Second time around.

IMG_2980{This is where I am if you need me; baby gazing/feeding/cuddling/rocking on the couch all day long. And night too – sometimes}.

There are two things people most say to or ask me when they see my teeny little Luella. Well, that’s when I do leave the house. It’s either, “Oooh, she’s a fresh one. So tiny!” or they ask, “Is she your first?”

I tell them that I have a not-so-fresh one at home. I’m sure the question is quite innocent but I have to think that because it’s not my first that they expect me to know what I’m doing. Just like when during the birth I asked my midwife if I could push and she told me that I’d done it before and should know what I was doing. Truth was, I didn’t. And the truth is I don’t. I’ve been here before, but I have to say I think I wasn’t very good the first time and I’m fluffing my way through it all again now.

And I’m reminded that I was so much better when I was doing this as a nanny {filled with the wisdom of a non-parent, and oh-so-much sleep behind me too}.

I told the midwife as he discharged us from the hospital, “My first one was my practice run on parenting, I’m totally going to nail this gig the second time around.”

He laughed, “I think you’ll get it right the third time. Don’t get your hopes up for this time around.”

I was nice and calm in my second-time-around parenting gig for about 3 days, and funnily enough so was the baby. Then the milk came in {or made a mediocre attempt at coming in}, the baby blues hit {hard} and sleep deprivation really kicked in.

I’ve quickly learned over the past month that every child is different, but parenting is kinda the same. I know that I might suck at the feeding, I’m going to be tired for many years to come, and I’m partial to a little internal freak out several times a day. I’m also not very nice to be around when the sun goes down when I realise just how tired I am, and how much sleep I’m probably not going to get.

But I do know that I’m going to love my children with all that I am. I’ll do whatever it takes to make them happy, even if that means letting them feed more than they don’t. And I’ll hold them upright in the comfort of my arms for 76% of the day/night, because it helps with the reflux and means everyone is content and happy. I don’t do as the books say, but I do as my heart leads me. I quite enjoy parenting this way, and the bits I don’t enjoy? I know from last time that they pass and the good moments and memories hang around.

Second time parents, what did you learn from the first time round? Did you nail the parenting gig for your subsequent kids?

32 thoughts on “Second time around.”

  1. I learned that each baby is different!!! Nail it? Nope! LOL But I’m doing my best! I supposed I don’t fall for some of the tricks that sent me scrambling last time, but I still make plenty of mis-steps!

  2. I, like you, think that I may not be very good at this parenting gig. I was lucky enough to have a far more chilled- out, (mostly) good sleeping baby second time around. I have no idea how I would have coped otherwise, but you just do, don’t you? They are totally worth it when they give you their baby smiles (not too much longer for you) and then they’re toddler hugs and kisses.

  3. 110% both have been diff babies! I learnt quite early in the piece ias a first time mum to throw all the books that say ‘do this, do that’ and followed my instinct… And wasn’t ashamed because I wasn’t doing as they say. Doing the same this time around with my now almost 7 month old…. Far less stressful!

  4. My first one was the angel then Rachel came along and showed just how interesting !!! life could be. My second and last child taught me to be patient because she was in charge.

  5. Well I’m hanging off the words of your male nurse because I’m about to start round three & I’m scared witless! Hopefully it will all come back to me but if not I’m content in the knowledge that, even though I’m not the best parent in the world, I didn’t break the first two, so hopefully the chances of us all surviving this time round are fairly good!! Trust your instincts, Mama x

  6. Do it your way Chantelle, it’s the only way you’ll be happy. I learned this through falling into the traps of heeding others’ advice & guidelines when my first was a newbie. Never was I more unhappy as a mother.
    I chucked it all aside & have been happily (albeit tiredly & sometimes crazily!) doing it my way the past 4 years.
    Second time around is nigh upon me now & I plan on following suit.

  7. I had a 19 year gap between my two, so I felt like a newbie all over again. The only thing I learnt and remembered was to NOT listen to anyone else, that your child is yours. Do what feels right for you, and throw those stupid parenting books away.

