Being a first-time parent is a mixed bag of emotions. You’re excited, nervous, anxious, stressed, and even overwhelmed at times. You question everything you do and are pretty sure you’re screwing things up.
By the time your second baby comes around, you’re no longer a newbie. Sure, you might be screwing things but, hey, it’s all good. You sort of know what to expect and you’ve got this whole mum thing down pat.
As you become more grounded and more comfortable in our mum role, there are things parents do differently, especially mums, the second time around. Let’s take a look at 10 things we do differently with our second baby.
1. You learn to chill out just a little bit
With your firstborn, you were very likely a ball of stress. The fear of messing up was real. No matter how much you read and prepare for your little one’s arrival, you still didn’t feel ready.
With your first child, you obsessed and over-analysed every little thing, making tons of adjustments along the way, from each new sound they made to their poo’s colour and consistency to every little skin abnormality.
2. You realise your limits
As a first-time mum, you might have also been quite ambitious, thinking you could continue to do it all. “Nap when baby naps? No, I have laundry to do!” I thought to myself just days after my little one was born. I feared I’d be judged as lazy for not being able to keep up with daily life.
The reality is that you have to give yourself some grace as a mum, especially in the first few months. This is a realisation you come to with your second baby.
You no longer sweat the small stuff as you embrace the beautiful chaos of motherhood. You learn to relax and enjoy this parenting thing a little more. You also trust in yourself and listen to your instincts more as a second-time parent.
3. ‘It’s just a phase” becomes your mantra
It’s just a phase. It’s not forever. While you’re in the thick of caring for your firstborn tot, the days, nights, weeks, and months just seem to blend and last forever.
However, by the time your second baby arrives, you understand that everything comes in phases and no one thing or moment lasts indefinitely.
As a second-time mum, you allow yourself to enjoy each moment (okay maybe not the terrible sleep-deprived ones) because you realise that before you know it, things will change, and you’ll be adjusting to a new phase.
4. You figure out sleeping – well, sort of
With your firstborn, you hear about the importance of making sure you get your tot on a sleep routine. You obsess over when you should transition them to sleep in their cot, in their room, and so on. You stress over not figuring out their schedule and about being sleep-deprived yourself.
The truth is, those sleep guidelines you hear about are just that. Every tot is different. What works for some, may not work for yours.
By the time your second baby comes along, you realise that you will figure out all those sleep issues in time. You can relax a little more the next time around because if you got through it once, then you can do so again.
5. You take advice with a grain of salt
Whether it’s your first child or your fifth one, from the moment people see your baby bump they try to give you advice. Even strangers try to contribute with their unsolicited tips and pearls of wisdom.
When you had your first tot, you heeded everyone’s advice and took it to heart. And why wouldn’t you? This whole parenting thing was new to you, and you felt you needed all the guidance you could get.
With your second baby, you know better. You are a more decerning mum and know what is good advice from what is not, and what works for you and your family. You learn to trust your instincts more and feel confident turning down those tips that just don’t feel right for you.
6. Germs. What Germs?
The fear of sickness is SOO intense with your first bub. And so were the hand sanitisers, the rules around visitors and the Glen20. No parent wants their child to catch a bug, but you may have overdone it on the germs front a little more the first time around.
With your second baby, however, you end up being less stressed about every little dirty item or innocent cough. You may even catch your kid eating a day-old cracker off the floor and just shrug it off.
7. Speaking of food, you don’t obsess over becoming a baby food making-wizard
When my little one was ready to start on solid foods, I was obsessed with making everything from scratch. I cooked and pureed veggies and chicken and even had a frozen stash of different food items ready to go. Everything was organic because I didn’t want those pesky pesticides to hurt his developing organs. I omitted salt and sugar – I did not want to ruin his tastebuds so early on. And I never introduced more than one food at a time in case he was allergic to something.
I now realise I was driving myself crazy. I don’t know how I found the time to do all of that!
With the second baby, you give yourself some grace and realise that feeding your child store-bought baby food does not make you a bad mum. And a little sugar will not turn your little one away from healthy food down the road.
8. You don’t buy ALL the baby things
Remember that adorable, furry teddy bear onesie your bub hardly wore because it was too hot and itchy? The second time around, you know what products you NEED and what products you can probably do without.
Bulky gadgets and adorably divine outfits that have 87 buttons on them probably belong in the latter category. Plus, you hopefully still have some of your first bub’s items you can reuse, like baby clothes and accessories.
9. You learn to ask for help
For some reason, asking for help is really hard the first time around. You just assumed you could do it all. You were ambitious. It’s not a bad thing but it’s also a lot of pressure and guilt you just don’t need. It’s your baby, you should be able to handle it all yourself, right?
With your second baby, you realise that waving that white flag doesn’t mean you’re surrendering. It means you’re staying sane. Accepting help is not a weakness, but something that allows you to be emotionally and physically present for your family.
10. You set more realistic expectations about the birth plan – and everything that follows
With your first baby, you may have had every detail planned – the playlist, the birthing outfit, the labour process. When things didn’t go to plan – which they never fully do – you may have been left disappointed.
With your second baby, you realise that not everything will go according to your birth and post birth plans.
So the new plan? Have a baby. The rest is To Be Determined.
What to read next
- Cherish Your Child’s Second Year
- 12 Reasons Why Having a Large Age Gap Between Siblings is the BEST
- The Reality of Coping With a Newborn and a Toddler at The Same Time #MUMLIFE
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