Mothering Your Second Baby

Mothering Your Second BabyBy now, I’m sure we are all familiar with the Luvs commercials touting the expertise of second-time moms. I know for my first baby I was so nervous to “do it right” and make sure I was covered in my minimal knowledge of caring for this little person. Reading the books, searching the sites, hunting down the best, most educational, natural, perfect toy to entice my little guy’s budding brain, I learned so much. And then, baby #2 came along.

If you’re thinking of a second baby, or maybe you’re already expecting, there are many things that are completely different with #2. You, as a mother, are different. Many mamas wonder if they can love another baby like they do their first–the answer is no, you won’t. You will love them differently and completely separately for their own uniqueness and individuality. Love doesn’t get cut in half, it is not finite, rather it is multiplied by the tenfold instead of just doubling.

Your parenting is different as you have gained confidence as a mom. You’ve gained patience and a bit of understanding toward your baby, and this comes in handy as you travel the newborn days. You know and understand how short these days truly are, what a blur they become and how they fly by in a haze.

Birth can be a very different experience the second time around. Along with being better prepared for labor and delivery, often just knowing what to expect eases the stress. If your first birth ended in an unplanned c-section, just having the chance to plan and prepare for a second one is reassuring. Also, having had one newborn you have the chance to prepare for help, meals, and child care.

Nursing can also be easier with baby #2. Did you know your milk comes in faster and more abundantly with the second baby? Your body has worked hard to produce extra glandular tissue with each pregnancy and menstrual cycle between babies and is a well-oiled machine when #2 comes around. You understand that pain is bad and know to seek help immediately. If you’re bottle feeding, then being able to know how to prepare the bottles, how much and how often, and what you need to pack when you go out is very helpful.

As far as the ease of juggling two babies, well, as a second-time mama you learn the ropes pretty quick. The older sibling is usually fascinated by the baby, which allows for some very tender and sweet moments between the family. You also know what to expect as far as the difficult parts of early parenting: you understand a bit better that things pass and change and to parent with the whole person in mind.

One benefit of being a second-time mama is that you get a chance to figure out who you wish to be as a parent. You know what your preferences are and yet you do have the wiggle room to try something new this time. You can easily give something a shot that you maybe were tempted with from afar the first time around. Anything is game with the second child.

If something didn’t work out when #1 was a newborn that you wished to do differently–whether sleep training, nursing, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, babywearing, birth–any of these things can be done the same or differently. It really depends on you and how your baby’s temperament is.

The biggest difference with baby #2 is that you are just much more relaxed as a mother. You have a chance to really enjoy the baby and breathe!

My second son allowed me a chance to try a more natural approach to parenting, which I found more reassuring. I felt more in control having gone through it once before, especially as the frustrating moments of sleep regression, teething and the long sleepless nights. Knowing that it would get better, and that it would change before I knew it helped ease my frustrations. I jokingly refer to my firstborn as my  “test baby” with whom I learned the ropes and learned how to be the mom I could be. My second son definitely benefits from this experience.

Pia Watzig is a stay at home mom of three boys. She lives, loves, cooks, gardens and knits in Portland, Oregon.

 

Tags: baby #2, second child, siblings

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