Tup recently delivered her third baby and I have the pleasure of once again looking after her family. I just love returning to clients and especially seeing the little characters (or big characters!) the earlier babies have become.
People often seem surprised if I tell them I have clients who have had their third, fourth or even fifth babies. The assumption is that by then all problems should be easily ironed out and that they pretty much have everything down to a fine art. Of course there’s a lot of truth in that but third and subsequent babies often bring new challenges.
Take Tup, for instance: super-mum, super-wife, Ms Hospitality Asia! Tup, like many third time mothers I see, anticipated she could do it all. And she could but at the expense of her milk production, which meant that her baby was not gaining weight. What she had forgotten was that when she had her first and second babies she had needed to spend considerable time concentrating on breastfeeding, making sure the baby was latched properly, looking for swallows during feeds, not just sucks, waking up a baby sleeping on the breast and fitting in a minimum of 8 feeds in 24 hours.
Baby number 3 arrived into a whirlwind of daily activity and routine. Older kids are off school but need to be ferried here, there and everywhere; visitors coming and going; Tup dutifully baking cakes and providing snacks for all and sundry, including me! Oh yes, and somewhere amongst this hive of activity is a baby needing to be fed. Quick suck here and a quick suck there, play with the kids, drive one to yet another activity, break up sibling fights, answer the door, another quick feed……and so it goes on.
Happily baby Thomas is now gaining weight and back on track but only after I had given
Here are my key tips for mums of third babies:
- Don’t feel guilty about not giving all your time to the older children. They had your full attention when they were newborn and now it’s the baby’s time.
- Concentrate on feeds. Find somewhere quiet, if possible, to feed and to make sure the baby is feeding effectively, not just sucking.
- Busy mummies are sometimes overwhelmed that the baby needs feeding yet again! Didn’t I just feed him? A diary of feeds will allow you to see how often they HAVE fed and whether they are getting enough, you might be surprised.
- Look after yourself. Eat regularly and try to get some rest Do not do unnecessary tasks. Keep visitors to the minimum. Accept all offers of help with the older kids.
- Allow others to hold the baby if you want to spend time with the other kids.
- Kids’ Television & DVD’s were made for 3rd time Mums. Make the most of them!
- Remember, there’s no such thing as “the perfect mum”. Set aside some time for yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed. A pushing present doesn’t hurt either Dads!
Yvonne, a sympathetic mother of 3!