The Second Baby Really Isn’t Any Easier Than The First

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You may think that dealing with a second child has to be easier than dealing with the first, right? You have all that experience under your belt. It’s not your first time at the rodeo. You’re a pro.

Not in my experience.

Yes, there are things that are slightly less confusing, but for the most part — the second child is just as difficult as the first. Sorry.

The myth that parenthood comes naturally convinces some of us that we’ll just “know” what to do when we bring a baby home. Go through the experience of a first, and it may seem that the second would be a walk in the park. For some reason, it’s really not. Maybe it’s the worry that a parent naturally feels for their child or the general exhaustion that comes from new-baby sleep deprivation, but I still had all the same questions with the second that I did with the first. And the same stress.

Is she sleeping enough? Is she eating enough? When do I have to worry about her fever? How long do I have to support the back of her neck? When should I start giving her rice cereal, again? Can she eat solids before six months? Didn’t I just do this two years ago? All of these things started coming up again after I had my second child, when I was sort of expecting to have the details down, pat. I was lucky that she was a good sleeper (unlike my first), but for everything else I was consulting Google just as much as I did the first time around. And I had a whole other child to think about, too — who happened to be a toddler.

Those feelings you have when you are a new parent and everything seems overwhelming — they are totally normal. I’m not referring to PPD here, just the exhaustion an baby blues that happens for some of us after we bring a child home. And they will probably resurface again when and if you have another child. That mantra “you’ve done it all before” really doesn’t apply here. Two kids is double the work, obviously, but apart from that you can never really escape the “new child nerves.” All of the things you were concerned about will circle back.

If adding a second child to your family is causing more stress than you thought it would — don’t worry. You’re not alone. You will fall into a new groove. And if you feel like you are experiencing more stress than you can handle, visit Postpartum Progress, an amazing resource for moms who need help getting through postpartum anxiety.

(photo: Getty Images)