Things no one tells you about having a second baby
Having your first baby is a totally mind-blowing experience. First-time parents are consumed with the non-stop surprises during pregnancy and childbirth. Then comes the magic moment they meet their baby for the first time. The experience of becoming a parent is like nothing else—until your second baby comes along.
As parents prepare to welcome baby #2, many wonder how the experience of second-time parenthood will be different (or the same) as their first trip down mommy and daddy lane.
Having welcomed three babes into our family, I’ve learned some lessons about how life changes when you add new little ones to your tribe. Let’s just say that things are different the second time around.
Life with Baby #2 will be an adjustment. Check out these 4 things no one tells you about having a 2nd baby!
- Baby #1: With your first peanut, sleep schedules rule your world. Your house is stocked with swaddling blankets, sleep sacks, white noise machines and signs that say, “Shhh….. baby sleeping. If you wake him, you take him!” You will do ANYTHING to ensure that baby sleeps. Because that means that you might be able to grab some shut eye too. Meeting friends at the park? Not if it interferes with junior’s afternoon nap.
- Baby #2: You are already totally sleep deprived from your older child. Your expectations about babies and sleeping are more realistic. Plus, more experienced mamas understand that it just isn’t possible to stick to a strict sleep schedule every single day. The reality is that you sometimes have to head out to your toddler’s music class when baby should be napping in his crib. You make it work. And you accept that adhering to a strict sleep schedule is just not going to be possible for the next couple of years.
- Baby #1: Homemade, organic baby food is the name of the game with number one. I poured over baby recipes books and shopped the aisles of Whole Foods in search of pristine first foods for my babe. Mealtime was a major production three times a day. Plus healthy snacks.
- Baby #2: Mama doesn’t have time to make separate meals for every single member of the family. Homemade food is great. But sometimes convenience foods work just fine. The occasional treat (for you and baby) is A-Okay too. Sometimes kids refuse their dinner. Other times, kids have total meltdowns over the way you cut their grilled cheese. Second-time moms have the experience to know that not every meal can be—or needs to be—a culinary masterpiece. Hectic schedules and mealtime meltdowns will occasionally result in cereal for dinner … Tomorrow is another day.
Baby #1: Baby books. Online journals. Pristine new outfits. Professional photos documenting every milestone. Baby’s own Instagram account.
Baby #2: iPhone pics will work. You capture real moments when you are out living real life—even if you haven’t planned out the perfect photo-worthy outfits.
Packing the diaper bag
Baby #1: You make sure you have every imaginable supply on hand in your big ol’ (clean, organized) diaper bag before leaving the house. You name it, you got it.
Baby #2: Sometimes simply getting out of the house and remembering your car keys is difficult enough without worrying about whether you have every imaginable thing that your kiddos could ever possibly need in the two hours you’ll be away from the house. Got an extra diaper? Make a run for it! The truth of the matter is that you always end up needing something you didn’t pack anyway. Plus, your first might be in the middle of potty training, and that’s a whole other bag of worms. Be ready for some extra stops to the bathroom…
You’ll be an old pro by the time you have your second little one – you’ve got this, moms!
Yes, adding to your tribe comes with some chaos, but the bottom line is that second-time parenthood is full of all of the same magic as the first time around—without all of the stress of not knowing what you are doing or the pressure of trying to do everything perfectly.
Caitlin Murray Giles is a mother of three and the co-founder of 2 Moms Media LLC. Caitlin lives in Wicker Park with her lawyer husband, three busy kiddos and the “fourth baby” Theo the dog.