  8. Here’s some real talk… I’ve just emerged from what has been the hardest year of my life (so far!). My second son has just turned one (my eldest is 3 and some months) and I’ve just started to get some of my old mojo back. As far as baby wrangling went second time around, I was a lot more confident, but at no stage did I ever think I was ‘nailing’ it! Feeding was fine, but sleep (or lack thereof) was the bane of my existence. I was getting intermittent blocks of 1.5hrs sleep at a time for months, so I felt like a mess most of the time. My poor eldest son got the worst of me for quite a while – behaviorally, he was challenging, going through the awkward transition that occurs when a child is 2, and I did not handle it gracefully. I cringe to think of how often my voice was raised. Not quite sure how, but we all emerged intact from the year. I finally got help from a sleep nurse when my second was 9 months old (wish I’d done it much sooner!) and that really turned things around. I also had to admit to myself that the newborn stage is just not my favourite! Things started to pick up when second son could sit up and move around by himself (and I got a bit of personal space back)! I adored both my boys from day one, but I feel I’m just not great at handling the baby bit 😉

  9. I’ve just gone through all this and am nodding along. I felt so calm, and ready, in the hospital. Then I got home and all the same fears and questions and guilts came back – with the extras of neglecting the first child and not giving the second one as much attention thrown on top. We muck through. We manage. And one day, when you’re least expecting it, the good moments start to outnumber the bad. x

  10. If you’d asked me this question 5 months ago, I would have said yes- adding another child to my family was easy enough and that I found parenting a breeze and much easier than when I had my first.
    Then I had baby twelve 4 months ago, and life has been chaotic to say the least. I had life threatening complications after having him and spent time in the ICU, unable to breastfeed or hold him properly for 24 hours. I have spent countless hours, days and weeks trying to find something- anything- to calm the constant crying from my distressed son. I have been unable to go out as every time I leave the house my son will cry and my first shopping trip on my own last weekend was an abysmal failure. I have felt completely inadequate and underprepared and have developed PND as a result of all the stress and anguish.
    I have finally started to make the changes that I need to do to get myself better for the sake of my family and myself but it has not been easy by any stretch. So yes, while I do believe it can get easier when you have subsequent children this is not always the case and you should never assume that just because someone is an ‘old hand’ at parenting that they are finding it easier than you.

  11. I am 45 with 3 boys 23, 18 and 11 . Yes it’s all fun and games at my house.I am an childhood educator so I am always surrounded with children . For me personally I found the 3 rd child soooo much harder and I was just as clueless as when I was 21 with a newborn. It didn’t get easier and it certainly didnt become more natural or instinctual . In fact with 3rd baby I was a shocker because what worked a treat with baby 1 didn’t work with baby 3. And so on. I was much more chilled out with number 1 as you have no idea what’s in store. With dude number 3 I was a nervous wreck and soon ended up with anxiety and depression. It sucked and I didn’t enjoy any aspect of being a mum for a long time.

  12. It is never easy Chantelle and no I didn’t nail it the second time either my babies were so different ,I nailed the feeding part though the second time,but never got any sleep and i was very tired too!I did learn to rest though with my second child instead of running around doing housework etc I gave in to what my body needed.Try it you will find it helps xx

  13. The biggest challenge I found in the early days with number two was the change of pace between a 4-year-old and the baby. My instincts with a newborn were to quiet down, take things slowly and just be with her, yet I had to run around so much with the older one. It’s tough for a bit… although now they’re both at full pace and I have to try keeping up with them!

  14. I agree with your midwife, number is 3 is easy…because you are so busy they raise themselves!! Number 2 brings up different issues again, you are more relaxed but still have to deal with a different personality so what you tried last time may or may not work. I am sure you will be fine. I go by instinct and heart in this parenting gig now too. Much easier than trying to get your baby to obey the parenting book rules..x

  15. I am literally there with you…my not so fresh one is 5yo & I have a two week old. I am once again scared of the long nights; no sleep & exhaustion rule me. Two bouts of mastitis already due to over supply, just a repeat from last time too. But I am thoroughly in love with them both….

  16. Chantelle, your final lines described one of my parenting experiences – feeding more than they don’t, holding upright day and night. I wore my first baby pretty much all day and night (due to reflux), and didn’t get much sleep at all, but I went back for seconds, and I learned, like you have, that every baby is different and I needed to learn everything all over again. Be gentle on yourself, and continue to take joy in those beautiful little things that happen all the time with little ones. 🙂 You’re right, the good moments do stick around.

  17. Telle, I have three kids and I’m still clueless. CLUELESS, l tell you. The best bit of parenting advice I’ve ever received is: “You just keep trying things until whatever the issue is goes away.” I still use that piece of advice to this day.

  18. My second, Miss Imogen, was born just a few days before beautiful Luella, and I’m right there with you… it’s exhausting (doubly so with an attention-hungry preschooler in tow), rewarding, overwhelming and some days it’s just plain too damn much. But it’s worth every second and I wouldn’t change it for the world!! But this time, I’m learning just how much I don’t know, and exactly how much I REALLY didn’t know as a first-time mum!

