First Child vs Second - 10 Ways it all Changes


The experience of having a second child is completely different from the first. Here are 10 surprising ways in which this was true for me.

1. Birth

First: On the day of the birth, we had a queue of family members jostling to pick up and take a selfie with our newborn baby. I did my best to smile, but my haggard, sleep-deprived face said it all: “I need space.”

Second: No visitors, thanks! Nope. Not for a day or two, at least. And that applies to mums and dads, too.

2. Bonding

First: I was one of many mothers who, upon holding my newborn baby, experienced a mixture of emotions. I was unsettled. The tiny person in front of me felt like a stranger. I wanted to feel gushing love at first sight, but in reality, this took longer to come.

Second: Gushing love at first sight! Yaaay. Phew. I felt like I'd known this person forever, and I was completely comfortable in my motherly skin. It was an incredibly precious moment.

3.  Photos

First: Going through the photos of our first child, it is like using a flick-book. Seemingly, we felt compelled to whip out the camera every 15 seconds.

Second: "Erm, honey, did you remember to take a photo of him blowing out his first birthday candle?" "No, dear, I thought you were taking photos today."

4. Hypochondria

First: With our first baby, every blemish, blotch or bogey warranted an hour’s anxious research on Google. After being spooked by online horror stories, we took our precious child to see the doctor. Just in case.

Second: "Ah, he'll be fine." With a ton of experience under our belt, we were far less twitchy with Number Two. We had far more confidence in our cherub’s ability to survive a bout of sniffles.

5. Diet

First: Our baby food maker was almost never switched off. I worked frantically to concoct a super-nutritional weekly meal plan. Wow, what a stress!

Second: Whatever we ate, he ate. Put the chili, salt and sugar to one side, then chuck the rest in the blender. Hey presto! A baby version.

6. Milestones

First: We were hyper-tuned to her developmental milestones. "Ooh, she's rolling two weeks early. Hmmm, wasn’t she supposed to start crawling four days ago?" Ahead or behind, her progress was shown off like a medal of honor or hidden as guilty secret.

Second: Things were way more chilled. He could take his sweet, sweet time. No rush. We quit trying to ‘encourage’ him into doing anything sooner. We didn’t even bother with tummy time. He figured it out just fine.

7. Handling with baby gloves

First: With baby number one, it’s easy to assume they are super fragile and will break at the faintest knock. Parents get uber-protective, treating their baby like a china doll.

Second: The older child instantly begins daily mixed martial arts training with their baby sibling. We soon realized that our new baby was pretty durable. With this wisdom, everyone relaxed and no-one panicked when he did a faceplant whilst learning to crawl.

8. Getting stuff done

First: “Aargh! It's impossible to get anything done. It even takes an hour just to leave the house.” Soon you adjust and manage your daily life just fine.

Second: Repeat. Soon you adjust and manage your daily life just fine. Only now, you wonder what on Earth you were whining about the first time around. The thought of life with one child sounds like a relaxing holiday.

9. Shock factor

First: Your first child turns your life upside down. It dramatically changes everything, including your social life, love life, and everything in between. New parenthood is a shock to the system.

Second: Having now adjusted to family life, number two simply ramps-up the intensity. It's familiar territory, just more of it. Keep calm and carry on.

10. Joy

First: Stress and sleepless nights are par for the parenting course. Fortunately, this is balanced by the deep joy experienced when the little person you grew in your tummy looks into your eyes and smiles.

Second: Now, there are two of them, both with power to melt your heart just by wrapping their arms around you. And, that gooey feeling when you get a double cuddle... that, folks, is reason we all do it.

Neve blogs at with where she seeks to bring out the humor in parenting and gets nerdy researching and reviewing the gear that moms and dads (apparently) need.