Skip Nav
Personal Essay
How a Stranger's Comment Changed the Way I Parent
Pokemon Go
These Pokémon Cakes Are Fit For Any Trainer's Birthday Party
Parenting
Why Your Kids Need to Be Able to Do This by Their 5th Birthday

Differences Between First and Second Children

What I've Learned From Baby Number Two

We're excited to share this post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we will be bringing you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post from Carolyn Robertson about lessons learned from a second child.

Motherhood has been a very humbling experience so far . . . which is a nice way of saying it’s knocked me on my ass many times over. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been midconversation with another grown-up and suddenly realized that (a) my breasts are leaking, or (b) I have a crusty old food stain on my shirt, or (c) I am decorated with Little Mermaid tattoos and sparkly dinosaur stickers and Phineas & Ferb Band-Aids.

Related: Would you want a big family?

I assumed, though, that I would have a much better handle on things the second time around. Sleep issues, tantrums, separation anxiety, potty training: been there, done that, bring it on. And then I met my second daughter.

Here are a few things that I’ve learned from baby number two:

  1. Sleep training doesn’t always work: I was one of those moms who swore by sleep training. CIO works, I’d tell my mom friends. It’s not fun, but if you stick with it, it works. My oldest, after all, started sleeping through the night and never stopped after we let her cry it out at 6 months old. Well, it turns out it doesn’t always work, after all. I did everything exactly the same with Amelia, but at 21 months old, she’s still not a great sleeper.
  2. Sometimes babyproofing really is necessary: I read in some baby book that we do our kids no favors when we babyproof the home — they have to learn limits, after all. Made sense to me! So with our first, we did the bare minimum (baby gate on the stairs, potentially poisonous stuff out of reach) and took care of everything else with a firm “no touch!” and gentle redirection. Worked like a charm. We figured we’d do the same with our youngest, but as it turns out our little angel loves to body slam the window screens and climb into the fireplace. Everything — everything — goes in her mouth. We tell her "no," we redirect, and she laughs and becomes that much more determined. Our house is now so childproofed that even I have trouble getting into the kitchen cupboards.
  3. No two kids are the same: My first is shy and cautious — my second would run into traffic to hug a stranger. My first is sensitive and gentle — my second is a crazy little steamroller. They are different in every way imaginable, and I’m starting to see that all those tried-and-true tricks that worked for one probably won’t work for the other.

One last thing I’ve learned? You really can love another baby as much as you love your first. I harbored secret fears that I would never be able to love any other child with the depth and intensity that I do my older daughter. I was wrong.

What did you learn from your second — third or fourth — child?

More great reads from BabyCenter:
What does a stay-at-home mom do all day?
Is Strawberry Shortcake looking a bit trampy these days?
Five children's books that celebrate Black History Month
Seven adorable mobiles for any nursery
Is a 6-year-old too young for boarding school?

Image Source: Thinkstock
Around The Web
Join The Conversation
springfellow3 springfellow3 4 years
Wow, la douce musique d'un compliment de Rebecca M. Grubber SpringFellowHawke <3
Reasons You Are Not Losing Weight
Dad's Breastfeeding Story
Signs of Sensory Processing Disorder
Potty Training Experts
Ways to Avoid Kids Interrupting Sex
What It's Like to Have 3 Kids, Exactly

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

From Our Partners
Latest Moms
X