8 Things Real Moms Wish They Knew Before Having a Second Kid

Just when you’ve settled into a routine with baby number one, you come down with a case of nature’s amnesia—i.e., the impulse to ignore the (now) distant memories of pregnancy, childbirth and never getting more than three hours of uninterrupted sleep. But are you ready to do it all over again? We polled the moms in our lives with two or more kids to find out what they wish they knew before the second came along.

Quiz Should I Have Another Baby?

older brother giving baby a hug

That Two Kids Can Feel Like Five
“Something that surprised me after giving birth to my second daughter was that one plus one doesn’t equal two. In fact, two kids can feel like five sometimes. There is so. much. chaos. A lot of our time is now spent in divide and conquer mode. It’s almost like we’re playing man-on-man defense. Mom cares for baby and dad cares for the older child.” — Christine, San Francisco

That There Is No Bond Like a Sibling Bond
“It’s a tough transition for the older child, no matter how mature or prepared or excited they may seem. But the sweet interactions between siblings will melt your heart and remind you why you had more than one kid.” — Angela, Wisconsin

older sibling holding baby

That the Newborn Phase Is Way Easier with Your Second
“I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the newborn phase the second time around. I was so much less stressed, which helped me be much more present. I actually savored things like middle of the night feedings or diaper changes. Weird, but true!” — Stephanie, Florida

That Your First-Born May Require Extra Attention
“We realized pretty fast when our second arrived that we needed to carve out special one-on-one time with our oldest so that she still felt like she had time with both parents. We found that enrolling her in a regular class—we picked swimming—has been super special and rewarding because she knows it’s a regular occurrence and something where one parent is reliably there.” — Lauren, Maine

family playing in the park

That You Might Miss Your Family of Three
“I was so focused on getting my son a sibling, that I didn't quite appreciate the ease and beauty of what we had. Things got chaotic quickly after the birth of our second, and I was shocked by how much I missed just being with my oldest. I also worried that I would never love my second as much as my first. Now, of course, I realize that it just required time and bonding—but it was an adjustment.” — Amanda, Connecticut

That You Might Want Octopus Arms
“Having another kid makes me feel like I need octopus arms to keep all my family relationships—immediate and extended—strong and everyone happy all at once.” — Sarah, Massachusetts

kid playing with toys alone

That I Should Have Organized Everything
“In a lot of ways, there’s no time to really prepare—this time around, you’re so so busy chasing after your first, and it can be tricky to properly nest. Still, I wish that we had devoted more time to organization, so that we had more in order when baby #2 arrived.” — Nicole, Illinois

That I Should Have Hired More Babysitters
“A sitter for one kid is $13/hour. A sitter for two kids is $18/hour. Nuff said.” –Jillian, New York