6 Things To Know Before Having Your Second Child

Last year my spouse and I finally felt like we had it all together. After many failed attempts at bribery my 2.5 year old daughter was potty trained. No more diapers. No more diaper bag! We felt so free- we could just all walk out the door and go. And then we decided: Hey, this is too easy… We should make another little poop factory! And so our son was born in February.

I was not prepared for how a second child would turn my life upside down and inside out. These are the things I wish I knew before we embarked on this journey:

It Won’t Be the Same

Your life won’t be the same as when there was only three of you. Your relationship to your first will have to grow and bend and change and one to one time with him or her will be non-existent at least in the beginning. There will be acting out. There will be jealousy. All you can do is try to love them up as much as possible, give them a role in the family to hold on to, and try to be understanding. This is a big transition for them too–they have to learn to share their “mama”.

You Don’t Get to Nap

This was a game-changer for me. When you have your first child, their nap time is your free time. You can choose to nap, get caught up on laundry, or watch yet another episode of Ellen. Getting up five times in the night didn’t seem like such a big deal when you knew the next day all you had to accomplish was A. feed baby B. change baby C. sleep with baby.

This goes out the window if you have another child home with you. When baby is up five times a night you still have to do all the things you normally do only on less sleep. You have to get up and make breakfast, lunch, and dinner, deal with tantrums, make crafts, go to playdates. This is especially hard if your older child is a non-napper like mine so you get zero free time during the day. If you have the ability to keep your older child in daycare once a week I would highly recommend it in the newborn stage.

Babies Hate Cars

This fact is not as important with your first child because you can ride out that stage by staying at home and enjoying your quiet time with your little baby with no distractions or commitments. Sorry to say if you want to keep your sanity you CANNOT stay home with your baby when you have a toddler/preschooler. Those little monsters will go stir crazy and nag you to death and tear your house apart.

Which means you need to plan, plan, plan. Plan your days ahead of time. Plan activities to keep your older child busy. When you do need to leave the house, plan to leave after baby has napped and fed. Unfortunately in the beginning babies feed and nap for most of their time, which pretty much leaves a 30 second window to make it to a play date or other event on time without them screaming all the way there.

And sometimes even when you think you have planned your trip perfectly… Nope! Welcome to the ride to hell, ie listening to your newborn infant scream all the way to the grocery store and back. Tell me, is having food to eat worth it? Really? Driving to soccer practices are just a fact of life now and will be a source of dread for many new parents of two. But it will get easier.

6 Things to know before having a second child

Free Time

Coordinating time away to spend doing awesome adult things was difficult with one, but is next to impossible with two. If you are lucky like us to have grandparents nearby that love to babysit this makes it much easier…but it is still much harder to find care for two at once. Not to mention more expensive if daycare or babysitters are required. This makes you really appreciate the time you do get to spend on yourself. And it is much needed so please keep doing it!

Spouses Are Experts

As a spouse to an obstetrical nurse, my husband automatically took a secondary role when our first child was born. He deemed me “magical baby whisperer”; rarely requiring assistance and appearing to have it all together. In reality I had no clue what I was doing and felt very much alone. Enter baby number two. My husband is amazing! He is no longer afraid of breaking our baby, has no issues changing poopy diapers, will do dinners and bath times and even dreaded car rides. I am more willing to admit faults and ask for help and advice. We are equals.

Your Heart Will Grow

Deep down while pregnant with my second I was terrified that I would not be able to love another being as much as my first. My daughter and I had an immediate connection at birth and we also had a whole year to ourselves to cuddle, bond and figure each other out. With my second I had a very fast and painful delivery. I was in shock right after his birth and we did not have an immediate bond.

We were in the hospital for 24 short hours and then went home and had to figure out where everybody fit. It took a lot longer to develop a loving bond with my second because we didn’t get to have all that glorious one on one time. We had to do it on the fly, in all the chaos. It is a quiet love, the kind that sneaks up on you during the daily grind. No matter your story, you will learn to love them both.

I never imagined my life would be as busy as it currently is raising two children, but I just learned to acclimate. And so will you. The more time you put in, the more ways you will find to make life easier. Trust me, you won’t want it any other way.

 

TheMamaNurse

Hi! I am a Registered Nurse on a unit that encompasses labour and delivery, postpartum, medical, surgical and palliative care in a rural hospital in Ontario, Canada. I am a mom of two and am passionate about women's rights, mom and infant care, parenting and nursing. I hope to create an educational, entertaining and highly relatable resource for women around the world. Thanks for stopping by! Xo, The Mama Nurse

12 thoughts on “6 Things To Know Before Having Your Second Child

  • October 12, 2015 at 9:37 am
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    Parenting is a job in itself. You manage to do that well and have a career. You have a wonderful family. I am so very proud of you.

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    • October 12, 2015 at 2:08 pm
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      Thank you! I am lucky to have so much support, yourself included. It really does take a village.

      Reply
  • October 12, 2015 at 2:18 pm
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    Good blog! I will forward it to Janna, who is currently carrying our second grandbaby.

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    • October 12, 2015 at 2:39 pm
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      Thanks Marilyn! I appreciate the support and hope Janna gets something out of it.

      Reply
  • October 13, 2015 at 1:44 am
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    Awesome blog!! Sums it up quite nicely and I’m glad you wrote it just before our second is to arrive. I’ll def be sharing this one. You are a rockstar girl- always remember that. xo

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  • February 2, 2016 at 3:10 pm
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    Interesting read for a mother of one, planning number two. I definitely think I will struggle with the lack of nap time, sometimes knowing I could (can!) have a nap on a tough day, is all that keeps me sane… #abitofeverything

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    • February 2, 2016 at 8:39 pm
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      Definitely! I found that even if you develop a routine where your oldest has quiet time during baby’s naps you can at least rest a bit if not nap. The transition from one to two is so much harder, but worth it! Love seeing my two interact, they’re just the cutest with each other… for now 😉

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  • February 2, 2016 at 4:31 pm
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    I definitely relate to this as a mum of two. Great post #abitofeverything

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  • February 3, 2016 at 12:16 am
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    I completely agree with every point you made. I went through the same thing when pregnant with my second. I wondered how my relationship would be with the new baby since I was so close to my son. But here I am today and I could not imagine my family without my daughter. Somehow it all just works out because it was meant to be. Now ask me about having a third and I might have a different answer. 🙂

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  • February 8, 2016 at 7:35 am
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    I left a fairly large gap of 5 years between babies 1 and 2 so many of these things were not so much of a problem. I could still utilise nap times when boy 1 was at school and beczuse he was a little older, he had 1-1 time with mummy when baby was napping in the evenings.
    It is amazing how your heart manages to grow to provide twice as much love …when baby 2 comes along
    Thanks for sharing with us, Tracey xx

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    • February 8, 2016 at 4:49 pm
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      Ooh I am kind of jealous! I really wish that I had more 1:1 time with my son. However, my son and daughter were able to bond together more in the first year because she was home and I was able to spend more time with her as well. There’s always positives as well. And yes! It is crazy how much you change and how much your heart can grow as your family does! So much truth to that 😀

      Reply

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