As the title would suggest, I am currently 25 weeks pregnant with Baby #2! I learned quite a few things during my first pregnancy and postnatal recovery that I vowed to do differently if I ever got another chance at the baby rodeo.
Being a new mom can be hectic, but being a mom to more than one is most likely chaos incarnate. I'm hoping these lessons can help me get through this pregnancy and the first year with Baby #2 by avoiding some of the mistakes I made the first time around that caused me grief.
1. I’m Not Eating For Two
This age-old saying is how many pregnant mothers justify inhaling everything in sight (my husband also believes he’s eating for two to support me). It’s important to remember that you only need about 300 additional calories in the first trimester of pregnancy, and slightly more with each trimester.
Baby #1 gave me huge cravings for all the sugary/starchy items that I had so diligently avoided pre-pregnancy: pasta, pizza, rice, chocolate and more pasta. I ate A LOT all the time and gained about 35 pounds during pregnancy. Yes, this is within the normal range of weight gain, but it was a serious b*tch to lose after. During the postnatal months, I realized what a huge mistake I made and was reminded of it every time I looked in the mirror or tried in vain to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes.
This time around, I’m not restricting my calories, but I’m being a bit more conscientious of eating until I’m slightly full and not overdoing it. It also helps that my appetite isn’t as ravenous as it was the first time around; Baby #2 likes to eat light.
2. Exercise More
I love exercising, but besides walking to and from work, I really didn’t spend much time exercising while pregnant the first time. Why exercise when you can eat some ice cream and go straight to bed? This time around, I exercised very little during the first trimester due to exhaustion, but I picked things up again in trimester 2 by getting onto the treadmill or doing some pregnancy safe cardio or strength training sessions (I’ll post links to my faves below).
After working out a lot after my first baby to lose all the weight, I really want to stay active and maintain some of the muscle mass I put on during that time. Moderate exercise during pregnancy also helps prepare mama and baby for labour and delivery and will hopefully get me back into my exercise routine a lot quicker.
BodyFit by Amy, a YouTube fitness channel, has a great collection of prenatal workouts. My favourites are:
*Please discuss prenatal exercise with your doctor first. Some exercises are not safe during pregnancy or can aggravate existing prenatal conditions.*
3. Taking Advantage of the Breastfeeding Calorie Burn
Breastfeeding can burn 300-500 calories a day and helped me lose all but 6 pounds of my pregnancy weight gain the first time. I couldn’t believe it! 6 months after Baby #1 and I had lost almost everything and was still eating whatever I wanted.
So what went wrong? As my daughter started eating more solids and my breastfeeding decreased, so did that extra calorie burn. 3 months after my weight loss success, I gained back 25 pounds because I didn’t reduce my calories to compensate. The bad eating habits that I picked up during pregnancy also made it hard for me to go back to the light eating and portion control that I had practised before.
Knowing these mistakes, I’m hoping to be a little smarter this time and start getting my eating under control while taking advantage of the additional calories burned during breastfeeding. I find calorie tracking helps me stay in line with my daily eating and keeps me accountable for my food choices. Most women need a minimum of 1800 calories a day while breastfeeding.
4. Sleep Training Baby Earlier
I can remember many nights sitting up against my headboard holding my daughter until 1am until she decided it was time to fall asleep. The doctor assured when she was 4 months that it was perfectly fine to start sleep training her to go to bed on her own. But as a new mom, I felt it was too early to let her cry it out until she passed out, so I waited.
Finally, once 6 months rolled around, I had had enough and decided I couldn’t take it anymore. It was super difficult (I think my husband cried more than my daughter), but she learned to soothe herself to sleep after 3 or 4 nights on her own. This time around, I might take the doctor’s advice and start a bit earlier (if my husband can take it).
5. Pump More (…Milk, That Is)
My daughter never gave me much time to pump milk (or do much of anything, for that matter). Not only was it exhausting to breastfeed her all the time, but I never really knew how much milk she was getting and I’m pretty sure she was getting more whenever I would pump vs. breastfeed. It was also nice to have my husband or someone else feed her from the bottle and give me a short break.
I really regret not pumping more often with her, but I’m hoping to pump more often with Baby #2, God willing. I’ve also heard that supplements like Fenugreek and Milk Thistle that can help with milk production.
Now, there are is still a looooong list of things that I plan to change this time around, but these were the top 5 that I felt like sharing without writing a huge novel. Hopefully they give moms-to-be something to think about.
What promises did you make to yourself during pregnancy? Did you keep them?