Naturally, first-time Moms vow to do everything right. The first born child deserves nothing but the best. This is why so much time is spent during the entire pregnancy preparing, researching, and carefully making decisions that will help guide how you parent.
Excitement runs high. You simply cannot wait to meet the little bundle of joy! As the delivery date gets closer the nerves begin to set in. What should I expect? Am I ready? There are even moments of self doubt. Can I do this? Will I be a good Mom?
The first child is the most amazing, life changing experience. Beyond what you could have ever imagined. The first year is a bit of a blur. You spend the first 3-months adjusting to having a new baby around. Learning that even though they don't come with a manual, you can do this. Then you find your groove. While parenting is hard, you've got it figured out!
You realize that the baby is growing up. Baby fever sets in. Then comes baby #2. This time around, you wonder what it will be like to add another child. Can I do this? You become concerned with whether or not you will have enough love to go around. Trust me, you will! Then you try your best to soak up as much one-on-one time as you can with baby #1. As you begin to prepare for your delivery, you realize that things will be different this time around. Very different.
Here are 17 Things Moms Do With Baby #1 and Don't Do With Baby #2.
17 Forgetting The Pregnancy
You read that right! My first pregnancy was fully documented. Belly pictures capturing milestones. Revelling in pregnancy symptoms. Waiting for the day I would show and it would be obvious. Every day I spent time thinking about that little baby growing inside of me. Dreaming about what life would be like. With the second child, I would go days and simply forget I was pregnant. At least when pregnancy symptoms weren't annoying me and making life difficult. I had no idea what piece of fruit my baby resembled. I was so busy living life with #1 to stop and take note that things were changing. There were far less pictures. I just felt fat. Periodically that baby would do a little flip or kick in just the right way and I would be brought back to reality. Then my guilt would step in and I would feel like a bad Mom. How could you forget you were pregnant?
16 Buy All The Gadgets
The first time around you went crazy buying everything the "experts" recommended. For a while you even used it. Then you begin to realize that you don't have that kind of time anymore. You no longer need the wipe warmer, the bottle warmer, and the diaper pail. Things you spent so much money on the first time around now seem silly. This baby will be fine without warm wipes. Drinking bottles at room temperature will make my life so much easier! Skipping the diaper pail and the nasty smell that goes along with it sounds perfect! Life is simplified this time around. You know what you need now. You've figured out what works best for you and wonder why you ever got wrapped up in all of the hype before. In fact, you laugh at all those first time Mom's adding everything to their baby registry and going crazy. They have no idea.
15 Read Every Book And Seek Advice
The first time around you were a member of every pregnancy board that existed. You chatted in all of the forums. Asked questions and shared your newfound knowledge. This time around is different. You are more calm. Those books don't offer the same thrill as they once did. There is no need to scroll through the Mommy boards and Google every question. You've got this! You won't need to make late night calls to your Mom or your best friend for support. Pediatrician visits don't include a laundry list of questions. You know what to expect. You're an old pro. Nothing seems to phase you anymore. In fact you've graduated to the group that can now dole out sage advice to your new Mom friends. How cool is that? You are feeling so much more prepared, and the things you aren't sure about don't seem as scary. You're ready.
14 Nap With The Baby
The advice you always get is to sleep when the baby sleeps. I get it, it makes a lot of sense. In motherhood, there is so much non-sleeping going on that you need to take advantage of every single second you can grab it. The problem is, that won't be possible this time around. You have another child at home to take care of. It is rare that both kids will sync their napping schedule to accommodate your needs. Heck at this point, baby #1 has probably stopped napping all together. So that means there is no time for you to nap. By this point you get so used to not sleeping that you figure it doesn't really matter anyway. This is now the time of day you try to get something done around the house. One of the few times you won't have a baby in your arms killing all hope of productivity.
13 Sterilize Everything
The first time around you are cautious. You sterilized everything. I do mean EVERYTHING! Bottles, pacifiers, toys, human hands, basically anything that could come within a 3-foot radius of the baby. There was no way you were willing to risk that baby coming into contact with germs that would disrupt their pure immune system. I get it. Nobody likes a sick baby. However, by the time baby #2 arrives, that sterilization all goes out the window. Bottles go into the dishwasher with the rest of the dishes. Old toys are passed down without even the touch of a bleach wipe. The baby dropped their pacifier on the ground? I am quick to call a 3-second rule. Ok, I at least wipe it off on my jeans before sticking it back in their mouth. There is just no time for the nonsense of sterilizing everything anymore. After all, some germs are good, right?!
