What’s different when you have a second child

two boys in beanie earflap hats

My two boys in their earflap beanie hats

My doctor said she felt that having a second child was easy, since she’d already been through it all with her first.

Me, I feel like it’s been harder than anything I’ve ever done. I’ll share here a few of the things I have discovered the second time around. Let me know how it was for you – or if you’re just contemplating growing your brood!

Your relationship with your firstborn changes

This one hit me hard. My son and I were so close, but suddenly I was relying heavily on others to keep him occupied when I had the new baby.

When I finally found myself alone with both of them after the relatives left, he had changed. It was inevitable – he was also growing up, and I was now in charge of two kids. Never again would we spend our days as we had before.

Your life changes in unexpected ways

I am an introvert, and I like to keep my days slow-paced. Well, good luck with that when you’ve got a newborn and a preschooler! By then your first child needs more social and physical activity, and if you’re a SAHM like me, you’re the one providing the entertainment. Meanwhile, your new baby needs a schedule of his or her own… It’s not always easy to keep up.

You have more confidence

Sayings like “this too shall pass” and “it’s just a phase” bring you real comfort. You did it once, and yes everything did pass eventually.

My first child didn’t sleep through the night until he was over two years old. I remember wondering if he ever would. You now know that whatever you’re facing is going to disappear (and right around the corner is a new challenge!)

Your second child may see a side of you that your first never did

Somehow I kept my cool through the most trying of times with my first. Now that there are two of them, I’m outnumbered. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t display some sort of frustrated outburst. I never feel like I’m able to give the attention to my second child that I did my first at the same age.

You’ve already got an infrastructure in place

You know what sort of parent you are and you’ve figured out what works for your family. Now the new one just needs to fit into what’s already there.

Hopefully you saved all your gear from the first baby. If you jumped on the cloth diaper bandwagon or did EC with your first, for example, you’re going to find it easier with the second.

Whatever your second child misses out on from you is balanced by having an older sibling

Your second baby will never know what it’s like to be the only one, as your first did. They won’t have the benefit of your full attention day in and out, as you’re stretched among so many more things when there are two.

But an older sibling can provide a different kind of stimulation and help advance your baby’s development. I know my baby just loves staring at his big brother, who also adores him in turn.

As a mom, it’s incredibly satisfying to see them together, and to know that they will always have each other to laugh with, lean on, and learn from.

Little girls who love babies
The magic of babies

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