Christian Travelers Guide + TIME

Review: The Second Baby Survival Guide by Naia Edwards

Having been through the shock to the system of having a baby and becoming a mother for the first time, I had thought that I wouldn’t find the arrival of a second baby 19 months later too daunting. I mean at least this time I knew about changing a nappy, getting a bed time routine together, feeding and was used to looking after a baby. Our first baby slept like a dream, was a general angel child and we felt we’d done all the right things and were clearly marvellous parents (little did we know what was coming our way when he grew a little older, but lets gloss over that for the time being shall we?)

The arrival of No. 2 shattered our smugness into microscopic shards. Perhaps it was because we weren’t expecting it to be so difficult the second time around. Perhaps we just hadn’t really thought about it enough, prepared ourselves for it, but we both felt that the second baby was far more of a upheaval than the arrival of the first.

First of all, the babies weren’t the same. Obvious really when you think about it, why should they be? But my two are chalk and cheese and have been from the moment my youngest drew his first breath. We were prepared for a rerun of No. 1. We were not ready for No. 2. We did all the same things, used all the same methods that had encouraged our eldest to drop off to sleep at 7pm and not wake until 7am, sometimes later even. Did we have the same level of success with No. 2? Lets just say at aged 3 ¾ years we can count the number of times he has ‘slept through’ on one hand.

Then there was the realisation that although looking after a baby is really hard work, it is nothing compared to looking after a baby AND a 19 month old toddler. I really, really wasn’t prepared for how full on looking after two small children is. From the moment I became pregnant there was no respite. I couldn’t even get them to nap at the same time (this blissful heavenly state, known as Nirvana in the Pants Household was achieved precisely twice). Someone told me that the thing about having 2 children with an age gap is small as mine was that it is much, much harder during the first year, only to become much easier later on because they will play together, be into the same types of things at the same time and so on. I was soon to be found walking around the park muttering things like ’12 weeks down, 40 weeks to go’. As another Mum of 2 tearfully confided when we bumped into each other in the park; ‘it is absolutely brutal’.

Yet everyone assumes that because you’ve been through it all once, you’ll be tickety boo, a-ok and dealing with it like a pro. The books all deal with having a baby, not having a baby whilst also dealing with your other children. So given that No. 3 is due to arrive any day (note the nearly 4 years age gap this time round) when I was offered the chance to review Naia Edwards’ new book “The Second Baby Survival Guide”, I jumped at the chance. Any help with getting myself sorted is very, very gratefully accepted. As her introduction says “I needed more advice and help, not less, when I had my second baby".

She covers a wide range of topics, from your second pregnancy and the first few weeks at home with the new baby to feeding, sleeping, sibling rivalry and financial matters. Each chapter is illustrated with quotes from parents who’ve been to this particular coal face. There are plenty of useful tips (have a stash of little presents for the toddler so when people come to visit bearing goodies for the baby, you have something to distract the toddler and hopefully stop them being jealous of the new arrival being my top tip of the book) to help you and your first child acclimatize to the new way of life.

Most of all though, she very sensibly points out the whole way through the book that you have no way of knowing what will happen. Like most childcare, there is no right or wrong way; much depends upon the temperament of your children. All you can really do is be aware of the change coming, be prepared to ask (and accept) help and don’t underestimate the scale of the change a new baby will bring to the household. Now we just wait to see whether No. 3 will prove as big a shock to the system. At least this time I'm slightly more prepared.
The Second Baby Survival Guide is out November 5th, RRP £10.99


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Review: The Second Baby Survival Guide by Naia Edwards + TIME