“An Elephant Never Forgets,” well then I am officially calling it that an elephant is a better mom than I am…at least when it comes to memory.
743 days have passed from Baby #1 to Baby #2. Does that seem like a lot or a little? When you put it in days, it definitely seems like a lot of time has passed, but 2 years doesn’t seem that long. But the funny thing is, I don’t remember anything about taking care of a newborn. This is where I think I developed “Second Baby Amnesia.”
This “Second Baby Amnesia” all started with my recent pregnancy. It was a much more difficult pregnancy, as I often hear second (& third) pregnancies are. I remember with my first pregnancy I was planting flowers when I was 40-weeks pregnant. The only planting I was doing during my second pregnancy was planting my butt on the couch after working all day and then chasing a toddler around all evening. When going to doctor’s visits, I asked the same questions about changes in my body, weight gain, medicines, etc. I didn’t remember as much as I thought I would. Experiencing the differences in pregnancy spiraled a whole list of things that I realized I have forgotten since Baby #1.
In May, when I was sitting there in the hospital bed, training my newborn to nurse, I realized I was re-training myself as well. The last time I nursed a baby, he was 12 months old. A 12-month old doesn’t need much support. At that point, they can do all the work and get what they need, as I sit there finding recipes on Pinterest. So naturally, that is what I remembered when feeding my newborn. But the newest addition didn’t know what the heck he was doing. What am I doing differently? I questioned myself about breastfeeding holds, latching concerns, the frequency, and of course, the big question about if he was getting enough. How were these natural instincts not coming back?
So my two-year-old has pretty much slept through the night since he was 10-weeks old (knock on wood). With that being said, my four-month-old isn’t close to sleeping through the night, which got me thinking…how did I train my firstborn so early? Was it the swaddling? My firstborn was swaddled basically all day and the only way I remember that was by looking back at the pictures. Trying to think back to get answers, I debated how many nights I tried the “cry it out” method before it worked. I also can’t remember how many times my husband would get up when we tried to wean him off nursing in the middle of the night. I just can’t remember, but I wish I did.
I do remember newborns poop a lot, but then the amnesia set in again. I couldn’t remember how often was too much or not enough. I found myself asking his doctor the same questions I did as a first-time mom. What is the right color, consistency, and frequency of these poops? Don’t even get me started on the number of pees. The stress in the first few days and weeks, counting each one of their bowel movements to make sure they are getting enough to drink. How did I forget all of my documentation, notes, and questions to ask the doctor just alone about dirty diapers?
I remember, er, scratch that, don’t remember much about the amount of time my firstborn played when he was in his first few months of life. What is normal? What won’t prevent a flat head? How much tummy time should he have each day and for how long? Just like every parent, you want to prep your infants for their upcoming milestones. I just wish I had all the answers and didn’t question every decision.
So what now?
Given I have a 2-year-old, you’d think I’d remember the right answers, given they don’t have a more significant age gap. People say it comes back to you, but guess what? It doesn’t. I still use Google as a 3rd parent, trying to give us the immediate answers we need about Baby #2. I don’t say that to scare you if you’re expecting, I say it because every baby is different. I was sort of naive that I thought my second baby would be exactly like my first. #CopyAndPaste What I did with my firstborn is not necessarily working with my second. And that’s okay.
It’s natural to compare, but honestly, each kid is going to have different strengths and weaknesses, and new things will stand out and have you question yourself each time.
I could give you the advice to write things down, but that is a crazy large and unnecessary task. Kids are always changing, and you honestly never know which moments are worth documenting to help you with future children. You could write down what worked and what did not work. But my advice to you is to just roll with it. Enjoy each child and their uniqueness, even if it means more sleepless nights. Don’t spend time agonizing over the changes in each child, enjoy the differences, and what makes each one of them unique. You will overcome the “Baby Amnesia.”