No, this isn't a pregnancy announcement. It's not even a statement of intent. It's just a list of things which I (or we) would do differently, were we ever to have a second child.
- Go to baby and toddler groups even if the baby is two weeks old and fast asleep and swap contact details with other parents. This would have been a long, lonely year without my awesome mum friends; now that they're heading back to work, though, I'm regretting not having widened my social circle even further. Friends with similarly aged kids are invaluable.
- Not block book any classes. Babies and block bookings do not work. Pay for five weeks upfront? Guarantee yourself five weeks of colds and chaotic naps. Or, in our case: discover the one thing which makes your normally placid baby howl inconsolably in public.
- Not overload the changing bag. You don't need seven nappies, two emergency bottles of milk and a change of clothes to go to the corner shop; you need your keys and your purse. And the baby. You can't change a baby on the counter of the Spar; you can both survive an unpleasant three minute walk back home.
- Have a bedside crib. Because the act of lowering a sleeping baby down onto a mattress wakes them up - fact. Sliding them across the bed does not. As much.
- Not bother with a cot at all.
- Stress less about whether or not my baby has reflux and colic. Babies who sleep on their backs are going to have a little reflux; babies whose naps are disrupted by reflux are going to be a bit colicky.* The real question is whether or not the reflux and colic are so bad that they can't be eased with cuddles.
- Spend less time googling "how can I get my baby to sleep for longer?", "should I wake my baby from very long naps?" and "baby exists - teething?"
- Take people up on more offers to babysit. Make the most of being able to go for a coffee before the maternity pay runs out and the separation anxiety** sets in.
- Never buy the baby any clothes which need to be ironed. They won't get worn. They can't be. Even if I could be bothered to actually iron them, they would crease the moment I strapped the baby into the buggy/carrier/high chair.
- Take photos right after the birth. Right after. Before they can whisk the baby off to the neonatal unit where cameras are not allowed***. We only have one hospital-issue photo of our brand new baby and it's so bad that, if Steve hadn't been there when they took it, I wouldn't believe it was her. I'm heartbroken that we don't have any record of her first four days of life.
- Drop sledgehammer hints about wanting a cleaner as a new baby gift. We wouldn't need many baby clothes or toys or products for the second kid but we could do with someone to come round and give our house a deep clean. Pay for a cleaner for me and I can promise you right now: no amount of postnatal hormones would make me feel offended.
**The baby's; it sets in at about the same time the parents start to chill out about leaving the baby with other people.
***Not that that would happen again... right?