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Family Matters

11 Truths About Having a Second Baby

Pregnancy is completely different, you’ll worry way more about your firstborn, and more truths about having baby #2

Whether you’re pregnant with number two or just thinking about it, adding another baby to the mix is a huge game changer. And while every mom is different, here are 11 things I’ve found to be true about having a second baby.

1. You Wonder How You’ll Ever Love #2 as Much as #1

Just a guess here, but odds are you’re probably hopelessly in love with numero uno. And this means that once you’re preggo, you may start to panic. Your love for your firstborn can never be outdone! You will never love another baby’s tiny fingers and toes as much! While these feelings are 100-percent normal, you have more than enough love to go around. You will love that second kid in the same way you love your first, and in different ways, too. It works out.

2. This Pregnancy Is Not Going to Be as Glorious

My first pregnancy was kind of a breeze. When I wasn’t working, I was sleeping ‘til noon, having lunch with friends, and watching movies in bed. Oh, and thinking about the baby, trying to imagine being a mom, worrying over registry items, and tweaking my nursey décor.

The second time around? I was chasing a toddler, feeding a toddler, and—omigosh so hard in the third trimester—bathing a toddler. Did you have a little back pain that first time around? Try holding a 30-pound squirming kid with a six-plus pound kid in your belly. If you had an easy pregnancy the first time around, you’ll miss the luxury of it—and wish you’d appreciated it at the time.

3. You'll Have No Idea How Far Along You Are

Remember when you could tell anyone who asked (your ob, your MIL, the person behind the checkout counter) the estimated size of your baby (almost a cantaloupe!) and, to the day, how far along you were? The second time around you’ll bumble this question every.single.time. Try to remember your due date and go with that.

4. There's Way Less Hoopla

Everyone is going to be super excited about baby #2, but, yeah, there’s probably not going to be a work baby shower, a family one, and a surprise brunch from your besties. You might have a “sprinkle” (a mini baby shower for second-timers) or a sip ‘n see after the baby’s born to show her off. And this will likely be more than enough.

5. Birth Amnesia Is Real

Regardless of how you deliver—no meds, epidural, c-section—you get to marvel at what your body did and this gorgeous human that you created. When people asked how my delivery went the first time around, I’d reply, “It wasn’t that bad, really.” And then I went into labor for the second time and omigosh the memory of what contractions felt like came flooding back. When that moment comes, remember: You’ve done this once before and you can definitely do it again!

6. Your Schedule Might Go Off the Rails

Regular naps are key for our family functioning, as is breakfast at 8 a.m., snack at 10:15 a.m., lunch by 11:45 a.m. … well, you get the picture. So, it was a shock to my system when our second babe arrived and suddenly none of our daily routines were happening on time. Or even close to the right time. Naps were early, meals skipped, I was falling asleep on the floor as I tried to build a tower with my toddler.

The good news is that once you’re out of the newborn phase and your baby is sleeping for longer stretches, you can start to get back on a schedule. Until that time comes, try to enjoy the chaos and catch some zzzs when you can.

7. Your Workload Is About to Double…

This shouldn’t really have been a surprise, but somehow my husband and I weren’t prepared to be feeding two mouths, bathing two humans, bundling two people up on a freezing day, and slathering two bodies in sunscreen on a scorching day. Suddenly dashing out to the store doesn’t require one sippy cup, but rather one sippy cup and a bib and diapers, and oh right, a changing pad, wipes, and extra clothes.

8. …But Somehow This Is Easier

Despite your daily checklist multiplying, you’re a pro. That runny nose over there? Yeah, it will pass in a day or two. The rash on her chest? Rub some lotion on it and it will be gone by morning. Is that a hungry cry? Nope, just a skipped-his-nap cry.

You worry about every last detail the first time around—often second guessing yourself, your doctor, and your mother—but the real joy of having a second baby is the peace of mind that sets in. You’re not going to break him, you’re actually a great parent, and you know what you’re doing. Realizing this might be one of the best things about baby number two.

9. Baby #1 Will Be the Hardest Part of the Equation

While envisioning my life with a second child, I kept focusing on how difficult the baby was going to be. But in my case, when he arrived, he was a piece of cake. Sleep, eat, change, bathe, repeat. As long as he wasn’t hungry, he didn’t care who was holding him—Mom, Dad, Granny, it was all good.

My firstborn, however, continued to need new things and tackle new milestones (like climbing on furniture!) daily—and was kind of jealous of the baby. I may have known the ins and outs of babies, but I was still on a steep learning curve when it came to my ever-precocious toddler, in all her tantrum-throwing, crib-climbing, mommy-clinging glory.

10. You’ll Wonder What You Did With All Your Spare Time

It will dawn on you about a month or two into parenting multiple children when you will think to yourself, “Why on EARTH was I so stressed the first time around?” Seriously, newborns sleep all the time. What was I doing all day? You’ll wish all that time hadn’t been sucked up obsessing over small things. Luckily, that’s usually done by baby number two. Did the dog just lick the baby from head to toe? Bath’s done.

11. Your Heart Will Explode When You See #1 and #2 Together

There are certain things you expect when you’ve got a second child on the way. Exhaustion? Check. An obscene amount of laundry? Check. But there’s nothing that can prepare you for seeing your two kids together for the first time. Regardless of how your family came to be, this is the unit you created. This is your new, slightly bigger family, and seeing it right there in front of you can take your breath away.