Are We Done Having Kids?

denfeldspring-112.jpgAre we done having kids? How do you know when you’re done? I’ve had this blog topic on my mind for oh, I don’t know, at least a year. And it seems like even longer than that I have had a pros and cons list running in my head.

Struggling to get two kids in the car for a playdate: con. Can’t handle trying to get another child in a carseat. 

Rocking a drowsy James in my arms before bed: pro. How can I NOT have another? This is too sweet! 

Going on vacation anywhere — on a plane or in a car — huge con. This circus is crazy enough as it is, I don’t think we could handle another. 

The thought of never again feeling a baby kick inside my belly, never nursing again, never giving birth and spending those two magical days in the hospital getting to know a newborn again? PRO — GIVE ME ALL THE BABIES.

I spend a lot of time trying to envision our family in twenty years and try to push all the incredibly hard times of the first year (and second year if I’m honest) out of my head and try to get a clear picture of what I really want. Do I want another baby or am I just nostalgic for what has come and gone? Do I see a bigger family sitting around our thanksgiving table in 20-30 years? What if Elodie and James absolutely hate each other when they grow up and they’re the only siblings they have? What if five years go by, or ten, and I live with regret that we never had a third child. You’ll never regret having a child, but you could regret not having one. I ask myself these questions over and over. And for a long time my answers waffled. Some days I was so sure I could not see us having anymore kids and other days I felt like we had to have another. I know I drove my friends and family totally crazy with my back-and-forth, and honestly I drove myself crazy!!

But James’ second birthday is approaching and I remember when he was an infant thinking that by the time he was two I would know. I’d be out of the sleep deprivation, things would be feeling more manageable and I would have a more definitive sense of what was ahead for our family. And here we are — just weeks away from James turning two and things are easier and more manageable (still hard for sure, but easier than year one and the majority of year two), and I still don’t feel the longing I would expect for a third baby. 

The truth is, after a lot of soul searching and many, many conversations with Corey, it feels like we’ve known our answer all along: Our family is complete. I truly don’t have that feeling that someone is missing from our family. I don’t yearn to be pregnant again and have a newborn again. I mostly just really mourn the loss of my child-bearing experiences. I so wish I could go back some days and relive them, but if I had another baby, I know when that baby is one or two or however old I would be sad again that I’d never experience all the wonderful parts of bringing a baby into this world again. While sleep-deprived life with a newborn is really freakin’ hard (especially when you have other kids to take care of), it is also pure magic. The newborn days with both of our kids are some of my most cherished memories. I will forever long for those days. 

So while we haven’t done anything permanent (yet) to solidify our decision, that day is most likely coming. For now it still makes me feel good to have the door very slightly cracked (like the tiniest sliver, guys), but I have a feeling we’ll be ready to shut it completely in the not-so-distant future. 

So what about you? How many kids do you have? Did you always know you wanted that many? Do you know you’re done? Was it a hard decision? I would especially love to hear from anyone who went back and forth between wanting to add a third and ultimately decided not to. Are you still happy with that decision? 

My Must-Have Baby Items

This is a special post for my friend Libby, who is due with her first baby (a girl!) this fall. Months ago she asked all of her friends to give her a list of all their favorite baby items. I have failed miserably at putting this list together for her, so I’m doing it now, and sharing it with all of you, too! This isn’t comprehensive — just the things I REALLY loved and couldn’t live without.

If I’ve learned anything having two very different babies, it’s that what works for one person or baby won’t necessarily work for you or your baby. After a lot of research and a lot of trial-and-error, here are the must-have items I couldn’t do the first year of life without! I’d love to hear what yours are/were!

Screen Shot 2017-06-07 at 1.50.07 PMONEDockatot – This is a spendy purchase, and it’s impossible to know if it will work for your baby until you’ve actually tried it, but we were HUGE fans of ours. James slept in the Deluxe size until he was 10 months old (and he was always big for his age!). We loved that it was easy to move around the house for naps and super easy to bring along for travel (we just popped it on top of our clothes in our suitcase when we flew to Hawaii, and now they have travel bags made especially for Docks). I also loved that it gave me more flexibility for co-sleeping during growth spurts and such when James was up every hour or two in the night. The transition out of it was actually easier than out of the Rocknplay to crib…. The good news is, if your baby absolutely hates the Dockatot, the resale value on them is super high, so you won’t be out a ton of money. You can try selling on a buy/sell/trade Facebook group, or to a friend!

TWO: PJs that zip – because who wants to deal with snaps in the dark at 3AM? Our favorites are Hanna Andersson and Baby Gap. The Hanna PJs are expensive, but they wash extremely well and last through multiple babies!!

