Tuesday, November 18, 2014

5 ways the second baby is different from your first

I've got to be honest - Jimmy is a good baby. I hope I haven't jinxed myself saying that, but it's true. He's very zen and chilled out, and really, I'm just relaxed and enjoying him. Of course, he is snoozing in the ring sling against my chest as I type this, so it could be the sleep deprived mama hormones talking... but I think not.

Before he came, I worried and questioned.  Would love him as much as I loved Ellie? How would Ellie adjust to being a big sister? How would I cope with two? Is breastfeeding going to be as hard this time around?

Turns out all of that worry and fretting was unnecessary. Yes, the first days are hard, getting used to sleep deprivation and cluster feeding and adjusting the family dynamic. There are definite silver linings though, so here are my thoughts on ways the second child is different from the first.

1. You've done it all before, so you know what 'normal' feels like

Yes, I complained that doctors were treating me like I knew what I was doing during pregnancy and labour because I'd done it all of once before. In reality though, you know what you're doing. Or should I say, you know what normal is and you know when it's just not right.

I pushed for extra testing when I got itchy because I knew what cholestasis felt like the first time around. I argued not to be sent home from the labour ward because I knew I gave birth quickly and I didn't want to do it on the roadside. I did not feel guilty asking for extra assistance or help in hospital, and for making use of all the available resources and knowledge there.

I got help for feeding early because I knew it wasn't right despite being told by several health professionals that everything was fine.

I've done it before, so I know what does and doesn't feel right. I'm also not afraid to speak up and ask for help or second opinions.

2. You know that it won't hurt them to cry for 2 seconds while you dash to the toilet

With Ellie, every little cry she made, I was in there. Is she cold, is she wet, does she smell, should I feed her? She owned me, which is not a bad thing at all. However, when it came time to choose her over the toilet for example, I would pick her and rock in silent discomfort (wouldn't dare to wake the sleeping babe) while my bladder nearly burst. Now, I know that Jimmy will be just fine while I dash off quickly. After all, I'm sure he'd much rather have a happy and comfortable mama when we settle in for those marathon feeding sessions he's so fond of.

3. Excretion is funnier

I have never been peed on so much in my life. Or pooped on come to think of it. Little boys seem so much more explosive. Just taking the nappy off Jimmy appears to be code for 'yes please, even though you've clearly just weed, aim some more my way'. Mr Fork and I had both forgotten how much newborns poop, and we've both made the mistake of taking off the nappy before he's done... cue screams of anguish as we get covered in streams of warm excrement. I'll be honest, I laughed hysterically when it happened to Mr Fork the first time. Not so hilarious when it was my turn (but still funny).

Cue stripping down the change table, the baby and gingerly removing our own outfits over our head and bolting to the shower. Spit up just seems so passé and normal now... oh, you've vomited down my back? That's ok, at least it wasn't poop....

4. It's lovely to see your older child with the new baby

Ellie could not be a better big sister. There is so much love there, and it really does bring a tear to my eye when she interacts with her baby brother (damn postnatal hormones). We made sure to include her in the pregnancy as much as possible, she talked to her baby brother in utero, came to appointments with me, we read books and tried to prepare her as much as possible to be a big sister.

She has taken to it beautifully - when Jimmy cries she gets frantic and runs to check on him, screaming 'Baby James, sad!'. When I'm feeding she wants to sit close and touch his head, or lifts her shirt to feed her baby too. She is always asking to hold him on her lap and loves nothing more than to rub his back to help him burp. There is no jealousy, and I often have to stop her from 'sharing' (read, throwing) her toys at his head as he sleeps. What would be awesome though? If there was a little less love at (the frequent) bed times so Jimmy could actually sleep instead of being woken constantly by a loving big sister.

My fears that I might not love Jimmy as much as Ellie? Groundless. I loved him the second I held him, and I don't love Ellie any less. Although, now that I have a newborn, she appears to be a giant in comparison!


5. You appreciate night time snuggles more

With a second child, your attention is split during the day. I can't give James the individual attention that Ellie got as a newborn. Toddlers are demanding and attention seeking little people. No matter how tired I am and how zombie like I feel after being up all night feeding, I make sure to spend time with Ellie, snuggling, reading or baking while he sleeps. I pack up Jimmy into a sling or wrap and we take Ellie to the park or the library and make sure that she doesn't resent this new little human who makes such demands on mama and daddy's time.

So, night time is my time with Jimmy. It's when I can stroke his silky head, inhale that unique new born smell, feel his little hands clutching me, and just enjoy the feeling that I made this tiny human and he will call me mama. We just enjoy our time together, he and I, without anyone else demanding their share of my attention. Sure, I'd love more sleep. Sure, I'm like a zombie in the mornings, but they're only little for so long, and years later I won't remember the sleep I didn't get, but I will hold those new baby snuggles in my heart forever.


By the way, I struggled a bit with what to title this post. Fun? Better? Chilled? Finally I settled on different. I guess I just wanted to compare going from one to two children in a positive sort of way.

How was your second (or subsequent) baby different to the first?

2 comments:

  1. RE: number 2&4
    Do you find yourself having to rush through a pee anyway because the older sibling is screaming "THE BABY'S CRYING! THE BABY'S CRYING!" And is in the process of climbing up the side of the cot to carry out his little sister? Or is that just at my house?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahah YES! Or something very similar anyway. Welcome to parenthood... where you have signed away all glamour and dignity for the foreseeable future

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