12 Taking An Hour To Leave The House
Remember how much effort it took to pack a diaper bag? We used to joke that we needed to start packing the night before. Diapers, wipes, toys, at least 2 extra outfits, an extra blanket, bibs, a baby carrier. Oh my that was exhausting! It could take up to 30-minutes just to get everything ready to go. Then you had to strap the baby into their chair and load the car. Some days it just seemed like more work than it was worth. So you spent a lot of time at home. Once baby #2 arrives, your cabin fever is so intense that you don't care how long it takes to pack the bag. You are going out! So you learn to shave some time off your record. That means cutting down the list of things you pack. Only the necessities. Do we really need so much stuff to run to the store?
11 Freak Out When You Forget Something At Home
That diaper bag you now speed through packing is usually missing some important item. That was never the case with baby #1. I was anal retentive. We always had enough supplies packed to survive getting stranded in a blizzard for a week. Not the case anymore. I'd be lucky to last an hour sometimes. Bare minimum typically means I've forgotten something. It is always the wipes when we have a blowout. A bottle when it's time to eat, and I never have an extra outfit. As a first time Mom, I would have freaked out. Now, I take it all in stride. My creativity kicks in. Either that or my trip out of the house ends pretty abruptly as we head home to get whatever I've forgotten. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to be cruising the aisles of Target. Regardless, I don't let it stress me out. Better luck next time.
10 Change Diapers On A Routine
The first baby had a routine. It began in the hospital when you were asked to write down every diaper change you executed. Not only that you were asked to include what was inside that diaper in great detail. If more than 4-hours lapsed, you were sternly lectured on how to properly care for a newborn. This schedule was so regimented that it continued when you got home. How else were you supposed to remember everything? It was all so overwhelming. Poor baby #2 isn't so lucky. You've eased up this time around. Lowered your expectations. Sure when you're in the hospital you play by all the rules, but when you get home there are no rules. That soggy little booty ends up pretty neglected by comparisons sake. Three times in a day becomes the norm sometimes. Those nurses would be shaking their heads in disappointment. Such a bad Mom!
9 Stare In Amazement
With baby #1 everything they did amazed you. You would spend hours just watching in wonder as they yawned, smiled, slept so peacefully. Even as they got older everything they did was cute. The way they wrinkled their nose, pronounced a word, or threw a tantrum. It didn't matter. You created this perfect little person and they deserved to be adored. Baby #2 comes along and it all changes. While this baby is just as cute, you've seen it all before. The luxury of spending hours staring at a baby just isn't realistic. You've learned the longer they sleep or are content sitting on their own, the more productive you can be. This new found down time is filled with baby #1 who you feel like you never get to see anymore. Dividing your attention can be hard. The amount of time available to gaze in amazement dwindles down to a quick 30-second glance.
8 Follow A Naptime Routine
With baby #1 we lived and breathed a nap time routine. Our lives revolved around that schedule to ensure we were home. If an activity overlapped with nap time, it was scratched from the list. You had to be at home so the baby could sleep. With baby #2 came change. No one was ever on the same schedule. If we planned our day around it, we would never be able to leave the house. The to-do list was just too long to accept that. With too much to do and not enough hours in the day, that baby learned how to sleep anywhere. In the car between stops, in the cart at the store, riding in their stroller. Where ever we were when they got tired they would crash. It was all about the cat naps. Not very good for the overall routine, but it was necessary for life.
7 Run To Them The Moment They Cry
The first time around anything that resembles a cry tugs on your heart strings. So much so that you simply can't stand it and must run to their aid immediately. People will tell you it's OK for them to cry a little bit. You will learn their cries and know when they are in distress and require the immediate attention or not. While they mean well, these people are crazy! Who let's their baby cry? Then the habit forms. They fake cry constantly because they know it gets them attention. Lesson learned for next time. Now when baby #2 comes along, you react a bit different. You learn to let the baby cry a little bit. You still go to assist, but the urge to react is no longer immediate unless necessary. You realize the people giving you the advice the first time around were right.
