My baby boy Alex is nearly one whole year old now. That means I have almost made it through 12 months as a mum of two. Making the leap from no babies to one baby was difficult, life changing, don’t get me wrong but taking the plunge and having a second baby? Well, that’s just a whole different ball game. When you announce the news you have another bun in the oven people will tell you things like: ‘the second baby just slots right in’ , ‘it’s so much easier the second time around’ and ‘you will know what you are doing this time’. While all these bits of advice are said with nothing but good intentions most of the time, I kind of wish people would stop telling pregnant mums what they want to hear and instead start dishing out the cold hard facts. I love being a mum of two but I was a bit naïve to how much life would change all over again when we had our second baby. If you are currently expecting your second baby or are considering trying for another baby, here is an insight into what life with two small children is really like.
Everything you need to know about becoming a mum of 2
You will sometimes forget you’re pregnant – Never! I hear you cry but actually, it’s true. When you have another child to look after sometimes you will be so busy you will actually forget you are carrying another baby in your tummy. First time round you were probably checking weekly bump updates online to see if your baby is more avocado or pumpkin this week but with baby number 2 you can fly into the third trimester without really noticing at all. I feel like a whole separate post could be dedicated to the differences in pregnancy the second time round so I will just leave it at this, it is NOT the same AT ALL.
Labour second time around still hurts – I would be a very rich woman if I had a pound for every time someone told me labour is easier second time around when I was pregnant with Alex. My labour was quicker the second time but, god, it still hurt. It hurt loads, the contractions were just as painful as they had been on my first trip to the labour ward 3 years before.
Sleep deprivation is even more horrific – When you have one baby keeping you up all night life can be really hard, You spend your days wandering around like a zombie wondering why you have put your keys in the fridge and why there’s clean laundry hanging out of the bin. Anyway, if your baby is up all night but wants to sleep until 11am then at least you can grab some sleep in the day too. Sleep when baby sleeps is completely impossible when you have an older child to look after, especially if that older child doesn’t nap. Not once since my husbands paternity leave have I been able to catch up on some much needed sleep during the day, not once. No wonder I found myself on the verge of tears for no good reason multiple times a day in those first few months.
Mastering the synchronised nap will make you feel like a boss – I don’t think I have ever felt more like supermum than on those rare occasions that I have managed to get both my kids to nap – at the same time. Usually this parenting feet of dreams is only achieved if I plan a 20 minute drive at exactly the right time of day. It does mean that there have been occasions I have had to set up camp in the car with snacks and a book for an hour while the boys sleep (only a crazy person would try and move them) but it is so worth it for the peace. If you are able to achieve the impossible and get both children to nap in the house in their beds so you can crawl into your own bed or get some stuff done then you, my friend, are a parenting genius and deserve a medal.
You won’t be able to meet both their needs all of the time – Small children need a lot from us parents. Babies need help with every basic need – eating, sleeping, pooing.. – and while toddlers may have some of these mastered they are by no means ready to tackle the big wide world without us just yet. There was a time that Alex was screaming for a feed in the coffee shop so I sat down with Leo and fed him. Newborns can take an eternity to feed and about 10 minutes in Leo started doing an all too familiar, heart stopping dance. He uttered the words no mum of a newly potty trained toddler with a hangry baby stuck to her boob wants to hear, ‘I need a weeee mummy!’. I was trapped, take Alex off and force the whole café to listen to his shrieks, try and get Leo to hold it or point him in the direction of the loos and hope for the best? What happened in the end was just as I was plucking up the courage to walk across Costa with my boob out, Leo wet himself all over the floor. I am not trying to say that public pants wetting is common place when you have two children but I am just trying to explain that sometimes you will be getting pulled in two different directions by two demanding little people and it won’t always end well. That’s ok though, you will slowly figure it all out together.
Sometimes you will have a favourite – Yes, I did really just say that. You will love both your children, always, but sometimes you will find yourself liking one a little bit more than the other. How can you not prefer your toddler who sleeps like a dream when it’s 3 am and your baby is fighting sleep after hours of feeding and rocking? How can you not like your baby more when your toddler is screaming at you having an almighty public tantrum while your baby just gurgles at you from their pram with a smile on their face? I love both my boys equally and most of the time I like them exactly the same amount too but, occasionally, one of them will be getting on my last nerve and I will definitely prefer the company of the other one. This doesn’t make you a bad mum, it makes you human.