  19. I definately haven’t nailed the parenting gig, as they say each child is different. I find days can be hard with two, especially when my eldest (who wasn’t that old when no 2 was born – only 2.9 months), was still a little clingy with having a new baby sister and wanted attention from Mummy. She’s now 4.9 months, and adores her younger sister. What did I learn from the first time round, to enjoy the time when they are young as it flies by in a blink of an eye. My youngest turned 2 on Monday.

  20. Darling I don’t think we ever ‘nail’ it! We do the very best we can, love them passionately, we nurture them , we protect them and that’s all they really need. Each and every one, whether there are two of them or ten, will be completely different and provide us with different challenges. I was 17 first time round and shuffled through, second time, she was so very easy she almost raised herself and third time round I think I was just ready to be a Mum and more relaxed about it so therefore it SEEMED as though I’d nailed it. The house might be messy, the washing never folded and the sink not always clear but those two little girls don’t care about that, as long as Mama is there for kisses and cuddles, stories and games. Big hugs to Miss Lacey and Miss Luella ❤❤

  21. Every child is different, and every experience of motherhood is different. I found the second time really hard. I took longer to bond with my daughter, and I resented the time I couldn’t spend with my (older) son. The third time I didn’t have any bonding issues, but I did have lots of other things getting in the way. That’s life. I don’t think having a baby is ever easy, but I have chilled out a bit with each child. I also love that my children have each other. That said I would love a bit more sleep, and more hours in the day to spend having fun with the children.

  22. I realise this is not a response to your blogpost, but this is a question I have been wanting to ask ever since your precious second bundle was born. How do you pronounce her name : is she LOU-LA or is she LOU-ELLA. I am new to reading blogs and really enjoy reading yours.

  23. Babies have me flummoxed and I have had two of them. I was more confident in making my decisions the second time around. Well kind of more confident. What drew me to you and your gorgeous blog all those years ago Telle as the beautiful way you speak about your love for Lacey. You are a beautiful spirit and your little ladies are lucky to have you.

  24. I hear you. My second is just about to turn 1 and I’ve got a recently turned 3 year old. My first one was easy and I thought the second one would be similar. Boy was I wrong. I am just working through what has been the hardest year of my life, funny how you just cope if you have to and suddenly it gets all too overwhelming when you’ve got time to reflect. But… What I was going to say about reflux. My boy is still suffering from it and has been extremely unsettled. I carried him in a carrier for all his sleeps for months – and I had to walk, because this was the only way he would sleep. Sometimes I spent 6 hours a day walking up and down our hall because it was pouring outside (and I had a toddler as well). Until I came across a magic liquid. It’s called Infants Friend, it’s natural and you can buy it at the chemist. It’s been around for decades and is the best thing since sliced bread. Seriously. I had to settle him for hours, shhing, patting, rocking, everything! And he would still cry and fall asleep purely from exhaustion. Then a friend recommended Infants Friend. I didn’t really believe it, but tried it anyway. He smiled at me after a milk feed for the first time, happy, content and fell asleep 5 minutes later. Google it, buy it, try it. And thank me later :-). Hang in there, it does get better eventually and look at her: she is sooooo worth it!

  25. Oh sweetie, we all fluff our way through parenthood! After all there is no manual for raising the kiddies and if there was, after your first child it would be defunct because they’re all their own individual little people. The fact that you have a little doubt about how you are doing things means you are an A1 momma – enjoy your babies every new day is wondrous – even when (like mine) they have babies of their own xxxx

  26. For my first it was like walking in a dark room and searching for a light switch that moved every 3 minutes.. i was lost, but i made. Second time around I thought “Nah i got this” But i found myself on the phone much more often with my mom… i found that 3 years later I “didn’t remember” stuff and was more confused. This is my third.. now 7 years after my last and I feel pretty good… although (remarried) my hubby has not had a baby of his own, so it will be interesting to see the panic and try to help him. I am a lot scared because life is sooo much busier now, before i had a little one with a nap time and no “must dos” now we have soccer, and school, and PTA, and so much “new info” it is kind of scary!

  27. Caring for someone else’s precious bundle is so, so very different to having your own. Eleven years in daycare nurseries certainly didn’t prepare me for 6 babies who didn’t like to sleep. They weren’t difficult or fussy and they weren’t screamers, they just didn’t sleep for long periods of time. They slept their best when they were with me, so I carried them. A lot! It doesn’t work for everyone, but it worked for me, and you have to do what works. And I’m sure I was a grumpy monster during the day, but I decided to look at those wakeful night hours as precious time with my bubs when no-one else needed anything from me and I could feed and cuddle my baby for as long as I liked. Enjoy your beautiful Luella, she thinks you’re perfect.

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