15 Differences In The First Child Vs. The Second

Children playing in inflatable pool

1. Celebrating 
The first child: When we were expecting our first child, people celebrated me as though no woman had ever had a baby before. I was showered with gifts and attention by family, friends, family friends and friends of family friends’ dogs. Upon arrival of the baby, visitors crowded the waiting room and lined up around the block. You have never seen so many homemade lasagnas in your life.
The next one: Umm…where did everybody go?

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2. Documentation
Your first childPhoto documentation began before my pregnant belly was even visible and continued weekly (more like daily) throughout the first two years of our daughter’s life on the outside.
The next oneAny pictures that captured my second pregnancy were inadvertent until near the end, when we decided we had better take a few shots on purpose just to prove it happened.

3. Illness
The first child: The baby was sniffle free her whole first year of life.
The next oneDue to the infectiousness of her older sibling, now in preschool, the baby has had a runny nose since the week after her birth. She can see us coming with the snot sucker from across the room and it takes all three of us to hold her down to use it.

4. Time Management
The first child: There was no time to do anything but care for the baby. Outings were carefully timed so as not to anger the gods of Nap. I could not commit to any plans without a caveat regarding the likelihood of my cancelling them, because one day’s schedule could not predict the next.

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The next oneI cannot conceive how I ever felt busy caring for only one child and though I continue to respect naps, it would be impossible for me to make the world stop spinning in order to always accommodate the baby at the exact moment she is ready. (By ‘the world’ I mean my preschooler, by ‘spinning’ I mean spinning.)

5. Nursing
The first child: I had great big hopes that my breasts would rebound post nursing.
The next oneAll hope is lost. But I’m still pulling for pelvic realignment.

6. Attentiveness
The first child: We rushed to respond to night time crying for the baby’s sake.
The next oneWe rush to respond to night time crying so that she won’t wake up her sister.

7. Cleanliness
The first childThe baby got a complete wardrobe change upon receiving the tiniest drop of spit up.
The next oneWipe slobber and spit up off with other parts of the clothes she is wearing, the clothes I am wearing, rub it off (or rather in) with my thumb, dangle her so she launches it onto the ground. In short, use whatever method of cleanup is most handy and carry on. Spit up and slobber are nothing compared to what her sister uses to dirty clothes. Exponential laundry increase is one of the great shocks of having a second child.

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8. Development
The first childWe encouraged motor skill and ambulatory development. Praised all accomplishments.
The next oneHave strapped to the floor with duct tape knowing what difficulties baby mobility brings. I try every day but still cannot physically move in two opposing directions at once. Once the baby starts running around, I will have to decide which child to sacrifice in order to chase after the other.

9. Safety
The first childAny baby proofing done was to protect from the dangers of the house.
The next oneHow could anyone think a house is dangerous compared to a three year old? This baby climbs the stairs by herself on the way to her daily sibling self defense class.

10. Closeness
The first childI wanted to hold her all the time, she was my first. Her sleeping on me was bliss and I had the leisure to doze at random with her at any point during the day.
The next oneI want to hold her all the time, she is my last. Her sleeping on me is rare because her sister does not recognize my right to be still.

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11. Productivity
The first childOn the weekends the family ran errands together. It seemed we had all the time in the world and every trip was novel. There were two of us and one of her…nothing could impede our progress.

The next oneDivide and conquer. This took a few trips to figure out. Inevitably, one of us would have to make an emergent potty run into a store with the toddler, while the other sat in the parked car nursing the newborn. This left no one to accomplish the errand. (To ease your suspense, it was me in the car.) As I write this I realize that during the week, I run the errands by myself with both girls. Hey wait a minute, that’s not fair…

12. Organization
The first childThe house became increasingly scattered with baby gear and toys. I was excited when she grew out of all those clunky baby gadgets such as the activity mat, exersaucer and high chair, until I realized bigger kids have bigger stuff.
The next oneMinimal adult possessions remain. However many attractive receptacles I can find, they are not enough.

