I remember that first drive home with Lottie so vividly. Equally exciting and terrifying. I couldn’t wait to get our baby girl home, but I couldn’t believe that the nurses were letting us leave.
We had zero credentials.
I had never changed a diaper and definitely had no idea what to do with the tiny human I was blessed with. The emotions driving away from the hospital, away from the safety of caretakers and the medical staff, was unnerving.
Once at home, as a first time mom, everything was something. Nothing was simple, everything was an event or blown up into a bigger thing than it should have been. I wish I could tell all of the first time moms not to worry so much, or stress less, and definitely stay away from the internet… but I get it.
You are relying daily on Dr. Google, asking questions you never thought you would ask, trying to figure out if your new baby is hitting the milestones, or a cough is really a symptom of something way worse. You are trying to put forth a picture perfect cuddle session, while your insides are exhausted. Milestones are big things. Sleeping, breastfeeding, leaving the house to go to the grocery. It’s all a thing, because it is all new.
Second babies are different.
Each baby has their own personality and quirks, but the second time around you have the confidence you can figure them out. At the end of the day you’ve raised one kid and helped them through that first year, so you figure you can do it again. You know what to expect… at least a little.
With Lottie, most of my time was spent on the basics. Eating, Sleeping and Pooping. I wanted to know she was doing it all. I remember tracking feedings, and the color of poop. I read sleep books about training and how to get your baby to sleep through the night as soon as possible.
This time around, my little man is along for the ride.
There isn’t a routine with him tummy time or a reading schedule to enhance his vocabulary above average. He is living in his sisters world, getting dragged to parks and pools, napping in his car seat and I’m sure his meals will be less homemade and veggie filled than hers were.
I’ve heard God makes the second babies tougher and more flexible…I get that now.
As a second time mom my heart aches for Lottie. How do I let her know without a doubt she will always be loved. That she is irreplaceable. How do you tell a toddler that although baby needs mommy constantly, you are still her first baby and that love is like none other.
As a first time mom, you and your little get into a groove. Things are easy. You develop an unspoken arrangement and can communicate without words. Suddenly as a second time mom your routines change and toddlers aren’t keen on change, especially when it involves less attention on them. My day centers on finding a balance. My energy this time around is on parenting my toddler and less about the babies poop. I focus on spending quality time, even if for a few minutes, with each of them separately.
There’s no “sleep when your baby sleeps” the second time around (at least for me!). I might get a 30 min pocket when the two are sleeping at the same time, but mostly it’s she goes down, he wakes up… and he falls asleep as she is waking. It’s never-ending.
It’s feeding baby all night, and watching toddler all day. You can’t run to the bathroom and leave the baby in their swing like you did the first time around, because if your toddler is anything like mine she will think she is just giving him a hug, but she is really doing a full body slam into the ground.
It’s exhausting because you can’t look away.
You do things you never believed possible, like breastfeeding the little, while lifting the toddler onto the toilet. Or changing a diaper with one hand while holding your toddler in the other. There are no limits to what moms can do when we put our minds to it. I know, I make this sound glamorous.
There’s less pressure the second time around.
Your first is measured by doctor appointments and milestones. You count the number of words they have, report back on poop consistency and read books about parenting, that tell you the best way to do everything.
With the second you realize there is no best way – every child’s different and you do what you need to survive.
It’s not about dressing them in the cutest outfit (although that is fun). It’s about function and ease. My baby boy’s closet is definitely emptier and he might be rockin’ some pink onesies from his sister, and that’s ok because those first three months are a lot of poop, spit up and milk all over everything.
That moment when your first baby starts acknowledging the new baby as part of your family.
Our transition has been rough, but she loves loves loves her brother. She doesn’t like sharing the hugs and attention, but she has always loved Henry. Every morning it’s ” See Henry” “Hold Henry” “Where’s Henry”, She wants to be with him at all times. A bit of it is jealousy because she knows I need to be with him too, but there are moments when she just loves kissing on him and those moments warm my heart. She hears him cooing and gleefully screams “Henry talking!” “Henry laughing”. When she thinks I’m not looking she talks to him and kisses him, she wants him to be included with everything. And the first time she told me Henry was her best friend… that is all I want and I pray that stays forever.
I love being a second time mommy, despite the exhaustion and chaos that comes with having two.
I eagerly drove home from the hospital this time, and know that sometime in the next year my new baby will smile, laugh, crawl, walk and start eating when he is ready. I have less cuddle time since my toddler is running circles around me, but when I get a chance to spend one on one time with my little, I refuse to take my eyes off him. I am able to spend more time focusing on the miracle of the little baby in front of me, and less time on if I am doing everything by the book. I google everything less, that alone is freeing. Josh and I are more of a team than ever. We’ve grown and survived one, and know what to expect this time around from each other.
Every scraped knee, cough and transition is easier because I’ve lived it once, and while different, becoming a mom the second time around has been an adventure and challenge that I happily accept! We have double the love in the house and have one more heart. Although I am splitting my attention, my love has grown, and Henry not only gets me and dad lovin’ on him, he has a big sister watching out for him and caring for him.