Preparing for Baby Number Two with Patricia Parisienne

So many of my clients come to me in preparing for their second child. They come to me knowing that they want something different than what they experienced with their first or they are just overwhelmed with the idea of managing two little ones! I work with them on birth expectations, VBAC, planning postpartum, preparing siblings and more but I thought that an interview with a Mama awaiting and preparing for baby number two would be the perfect way to address all the issues that second time Mamas-to-be face. 

I first met California native, PatriciaParisienne when she was living in Paris. Tricia is a social media guru, businesswomen, entrepreneur and somehow seems to do it all! She has since moved to London, gotten married and had her beautiful little boy George just over a year ago. We have supported each other through the ups and downs of raising little ones via Instagram and now, Tricia is awaiting the arrival of baby number two. 

How old is George now and how old will he be when Baby #2 arrives?

George is now 18 months (I can’t believe it!) and will be 20 months when Baby #2 is born.

Did you always plan on having kids close in age?

We didn’t set out to have two under two but are excited! We ideally wanted to have them between two to two and a half years apart; I was pregnant by the time George turned one. 

How have you felt during this pregnancy so far and how has it compared to your first?

This pregnancy has been easier, for the most part. I was nauseous with George 24/7 until about fourteen weeks but thankfully never threw up. I also had so many food aversions (cilantro) and cravings (Mexican food, Japanese food, and ice cream. I must have eaten a carton of ice cream a week!). With this baby, I’ve only felt nauseous a handful of times and, for the most part, have eaten normally. I often forgot I was pregnant! 

Also, this time around I don't have the time I had to reflect on how I’m feeling. Now, the day revolves around the small whirlwind that is George. By the time 8 o’clock rolls around and he’s asleep, John (my husband) and I barely have two hours to eat, get a few jobs done, and then maybe have a bit of time to ourselves before we are off to bed.

What have been the best and most challenging parts of this pregnancy? 

The best part of this pregnancy was the pure excitement and happiness I felt when I found out when I saw those two blue lines appear on the test! The fear and anxiety that I felt the first time were nonexistent. Also, knowing the love, excitement, joy, and pride that you feel with your baby and watching them develop contributed to the overall happiness I felt knowing that we would get to experience it all again. 

The most challenging parts of this pregnancy have just started cropping up. It’s getting difficult to carry George now for a longer period of time, so I can’t be as physical (jumping, dancing, etc.) as I was a few months ago. The other thing that is different with this pregnancy is that I’ve started getting very itchy during this last trimester. Apparently your body can have a semi-allergic reaction to pregnancy. I’ve just been given an anti-histamine cream to help with that but have been managing the itchiness with calamine lotion, coconut oil, and shea butter to keep the skin as hydrated as possible.

In general, how are you preparing differently for Baby #2?

In terms of purchases, we haven’t bought many things for the baby (besides adorable pajamas that I just couldn’t resist) because we thankfully have everything we need already. 

As for preparing myself, I’ve been taking pregnancy vitamins and have cut out all of the recommended food and drink. I’ve eaten more healthily this time around, as I’m conscious that I need food to work as my fuel to be able to run after two little ones soon! I relied on refined sugar and caffeine to get through the sleepless periods (coffee and cake with friends were definitely one of the highlights of the day!) but I gave both up a few months ago. I’ll start pregnancy yoga again next week at 33 weeks; I started at 26 weeks with George.

Since we now have a little one to prepare as well, we’ve been talking to George about the baby. The main goals were to have him fall asleep in his own room and bed, as well as get settled into his mornings at nursery. It was important for us to establish this as a normal part of his routine for months before the baby’s arrival and not have either associated with the baby.  

Finally, we went on a family "babymoon" last month to Kefalonia, Greece, which I highly recommend! It was so nice to be somewhere new, just the three of us, and be able to spend quality time together and enjoy George to the fullest. 

What kind of birth experience are you hoping for? Are you preparing for birth differently than you did with George? If yes, how so and why have you chosen this path?

We are going to have a second c-section, which I am looking forward to. George weighed 9.5 lbs at birth and still had to be taken out with forceps because his shoulders were so wide. In addition to that, he had a huge knot in his umbilical cord that hadn’t been detected on any of the scans and could have been fatal, cutting off his oxygen supply, had he come out naturally. 

I know that the odds of it happening again are slim but that coupled with the fact that I had such a positive experience and great recovery last time means that I am looking forward to this next section. Another benefit of the planned c-section is being able to organize childcare for George beforehand.

