are more in the series for different sibling relationships.

We also have: The New Baby - not a bad book but the baby is a little girl and the book is a little advanced for my 18-month old. I think it would be better for an older toddler.

Taking turns at bed-time. Our routine had been for my husband and I to do the bath together. I read to Henry, but my hubby sits in the nursery while I do, and then we sing Twinkle, Twinkle and I put him in his crib. Kneeling next to the tub is not top of my list now, so my husband has taken over that duty. We are taking turns reading and putting Henry in his crib. I've arranged for my in-laws to arrive a week before my due date so they can put Henry to bed a few times and get him up in the morning. I've read it's important for the first time I'm not there at bedtime to not be when I'm in the hospital for delivery.

Other ideas we considered... I've seen a lot of recommendations for getting a baby doll and introducing the toddler to the idea of a baby, touching the baby gently, etc. Ultimately, we decided our son is just too young yet. I think it's a great idea for a 2 or 3 year old though.

Mommy Preparation...
I've started counting down weeks and days! I don't remember feeling this way at the end of my first pregnancy at all. Although I don't mind being pregnant, I think knowing that this is the last time I will be (we are only having 2 kids) has effected my mindset. My anniversary is in February and I know I'm going to approach it year we can go get sushi and sake to celebrate!

Pack Hospital Bag. Although I'm scheduling a c-section, I went into labor before my scheduled c-section (for breech presentation) with baby #1 (Story Here). If I go into labor early, I will try for a vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean) if my labor is progressing. I'm of two minds as to which way I'd prefer things to go. My husband is quietly rooting for the c-section because I'll have a tubal ligation then and he won't have to have a vasectomy. I think any man would feel the same. But he is supportive if I want to try regular birth. So, I've packed my bag with a few extra items (bottom spray) that I didn't use the first time around. I'll likely make adjustments to it the day prior to my scheduled c-section. Here's my post on Packing a Hospital Bag.

Arrange for Emergency Toddler Care. We've asked neighbors to be available to come over during the night should I go into labor. Henry will sleep until morning and then we can arrange for his nanny to arrive early to take over. It's difficult not having family nearby! But my in-laws will arrive at start of week 38 and I really hope to not go into labor before then! Henry arrived at 38 weeks, 6 days gestation and weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces. 

Arrange FMLA. Alas, my company allows form submission only 30 days prior to the anticipated date! This is frustrating for me, but I have the forms filled out and ready to sign and send in once I hit 30 days. (I tried to submit 6 weeks prior with baby #1 and received a letter letting me know it was too early to submit so they couldn't consider my request.) Every company's policy is likely different so check with your human resources policy. I only receive 6 weeks paid time off, but will take the full 12 weeks I'm allowed under federal law.

Finalize a List of Names. Still working on this one! I have one favorite first name and a favorite first and middle name combo. There are still a few other contenders too. I mean to check the social security website to see if the official list for top 10 names of 2016 is up (my thoughts on Picking a Name). I'm going to input my top choices into my phone so I'll have them to refer to after delivery.

Keep Exercising. Exercising seems like extra, extra work after week 30, but I'm trying to keep it up! I'm on track to gain 30 pounds this pregnancy (+1 pound per week until delivery), versus the 35 I gained last time, so I'm excited about that and it's good motivation for me to keep exercising.

I'd love to hear how other moms feel and felt approaching baby #2. Please comment and share your story!

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