THREEKeekaroo Peanut Changer: Why anyone bothers to buy a traditional changing pad when this has been invented is beyond me. Babies pee and poop all over their changing pads — this you can just wipe down quickly and easily and don’t have to worry about adding to your already mountainous laundry pile 😉

FOUR: Water Wipes: Simple, no yucky ingredients, work great!

FIVE: Spectra Breastpump: I am such a HUGE fan of the Spectra S2!! Having pumped exclusively with Elodie for 6+ months, I know a thing or two about what makes a good breast pump and this one is awesome. It’s quiet, lightweight, has a built in timer and light, it’s comfortable (for a breastpump haha) and it gets the most milk out in the least amount of time. I rented the hospital grade Medela Symphony for Elodie and then the first few weeks with James and this pump was just as good, if not better than that pump at a very small fraction of the price (but you should be able to get the pump free through your insurance — make sure to check on that!).

SIX: Ergo360: I love using our Ergo from months four on. Even with the infant insert it just felt too clunky for a a tiny infant for my liking, but after they’re big enough, the Ergo is really easy to get on and off quickly and I literally use it every day with James (currently 13 months). A great baby carrier is especially key for second babies, so mom and dad can have their hands free to help the toddler!

SEVEN: Unlike James, who loved sleeping flat on his back, Elodie loved sleeping at an incline/angle, so she was a huge fan of the Rocknplay. Like I said, so dependent on the baby!! My only complaint with the RNP is the transition to crib (to laying flat) was super rough for us. But we survived 🙂

EIGHTMedela Lanolin: It might seem weird that I am so adamant about a specific brand of lanolin, but when your nipples are sore and hurting like heck, you want one that goes on SMOOTHLY, and I can’t say that about the Lansinoh brand lanolin. The Medela Lanolin is amazinggggg.Screen Shot 2017-06-07 at 2.13.03 PMNINEComotomo Bottles: We used these from super early (around two weeks) on with James and he did great switching between breast and bottle, and it had a fraction of the parts of the Dr. Brown’s bottles we used with Elodie. I will say, bottles are super tough to predict for your baby — what mine loved, yours might not! But we really loved these ones.

TEN: At least 3 muslin blankets — we started with three of these and ended up buying many more because I found I used them for everything — nursing cover, lightweight stroller blanket during the summer months, to lay on the ground for tummy time… You get the idea. I think we have about 12 now haha. A few favorites — Aiden & Anais, Little Unicorn and Clementine Kids.

ELEVEN:  Sollybaby Wrap: Wraps can be sort of tough to get the hang of, but you just need to practice and you’ll be so glad you did. The Sollybaby is lightweight and perfect for the first few months when baby is tiny. I’d recommend starting to baby-wear as soon as possible (like the day you get home from the hospital!). The sooner you do it, the more likely baby is to really take to it.

TWELVEWubbanub Pacifier: We introduced a wubbanub pacifier early on with both kids and they did great with it and we didn’t deal with any nipple confusion. These pacifiers aren’t just cute, but the weight of the stuffed animal helps it stay in baby’s mouth better. I tried Natursutten pacifiers with James because I loved the idea of a more natural product, but unfortunately he didn’t like them nearly as much as the wubbanub. It totally depends on the baby though!

THIRTEENSwaddleMe or Miracle Blanket Swaddles — both our babies LOVED being swaddled. Swaddle me are super easy velcro swaddles and the miracle blanket is great for those Houdini babies who seem to be able to wiggle out of any and all swaddles!

FOURTEENUppababy Cruz: I want to do a post all about strollers because I know how intimidating it can be to choose one with all the options out there. The long story short, in my humble opinion, is it is VERY hard to find it ALL in one stroller, BUT the Uppababy Cruz comes dang close.  It is really lightweight (like I can easily get it into my car with one arm), it has a HUGE storage basket, a massive extending sunshade (bigger than any I’ve ever seen), it’s really easy to fold and unfold, the brake is a very simple foot break, easy to push, you can do a car seat attachment for when you have an infant, or they have a bassinet… really, my reasons for loving this stroller are endless. My ONLY issue with the Cruz is it can’t convert to a double stroller. This might not be an issue for some people, but having kids two years apart, I really needed to get a double stroller when James was born. I thought I would give this stroller to my sister when James was born since I bought the new double (that can be single or double), but I love the Cruz more than what I bought, so I find myself still using it to this day if I know I don’t need both kids in the stroller! There is a kick board attachment you can buy for your toddler, but I wasn’t convinced Elodie would actually use that if she saw her brother in the stroller. Something to consider, though.

Did you have any of these products and love them? Did your baby hate them? It’s so hard to know what your baby will like!