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Baby number 2 - honest experiences?(19 Posts)
I'm considering TTC baby number 2 when my son turns 2 next summer, and I want an honest outlook from any new mummas of 2. Hubby found the newborn phase much harder than I did, he values his sleep alot and I want him to know exactly what to expect so he doesn't fall into a vortex of 'FML' if it's mega hard with a toddler in tow.
I took on the workload with our boy as hubby was working alot and I am still BF now. I mum guilted myself into being as perfect as I could without TV, convenience snacks and anything else I worried people would judge me for. BF took months to become established due to pain and it really made me a wreck at the time as I wanted it so badly, but I powered through and got there in the end at the cost of some of my sanity.
Basically I want honest input from mums who have had a second baby with a 2 or 3 year age gap and how you coped, what was hard and what was easier than you thought. Any tricks or advice that helped you and real insight into how things have to change.
I'll take my year mat leave again but then will go back to working 3 days a week (as we have a big ol' mortgage to pay). Im 34 and have PCOS so TTC the first time took a couple of years, I don't want to miss my chance but don't want to have a baby that could put too much pressure on my beautiful little family as we are, this is me researching so please be honest! I know its different for everyone as no two situations are the same but I feel hearing your experiences will help prepare me and in turn prepare the mister so we can have that 'talk' knowing as many facts as we can!
Thank you. X
Go for it! My husband needs his sleep too, so I took the lion's share of the nights (breastfeeding) and he always made time for me to have a catch up nap in the daytime. My boys are now 5 and 3 and play together so well I have time to look after their baby sister. Children are a blessing
Being a perfect parent gets harder the more kids you have. That’s not a bad thing imo as you have to give up and chill out.
Your DH will probably have to do more this time, including taking the older one out when you need them to. Again, not a bad thing, I think it helps their confidence as a parent.
You need to decide if the timing for you is as good as it can be and give it a try if so.
We had a 2 year gap, it was really hard for a while but then once they played together it was easier than one for us.
In my experience most mums think number two s easier and most dads think number two is harder. One honest dad told me he realised his wife had been buffering him from a lot of the work with number one and it was no longer possible when there were two.
Most families do manage two though- you are not talking about a particularly small age gap.
I have almost exactly 2 years between my 2 and little one is only 4 weeks old so we are very much in the newborn stage. So far it has been good. Hard work when I have the toddler and baby alone, but I feel more confident as a second time mum. I'm loving seeing the sibling relationship grow already.
I think it entirely depends on the child. DS1 slept through from 5 months and was generally quite content. DS2 still doesn't sleep through at 2.5yrs, screams and cries at almost anything, and is always putting himself in danger. They get on brilliantly and I wouldn't change a thing (26m gap), but if I'd had them the other way round the gap probably would have been bigger.
I’ve found it incredibly hard - but that was in lockdown, suddenly trying to entertain two on my own ten hours a day. Now I’m back at work - much easier.
With a three year gap you get your free hours at nursery - I found that very helpful before/after lockdown when the nurseries reopen.
Once your eldest starts at school that’s a big help too, which isn’t so far away with a three year gap.
I usually put the baby in the sling so she would sleep and I could focus on her big brother, I spent a lot of time kicking a ball around with him. Bubbles were successful at entertaining them both. Lots of TV while feeding. There are new challenges once no.2 can start moving, as then the wrestling/fighting over toys starts!
Thank you everyone. I just worry that I'd try to bare the load and crumble under the stress. I hate seeing DH struggle and there wouldn't be time to pick him up and juggle two tots if he got down about the new found struggle that could occur. He is a fabulous Dad but doesn't cope well without sleep, he's a type 1 diabetic and that has an impact too when he's run down. He would be happy with just the 1 and that is what we originally both wanted but I'd love to give DS a sibling, I just don't want to pressure DH into something that could be so hard for us that it puts a strain on our relationship.
I know the first year will be tough but its not forever, right! DS sleeps well now I've sleep trained and stopped feeding to sleep (at 14 months). But it was rocky to start and I was too nervous to sleep away from him so didn't put him in his own room until he was a year, that probably didn't help.
Great point about the free nursery hours too!!!
I guess I'd want to try to potty train first too if I could and wean off BF for my first born.
I just wanted honest accounts of those first few months to prepare not just DH but me too!!
Where you have toddlers and newborns, do you use a monitor in the toddlers room still while the baby is in with you? Sane question when they're in different rooms, do you use two monitors?? I like to be able to see DS at night as he's a light sleeper and I always wake him when I creep in!
I had twins when DS1 was 2y8m. Honestly I think around 2.8-3y is the perfect age gap because your toddler is really beginning to develop their independence. DS1 was reliably sleeping through the night, was potty trained, could play alone for short stretches by the time the babies arrived. He was also able to be distracted with some quality YouTube content when I really needed it (he had very little TV at all before 2). I can't imagine doing it with a much smaller gap. Obviously our sleep was pretty bad with twins BUT I think as a second time mum I was much more relaxed and also I knew what I could deal with and when it was time to say, no, I am not rocking to sleep any more and it's time to sleep train! Now as the twins turn 1 my eldest is in preschool and he's really no longer a toddler at all. If it weren't for the fact I got two at once , I think a second baby would have been a breeze.
