What I’m Doing Differently with My Second Child

My second daughter is eight months old this week, and I’ve suddenly realized that — without quite consciously thinking about it — I’ve done a number of things differently with her than I did with my first child.

second childFor one thing, I’m not a first-time mom this time. I also have a toddler thrown into the mix, which means I have less undivided time and arms to parent with. And, of course, my baby is her own little person, with her very own personality and preferences.

Here are some things I’ve done differently this time around (and what a few other second-time moms have done differently as well).

I Pump Less
This is the biggest one in my mind. I pumped every night for a YEAR with my first daughter, for no real reason. I just got in the habit and didn’t quit until we went on vacation and I couldn’t fit my pump. I did NOT do that this time – I think I’ve pumped only a dozen times.

I Use a Carrier
With my older daughter, I can count on one hand the times I used the baby carrier. Who needed their hands free? (Second-time mamas, that’s who!) For the first four months of Ani’s life, I didn’t brave the grocery store without it.

I Don’t Worry as Much About Milestones
“We haven’t pushed him to crawl or roll or eat solid foods quite so early, and it’s made me much more relaxed and able to just enjoy his babyhood!” — Merrick, Merrick’s Art

I Want to Cuddle More
“I was so worried that my first baby would get used to being held and require me to hold him ALL THE TIME that I made sure I put him down to sleep. With my second, I cared a lot less. And he’s still a great sleeper.” — Kayla, Freckles in April

I Let Them Play Independently More Often
I used to feel so guilty when I let my older daughter play by herself while I did my own thing. Now, I realize how good it is for kids to develop the ability to entertain themselves, and I try to give both of my girls opportunities to do so.

I’m Less Obsessed Over How the Baby is Growing
“I promised myself that I wouldn’t get as obsessively concerned with how this next baby is eating — and I haven’t. It probably helps that he is already wearing the same diaper size as his 2-year-old sister, so there clearly isn’t any need to worry!” — Monica, Stormin’ Normandy

We Have More Books Now
“You’d think less, but she gets all of older brother’s lengthier books, too.” – Preethi, Lace Etc

I Leave the House More Often — and Sooner
With my first, this felt like climbing Mt. Everest. We were supposed to take her to dinner at a week-and-a-half old and I was frozen with fright in my bedroom for a good while before we finally bit the bullet. Although it still takes a great amount of effort to get out with two instead of just one, we’ve been starting at a much younger age. I remember going to Target with a two-week old, and it feeling freeing rather than stressful. Babies seem so portable and easy to take with us everywhere. — Monica, Stormin’ Normandy

I’m Less Worried About Being the “Perfect” Parent
“The week I had my second child, my little boy turned two. The biggest change I made in terms of my mothering was not worrying quite so much about making sure every mess was picked up or that I kept screen time down to under 30 minutes for my little guy. In those early days with a potty training toddler AND a newborn, sometimes the fact that my toddler could turn on a show for himself or that I didn’t have to worry about cleaning up his blocks for the zillionth time that day was my saving grace.” — Noelle, Belle Photography

I Dress My Second More for Comfort Than Style
“With my first, I remember loving the little outfits that made him look like a man. This time I’m going for comfort above all else, so the pieces I most often put him in are bodysuits and leggings.”— Merrick, Merrick’s Art

I’m More Flexible About Nap Schedules Now
I’m not QUITE as much of a stickler for naptimes. With a toddler who often has morning activities, we have to be a little more flexible with Kina’s morning nap.– Preethi, Lace Etc

I Introduced the Pacifier Way Earlier
“With my first I was worried about nipple confusion so I waited a long time, Rosy has had a pacifier from day one.” – Katie, Katie’s Happy Life

“I was worried about a pacifier interfering with my baby learning to latch on so I didn’t give one to my first ’til she was almost a month old. Along comes baby #2 and we had learned the beauty of pacifiers — she was happily sucking on one within 12 hours of birth (and happily no nursing trouble at all!)” — Rachel, Rachel’s Ramblings

second childI Pack Less in My Diaper Bag
Babies seem to need much fewer things this go around. Give me a swaddling blanket, a diaper and wipes, and the baby is covered (although I still like to carry a burp cloth or two). If he spits up–I’ll use the blanket; if he needs something to be changed on, I’ll use the blanket; if he needs to nurse under a cover, I’ll use the blanket. (No need for alarm; these tend to not all happen in one outing . . . usually.) Yes, my diaper bag is still heavy. But it’s more the things I’m carrying for my toddler than all I somehow managed to “need” for my infant the first time. — Monica, Stormin’ Normandy

I Didn’t Do Sleep Training
We were fairly serious about sleep training our older daughter. With Ani, it just didn’t seem as big of an issue or worth the battle, so I nursed her in the night until she started sleeping through on her own.

I Don’t Rock My Second Baby to Sleep
One of the reasons I might have been more lax about sleep training is because from the beginning we would put her in bed awake, so she got used to falling asleep on her own. Not spending half an hour rocking her to sleep made me more willing to get up in the night and feed her quickly.

I Use the Nursing Cover Less
“Because she generally hates it and I’ve gotten better at being discreet without it.” – Preethi, Lace Etc

I Rely More on Gut Instinct and Prior Experience
“I think I read 20 parenting books Clara’s first year alone; I was obsessed with being on top of this parenting thing and planning far in advance. Now, I am on auto-pilot for a lot of things as I know what worked for me in the past and what things I feel strongly about. I don’t need to consult the experts and the “experts” (*cough, cough* parents in the comment sections) as much anymore.” — Monica, Stormin’ Normandy

What things have you done differently with a second child?

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