6 Buy Everything Brand New
The first time around you buy everything brand new. Your baby registries are at all of the top rated stores. Each item is in coordinating colors that match the gender of the baby. It has to be perfect. By the time baby #2 comes around, you realize just how much money you spent the first time around. There is no way, even if the baby is the opposite gender, that you can justify spending that kind of money to buy more. It's all still in great condition. But this time friends have clothing they can give you because their first baby has outgrown it. You also discover second hand stores. This is the end of shopping retail and buying new. Suddenly, everything is a hand me down and you are OK with it. Even for birthdays and Christmas, you look around and realize you have too much stuff. This baby doesn't need a thing.
5 Focus On Learning
With baby #1 you put all of your effort into helping them learn and grow. You focus on reading, teaching, exposing them to the world and developing their little brain. You were aware of every milestone and worked hard to achieve or surpass them. Your baby had to be smarter or better than all the others. Then baby #2 comes along. I'm not sure if it's indifference or pure exhaustion but the focus changes. Baby #1 now has a playmate. When they are entertaining each other for a few minutes you can get something else done. Who has time for puzzles, ABC's, and flashcards? Won't baby #2 just learn it from baby #1? Or maybe from Daniel Tiger? If they don't, you realize they really aren't any worse off than any other kid their age. Why stress ourselves out? They will be just fine. So you decide to just let nature take it's course.
4 Spend One-On-One Time
Your entire life revolves around your first child. They get your undivided attention all day long. Bonding is your top priority and you love baby #1 more than you ever thought possible. Your daily outings are filled with trips to the library, the park, the bounce house place. Even at home you are watching their cartoons and playing with toys. You spend so much one-on-one time together. What happens when baby #2 comes along? It turns into 2-on-1. No longer is baby #1 getting your full attention. As a matter of fact, baby #2 isn't getting it either. All of those fun things you did before are now done together. It gets much harder to dole out time 1-on-1. There is no way to ever play catch up either so baby #2 is always at a disadvantage. Even if it were possible, there aren't enough hours in the day and mama is tired.
3 Know Their Personal Likes
With baby #1 you spend so much time together and know all of their favorite things. You buy their favorite snacks, drinks, books they would enjoy, toys they want. You see something and instantly know it is for them. Then baby #2 comes along. As they get older they just blend and acclimate themselves into what already exists. They watch shows baby #1 likes, eat the same food, and play with the same toys. It was about a year into baby #2 that I realized I didn't really know what baby #2's favorite things were. It seemed she just got lumped in with baby #1. Whatever they liked, we all liked. No room for individuality and forget about opposite genders being exposed to other things. It just didn't happen naturally at a young age. You find yourself always wondering if baby #2 really likes something or if they just like it because baby #1 likes it and it's all they know.
2 Clean The House
When baby #1 comes along, you try your best to maintain life as it was before. While cleaning isn't always at the top of my list of priorities, I like to keep a somewhat tidy home. With only one kid, picking up toys and cleaning up messes is doable. If you're really good, you are teaching them to help pick up after themselves. Then baby #2 comes along. While you are taking care of baby #2, you have baby #1 making messes. So you get busier as your number of messes increase. Soon you realize that there is only so much you can do. There has to be some give and take. Unfortunately, the tidiness of my house takes a backseat. I'm pretty sure there is a saying that good mom's have sticky floors? So hang one of those on the wall to remind your visitors so they don't judge you.
1 Take Tons Of Pictures
With baby #1 everything was documented. There always seemed to be a camera out, ready to go. You captured milestones, firsts, and every cute thing that kid did. It's quite possible you even took the same shot 5 times just to make sure it was perfect. These photos went on Facebook and were shared around to everyone you know. Then poor baby #2 comes along. You try, really you do. You have the best of intentions. Even when the camera is out and ready to go, you forget. You're distracted. There are always less pictures. When you do have pictures they are usually of both kids together so you rarely have pictures with just baby #2 unless you had them professionally done. As you go back, you realize not everything was documented on film, even though it was documented in your head. There are just not as many photos after baby #1.