DC2 is 4 weeks old so it’s still early days but I’d highly recommend this age gap - DC1 was 2 years 6 months when DC2 was born. In the last 6 months he’s become a lot more independent - potty trained and can manage his own clothes so can take himself off to the bathroom without needing me there (though I do have to wipe his bum for poo still!), he can play by himself increasingly (could not do that 6 months ago), can speak fluently and wants to be helpful with the baby (though still has his moments obviously!). They will still be close enough in age to play well together (I hope) but I had a year of better sleep and no breastfeeding (stopped when DC1 was 13 months) between them which was also really beneficial for my career so all in all I’m very happy. I’m bf again and DH works, and DC1 not in childcare so I have both of them full time and doing all the nights so it’s tiring but DC2 is adorable and I feel like our family is complete.
PS DC1 didn’t watch any TV before the baby was born, now has about 30 mins a day. I mostly read stories to him when I’m feeding etc. And I have maintained all home cooked food. The baby spends most of the day in the sling, which she loves.
I have a gap of almost 3 years. I think it helped that DD was slightly older and understood more. She could wait a bit, take herself to the toilet etc.
I found the first 6 months easier second time as I was less anxious. 6-12 months were harder but manageable. DC2 was a terrible sleeper and I sometimes felt I didn't get much time to myself but somehow having more routine and structure due to DC1 helped.
I breastfed DC1 until DC2 was born when she weaned. I didn't love it whilst pregnant, but it made breastfeeding second time so much easier! (Not particularly recommending this though.)
Things that helped me:
- Knowing it was my final baby. Once I survived this I didn't have to do it again! Along with that, Knowing that the baby will eventually sleep and you will regain some normality again.
- Having DC1 in nursery some of the time
- Encouraging independence in DC1 in terms of dressing herself etc
- Persisting with DC1 having a nap and later a rest time. She has an hour to herself in her room whilst DC2 naps. She is at school now, so just weekends, but really helps!
I can’t remember exactly when I stopped using a monitor with my eldest, possibly at around two?
Now that he’s four he still cries out for attention sometimes at night, but it’s only things like his duvet having fallen off. There were some hard nights when my baby was smaller as he went through a stage of wetting the bed. Once I go to bed I don’t use any monitors at all, just rely on hearing the inevitable moans and screams! Only use the monitor when I’m downstairs.
3.5 year gap here. Would have been less but i lost a couple of early pregnancies. Worked out really well. Totally toilet trained so they can sort themselves when you are feeding. Can get self totally dressed and follow instructions and manage the stairs and put own shoes and coat on and verbalise what they need and wait patiently. Secure sense of identity so not threatened by new baby.
Still went to nursery few hours so i got a bit of downtime. Would happily go to others for a sleep over or couple of hours.
You do have to massively drop your standards and expectations with no two though and they do just have to slot in. I found it much less overwhelming with no 2 as you don't have the total lifestyle adjustment to make. And have a sense of humour.
My mum told me the highs wouldn't be quite as high and the lows nowhere near as low. I think those were wise words. Its just more balanced i think with subsequent children.
I'm early days with two but I'd say having a second has been a completely different experience - much more confident in my parenting as is OH. There's a much more even split of housework this time too which has been helpful for my recovery. We're tired but we've been tired for nearly 3 years so what's the difference at this point?!
I spent much of my pregnancy getting DD1 ready - potty trained, in a bed, playing well independently, can get in and out of car herself (not the straps obviously), walking pretty much full time so we could use the buggy for DD2.
Stopped using the monitor a couple of months ago actually - if she needs us she's loud enough for us to hear! We'll start using it again when DD2 goes into her own room but that's months off yet.
I found it was a gentle introduction to having two - the first few months were pretty easy tbh. The toddler was much far trickier by a long way, and baby just tagged along.
Once baby became mobile, the work really started and for about 9m it was HARD, but then it gradually you easier again and that's where we are now that baby is a few months off 2. It's still harder than in the first few month IMO but we've got over the tricky hump, save for sleep being worse than when first born.
Watching the relationship between them develop had been amazing, and no regrets here.
I’ve got a larger age gap - just over 4 years (that wasn’t quite the plan, but had some secondary infertility due to hormones being a bit off after DD).
Remember that when you conceive, you still have 9 months for your child to grow up/get used to the idea. Think how much a child changes in 9 months! You have plenty of time to try and encourage a bit more independence etc in your first child to make life easier when your Second one arrives.
In all honesty, I was feeling pretty confident about second child - I felt like I knew what to expect and what to do in various different circumstances. I knew I could handle the nights (DH is shit without sleep - with DD1 I rapidly banished him to the spare room as it was sooooo much easier doing the night wakings myself!). Fate threw a bit of a spanner in the works though - we now have twins. That means I do wake DH up at night. Bear in mind that twins can happen!
I think your DH will have to step up with your existing child. They deserve just as much quality time as they ever get, but your time will be taken up with a newborn quite often. You’d want to start that before your second child arrives so that it is just part of their routine, rather than them feeling pushed out.
Basically, your life will be easier if your DH steps up BEFORE second child arrives, and if your first child has had plenty of time to prepare and has spent some time with tiny babies so they know what to expect.
Am I finding it hard? Yes, incredibly. But probably mostly because we had twins.
Thank you everyone. All this twin talk is scary as DH mother is a twin and they run in my family too, but oh what a blessing! Im feeling really confident now so I think as soon as served my obligatory year back at work to earn my maternity leave again, we will start trying. DH has heard your messages and seems more relaxed about it too.
Like I mentioned, I have PCOS and the first go at TTC was a long road but now I know how to prepare my body I can spend the next 9 months working on that to help us along.
I've also got a back condition so lots of work to get my body tip top is in order along with more time enjoying DS1!
You're all bloody heros by the way, thank you for your honesty and support. X
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