Even though I won’t be having a natural birth, I’m still listening to hypnobirthing tracks by Siobhan Miller and reading a book about hypnobirthing. They are skills you can use to relax and calm your mind in any situation, including just before the major abdominal surgery that is a caesarian section.

Are you planning on reusing many gear/products from George or are there new things you are buying?

We are reusing everything we can that we got for George (clothes, SnüzPod, etc.) but buying new mattresses for the baby’s bed and the stroller. 

The new things we’ll be getting are a Sleepyhead or Dockatot (still deciding which one to go for!), as everyone we know who’s used them raves about them, as well as a Ewan the Dream Sheep to help with sleep associations.  We didn’t use a white noise app or any sort of sleep aid with George (he rejected most things), so we will give this award-winning sleep sheep a go!

Were there any products you never used with George? If so, what did you not find useful about them?

George just wanted the boob as his comforter, so we never had a pacifier, blankie or doudou. We also didn’t have a special dirty diaper tower; we just use a small Ikea trashcan that is emptied daily.

We barely used any products on George’s skin until he was around six months, and I was mindful to not wear many products on my skin, either, for the first weeks. Newborn skin is so perfect and fragile; I didn’t want to irritate it in the least. Also, I had zero energy nor interest in putting makeup on for a good month or two after his birth, which now looking back on the pictures, I probably could have mustered up once or twice!

What are your biggest concerns having two under two? What are you most excited for?

My biggest concern is having enough energy to keep up with both of them and give them enough attention. I’ve slowly changing my diet to be much healthier and thus increase my natural energy, so as not to rely on sugar and caffeine, which I did a lot with George. 

I am beyond excited to meet this little one, to see him or her develop and witness the milestones, which I find magical. It will also be wonderful to see George interact with his sibling; I feel like my heart might explode just thinking about it. John is also the most amazing dad, so I can’t wait to see him hold and meet this little one. He has always been incredibly sweet with George!

What is your postpartum care plan for baby number 2 and how has this differed from what you did with George?

My mother-in-law Cheryl was amazing and so helpful during the recovery period with George. She was the best listener, took care of so many household jobs, made us delicious food, and was fantastic with George. She really took care of us all. 

Thankfully, Cheryl and my wonderful father-in-law are going to be around to help me for the first two months after the birth. I’m extremely lucky to have such great in-laws. So that’s significantly reduced the amount of stress and anxiety with the post-birth period.  

John gets two week of paternity leave. He took the first week after George was born and then saved the second week for when George was around seven weeks old. We had a few days at home together and then went to visit my sister and her family in Paris. We’re hoping to do something similar this time, although we’ll see how we are managing with two little ones!  

What are some of your favourite parenting resources? Blogs/Books/Mommy Groups?

Anna Whitehouse, a.k.a. Mother Pukka, is amazing! She’s one of my favorite people to follow. Her book, Parenting the Sh*t out of Life, is one that I’d recommend to any person that is a parent, expecting, or is thinking about it. It had me in tears at times, nodding so many other times, and definitely laughing out loud.

Susie Verrill is another hilarious mom and person to follow. Her stories are always so funny and relatable. 

Merrick White from Merrick’s Art has three young boys, lives in Southern California, and is just the coolest mom. She’s fun, has all sorts of different hobbies, and has the best fashion sense. It’s all accessible, every day outfits for people, not just moms. Plus, I find that she is so relatable!

Ralphie from Simply on Purpose is a great parenting resource to follow, as well. She has four daughters and has such a great attitude and systems for parenting. I feel like I learn so much from her. 

Flore from Maman Louve is also an incredible writer. She recently had her rainbow baby, a daughter, and the posts she wrote to her and about her leading up to the little fée’s birth were profoundly touching. I love reading her posts on what life is like with two little ones. She’s inspiring.   

And, of course, I love The Modern Mama! You do such a wonderful job of highlighting and showcasing different, interesting accounts for us mamas. Plus your photos are gorgeous. 

A website that I check daily and that posts at 5 a.m. is The Early Hour by Anne Ridout. She has a great mix of parenting articles; she features entrepreneurs who are also parents, plus she writes about different parenting topics, which are always interesting and beautifully written. 

Lastly, I like the weekly Baby Centre e-mails, which always have a good paragraph about the stage that your child is at this week.