With baby #2 I'm surprised at how different things are compared to how we did things with Bug. Of course there are the typical changes that I feel come naturally with the arrival of a second child: we're more laid back, etc, etc. But I'm surprised with how differently we've handled the daily care. Here's what I mean:
Sleeping - with Bug we slept with him in the bassinet at the foot of our bed until he was 4 months old. At 4 months (my pre-determined age for bassinet eviction because I read somewhere that it should be so), we moved him to his crib in his own room. Button is coming up on 7 months old (oh dang, I just realized I've yet to post her 6 month photos... sorry) and we still have and use the bassinet, however, her preferred sleeping location is right between her daddy and I. In the crook of his arm to be exact. I fretted about it a bit at first. "Oh, she's going to be sleeping with us until she's seven...." Then it took me about 10 seconds to not care. Mostly because it doesn't happen every night. So what if we occasionally get to sleep next to a deliciously snuggly baby till who knows when. Daddy loves it. It makes night nursing super easy. Button's obviously happy. Bug loooves to climb up on all of us in the morning and lay next to his sister (usually) gently waking her up. It's all good.
Nursing - like I said, night nursing is a breeze with baby right next to me. I breastfeed on demand, which means when the child's hungry, I feed it. That said, I'm not a walking milk fountain, either. Button eats about every 3 hours, as did her brother, and at this point, just once in the middle of the night. It's very manageable and I don't feel restricted by it at all. With Bug, I pumped. In the middle of the night, at the office, whenever possible. For various reasons, I don't with Button. Can I just say how liberating it is to not have to pump, refrigerate, wash, repeat? Freedom, I tell you, freedom.
Foods - Bug received a first foods diet of lovingly homemade, steamed, smashed or pureed organic foods. I enjoyed making his foods and creating different combos, but it was pretty time consuming and I found the recommended "first foods" lists pretty limiting after a while. This time around, I decided to (on a whim while in S.C. for the graduation) just offer Button some banana. She loved it and it was easy. Then I got to thinking... do I really *need* to puree everything? Absolutely not. And then I discovered there's a whole "movement" around just that. Baby led weaning. It's totally NOT a new concept and I understand that many 2nd+ time parents naturally gravitated to BLW long before it ever had a title and a book (which I'm reading, yes) purely for the ease and non-fussiness of it all. It's really quite natural and I love that it doesn't stress the actual "eating" part at the early stages, but rather encourages food exploration, which ultimately (so they say) leads to healthy, happy relationships with food. We shall see! Right now, we're still offering soft foods like banana and avocado or foods to gum like cucumbers and apples, but once she has her gum-and-swallow technique nailed, we'll just offer her a bit of whatever we're eating, so long as it's not too sugary or salty.
If there's anything I've learned from #2, it's that easy can never be overrated. Life has enough challenges. We're busy and we want time to do the important things. Following a list of rules (and I can say this because I've followed those lists!) has no place in child-rearing. That said, I continue to read the parenting books/blogs/whatever and pick and choose what I find useful for our family. And please let me be clear, what I did when Bug was young worked for us! After the first few nights of transition (and missing him being near), I LOVED that Bug was in his own room at 4 months and that I didn't have to hear the bassinet creak every time he stirred. I LOVED making his baby foods. And pumping, well it was a necessary evil, but I loved knowing that I was doing it for him. That fact is that it worked for us then and different things work for us now. That leads me to the second most important thing I've learned as a parent - if it works for your family, it simply works for your family. It might not work for your friend's or your neighbor's family and as mothers we need not judge each other for how we run our homes and the choices we make in our child-rearing (easier said than done, right?)
So, there it is. It really is different the second time around, but in the end it's all the same. We love them and we do what works.