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13. Benefits
The first childHad the benefit of all my attention. Good thing because I had no idea what I was doing.
The next oneHas the benefit of my experience. Good thing because I am busy explaining to her sister why she doesn’t get all of the attention anymore.

14. Life Impact
The first childThe shock of parenthood was tremendous and the realization that I couldn’t turn back was scary like I swallowed a boulder and jumped off a bridge.
The next oneTimes two.

15. Lovability
The first childBrought the most powerful of all love into my life for the first time.
The next oneBrought the most powerful of all love into my life for the first time, again. (My apologies if the sentiment makes you throw up in your mouth, that is just the way it is.)

Related post: 7 Differences Between Your First and Second Pregnancies

About the writer

Carisa Miller is a sarcasm wielding, cherub lugging, cheese devouring, nut-job writer. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her astonishingly patient husband, two fireball daughters, and an ill-tempered cat. You can find her words strewn across Carisa Miller-Do You Read Me?  where something meaningful occasionally leaks through one-liners and run-on sentences.


Jenny 2 months ago

Thank you so much for all this truth! While I’m worried about it all, I was most worried about having as much love for the next. That last one meant a lot to me.

Deals-N-Coupons 3 months ago

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Jacky 3 months ago

growing up a second child, and having the first get all the attention and still does, made me feel like I had to achieve so much more just to be noticed. it can leave the second child not feeling special at all.

Da 9 months ago

I have a 2 yr old and expecting my 2nd child. I cant wait!!!

Sher 9 months ago

Oh my, how funny! I wish I had seen something like this when I had my second. They are now 19 & 15 and I went through a lot of “mommy guilt” because no one was open about these type of feelings back then. I always felt like I was the only one who felt this way. Thanks for opening the pressure value on the guilt by being honest.

Mary Bertetto 11 months ago

Wait for the 6th one!

Carisa Miller 11 months ago

Thanks, all, for the laughter and support!

Kelly Rogers 11 months ago

All of this is so true! I especially like the part about the snot sucker hahaha

Sandy Rogers 11 months ago

I’ll still get excited!!!!

Kathleen Burbank 11 months ago

So amazing the number of shares across all platforms! That is so cool! And the piece is hysterical! You mean it will get harder when I have the second one?!

Lisa Rae Thompson 11 months ago

How many of you got a push present? You know what push present my husband gave me? MY KIDS.

Anna Buckingham 11 months ago

Hahaha. Yep.

Kelly Burbage Baldwin 11 months ago

This is spot on. Love it–laugh out loud moments that only parents can understand.

Tara Rountree Wood 11 months ago

Congratulations, friend! You deserve all good things <3

Jessica Ziegler 11 months ago

Very cool!!

Kathy James 11 months ago

I was lucky, my aunt came to stay and was there to help me with my first and my mother-in-law not only help take care of my son while I gave birth to my daughter but helped out after!!!

Miriam J Albaum 11 months ago

I know the feeling. I was #2

Kim Marks Johnson 11 months ago

And by the 3rd pregnancy, people said to us “You already have a girl and a boy, why would you have a third?” Smh

Justin Dolinger 11 months ago

Great piece! It’s gonna take you awhile to re-read all those comments!

Jessica Patterson 11 months ago

Wait till the third one. Then you get the oh so wonderful comments. “Dont you know how that happens?” “Another one?!”. The second and third especially if they are a different gender than the other are when you need the most gifts. I hold up the girl’s baby stuff and ask my husband if it is too girly for our son to wear lol.

Maro Herrera 11 months ago

Yeah that happened to me Hahaha But my second was like Another one? What are you crazy? And then i was all alone at the hospital cuz hubby needed to stay with my 1st

Angie Shaw 11 months ago

I love reading your post there hysterically true most of us has been there but few dare to admit it

Amy Mullenhoff Poore 11 months ago


Laura O’ Dwyer 11 months ago

Time will tell…..:)

Desiree Gaffney 11 months ago

This is so incredibly true!

