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Preparing For Your First Baby Vs. Preparing For Your Second

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Preparing for a new baby is a major undertaking, to be sure. It's not my intent to minimize that, but I will also say that it's fairly easy to market to first-time moms. Look no further than the 57 Things To Do Before Baby Arrives listicle for evidence of anxious new mom manipulation. Once you've been around the birthing block, though, getting ready for another baby is a different proposition altogether. Preparing for your second baby is another (and, in my opinion, easier) ball of wax than preparing for your first.

When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I had not a blessed clue what I was doing. To compensate, my type-A personality went into hyper-drive. I read everything that I could get my hands on and was obsessed with things being "perfect" for the baby girl on her way. I folded and refolded clothes. I made a Pinterest-worthy name sign. I readied themed baskets (nursing, bathing, etc.) for my future convenience. I sterilized everything that was going into my baby's mouth, had my car seat checked by professionals, and did a dry run to the hospital. I was ready.

Now that I'm pregnant with my second child, I'm just a lot less stressed about the whole thing. I'm not doing as many of those "must-dos," but I feel just as prepared. I may be more relaxed, but I'm just as excited for this little guy to make his debut as I was the first time around. It's just that the anticipation looks a little different:

The Birth Announcement

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First Baby

Golden retriever wearing "Only Child Status Expiring" t-shirt. Cross-posted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Obviously.

Second Baby

Child is crumpling the ultrasound picture and crying because they don't want to wear their "I'm The Big Sister/Brother" shirt.

Monitoring Your Progress

First Baby

I'm 12 weeks and three days, and my baby is the size of a jelly donut hole. Or a lime. Or a wine cork. Need more examples? I have an app for that.

Second Baby

I think I'm five months along. Maybe.

The Baby Shower

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First Baby

Three showers (friends and family, work, and book club) with a different maternity dress for each. Receives adorable outfits that baby will wear once and half a dozen pairs of shoes for a baby who won't walk for at least a year. Don't forget the diaper shower for dad, too.

Second Baby

Sprinkle. Maybe. Requests clothes, wipes, and diapers.

Baby Gear

First Baby

Researches and registers for highest safety-rated car seat, stroller, pack and play, crib, changing table, monitor, baby carrier, infant seat, and swing.

Second Baby

Pulls everything out of the closet and down from the attic and dusts it off.

The Nursery

Giphy

First Baby

Nursery is fully stocked with diapers in every size, clothes are on hangers in the closet organized by size, and garland, mobile, and custom artwork are hung.

Second Baby

Oh, crap. I need a theme. Also, a room.

Laundry

First Baby

All clothes are washed inside out with special organic baby detergent.

Second Baby

Throws it in there with mom's sweats, sister's poopy pants, and some good old-fashioned Tide.

Taking Classes

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First Baby

Attends courses on breastfeeding basics, newborn care, infant CPR and first aid, and childbirth. Takes copious notes. That's what Saturdays are for, right?

Second Baby

I toured the hospital, but only because it's a different one from the first time I gave birth. Does that count?

The Hospital Bag

First Baby

Packs bathrobe, socks, massager, tennis balls, iPod, camera and charger, toiletries, snacks... everything but the kitchen sink.

Second Baby

Packs toothbrush and going-home outfit for baby. Existing child's go-bag is bigger than mom's.

Arranging Care

Giphy

First Baby

Coordinates with neighbor to feed the cat and dog.

Second Baby

Begs, borrows, and pleads until someone agrees to take the 3-year-old, knowing your previous labor lasted 29 hours.

The Birth Plan

First Baby

I prefer to labor naturally but don't want to take the epidural off the table. Please let me tear naturally as opposed to performing an episiotomy. My husband and sister are allowed in the delivery room. I want to do skin-to-skin and breastfeed as soon as possible.

Second Baby

Meh. I'm sure everything will be OK.

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.