Preparing for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting the Second Time

Attachment Parenting International‘s first principle of parenting is to “prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting.” API says:

Pregnancy offers expectant parents an opportunity to prepare physically, mentally, and emotionally for parenthood. Making informed decisions about childbirth, newborn care, and parenting practices is a critical investment in the attachment relationship between parent and child. Education is a key component of preparation for the difficult decisions required of parents and is an ongoing process as each stage of growth and development brings new joys and challenges.

I am currently 33 weeks pregnant with my second child. While there was nothing particularly traumatic about the birth of my son Dylan, almost three years ago, there are a number of things I’d like to do differently this time. With Dylan, I used an OB as my health provider, needed pitocin to speed up my labor, received an epidural, and also needed a vacuum to finally get him out. He wasn’t immediately placed on my chest after birth and we experienced a lot of difficulties breastfeeding during the first few weeks.

Co-sleeping with Dylan happened as a result of sheer desperation . . . it will be done with intention this time!

Since Dylan’s birth, I’ve learned a lot and want my experience to be different this time. I started off by choosing a midwife as my health provider. I’ve done a lot of reading about natural childbirth. I recently hired a birth doula. I hope to avoid medical interventions during birth. I am now a La Leche League Leader and I am educated about breastfeeding and difficulties that can arise.

Before Dylan’s birth, I did a lot of preparation, but it was mostly related to material things like choosing a stroller, picking out a bedskirt for his crib, or finding the perfect curtains for his room. Of course, none of my preparation prepared me at all for what life with a newborn would be like! This time around I’m not doing any “material” preparation other than having some diapers ready and washing a few newborn outfits. We’re not even taking the crib out of storage this time and the baby won’t have his or her own room – we are planning on co-sleeping right from the start!

Despite the rocky start we had with Dylan during the early weeks, things started to come together a couple months in when I started researching solutions to some breastfeeding and sleep issues we were experiencing. Luckily, I discovered Kellymom’s website and Dr. Sears’ books, both of which introduced me to the wonderful world of attachment parenting. And I never looked back!

I hope that the preparation I have done during this pregnancy, together with the choices I hope to make during birth, come together to create a fulfilling birth experience and a smooth first few weeks. Whatever happens, I will know that I prepared myself as best as I could. Despite my planning, I expect the unexpected and hope for the best!


Sheryl is the proud mother of an almost 3 year old son, Dylan, and she and her husband Jake are looking forward to the birth of their second child in December. She is passionate about helping nursing moms through her work as a La Leche League Leader. She also happens to work full time as a lawyer, and whenever she has a chance she writes for her blog, Little Snowflakes. In her spare time (which doesn’t come along very often), she enjoys long walks, crocheting and yoga.

Sheryl’s post is one of three that NPN is featuring as a special part of the November Carnival of Natural Parenting. To read more about what natural parenting means to our community as well as how you can write for the next Carnival, visit the November Carnival post.

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