Like with anything in life, we learn from our experiences. Let’s not call them mistakes, because everyone’s just trying to do the best they can, but when the second baby comes along, a lot of parents decide to do things a little differently (or completely differently in some cases) for one reason or another.
Parenting a newborn is a steep learning curve! It’s challenging, demanding, beautiful, exciting, and daunting. If we can find ways to make life easier the second, third, or eighth time around, then of course we’ll make some changes.
Not only that, by the second baby, mums have gained confidence in their parenting choices, they feel less influenced by others, they’re stronger advocates for how they want to do things, and they tend to relax more and find ways to enjoy their precious newborn instead of stressing about every little thing.
Don’t take it from us, though. We asked our community of Newborn Baby mums what they did differently with their second newborn, and from their many responses, 5 obvious themes emerged. Even if you’re expecting your first child, you might find these insights helpful now as it just might inform how you parent.
Here is what Newborn Baby’s community of mums had to say about what they did differently the second time around with their baby.
1. Ignored everyone’s opinions and advice
- ‘Ignored everyone’s opinions and “advice”, didn’t look at the Wonder Weeks app and compare bub’
- ‘I didn’t listen to anyone at all, especially advice from others’
- ‘I didn’t listen to what the child health nurses had to say’
- ‘I ignored all of the judgement and opinions of others’
- ‘I didn’t let people’s words hurt me. I didn’t let others’ opinions bother me’
- ‘‘Spoil him’. With my first, I listened when people would say don’t do this or that, and this one I’m like thanks but I’m going to baby my baby. If that makes sense’
- ‘I didn’t listen to anyone’s opinions…with my first, people would tell me I didn’t have enough milk or I shouldn’t be feeding so much etc. Or I should be palming the kids off to others so other people can watch them and have sleepovers…but I did what I felt was right and went with the baby’s lead with my second, and after the first few months I learnt to just be a mum and do what I felt was right. My daughter is now 3 years old and my son is 1 years old- still breastfeeding when going for a nap and it has helped them recover from sickness faster!’
2. Didn’t stress as much and enjoyed it more
- ‘This time, I will allow myself to fall asleep! This time I won’t be paranoid about SIDS and watch over my baby all day and night. That was my struggle’
- ‘Didn’t stress nearly as much over the little things’
- ‘So much more relaxed! Didn’t stress about breastfeeding, compare to other babies, knowing it’s my last – really embraced the cuddles and co-sleeping, enjoy the milestones as they come’
- ‘Honestly…..I didn’t worry/stress about every little thing!’
- ‘I stopped anticipating milestones and just enjoyed watching her grow’
- ‘I didn’t stress as much. I didn’t stress whether she was breast or bottle fed. I didn’t stress if she didn’t meet milestones when others “expected” her to’
3. Went with the flow and trusted instincts
- ‘I just sat back and enjoyed my second. I also went to the hotel for days 3 and 4 after my c-section. I still haven’t used a monitor. I trusted my instincts and hearing. So much more enjoyable the second time round’.
- ‘I didn’t turn into an emotional mess when I couldn’t breastfeed, I didn’t hesitate using formula, because really fed is best’
- ‘I bed-shared from day one. Breastfed while the baby was in carrier. Ignored conventional advice and followed the baby’s wants/needs. Did not try to follow a sleep routine’
- ‘I allowed myself to just go with the flow, and it made things so much easier’
- ‘Let her run her own race and enjoy her more. Except for trying to sleep train her, still regret it and now work with HER and respond more to her for HER sleeping needs’
- ‘Stopped watching the clock’
4. More confident about parenting choices
- ‘I gave them a bottle straight away so I wasn’t tied down to exclusively breastfeeding, it was way less stressful and I enjoyed my life so much more’
- ‘Co-slept right from day one, and therefore saved my and bub’s night sleep’
- ‘Co-sleep and baby wearing’
- ‘Did not use rice cereal as a first food, went straight to vegetables’
- ‘First time around, I had no idea what I was doing. Second time round I know what I’m doing now. I didn’t feel judged and pressured to bottle feed like I did the first time. Both times I couldn’t breastfeed no matter how hard I tried’
- ‘Everything. I was way too uptight with my first. Just went with the flow’
- ‘I didn’t stress as much, wasn’t so fussed about sticking to routine. No more guilt about co-sleeping, so the second bub would wake during the night and go straight to bed with us. We offered more veggies when on solids whether I thought he would like them or not. Started him at childcare much earlier due to finances but with the positive that I skipped the whole separation anxiety phase when adapting to care. Put him to bed a little later than the first as I was working FT until 6pm or so’