What it's like becoming a mum for the second time

As Kate Middleton prepares to give birth to her second child, we look at what it's like to have another baby...

There's no denying that when you become a mum for the first time, your enter world turns upside down. Not only do you have to learn how to keep another little human being alive - one that can't do anything for themselves or even tell you what they need from you - but the hormones whizzing around your body, the sleep deprivation thanks to your little cherub not understanding day and night, and tackling things that can feel impossible like breastfeeding or working out why your baby has so much dry skin despite you applying olive oil twice a day. Basically: it's tough.

But for a second-time-mum, there's a whole new world of challenges - but also joy! Here's what to expect, if you're having your second baby...

  • Your older child will probably find it strange, to begin with, that they have to share you with this new baby. During your pregnancy, talk lots about the baby and tell your child how much you'll need them to help you when the baby arrives.
  • Seeing your older child meet their new sibling for the first time, and watching that bond develop, will be something special.
  • You'll probably be surprised that you've forgotten how to hold a newborn. But then you'll quickly remember. And how are you supposed to get this baby grow on a little baby, who doesn't help you?
  • In fact, you'll probably be reminded of how to do things every day. Which is so much easier than having to learn it all from scratch, like you did last time!
  • Remember when people said "Sleep when the baby sleeps" first time around, and you ignored them? This time, you won't be able to, because you'll have your older child around. But that one-on-one time with them while the baby naps will be precious. If friends or relatives offer to help, ask them to take your older child out for a few hours to allow you to sleep.
  • You won't fret about things quite so much. Naturally, you'll still have moments of worry, but you'll stay more chilled out because it's not so new and scary to you.
  • Your older child will get really into playing with baby toys again!

We asked some mums what it was like for them to become a mum of two...

You get twice as much joy

"My overriding thing was that it is more work but not twice as much. And it's more than twice as much joy." Lucy, Dear Beautiful

Don't expect sibling love immediately

"The first night I became a mum of two, I had visions of son gazing at his baby sister in awe. The reality was he glanced at her, pulled my catheter out as he fell over and demanded CBeebies on the hospital TV!" Tracey, The Williams World

You'll learn just how different siblings can be!

"I had 2.5yrs between my son and my daughter and they constantly remind me that every baby/child is different. My son did everything super quick (walking, talking etc) and I niavely assumed my daughter would be the same! As they grow up they couldn't be more different! Chalk and cheese, but that's what brings balance to our house!" Beth @MrsBLandrum

You'll get even less sleep this time around

"The first time around, you nap when the baby naps. The second time around, you hang on for your dear life and beg for a lie-in from your OH at weekend." Kelly, Domestic Goddesque

There's so much more laundry!

"Our second one has slotted in very nicely to the toddler's routine, but things do take longer. There's more laundry to do as well!" Another Bun

Buy a sling

"We've got a four year age gap between children and my slings have made life easier. It means having my hands free and the baby was close to me so felt like I could be with them both not leaving thebaby in bouncer or Moses basket." Zoe @pumpingmummy

If you're pregnant with your second baby, what are you concerned - or excited - about? Now read Newborn and Sleep: the facts and the DOs and Don'ts of safer sleep.

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Alexandra Phillips

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