Many parents will tell you that your second baby is a whole different experience from your first. One has the benefit of your attention when you have no idea what you are doing. The other has the benefit of your experience, which helps when your first isn’t getting as much undivided attention as before! From being well-seasoned in the parenting department to now balancing two children, learn more about the experience of second-time parenting and the differences between your first child vs second child.
First-Time Parents vs Second-Time Parents
First Child: Your first pregnancy can be an exciting and stressful experience. No matter how many books you read or how much advice people give you (and you’ll probably get a LOT as a new parent), nothing can prepare you for experiencing it yourself. Being pregnant for the first time is definitely a time of discovery and learning new things with your body.
Second Child: With your second pregnancy, you likely remember what to expect with each change in your body. Though every pregnancy is different, you probably feel more comfortable with the weird pregnancy side effects that show up, have remedies that you discovered in your first pregnancy, and are overall more confident with the experience.
First Child: When your first baby arrives, everyone is excited to meet them. Family, friends, coworkers… Some people will ask to visit, others will bring over lasagnas. The attention can be both exciting and overwhelming. Help is always extremely appreciated, but being so social directly after giving birth can be a bit much.
Second Child: Upon your second child’s arrival, you might be wondering where everyone went. Sure, everyone is excited for your new addition, but you might see most of the enthusiasm coming from immediate family instead of the whole crew. At least by this point, you’ve figured out your groove with bringing a newborn home!
First Child: Bedtime with your first child is a lot of trial and error to find the right setting and schedule. You probably tried everything to maximize their (and your) sleep – swaddling in lush blankets, feedings in expensive rocking chairs, falling asleep in a hand-built crib, being as quiet as possible once your baby is finally asleep – whatever it took.
Second Child: Bedtime happens whenever bedtime happens. If your second child falls asleep in their car seat or in your bed, you let them sleep there as long as possible. The biggest hurdle now is making sure your children don’t wake each other up when their bedtimes don’t perfectly sync up.
First Child: The diet for your first child is one made up of fancy food prep, all-natural ingredients, and careful research. Maybe you even avoided store-bought baby food and made your own with a food processor made just for baby food! Quinoa, spinach, sweet potatoes, you name it, your baby is eating well.
Second Child: For your second child, nutrition hasn’t gone out the window, but you’ve definitely learned the most efficient way to feed your baby. You’ve researched all the brands with your first child, figured out which items are best, and streamlined the preparation process. Mealtime is more family-focused than baby-focused.
First Child: Clothes for your first have three criteria: cute, functional, and high-quality. Perfecting your first baby’s wardrobe is key for all of the pictures you’re going to take and all the people they’re going to meet. Messy outfit? No worries, because you have 3 more on hand to switch out.
Second Child: You might get a few more outfits for your second child, but if the clothes from your first child’s closet still work, then you’re going to use them. Of course you’re still going to put some effort into how they look still, but a spill of baby food or some drool isn’t going to warrant a full outfit change now.
First Child: As a first-time parent, you’re excited to make new mom friends and have playmates for your little one. Playgroups, get-togethers in the park, lunch dates, you name it and you were there. You wanted to make sure the two of you had plenty of connections and socialization.
Second Child: Your second child’s social life revolves now around their sibling’s social life. Older brother’s or sister’s friends are now the friends of your younger child’s, and planning outings with playgroups and other moms are just a bit harder now that you have two little ones to chase around.
First Child: For your first, photo documentation starts with pregnancy. Weekly photos of your growing belly and all the photos of the nursery and new clothes in preparation for baby. And once they’re born, the documentation doesn’t stop! Pictures and videos of all their firsts, silly faces, and other baby moments take up a lot of your phone storage.
Second Child: You try to take pictures as often as you can, especially of notable moments, but sometimes it isn’t as feasible – especially now that you have two children on your hands! Your photos now are just as cute, but probably take a lot less time to set up. If a photo opportunity arises, you take it.
First Child: The toys for your firstborn are as nice and shiny as they come. New playmats, talking toys with fresh speakers, super plush stuffed animals, and fancy rattles. It helps too that your friends and family likely gifted you a few great items at your baby shower or for birthdays. Screen time and device access are also both as limited as possible.
Second Child: The toys in your secondborn’s toy box are… the exact same ones your firstborn owned. They might have a little more wear than new toys, but they still do the trick! Even the large boxes from deliveries can be used as toys. At this point, you’ve given into the effectiveness of the tablet, apps, and shows to help act as forms of entertainment.
First Child: While adjusting to new parenthood is definitely a learning curve, you at least have two sets of hands if you are raising your child with a partner. If you are raising a child on your own, it’s still one parent to one child. Multitasking is fairly easy to manage once you find your new flow and adjust to your new schedule.
Second Child: Having a second child means learning how to properly divide and conquer. Two children can be quite the handful, especially if each has their own schedule. Running errands is a bit harder, but by this point, you’ve figured out how to best manage everyone’s needs while still getting the necessary things done.
There are so many joys in having children, and each child is a new blessing and experience. Whether you already have two or are planning for a second, you’ll appreciate the difference between first-time parents and second-time parents!