You will do whatever it takes to get through the day – Breastfeed a baby while taking a toddler for a poo? Done that. Let your toddler eat Coco Pops for lunch 3 days in a row because you are too tired to even make a sandwich? Done that too. Watch Paw Patrol all day, listen to Cbeebies theme songs on repeat for hours, let your toddler play rogue in the park all morning because the house feels like a prison. When you have two children sometimes it really does feel like you are doing whatever possible to just make it from your ridiculously early start to bedtime in one piece. First time around I was so strict on the whole TV babysitter thing, now I welcome Ryder and his team of pups into my home with welcome arms. Anything to keep one child happy while I deal with the other is a blessing. We have lots of fun time together as a family obviously but sometimes making it through the daily grind is tough if you don’t let yourself relax on the small stuff a bit.
They don’t just slot it – Honestly, I heard this so much when I was pregnant with number 2 and it just isn’t true. Your routine will change when you have a second baby, it is unavoidable. Don’t worry, all that hard work you have done building a routine for your eldest won’t go out the window but for a little while trying to live your lives exactly the same way won’t be possible. You won’t always be able to get your toddler down for a nap at exactly 2pm as sometimes you may be in the middle of feeding your baby or be dealing with a poo explosion. Bathtime may have to be brought forward half an hour so you can have time to get the baby to bed too. Daddy might have to take over bedtime duties with the eldest for a while so you can see to the baby. Some days you will forget all about giving your toddler their mid afternoon snack until you find yourself facing the conundrum of if I give him a snack now will he refuse to eat his tea? I found that by just sticking to a loose routine worked best in the early days when life got turned upside down and back to front and now Alex is almost 1 we are all back in routine and things are running smoothly (most days).
Mum guilt is even worse – I hate mum guilt! I thought I had it bad when I was a mum to just one but now I find it even more difficult to deal with. Here is a short (and by no means complete) list of all the things I have felt guilty about since Alex was born:
- He doesn’t get enough one on one time with me
- I don’t read to him
- He spends too much time in his bouncy chair instead of my arms
- I give him his dummy too much
- He doesn’t get to nap enough because I am always dragging him along to Leo’s toddler groups
- All his clothes are hand me downs
- I never buy him toys as he has all of Leos
- I feed him shop bought baby food too much
- He never gets to bath on his own as him and Leo share to save water
- I don’t do as much with him as I did when Leo was a baby
There is more but I won’t go on otherwise we will be here all day. Mum guilt is horrible and the best way to deal with it is to just stop putting so much pressure on yourself to be perfect. The baby days are never going to be the same when there is an older child thrown in to the mix, just do what you can and know that your baby has no idea that you used to read ‘That’s not my bunny’ 15 times in a row to their elder sibling or that his clothes are not fresh from the shop rails but instead have been dug out from the attic upstairs.
Comparison is unavoidable – You will tell everyone you are not going to do it but you will. I always thought I wouldn’t compare my two boys, they are individuals after all, but I can’t help but do it sometimes. Whenever Alex masters a new skill I can’t resist delving into the memory bank to see if he has learnt it before or after Leo did. With every new tooth that makes an appearance I find myself wracking my brain to remember how many teeth Leo had at the same age. I don’t do it to try and see which of my children was more advanced or whatever as a baby, I just do it because I am curious to see how similar or not the two boys are.
You might not cope as well the second time around – I have made it no secret on this blog that I found having two children really difficult in those first few months. I suffered from terrible anxiety resulting in a spell of post natal depression. This is something I didn’t experience when Leo was born. I am not saying this will happen to you too, just be aware that just because you coped mentally the first time around doesn’t necessarily make you immune to any mental health problems after the birth of your second child.
They won’t always like each other – One of the reasons we decided to have another baby was so that Leo could have a sibling, a little play mate and friend forever. Sometimes I don’t think Leo really appreciates the gift of a brother though and wishes he had us all to himself again. At just 10 months and the other 4, these two boys are already getting into arguments over toys and are showing signs of jealousy when the other has our attention. When you have a second baby you can’t help but want it to be picture perfect moments of your toddler kissing your newborn’s head, playing gently and helping you look after their new tiny sibling, in reality this is not always the case. There are plenty of heart warming moments to watch between your two children, memories that are definitely worth cherishing, but just know that it is not always going to be perfect.
