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So you’ve successfully brought one child into the world, and now you’re thinking about a second baby – but should you really go for it? After all, memories of those unsure first few weeks still shine bright in your mind. But rest assured that many of us find a second baby easier to deal with – here are six reasons why second babies are easier (and three reasons why they’re not – because everything has its downside…)
You’re way more confident
Remember bringing home your first baby and terrified that you’d somehow break him/her? That desperate feeling is gone on your second. Instead you’re confident about it all, including routines, sleeping, feeding and changing. Baby’s first bath? No problem! Plus you know that if you do encounter difficulties that it’s okay to ask for help – and you hopefully know where and who to ask.
You know ‘this too will pass’
I like to call it ‘the six-week meltdown’ – that time around six weeks when the sleep and the worry finally wins and you feel like it’s never going to end. But you know what? It does. And far too quickly. A straw poll around the maternity & infant office reveals that all of us found far more pleasure in those early days with our second than our first. Even now, four years later, I have fond memories of the night feeds with baby no. 2, as it was just me and her and it was our time together.
You have all the gear…
Hopefully after Baby No.1 you have all the expensive stuff bought, and you can concentrate on a few extras exclusively for the new arrival. Suddenly a new baby feels far more affordable! (Until you get to childcare, but that’s a whole other article…)
…And you no longer care about ‘the best’
When preparing for your first baby you undoubtedly listened and read every ad out there, and possibly got sucked into thinking that you had to spend in order to get baby gear that worked. But now you know that shopping around can really result in lots of money saved. It’s not all about brand names and designer labels…
You’re too busy to care about other people’s opinions
Remember when you took Baby No.1 out you thought that everyone was judging you as a mother? The vast majority weren’t, but at the time you needed to build up your own self-confidence as a mum. This time, you’re just too darn busy to care about what other people think. And that’s a good thing.
You don’t believe everything you hear
Why does everyone have an opinion on the ‘right’ way to raise a baby/child? We’ve lost count of the amount of comments we’ve had from people who claim to know best – things like ‘don’t nurse him to sleep, he’ll never learn to sleep on his own’ (that would explain all the 18 year olds still requiring a breastfeed before they sleep). The great thing about No.2 is that you know most of these opinions are rubbish, and you’re confident enough to smile and just ignore them as you know what’s best for your child.
But it’s not all plain sailing and buttercups – here are three reasons why Baby No.2 can actually be harder!
Sleep when the baby sleeps is impossible
Not because you have some burning desire to have a clean house (you learnt that particular lesson on Baby No.1), but because you have another child, who is on a completely different sleep schedule, to care for! And if your first child is now a bruiser of a toddler who is trying desperately to learn how everything works, you mightn’t feel too comfortable with closing your eyes even for a second.
Having a schedule is next to impossible
We all know that babies feed when they’re hungry, require lots of naps and poo on demand. But what if you have an older child who needs taking to preschool or activities? You can pretty much guarantee that baby’s nappy will explode just as you’re heading out the door, or that preschool will end slap bang in the middle of a nap. The result is one frazzled mum. The answer of course is to chill out, just laugh and be late, but when you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to see the humour sometimes!
There’s less help offered
When you have your first baby, lots of people rally around to help and you’re inundated with offers to babysit. There’s less excitement around a second baby, and many people are nervous of minding a baby and a toddler – but in order to get a break, you really need both kids minded. The answer here is to actually ask for help, as lots of people probably would help if they were asked. And when you’re confident and the kids are a little older, look for a paid babysitter – it’s worth it for your relationship (and your sanity).