As a pregnant woman and new mom, you worry about nearly everything. You’re bombarded with advice, warnings and recommendations from friends, family and a host of baby books and articles, which can induce anxiety no matter how cool you are.
During my first pregnancy, I worried that maybe I wouldn’t be a good mom. Maybe I didn’t have the mom gene, maybe I wouldn’t like being a mom. Maybe I wouldn’t have a natural mothering instinct and just ‘know’ what to do like everyone said I would. I didn’t have a lot of experience with babies. I had never held more than a couple babies before my first child was born. Her first diaper change was my first diaper change. But when they laid her on my chest right after being born, I knew that I would do everything I could to give her everything. It was definitely love at first sight.
When we decided to have a second child, I didn’t have the apprehension about being a mom. I mean, I had kept my first child alive for 2 years, and while I was nowhere near the perfect mom, I wasn’t worried about surviving baby #2 (or about baby #2 surviving in our family). And we already had all the baby stuff left over from baby #1 was, so we were pretty much set.
I think there were a lot of things that I did differently with baby #2. I was also less of a mess in the weeks after having baby, which I think everyone around me appreciated.
So, as a tribute to all the soon-to-be or recent second-time (and third-time and fourth-time) mommies out there, here are 8 things that moms do differently with baby #2:
- You don’t stress as much about what you eat while pregnant. With baby #1, you probably followed all the rules about what to not eat and drink. I cut out everything from lunch meat to coffee to sugar. While pregnant with baby #2, I drank coffee (like 1 cup per day, not triple espressos), ate sandwiches every other day and scarfed sugary treats to my hearts content. I wasn’t chugging beer or eating sushi, but I definitely became more relaxed with my restricted pregnant diet.
- You stop counting your pregnancy in days. You are chasing another kid around. You don’t have time for an app or daily countdown of the number of days remaining. I also didn’t know what fruit or vegetable they’re currently the size of.
- You don’t rush to create a perfectly coordinated nursery before baby arrives. Our first baby had a beautiful nursery, complete with Pottery Barn bedding, coordinating wall color and custom artwork that I made (even though she slept in a pack and play in our room for the first 6 months). Poor baby #2 had no nursery. She slept in the pack and play for 6 months and then slept in office/guest room in the pack and play until she was ready to move into a big kid bed in the bedroom she shares with her big sister.
- You don’t worry about breaking or hurting newborn baby #2. You’ve been here before. You are probably a diaper changing ninja who can feed a baby while phone surfing Facebook at the same time.
- You don’t dress them like baby fashionistas. With baby #1, you carefully pre-wash (in unscented detergent) and fold/hang all baby clothes, organized by month. They’re always dressed in a new outfit, complete with coordinating accessories, even if you’re not leaving the house. Baby #2 gets a mish mash of stained, pre-worn onesies and pajamas, because they’re just going to throw up or poop on them so why get them all dressed up? Oh and no one has time to fold baby clothes when you have 2 kids, so you probably just keep them in the laundry basket.
- You’re a little less concerned about dirt and germs. The diaper commercial that show the comparison between your first baby (where she makes the girl cover her body in hand sanitizer before she holds the baby) vs. your second (she hands baby #2 off the the dirt covered mechanic) is a bit extreme but true. With #2, I wasn’t crazy about people washing their hands before holding her and on the occassion that she used a pacifier, a quick rinse was enough ‘sanitizing’ for my peace of mind.
- You take fewer pictures. You’re too busy taking care of two kids to document their every movement with your iPhone. Don’t worry you’ll still take some pictures, thought they’ll probably never make it into a baby book (at least until they’re toddlers anyways).
- You stop doubting yourself (as much). You act like you know what to do because you do (or at least you have a pretty good idea). You’re not as hard on yourself and you don’t stress about every single decision and how it will affect them 20 years down the road.
All that really matters is that moms love baby #2 (and #3 and #4) just as much as the first child. You just spend more time being a mom than worrying about being a mom when you’re a second time mom.