How having your second child is different from having your first
YAY YOU’RE HAVING A BABY! The second one, that is. Or maybe you’ve already had him or her. Either way, you have to know that having a baby the second time around is not like the first. There are a few things you’ll know to expect, like the classic sleepless nights or diaper blowouts, but there are a few things that may blindside you. Keep reading, you may just learn a thing or two. That, or have your worst fears confirmed.
You’re mentally prepared for the sleepless nights. Bring it.
Congratulations, you’re already a pro at being sleep deprived and finding ways to functions the next day that this should be a piece of cake. Really though, for whatever reason, this wasn’t nearly as hard as when our first child was born and he started sleeping through the night at 6 months. Evy is currently 8 months and still wakes up at least twice and it’s no big deal. Sure, I wake up and my first thought is, “Coffffeeeeeeee” but that’s really no different than when I was in college or working so..
Your expectations are buried six feet under.
Not only are your expectations are low, they’re dead. You haven’t given up, of course not. Someone’s gotta keep those kids alive. You’re just a bit more flexxxible these days with how many items of processed foods your child consumes throughout the course of a day. You’ve gone from a, “Heck no” to more of a, “Ok, but this is the for real last one.”
Basically, all having low expectations means as a parent is that you get way less frustrated when you don’t get your way. Because that doesn’t happen anymore anyway.
You already have all the stuff. Maybe.
My piece of advice here: Let people know if there’s something you actually need. People figured that we had everything we needed for a new baby which was mostly true, but there were definitely a few things we could have used but no one asks for a registry the second time around. I wanted as long as I could after I knew all the showers had been thrown and then bought ourselves a mamaroo because we actually didn’t have a baby swing. We had borrowed one from a friend the first time around and had since given it back. So be sure to double check that you actually do have anything you need instead of realizing you overlooked something when you’re 38 weeks pregnant.
Also, if friends ask what you want and you’re not sure what to tell them, ask for diapers and gift cards. Always gift cards.
You know what you would/wouldn’t do the second time around.
Packing for the hospital stay alone was so much different for our second baby. I knew how my clothes would fit me, so I better knew what to pack. I invested in a better nursing bra (this comfortable nursing bra was great for the hospital and around the house while this underwire nursing bra was great for going out and feeling more like myself). I also invested in a pumping bra. I think I was crazy for never doing this for David because I actually worked full time after he was born and pumped like crazy. I learned my lesson and got a pumping bra the second time around and even though I didn’t pump nearly as much, I still freaking loved that thing.
You may find yourself way less nervous to go into a grocery store with the kids. Or if you are, you’ll just order what you need from Amazon or a grocery delivery service without even attempting to go into the store. Where we lived back in VA, our Kroger had what they called “ClickList’ where I could make my entire shopping list online and then pick a time the next day to pick it up, or even the same day if I put my order in early enough. When it was time to pick it up, I would park in the designated parking area and the store staff would bring me my groceries and load them into my trunk for me. And this only cost a flat rate of $5 no matter how much my order was. Heck, I’ll pay $10 to not have to get out of the car with a toddler and newborn and grocery shop.
You’ll get smart about leaving the house, because it won’t be easy.
I thought leaving the house with one kid was no joke, but two? Forget about it.
Not really. You still have to leave sometime.
In the beginning, we were cosleeping with Ev (our second). I remember getting up at 8 to start getting ready for the day. By the time I got myself and two kids ready, it was 10. And it’s not because I’m high maintenance.
Here’s how the morning would look:
- I get up. Both kids still sleeping.
- Brush my hair, teeth, face. UhhImean, wash.. Wash my face.
- Put a k-cup in the Keurig.
- Put yogurt cup and spoon on the table for 1st born.
- Wake up 1st born.
- Change and dress him while he’s still half asleep in bed, then tell him to eat his yogurt.
- He follows me back into my room where 2nd born is waking up.
- Feed her (because every interaction with her at this age begins with feeding).
- Change her diaper, get her dressed, tell 1st born to eat his yogurt because we have to go.
- Toddler melts down. He “didn’t even waaaaant yoguuuuurt.”
- Make toast.
- Put shoes on 1st born.
- 2nd born pooped, change her again.
- Put shoes back on 1st born because he forgot we were leaving when you stopped to change 2nd born.
- Put on an episode of Paw Patrol while I slap on a little makeup for the day.
- Finish doing makeup once “good enough” is reached.
- Tell 1st born you’re leaving in 3 minutes while you top off 2nd born.
- Put 1st born’s shoes on again. Why did you even bother the first two times?
- Pack processed snack in diaper bag because 1st born never ate breakfast.
- Put kids in car. Start car.
- Run in to microwave cold coffee and run back out in a fury fearing someone’s seen you leave the kids buckled in their car seats at 10 in the morning and already called the cops.
- ARE YOU KIDDING ME IT’S 10 AM??!!
- Drive lunch over to husband who asks, “What are you up to today?”
Your oldest will surprise you
There’s not “typical” way your first born is going to react and adjust to having a sibling for the first time. They may smother them by wanting to share all their toys at the same time or they may try to hoard all the toys for themself because sharing isn’t exactly second nature. David, our oldest, LOVED his baby sister. We had to make sure he didn’t strangle her by hugging her too hard. But even so, he had some behavior regression. More meltdowns and attitudes. Even though our standards and expectations for him didn’t change, we tried to give him as much love as we possibly could because sharing mom and dad for the first time can’t be easy.
You’ll feel like “yourself” again way sooner.
Ok, I can’t speak for everyone, but after we had our second, life went back to our new normal way faster than after we had our first. And that’s what we wanted. We justed wanted to bring our baby back home and get going with life again. After families in our church had finished bringing us meals (our church had an awesome 2-week meal plan for families with new babies, illnesses, and various hardships. It was awesome), getting back into cooking was no biggie. And it may sound weird, but I couldn’t wait to get my butt in the gym again. As soon as Ev was 6 weeks old and able to be watched by our gym’s childcare (where she would sleep the whole time at that age) I went back and got myself and hour of me-time a few days a week again.
I also started wearing clothes I liked again waaaay sooner. For whatever reason, after having David, I think someone deceived me into thinking that clothes were only comfortable if they were too big and frumpy. I probably just had no idea with what to do with my betweener body (you know, between baby and whatever shape you are 3 to 6 to 18 months later). The second time around, I had an epiphany that I felt much more like myself when I wore clothes that made me feel good about myself. You know, clothes that fit and looked good.
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