Welcome to my new guest post series, Ponderings on Two, where I ask a different blogger and parent of more than one child, to share their experience of having a second child. This week, we hear from Donna, from What the Redhead Said.
Tell me a bit about yourself, your family and your blog.
I’m Donna, married with two children – Athena and Troy. We live in Surrey, just outside of London and I work full time on my blog. I started the blog to document our weaning journey when Athena was a few months old but have written about so much more than I ever expected when I first started out.
What age gap did you have between your first and second children? What’s their relationship like?
We ended up with a 20 month gap between LP and Little Man. Their relationship is fantastic – they are often mistaken as twins and are as close as two peas in a pod. They are each other’s favourite person.
What was the hardest thing about having a second child?
Without a doubt, the fact that you have the first child to look after too. You have another child who needs to be dressed, fed, entertained and maybe even taken to nursery or school and picked up again. You can’t just focus on the new baby as you already have another person who needs you so much. So splitting the time and focus between two children was the hardest thing for me – and we used tablets and TV a lot in the early days!
What was the best thing about having a second child?
The best thing was that you had done it all before. You knew what to expect and you could rely on your instincts and experience. You always realised that having one baby had been SO easy and actually took time to appreciate that you could put the sleeping baby down and do work, that they didn’t move and aside from feeding, changing and rocking to sleep they really didn’t need much at all. Having a second baby taught me how easy having a first baby was in comparison!
Were there any products that made life with an older sibling and a newborn easier?
I really discovered and embraced baby wearing when Troy was born. It let me have my hands free to take care of a potty training toddler and he loved being carried too. Our Close Caboo carrier was fantastic until he outgrew it. We also loved the Cosatto Supa Dupa double stroller – it folded so small and fit through standard size doors. It was a revelation when we first got it!
What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone expecting their second baby?
Make the most of the time before the baby comes to do as much with your first child as possible. Spend time with them and do things. It’s a time that you will never get back and as Troy arrived 16 days early I felt a little robbed of that time with Athena. Also, don’t put too much pressure on yourself when the baby is born. If you need to put your first child in front of the TV, give them the tablet for a few hours or ply them with snacks just to feed and change the new baby – or lay on the sofa for a few minutes – then do it. Those first months are so short in the scheme of things. Don’t feel guilty, just do what you have to do to get through. It will get easier.