You worry less – Remember how a simple heat rash was enough to leave you running with your new baby in a panic to the doctors surgery as a first time mum? Well, second time around you can expect to be more relaxed about these kind of things. By now you will have become pretty good at trusting your gut instinct as a parent and things that used to leave you terrified now don’t worry you so much. It doesn’t mean you care less about your second baby than you did your first, it just means you are more experienced now and know when you need to worry and when you don’t.
The basics can still be difficult – Breastfeeding the second time around was more difficult than it was the first. Changing a nappy without almost getting poo everywhere is still something I am yet to master and taming a toddler tantrum? I am sure I am going to find that just as challenging the second time around too. Looking after a baby is hard work but at least when it is your second you will have picked up some hacks from the first time around, like using baby sleeping bags instead of stressing yourself out something stupid over your baby kicking off their blanket in the night (just me?).
Milestone moments aren’t the same – When your first baby learns to do new things you seriously feel like it is the greatest thing you have ever seen. The excitement over rolling over, the hysteria over that first laugh, you still feel that the second time around but just not quite as much as you did with your first. With Leo I couldn’t wait for him to reach the next milestone whereas with Alex I am desperate for time to just slow down. I am in no rush to see him take his first steps!
You will never know love like it – You will fall in love with your second baby just as much as you did with your first. Your love for you first doesn’t get less to make space in your heart for your new baby too, it continues to grow. I love my two boys so much and whenever I see them both together I feel like I could actually explode. Seeing Leo hold Alex’s hand or watching Alex look at Leo with complete adoration just melts my heart. There are hard days but when I see my two boys together I know that making that jump from one baby to two was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
That’s it, everything (well, not really but almost) you need to know about having a second baby. If you are sat reading this expecting your second baby I am not trying to scare you, just trying to be honest. I always think honesty is the best policy when it comes to parenting, at least then you can be prepared. Having two kids is amazing, it really is. Amazing but hard friggin work too – you’re going to love it.
Are you expecting baby number 2? How are you feeling about impending arrival? Parents of two or more kids, got anything to add to this list? I would love to hear your thoughts.
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Eeek yes, a bit scared now!!! I agree though I hear so much “oh second Babies just slot in” etc… and I’m pretty sure somewhere someone is due a more difficult second! My first baby was pretty chilled and slept well (she’s making up for it now – devil toddler!) so I’m worried this next one is going to cry and have me up all night! But I can’t wait for the sibling moments xx
Susie at This Is Me Now recently posted…24 weeks pregnant – a bit of an update
brilliant and honest! Funnily enough we’ve been discussing the favourite thing with friends a lot lately, I totally agree it changes any given moment. I love my equally too, but there are moments when Adam is telling me how he loves me more than anything and how beautiful I am and at the same time Aspen is having some teenage girl breakdown that I think Adam is my favourite right now lol. They all matter, they are all loved and they all can drive me nuts. My labours were completely different. Aspen was stressful, April was the most beautiful (yes I did say beautiful) out of body hippy like experience and Adam was a C-section. And no one just slotted in, but the minute they were here I couldn’t imagine life without them! I think this post will offer great help to many mums to be of number 2! #mg
Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…I want to stop . . . #livingfearlesslyauthentic #mg
I have twins so have experienced much of this – synchronising sleep times and catering to both their very different needs at the same time – whew! that was hard. Whoever said twins did the same things at the same time had no clue what it could be like, at least with fraternal twins it’s like bringing up two separate same-aged babies.
Obsessivemom recently posted…Parents’ guide to basic vocabulary
When I had my second baby, my first had just turned 2,I struggled a bit because their needs were so different, after having my third I registered as a child minder and had ages from 3 months to 8 years and I loved every minute #triamphanttales@_karendennis
My boys are teenagers. This seems so far away but I can still remember the horrific sleepless nights and walking around like a zombie! Thanks for sharing.
The sleep is the thing that scares me the most. I was a staunch follower of the sleep when they sleep rule! #DreamTeam
I remember forgetting I was pregnant too, you’re just so busy with one that it doesn’t always register! #triumphanttales
The Tale of Mummyhood recently posted…The Snowman Tour 2017 – A Season to Remember
Thanks for being so honest. We are sort of rather half arsed tryin by for our second. Even that is not the same as trying for the first lol. No scientifics and insisting on it being every other day at least. Just if we can be arsed lol and if it happens great if not oh well we are more than busy with one lol.