Sarah Barnetson 11 months ago

So so true

Kaydee Anderson 11 months ago

Not so true for me for all four of mine there was a waiting room full of relatives waiting to hear the news my mom was there for every one and I was there for all of my daughter’s children as I will be for all of my other kids when their time comes. … a new life is something to celebrate first or ninth they are all important and should be celebrated each and EVERY time.

Tina Marie Hayes 11 months ago

I had to host my own for my first. Family didnt bother as my sister was pregnant at the same time.

Gretchen Kennedy 11 months ago

It’s even more sad the third time around when it’s christmas and your family gets to see the 6 month old for the first time! :/

Laura Marie Didricksen 11 months ago

Try times 3 lol

Tanya Graham 11 months ago

Yes!!!! Lol!

Marion Mitchell-Mosher 11 months ago

This makes me abhorrently sad that some feel a second life being welcomed into the family isn’t worth celebrating. All children born into or adopted into a family DESERVE celebration. And a mother should be celebrated all the time!

Jessica Kistler Griggs 11 months ago

My mother did everything for my first and I mean everything my second never once did she do a thing not even a paci from the dollar store

Michelle Bastien 11 months ago

Yeah the second I still had visitors, with the third not so much.

Marge Talmadge Brown 11 months ago

Same thing here

Melanie Lapensee 11 months ago

Yeah even lost some people in my life cause they didn’t care at all

Alicia Frei 11 months ago

So glad to hear that it’s normal to have a second pregnancy TOTALLY under celebrated!! Q

Melissa Cantara 11 months ago

So true

Debbie Brown Kirkhoff 11 months ago

Is it a new thing to host your own baby shower,know someone who did just that. And having third child to boot.

Judy Fournier 11 months ago

Like the duct tape idea on mobility…

Cathy Tennyson 11 months ago

Wow lol

Lisa Trede 11 months ago

All so true!

Jan Chrapcynski Steuart 11 months ago

#8 is hilarious

Tania Simmons 11 months ago

Silly isn’t it, while you don’t need the world hovering at the hospital, with each successive child the need for a helping hand when home increases and yet the offer decrease. Even my parents who came to be with B1 left once I got home, so essentially they cared for my child and husband but then I was on my own. Why, as women, don’t our mothers, mother-in-laws, sisters, girlfriends etc. get this???

Jennifer Lynn Maglaris 11 months ago

#7 all the way! My 6 month old spitting up on his onesie is nothing compared to what my two-year old is getting into on a daily basis!

Ema Leese 11 months ago

I got visits for all 3 of mine..and I didn’t have a baby shower with #1 or #2 but I did with #3 and I got a 3d scan with my 3rd…I guess it was because it was my last..so I wanted to do everything I didn’t get to do before

Averil Nolan 11 months ago

Oh dear what have we done?????

Amanda King Kogut 11 months ago

On point!

Freebe Albers 11 months ago

I had twins first, fixed most of these issues immediately.

Pamela Marie 11 months ago

#6!!! Sooooo true!

Melody Dawn Gormley 11 months ago

Wait till your 3rd!

Amy @ Carriage Before Marriage 11 months ago

I have a 4yo girl and am pregnant with my 2nd girl so I feel like you wrote this just for me…and I’m scared!

Jessica Smith Plant 11 months ago

First was everyone we ever met bearing a gift. Second child they said aw, you’ll get a girl next time and left. Third time with twin pregnancy complete strangers bought us diapers and came to visit.

Meghan Butler Allen 11 months ago

Yes, experiencing this now!

Lauren Kupke-Arconti 11 months ago

I’m loving being left alone to gestate in peace!

Shandel 11 months ago

Some of the second child ones I’ve kind of been doing from the start. Especially number eight. ” I will have to decide which child to sacrifice in order to chase after the other.” That made me laugh so hard because it seemed so true to me then. It isn’t as much of an issue now. *I had twins my first pregnancy.

Rachel Wyrick 11 months ago

That’s funny I just had my first child last month and I feel limited like it was a 2nd or even 3rd child for the way people reacted. Yeah on dba they all said congrats but when it came to people really being it was so sad and disappointing not to mention the day after was my bday. !! Find out a lot about people when you have a baby!

