During the course of my second pregnancy, I was (more than once) assured that “This baby will be sooooooooo much easier than your first.” I now have a response to this little nugget of insight:
F*** that noise.
It is lies, all of it. Or maybe it’s not/wasn’t for you. Maybe it is easier for a lot of parents. But it certainly isn’t easier for everyone (including yours truly.) It’s definitely not a blanket statement I would just go throwing around aimlessly at desperate moms-to-be- again. I like to think that people told me this in an effort to keep me from having chronic anxiety about the realization that I would soon have two under two. Thanks, I guess?
This obviously could occur for a variety of reasons: new environment, every baby being different, Mercury in retrograde, the list of variables is endless. All I know is that I feel f***ing cheated. Most assuredly expectations and reality are often quite different with parenthood but come on.
My First vs Second Baby
I’m not talking cries and screams but I’m also not talking fun coos and giggles. Mainly I’m talking grunts and sounds of discomfort. This was new as my first never really made these noises often, however my second baby goes on for sometimes an hour. As his parents, we are constantly trying to “fix” what is causing the problem (spoiler alert: there’s not one) with walking, bouncing, patting, bicycle wheels, etc but alas, it continues despite our efforts.
This was much more difficult with the second baby. It wasn’t a breeze or anything with my first but between the grunting all night, wanting to be held, an irritated toddler insisting on sleeping with us, and my husband’s snoring, there was hardly a time where I would find myself sleeping for more than an hour or so. I knew I’d be tired, but this is next level.
Putting Baby Down
Even now, a few months into it, I cannot put my second down for an extended period of time. He will cry, loudly and relentlessly until picked up. Usually, he also requires movement so we’re probably walking and/or bouncing. Also, he is heavier than my first so all I’m saying is that I’m sore but I sure am glad I’ll have some Michelle Obama arms any day now #goals.
After reading the above section, it probably does not come as a surprise that had to utilize babywearing to survive. I wore my daughter a fair amount but it is an absolute necessity to wear my son. Although, he has to be nearing sleep and not even a little bit hungry, or he will motorboat me non-stop.
I’m going to call it a draw on this one for me. After I figured out the issue with my first (flat-ish nipples that needed a breast shield) all was relatively easy. She would wake/cry, nurse, burp a little and go to sleep.
With my second, he wakes/cries/was never asleep to being with, will grunt and squirm before finally latching, will not use the nipple shield, will suckle until a let-down starts, will pull away getting milk everywhere, then will finally eat for a little while, followed by at least 15 minutes trying to get him to burp and then maybe he will think about going to sleep later. He likes to snack ALL THE TIME.
Even with preparation this time, it is so much more work (including way more milk covered laundry for both the baby and myself.) The reason I call this a draw is that I was so much better prepared to start a stash. I bought myself a Haakaa (definitely recommend) and collected passively whenever possible. With the occasional pump session, I’ve been able to stockpile enough that I’m not constantly stressing out about my supply dipping. That, I would consider a win.
I should have known, with a toddler in the house, that the baby was bound to get his first cold much sooner. He did and it made sleep more difficult for us all. Building immunity? Sure.
I didn’t always know when my daughter pooped until I smelled it or sometimes we would catch “the face”. Of course, she had the occasional blow-out but that’s typical. With my son, you know it’s coming. He starts with grunting and noises and straining. The deed is complete when he crescendos to a thunderous shart. Every. Single. Time. Don’t go anywhere just yet. Many times it’s followed by an encore. This isn’t necessarily harder, but it just takes more patience, which I seem to be lacking most mornings at 5 AM, not having gotten much sleep.
Your second baby isn’t a cake walk, but…
There is a long list of additional reasons why others may be having a harder time than me (I see you single parents, those struggling to make ends meet as-is, and those with medically complex/fragile babies) but it still sucks sometimes when I’m trying to “live in the moment” or “enjoy every minute of it.” I guess when it comes down to it, clichés and expectations ruin everything.
I don’t mean to sound complain-y, I really don’t. It’s obviously not all bad. There is so much good too. My son is, right now, giving me that drooly smile that just melts my heart. I love both of my kids. They are both healthy and I knew that having two was going to be tough.
I just really wish people would shut up about how “easy” it will be. Different, absolutely, but definitely not easy. Yes, I am more confident in the basics and how to recognize things that are problematic. I’m also fairly certain I’m not going to “break” this one, so I’ll cross those anxieties of my list.