Thoughts after my second baby was born – Surviving the first month

I posted previously my Thoughts while waiting for my second baby and I have a confession to make: I actually drafted that post mid-December and a few days afterwards my son was born, so  I only managed to publish it on January 10th! Talk about being slow!

Before my second child was born, I could only imagine what it was like to come home with another baby, based on parenting books and other blogs; then it finally happened and life changed again for us all:

  • The smaller the age difference between kids, the more difficult it is at the beginning. In our case the age difference is 2 years and 4 months, so old enough to understand some things, but not yet leaving behind the famous “terrible twos”. They say that 3 years is ideal for peace of mind, since you can reason much easier with the older child and manage the transition period much better.
  • Being tired takes a brand new meaning – with the second baby you are older and already “consumed” by the first child, so you feel exhausted much faster. On top of this, if the older child still wakes up at least once every night, your sleep is interrupted not only by the night feedings of the baby, but also by the nightmares or hunger of the older child. To make it even more interesting, my children do not synchronize, so we just manage to put to sleep one child when another one wakes up.
  • If you think having twins is incredibly difficult, think about how difficult it is to manage a small child that has imagination to do all sorts of things around the house and another that is constantly needing you. If you supplement with formula or exclusively bottle feed it is even more difficult, since you have no free hand and need to run around the house to  check on the older child with a baby in one hand and a bottle in the other one.
  • What is free time? After a certain time with one child, parents end up managing their time so that they also have some free time for themselves, since it is 2 against 1: if one parent stays with the child, the other one is free. With two kids, when one parent is with one child, the other parent has to take care of the second child. When our second baby came, during this first month we just rushed to bed the moment both kids were sleeping and appreciated each minute of sleep. Grandparents or other people that can help relieve the pressure on the parents are appreciated even more than when having only one child. Unfortunately we don’t live in the same city with our parents, so we rarely have the opportunity to have extra helping hands.
  • Staying at home with only one of the kids seems sooo easy, I cannot even imagine why I ever thought it was difficult.
  • The washing machine is more used than ever before – through some kind of magic, the laundry basket of the kids fills up almost immediately after you put the clothes in the washing machine.
  • Getting out of the house in the morning is more challenging than expected. You kind of end up in a vicious circle: by the time you get ready the baby, the older child already has found a new thing to do and no longer wants to go. When you finally convince the older child to come, the baby already is crying and needs a diaper change or is hungry.
  • Parenting books are still useful – even if you know the drill, the chapters that deal with sibling rivalry are, in my opinion, an essential read before the birth of the second child. We knew what to expect and how to deal with the situation, so after the first month we feel that things start to settle in this domain.
  • Thank God for Kindergarten! Having the older child in daycare, allows me to do other things around the house and even get some sleep from time to time, so I can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

However difficult it is, we don’t regret for even one second our decision to have a second child. You cannot imagine the feeling when the older child kisses or caresses the baby and how rewarding is the feeling at the end of each day, when not one, but two children become one day older.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the first month with a baby in the comments section below.

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