Friday, April 15, 2011

Parenting the 1st baby vs. the 2nd baby

Situation: You're at a cookout with the baby and you don't know that many people. But you're hungry. Starving, in fact. It's killing you to watch person after person fill a plate and walk over to the picnic tables to happily consume delicious BBQ chicken and smoked ribs. Your mouth is watering.

With 1st baby: Holding the baby in one arm, you gingerly collect a few carrots, some celery, and a handful of chips. There is nowhere to put the baby to free up your other hand so you can dive into the "real"food. So you get what you can manage and join the crowd at the tables, still famished.

With 2nd baby: Approaching a complete stranger, "Wanna hold my baby so I can grab some food? Yeah? Thanks so much!" *scamper eagerly over to the grill to fill a plate*


Situation: You are nursing your 8-month-old baby on the couch at a friend's party. In between attempts to throw the blanket off her head and expose you to the whole room, the baby manages to eat her fill. Your 2nd cousin twice removed approaches you and asks how long you plan on nursing the baby. She is, after all, 8 months old. Shouldn't that have stopped long ago?

With 1st baby: "Well, there are a lot of benefits to nursing a baby until she's a year old. At that point I can put her on cow's milk and it'll be safe, but I might continue nursing just a little while beyond that. It's hard to wean overnight, you know. But the breast really is best. Babies have such a delicate system and breastmilk is designed perfectly to meet their needs...."

With 2nd baby: "I'd be happy to switch my precious baby over to formula if you'll agree to buy it for me every week for the next four months."


Situation: Your baby is a few months old and you've been getting up multiple times each night to feed and comfort her. It's beginning to wear on you and you're feeling more fatigued than you ever thought you could. In the middle of the deepest part of your sleep cycle, you hear crying through the monitor.

With 1st baby: Like a flash of lightning, you bolt out of bed and race to the baby's room. After all, she might be stuck in the crib railings. She might be suffocating underneath a blanket. She might have figured out how to stand up and climb out at 3 months old!

With 2nd baby: Your husband nudges you in bed, "Honey...honey...the baby's crying. What? Don't you hear her? Honey, I think she's been crying a might want to go see if she's hungry...."


Situation: The AAP recommends that children under 2 years old watch no TV. That's right; none. No cartoons, no Disney Channel, no Baby Einstein DVDs...nothing.

With 1st baby: You buy flash cards, puzzles, and workbooks and engage your child in the practice of active learning. You visit the library weekly and your child checks out 10 books at a time. He develops a love of reading and after his 2nd birthday, you slowly but surely introduce TV so that he has an idea of what his playgroup friends are talking about. Only one 30 minute show per day though.

With 2nd baby: Your 6-month-old crawls over to the TV, presses the green ON button, climbs up on the couch and gets comfortable next to his brother. Elmo? Oh, my favorite!


Situation: Because peanut allergies have become very common in children, parents are advised to not introduce peanuts or peanut butter until age 3.

With 1st baby: Peanuts are forbidden in the house and an extremely small jar of peanut butter is hidden in the highest kitchen cabinet, only to be consumed after the child is in bed. Every playgroup attended is "peanut-free" and by the time the child is 3-years-old, he wants nothing to do with the stuff. The mere mention of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich sends him screaming into the other room.

With 2nd baby: Upon entering the kitchen, you spot your 7-month-old baby chowing down on the remains of a stale peanut butter sandwich that she confiscated from the garbage can. You do nothing.

Amazing how much more relaxed we parents become, isn't it? ;)


  1. PS- No, these scenarios are not my own. I have indeed become more relaxed with my 2nd but these are exaggerated to make my point. :)

  2. 1 can of formula a week?! Try 2-3! I'm a "bad" Mom Warren and Colt both watch Disney jr in the morning while I make breakfast and when Warren doesn't like what we eat he eats pb & j instead. But I understand the whole more relaxed with the 2nd than the 1st baby. I did like your scenarios

  3. With the third baby, these scenarios won't be so exaggerated. There will definitely be alot of truth to them!