Cassie Parish recently posted…Mummy’s first day at preschool.
More reasons not to have a second baby, haha!! In all honestly, I love this post. I felt myself nodding along, sort of imagining what life of two would be like. And your photos are so, so gorgeous! You must be so proud! Thank you so much for linking this up to #DreamTeam! xxx
Mrs Lighty recently posted…#DreamTeam Linky – Week 73
Hey. Had to click on this link because I am 6 weeks into the second time mum thing. And I already agree with a lot of what you say, the favourite keeps changing and the mum guilt has been my constant companion. Currently I have some support in the form of my parents so been able to catch a few winks during the day.
Hey Namy… I just got to know about it. I am into fourth month of second pregnancy. Wish you good. Hope coping up with 2 kids not be too diffciult.
I love the fact that my boys really care about each other and have a strong bond even though they row a lot they can still play nicely together as well X #twinklytuesday
Oh my goodness, yes, I agree. Having my first daughter was scary, but having the second was terrifying. You’re supposed to know what you’re doing, which you do, but the first time you only had to worry about one child; all of a sudden you’re juggling so many balls you’re struggling to hold it altogether #coolmumclub x
This post should come with a warning for women pregnant with number two ha ha!
All of these points are spot on, and possibly the opposing but essential read to match my ‘having a second baby’ post which gushes about how you shouldn’t worry about having your second… both are true, both reflect a different angle!
For me, I lucked out with a super chilled newborn (hence my post referenced above) but things MAJORLY changed when we hit toddlerdom. Some have it the reverse, some have no problems, some have terrors…there’s just no knowing and it’s all a gamble! Neeldess to say there WON’T BE a third lol.
Great read, and thanks for linking to #coolmumclub
Thank you for being so open and honest about how you find it with two. I agree that not everything people say ring true of our children. I’ve never been able to sleep while the girls nap even if they do fall asleep in different areas of the house at the same time and as for people saying the youngest just slots right in I don’t agree. My youngest seems to have been born to stand out and be heard. #mg
Helena recently posted…Embracing Autumn With Kids
This is a gorgeous and beautifully honest post. Your boys are gorgeous and I can tell from your words that your family is full of love. Ditch the guilt about the hand me downs. Kids don’t even realise they are in hand me downs until they are too cool for school teenagers. Pen x #coolmumclub
Pen recently posted…It’s autumn and time for a pep talk
This is so refreshingly honest. As someone who only has one, it’s always interesting to read what it’s really like! Thanks for joining in at #TriumphantTales!
Jaki recently posted…Kiddie’s Bake Off – The Benefits Of Kitchen Play for Kids
Ahhh I absolutely loved this post, and connected to each and every point in it. I have felt the same mom guilt, worries, adoration towards my two girls (17 months apart). Those first few months were so difficult, especially because I couldn’t breastfeed my newborn, like i did with my elder daughter. The guilt still bothers me today, one year later. But I have become a stronger mom in raising both kiddos. Now I give advice to my expectant friends, that time will make everything get better. Just have to give it time, give yourself time to learn how to mother two kids. #thesatsesh
again such a great post! Popping back from #thesatsesh
Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…Let’s celebrate: a tribute post #mummyshot
This is such a fantastic post! I could have written it word for word and it would have been so helpful to read when I was expecting Oscar! That love though – god it’s a lot! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
Nodding along to all of this – magnified now I have three! #twinklytuesday
Crummy Mummy recently posted…10 things to do with 10 minutes me time
Oh I so very much agree with these. The mama guilt 2nd time around seems much more amplified doesn’t it. Thanks so much for linking up to #bloggersbests
Yes to so many of these (even though I went from 1 to 3 with the twins!) – the mum guilt, the sleep deprivation but also feeling like a boss when the the synchronised naps work out right! This is a really comprehensive and helpful post for people expecting their second child Wendy – excellent work. xx #thesatsesh
You are blessed! These two little ones are the most handsome. The struggle is always worth it!
Great post, so honest, I have an 18 month old and we will be trying for our second baby next year so you’ve given me some things to prepare for! scared to death but at the same time love the idea of another one x