From One to Two :: Easier or Harder?

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When my firstborn was a baby, every single day I would think how in the world does anyone have more than one child? I didn’t even have a difficult baby, but I just felt like my hands were completely full. Some mornings I would be counting down the minutes until her first nap when I could crawl back in bed. Now looking back, I don’t know why I thought I was too busy to go to the bathroom or grab a snack, but at the time it really was hard. Everything was uncharted territory.

Now I have a toddler and a four month old. I am very new to having two, so this is not an advice post. I am just sharing my thoughts so far. And the bottom line is, it is not as hard as I feared. Don’t take that as me saying it is easy, or sounding prideful like – Oh, I’ve got this. Not at all. When you add baby #2 there are definitely hard parts, but there are some easier parts too.

First off, you have graduated from newborn 101. You know the drill. Sure every baby is different, but you are at least familiar with things like swaddling, crying, and lugging around a fifteen pound diaper bag. Your checkups with the pediatrician don’t take forty-five minutes because you have a handwritten list of eighteen questions including, “Exactly how much diaper cream do I apply?” Yes, true story. I actually asked that. Overall, you are just more relaxed in regards to a newborn.

For me, breastfeeding the second time around has been a lot easier. I know this is not the case for everyone. But having gone through it all before has really helped me. It didn’t hurt for long at all this time {weeks compared to MONTHS}. I have only called the lactation consultant once so far.  I also haven’t been obsessing over her feeding schedule. With my first baby I would spend way too much time Googling things like – How often should a 3.25 month old be nursing during the day? I guess I thought she would be three years old and still needing to nurse every two hours. But now that we are passed that stage, I realize every baby is different, and it will work itself out – there is no need to stress.

By far the biggest thing that helps with baby #2 is knowing from experience that everything is just a stage. Yes, some stages last longer than others. But usually, after you come out of a particular stage, you realize that you weren’t in it that long after all.  The first six weeks were some of the toughest for me. I was still healing physically, not getting much sleep, and dealing with a lot of crying. It feels like an eternity in the thick of it, but once it’s over, it’s over. Those little hands and feet will never be that tiny again. Right now, my four month old wakes up twice a night to nurse and often a number of other times needing a pacifier. Yes, I would love to get an uninterrupted night of sleep. But I also don’t want to just race through her baby days wishing for some rest. If you spend all your time wishing away the challenges, you are essentially wishing away motherhood. Because isn’t that what motherhood is – a marathon of challenges and joys? So I have been trying to savor this time and remind myself that this too shall pass.

Like I said, although there are some aspects that are easier, there are some more challenging parts as well. Let’s start with getting out the door to go somewhere. However much time it took you to get ready with 1, just multiply that by 2…or 12, depending on the day. For me it means twice the diapers, twice the gear, and twice the fussing. But I am trying to get better about not complaining or acting surprised when it takes me two hours to prepare for a forty-five minute outing. I recently read a blog post about accepting motherhood and all of it’s challenges {and re-read and re-read}, and I am encouraged by this perspective.

Another challenge is dividing your attention. Sometimes the baby is crying while I am making oatmeal for my toddler, and sometimes my toddler is practically ignored while I tend to the baby. Although it is a glorious miracle when their nap times overlap, I am thankful when they nap separately and I get some one-on-one time with each of them.

Finally, one of the unexpected challenges I am facing is comparison. I constantly compare my second to my first as far as development goes. I don’t mean to, but I can’t help thinking about it. If my younger one is not meeting a milestone around the same time as my older one, I tend to get a little anxious. I just need to relax and enjoy how each of my girls are uniquely created.

Having two kids is obviously harder than one, but not as impossible as I thought. I think the Lord provides the exact amount of strength, energy, patience, and wisdom that you need at the time. Now that I have two I frequently wonder how in the world do people do it with three? And you know what? I think I want to find out…someday.

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6 Responses to From One to Two :: Easier or Harder?

  1. Avatar
    Dani Motruk March 8, 2014 at 8:05 am #

    I went from 1 to 3 in just 16months. That was a chore! So when my sister in law was expecting number 2 just a short 14months after her first I thought that sounded so easy as she freaked out! It’s all about perspective I guess!

  2. Avatar
    Liz March 8, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    Great post, Jana! I’m about to find out what it’s like dealing with two on my own (the grandmother is leaving tomorrow!) so it’s good to hear some encouraging words! You are a great mommy and those two girls are blessed to have you!

  3. Avatar
    Bon Crowder March 8, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    My first is 4 and my second is 2.5 months. So I’ve practically forgot the things that I could be comparing #2 to #1 about. Also it helps not having both in diapers.

    Thanks for sharing your story. It helps to know others are discovering this world too.

  4. Avatar
    Elyse August 4, 2016 at 10:20 pm #

    I really enjoyed this tonight as my 2 year old is in bed. I always thought we would be one and down but I’m not as sure anymore 🙂

  5. Avatar
    Britt June 5, 2017 at 12:51 am #

    I am thinking about trying for a second child and was curious how you knew your family was ready to expand. I am worried about the divided attention and taking away from my son. Do you have any advice?

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