The Challenges of a Second Child

The Things That Are Easier

Nursing with an Audience

Sue Sheridan, a mom in Maplewood, New Jersey, had her preschooler, Maggie, climbing all over her and touching the baby while she tried to nurse newborn Aidan. Finally she resorted to the tried-and-true television solution. "Short, 25-minute shows on Noggin were just long enough to grab Maggie's attention so I could nurse Aidan in peace," she says.

Val Amster, of Warrentown, Virginia, had the brilliant idea to use the football hold (one-handed, under the arm) with her newborn so her big girl could snuggle in on her other side. I lucked out: Kate was content to put a mini pillow around her middle and "nurse" her favorite stuffed animal, Pink Bear.

Still, as San Francisco mom Maryann LoRusso found out, nursing a second baby is far from the blissful experience some of us had the first time. "With Ava, I could space out and let the calming hormones associated with nursing sweep over me," she says. "There was nothing relaxing about nursing my son, because I knew I had to feed him and then tend to a zillion other things concerning my daughter."

The silver lining: It's exhausting to feed one while supervising the other, but it's doable. If nothing else, it forces you to sit still!

Things That Really Are Easier

  • Taking care of a newborn feels like a piece of cake this time.
  • You know exactly what baby gear you need, and you own much of it already.
  • You're more likely to trust your instincts about whether your child is sick or has a developmental issue.
  • Dad can take either kid without you tracking and questioning his every move.
  • You have a little helper who's delighted when you thank him for picking up the diaper cream you dropped.
  • You already have baby clothes, and if your kids are the same gender, you're set.
  • Eventually, the two of them will occupy each other for hours.

Tracy Guth Spangler is a writer in South Orange, New Jersey.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, June 2006.

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