The concept of bringing new life into this world is mind-blowing. I had my first baby two years ago, and I’ve grown in ways I could never have imagined since. But as we approach my second baby’s first birthday, I can’t help but marvel at how many more lessons I’ve learned after having my second baby.
Whether your first or fourth, you can guarantee that you’ll grow alongside your tiny human in many ways when you have a baby. But there’s something magically eye-opening about the arrival of baby #2 and everything that comes with it.
10 Lessons I’ve Learned After Having My Second Baby
Here are some of my most notable lessons after having my second child.
1. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to raising children.
Not even within my own home. One of my babies needed to be held almost 24/7 as a newborn. The other loved the crib from early on. I stressed way too much over breastfeeding with my firstborn, but my second nurses with ease and takes the bottles we’ve gladly given him from the start. I could go on, but regardless, they’re both healthy, happy, and thriving.
2. You can survive the newborn phase without tracking every feeding, diaper change, and nap.
I would not have believed this had I heard it as a first-time mom. I still remember the nervousness and relief after deleting my newborn tracking apps the first time. After having a second? I skipped right to the freedom of foregoing those apps altogether. The apps and tracking may bring one mother comfort and another mother anxiety. We’re all doing fine, so choosing what’s right for you is OK.
3. Patience is a virtue. And flexibility is golden.
Patience is a basic requirement in any walk of motherhood, but flexibility has become my lifeline as a mom of two tiny humans. Having my second baby has taught me the importance of being able to adapt, change plans (and sometimes cancel) at the very last second, and let go of the need for things always to be “just so.” Planning day-to-day happenings with two young children is exponentially harder than with one. Still, I’ve found undeniable peace in the realization that sometimes the only option is to bend and adjust.
4. I’m stronger than I’ve given myself credit for.
I thought my first birth was traumatic. And then I went into spontaneous, precipitous labor with my second baby almost two months early. This resulted in an emergency C-section for which I was completely knocked out, a postpartum hemorrhage that almost took me, and a trying NICU stay for my tiny fighter. I share this not to scare anyone out of having another but to pay homage to the toughness I know I now have. No matter what any mama’s pregnancy, birth, and motherhood journey looks like, moms are fiercely strong and incredible.
5. I must ask for help sometimes, and I can be OK with that.
As a stay-at-home mom who takes pride in my job as my children’s keeper, I didn’t necessarily want to do it all alone the first time. But I also didn’t reach out for help as I should have. After having my second baby, I’ve learned it’s okay, normal, and necessary to seek support occasionally. Whether that means taking a close friend up on her offer to sit with my kiddos while I sort their clothing or getting out of my comfort zone and hiring a babysitter for a much-needed date night with my husband, I’m now more comfortable receiving help when needed.
6. My needs are important too.
Having my first baby taught me to be more selfless. Having my second has taught me to make space for myself once again. I’m a better mom after a 20-minute chair massage, and I’m happy to figure this out. My “me time” might be sparse, but it’s necessary, especially with two little ones, to dedicate the rest of my time to.
7. My past can’t predict the future.
My firstborn came after 41 weeks and was, for the most part, healthy in those early months. And my second was premature and spent a good chunk of his first few months in and out of the hospital. Expect the unexpected. As much as I couldn’t have anticipated my second son’s start to be such a bumpy one, I also couldn’t have anticipated he’d be growing and thriving at the remarkable speed he is now.
8. I learned to slow down.
No, really; hear me out. It might be surprising, but after having my second baby, I learned there’s no shame in slowing down. My second baby hasn’t been involved in the plethora of activities his sister was at his age (partly due to his compromised immune system), but we’ve all come to enjoy our quieter days at home.
9. Our time is fleeting and precious.
In parenthood, time passes in the blink of an eye, but the days, weeks, and months seem to fly by even faster with the second. Perhaps this is because there’s simply more going on and (seemingly) less time to soak it all in like I did effortlessly with my first. Or, maybe it’s because my toddler is suddenly growing up at a whole new level when I see her in her role as “big sis.” Either way, I’ve learned to cherish every second. It goes by faster than I was prepared for.
10. Love is what matters most.
With my firstborn, I was guilty of letting the hype of all the latest and greatest baby products, parenting trends, milestones, and expectations drive much of my motherhood. After having my second, I’ve been reminded again and again of what never fails: love. They say your heart doubles in size when you welcome another baby, and they aren’t lying.
Before having the second half of my two under two, I was filled with excitement and uncertainty. Since welcoming my son, though, I’ve found this journey is truly priceless. The lessons I’ve learned have been invaluable, and the insight I’ve gained is unparalleled.
And we’re only just getting started.