Having your first baby is a huge learning curve. The nappies, the sleepless nights, breastfeeding, teething, weaning, learning to leave the house with the biggest bag packed full of items to prepare you for every possible circumstance. You cry, you laugh, you wonder why you did it one minute and the next you are beaming with pride… it’s a funny old time but you get there. The first year passes and your tiny baby gradually turns into an actual little person and then you have all sorts of other areas to contend with; toddler anyone?! Tantrums, potty training, why Mummy but why’s?!
And then you decide to do it all over again…
We personally decided that we needed a 3-4 year age gap to give ourselves time to forget about those worst times and to try and get over the sleepless nights the best we could… he still wakes! Sigh. And so, we now have our second bundle of joy and my, is it a whole different ballgame? Each baby is most definitely different and this is what I’ve learnt so far:
I had no experience of colic or reflux before this new baby and I am so glad I didn’t because I’m not sure I would have had any more babies! My god, the screaming is just relentless, isn’t it?! I am slowly becoming an expert in all remedies, medications and therapies that can help a baby in distress and learning that doctors like to use colic as an excuse for almost everything… Urghhhh
Sleep is for the weak
Do you know what? I can cope surprisingly well on 3 hours sleep. I thought my first was a sleep thief, oh how I was wrong. He woke to feed a hell of a lot but he never woke and just cried all night, he didn’t have me pacing the floor and rocking until I was exhausted (except at nap time). This new arrival has me doing all of this and to top it off the first is still waking at night! They are lucky they are so god damn cute, that’s all I can say!
Getting out of the house for the pre-school run is a nice stressful job now… Wow, how do you Mums do it with more than 2? What time do you have to get up at to make this all work?! The number of times I am running Jake through those doors is laughable. But at least we are getting there I guess.
What worked for the first child isn’t always working for the second so it is like being a new Mum all over again in some ways. I am working out what helps William and what doesn’t through a lot of trial and error. Jake loved a dummy, William doesn’t. Jake loved his Moses basket, William loves our bed. Infacol worked for Jake, it hasn’t done for William. Jake couldn’t sleep through noise, William prefers it noisy. I think this is what keeps us parents on our toes!
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Getting the balance right between the children has been one of the biggest areas to get right. We have been very lucky that Jake likes to help and as he is older he has a good understanding of what is going on but that’s not to say that he hasn’t had his emotional moments, his times when he craves attention or just needs a bit of 1 on 1 time. Through the hospital visits and stays, William being in NICU and us coping with a prem baby poor Jake has had to take a lot on board at a very young age. A new baby is a lot for a sibling to deal with in normal circumstances so trying to get the balance right in a situation like ours has been pretty tough but now we are in a getting into a good routine things are starting to slot into place.
Breastfeeding on the go
The days of breastfeeding happily on the sofa whilst watching films, eating chocolate and drinking tea have long gone. I have learnt that I can now feed whilst walking around the house, making Jake his dinner, feeding the pets and tidying up. I have taken multi-tasking to a whole new level!
Patience is something we all need to discover deep inside ourselves when we become parents, even more so when the toddler and threenager stages come into play but you suddenly realise how much more you need when there are 2 children to look after. I have learnt that a lot of things need to be ignored– the mess, the accidents, the strops– because I now have far more important things to be focused on and my patience would wear too thin if I continued to try and do it all. Of course, breathing slowly and counting to 10 really does help!
The house can wait
I struggled the first time round to let my home slide and would often beat myself up over not getting it all done in one day as I used to prior to having kids. I can now accept that some days nothing will get done, that the finer details don’t matter and that I can leave some things for a lot longer than I would have done in the past.
Time is precious
I look at Jake and wonder how he suddenly became a 4-year-old. I know it’s a cliche but seriously, where does the time go? One minute I was crying over his teething problems keeping us awake and causing him pain, then I was chasing a crazy toddler all over the place, next I was excited at him starting pre-school and now I am facing him going to school and not seeing him for most of the week… can we turn back the clock please?! So now I am ready to do it all again and fully understand how precious time is with these little guys.
I have so much love
Expecting a second child can bring so many emotions and thoughts and although most are positive, it is very easy to wonder if you will love this child in the same way as your first. With your first born it is all so new and crazy and exciting that you end up absorbing everything they do, documenting every tiny first moment and you truly believe they are the best thing to ever enter your life… Leaving you to worry that you could never feel the same about a second child. I have learnt that it can all be just as good and I have so much love for these 2 boys that I feel as though I could burst.