Having a second baby is a very different experience than having your first. While both experiences are wonderful, they are unique in their own ways. You are no longer the newbie parents you were the first time around. You have changed, as well as your circumstances and family dynamics. Here are 15 things to expect when having your second baby:
1. No special treatment during pregnancy. The first time around, pregnancy was a time to be pampered. My husband would offer to carry things for me and reminded me to rest. Family members offered to clean my house. I was frequently reminded not to “overdo it”. Second pregnancy, not so much. Business as usual. There is also no time to relax and take it easy when you have an older kid to chase around.
2. Appreciation of how easy it was with one child. After your newborn babe arrives you will suddenly have a new realization of how easy it was with only one. You will also wonder why you thought newborns were hard, when all they do is eat and sleep and meanwhile your older kid is bouncing off the walls.
3. There will most likely be no baby book. My first child got a beautifully detailed baby book documenting all her important moments. Although one was purchased for my son, it has never been filled out and now I seem to have blocked out the ages he met his milestones. Sorry, Little Man. I promise I was thrilled with your “firsts” – I just can’t remember when they were.
4. Nursery decor is downgraded from coordinated accents to the basic furniture essentials. Maybe a wall-hanging if you find the energy.
5. You will avoid buying new clothing and baby gear whenever possible. Hand-me-downs are where it’s at. When your children are the same gender this works like a charm. When they are not, it may not be as smooth a transition. Real men wear pink, buddy.
6. Germaphobia is forced to go out the window. With my second child I don’t have the time or energy to care about germs the way I did with my first. For example, eating out at a restaurant used to include a full ritual of wiping down the table and high chair with sanitizing wipes, covering the high chair with a protective cover, and adhering a disposable placemat to the table. Now…nope. If I can remember the high chair cover, I’m good.
7. Food standards lower significantly. We all know that drill. First baby gets mainly homemade, organic foods. Absolutely no junk food. Special snacks were brought when going out to avoid the temptation of unhealthy ones. Second baby makes a quick transition to eating what the rest of the family eats, even if it happens to be tortilla chips and cheese dip.
8. Your second child will spend a lot of time entertaining themselves. This is a fact because they have to. There is only one of you. It’s no wonder my second is so much better at independent play than my first.
9. You will no longer feel the need to call the pediatrician all the time. With my first child, any sniffle and cough warranted a doctor visit. A fall definitely resulted in a phone call, just to be safe. With my second, the Nose Frida and our Elmo ice pack make everything all better.
10. Caffeine intake will increase exponentially. Double the kids, double the exhaustion. More coffee, please.
11. Multi-tasking abilities = expert level. You will be able to accomplish crazy feats you never thought you could do, like grocery shopping with a preschooler and a baby in tow, while returning a call to your mother.
12. Showers will be few and far between. You will quickly learn that showering daily is really not a priority. And washing your hair – forget about it! Find yourself a nice dry shampoo. It will be your best friend.
13. You will add “referee” to list of mom hats that you wear. You will soon find the need to make statements like, “Be nice to your brother!” and “Don’t throw broccoli at your sister!”. Ahh, sibling love.
14. Birthday parties get lazy. Buh-bye, Pinterest. Hello, Target party section. I’m sorry that I no longer have the time and motivation to create hand-crafted Blue’s Clues decorations using spray paint, foam sheets and paint pens. Store-bought banners and crepe paper are just as good.
15. Your heart will be full. You will realize that there had been a missing piece in your heart and in your family that you never knew existed until your second child was born. You will find out that despite all the exhaustion and anxiety of being a new mom for a second time, your heart will be busting at the seams with mommy love more than you could have imagined. And, just like me, you will realize that you can’t remember what life was like before this little person entered your world, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.