Passionate About Columbia SC
and the Moms Who Live Here

First Baby, Second Baby

Let’s face it, for most of us who have multiple children, our parenting styles and perceptions can change a lot from the first child to the second and even from the second child to the third. You may think of that change as becoming being more relaxed or more easygoing. You may think of it as being wiser. Some may see it as being a little lazier … or perhaps making better use of your time and energy. It could be the fact that you already are busy with one or two older children, so your schedule is fuller now, and you prioritize your time and energy differently. Or you’re simply older now and don’t have the stamina you used to have with your first-born.

Whatever the case, our parenting styles and priorities can be night and day from our first baby to our second. This is just a fact of life that most of us find ourselves in, and we make it work. Most of the time, our second and third-borns turn out just as happy and healthy as our first-borns. And I hope that, like me, you don’t feel guilty about your more relaxed parenting; I hope you just roll with it and see the humor in it. Because trust me, as long as you love and care for your later-borns with all your strength, and with the wisdom you’ve gained since your first-born, your last-borns will turn out just fine. Maybe even awesome.

Here’s my (maybe) *slightly* exaggerated list comparing the two parenting styles/views. 

Baby #1

  1. You watch their every move.
  2. You follow the advice of parenting books and online articles rather than Grandma or friends with older children.
  3. You make their baby food from scratch.
  4. You’re exhausted but barely let yourself sleep or shower. The baby rules your life.
  5. You freak out when they spit up.
  6. You call the doctor at least once a week.
  7. You sanitize their bottles at the end of each day.
  8. You freak out when they fall down or bump their head.
  9. You freak out when they eat something you can’t identify off the ground. You’re always digging around in their mouth.
  10. You buy organic baby products.
  11. You buy the latest, safest baby gear, gizmos, and gadgets on the market.
  12. You keep them on a strictly organic, vegan or sugar-free diet until they’re at least three years old.
  13. You play with and entertain them as much as you can. It’s your job, right?
  14. You teach them their ABC’s and 123’s by the time they’re 2. You need to get them ready for preschool and impress the grandparents.
  15. You begin potty training them as soon as they can walk.
  16. They’re your world, and you love and care for them more than anything else.

Baby #2 or #3 (or more)

  1. You don’t sit there and watch them half as much. You listen instead.
  2. Who has time for books and articles? You follow the advice of Grandma and friends with older children. You also go by what you learned with Baby #1.
  3. You buy their baby food.
  4. You make sure you get more sleep. And showers.
  5. You don’t bat an eye at spit up. Just wipe it off. No biggie.
  6. “Is the baby’s pediatrician’s number saved in my phone? I’m not sure. Let me check. OMG did we forget our last appointment?”
  7. You can’t remember the last time you sanitized their bottles. Isn’t that what the dishwasher is for?
  8. When they fall down or bump their head, you tell them “You’ll be OK. Get up.”
  9. “What did they just eat?! If they can’t choke on it, let ‘em have it.”
  10. You buy what’s on sale that has some nutrition.
  11. You buy what works. Heck, you probably don’t even buy. You use Baby #1’s old stuff and hand-me-downs.
  12. “Diet? What diet? Big sister/brother had a cupcake? Here, baby, you can have one too.” Or “We need to grab something fast. Want some fries?”
  13. You let big brother or sister play with them as much as possible. It’s not your job to entertain — It’s your delight when you make the time.
  14. I’ll teach you here and there. You’ll know enough by kindergarten. The grandparents will love you no matter what you can do.
  15. You wait until they’re ready to learn to go potty. Maybe that will be at two. Maybe at three. Maybe at four. But they’ll for sure know by kindergarten.
  16. They’re your world, and you love and care for them more than anything else.

How did you parent differently from your first child to your last?

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