Henry N Amber Gagnon 11 months ago

By the 5th people are like, “Oh you guys had another baby?! Don’t you know how that happens?”

Christina Annette 11 months ago

Spot on

Laureen Giovannetti Andre 11 months ago

So true even with number 3 and 4 but the love grows exponentially! Enjoy!

Crystal Enriquez de Anda 11 months ago

Haha! Love this!

Jessica Gardea 11 months ago

I loved this article. Especially with getting the weekly notification to remind you of how many weeks you are. I can relate ! Lol

Ashley ‘Schriefer’ Flaumenhaft 11 months ago

True lol

Jessica Lyn 11 months ago

My first, I kept waiting for someone to show up and saint him. The third? I keep waiting for someone to offer to babysit.

Yuliana Sanchez 11 months ago

I think it depends on the people and how close you really are to the family…. For example I gave birth and the only two people that went to see me were my mom and one of my sisters other than that no one really made an effort to come see me…I’m not gonna lie it really hurt my feelings and everyone’s excuse was YOU LIVE SO FAR AWAY keep in mind I live about an hour and a half away I’m not in another state so honestly it depends on how close you are

Tara Lytton Cochran 11 months ago

I was just thinking about this today as I put away Christmas tree ornaments. My first born has many special ornaments that were given to her or made with her and my second just has a couple. I think sometimes this is why I spoil my second…she will never catch up to the first. :/

Tania Leigh 11 months ago

Second I got lots more attention. Sister missed work for my birth, mom came from Germany, friends visited but my father had passed away the week before her birth after me spending almost the entire pregnancy in ICU after my dad was hit by drunk driver.

Martha McCollum 11 months ago

Or the 2nd one comes 12 years later! People asked what I was thinking lol

Tracie Harris 11 months ago

So true :)

Lindsey Maggio-Kasten 11 months ago

I just had my second and asked people to wait until we got home to see the baby, only because there was too much happening when I had my first. Only a few friends showed up. *shrug

jennifer 11 months ago

As i sit here jiggling my #4 daughter to sleep to have her nap before the older 3 return from school , i must say this article gave me a laugh. With each kid we learn new quirks or techniques and conquer what seemed impossible before with silent determination with no cheering crowds at our tasks completed ( but seriously we deserves the crowds sometimes) we try to remember when we last enjoyed a hot coffee or a lunch out .. we realize the lack of clean clothes, the untidy hair and endless supply of comfy yoga pants its still worth every moment

Kimberley Bartone Henson 11 months ago

I wasn’t invited to either one of my baby showers. My family (in Ohio) threw one for each of my kids and mailed all the stuff (and pics of everyone having a good time) to me in Missouri.

Caroline Noelle Maghanga 11 months ago

True. Wen I had my first I got over 100 cards. Wen I had my 2nd I got 3 cards!!

Cassie Williams 11 months ago

Completely different experience for me. Baby 1 born poorly. No one came. No one ever wanted to hold her or help. Baby 2 born ok. Everyone asks for a hold. It has really upset me x

Jami Lear 11 months ago

I never got attention, shower and no one lined up around the block. Now with #4 ppl are making such a big deal about it.

Elizabeth Stewart 11 months ago

#3 & #8!!!

Sharon Budworth 11 months ago

Will be at no.8 very soon. I love that she says still trying to move in opposing directions at the same time. Yep will be trying that one soon enough.

Brian Finley Miller 11 months ago

Dang ! I always thought everyone was the same and now that I’m 65 u surprise me ! Lol

Stephanie De Bear 11 months ago

By the second I was like, “ugh don’t come. I’ll just have to get dressed and shower.”

Monica Rickler Marks 11 months ago

All I can think of is why the number of children someone has is ever anyone else’s business, and it certainly doesn’t give them the right to share unsolicited opinions to the parents! Each child is a miracle, no matter what order they arrive.

Mariana Garcia Pontes 11 months ago

3 & 4 omg!

Carrie Osentoski 11 months ago

Then there is the third….

Melissa Mowatt 11 months ago

None of this is true for us! I treated my second born exactly the same as the first


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