Most people will tell you that the second baby is “easier”. In some ways this is true. The experience of being a first time parent often teaches you the real meaning of the saying “this too shall pass” so by baby number two you understand that eventually they will sleep and even when you want to freeze time, your baby will grow and develop.
Baby number two can sometimes arouse more complicated feelings though. I often have parents come to me struggling with how to manage the demands and schedules of a newborn and a toddler. This is no easy feat. As much as a newborn wants to snuggle, stay close and feed, a toddler wants to explore and needs emotional regulation for those times when they can’t manage the big feelings themselves. This tug of emotions and trying to meet the needs of two children can be very challenging and many parents end up feeling guilty whatever they do.
Then there’s the complex feelings when your toddler is no longer your “baby” because when seen next to the newborn they all of a sudden look so much older. Sometimes it can be hard not to have suddenly unrealistic expectations of your toddler and what they can manage.
It’s important to be reassured that all of these challenges are very common. At Child Health we often work with parents to find solutions for these experiences.
Child and Family Health Nurse