I remember asking a lot of mum friends how it was having two when I still just had the one. It was clear everyone has a different experience with their second child. A big factor that came in to play was the age gap between babies but regardless there were still lots of similarities with what people said, things I can now identify with having two myself with a two year age gap.
Everything was unknown first time round
First time round everything was new to us as parents. Each week or month it felt like there was a new milestone or development we needed to be supporting our child with and each seemed to require hours of Google research before we could make a decision on how to tackle it. I felt like I was always worrying if I was doing the right thing. Second time round you have the benefit of experience and hindsight, you know what works for you and your family whether it be sleep routines, weaning or simple logistics of the best way to get from A to B. It's a good feeling to finally realise just how much you have learnt from your first child.
Looking after one baby was a full time job, everything was carefully scheduled around naps, mealtimes and bedtime. When I had my second it was very different as number 2 just had to slot in around my first's routine and actually that worked fine, especially in the early days when you really appreciate just how much they sleep to begin with! Yes it's hectic with two, there were certainly times when I looked back and wondered what on earth I was doing all day with just one especially when I hit that magical period with one child who always took a two hour afternoon nap - those were the glory days! Also with two I really learnt how to juggle lots of plates at once, whether it be entertaining a toddler while breastfeeding, keeping two entertained in the supermarket trolley or pottytraining one while dealing with a newborn. Multitasking became second nature and baby wearing was a total lifesaver to free up my hands!
First time around we bought clothes as and when we needed them and carefully washed and stored them when they had been grown out of. Second time round we seem to have endless stashes of clothes in various sizes: Things for child 1 to grow in to, things child 1 wears, things child 1 has grown out of but are still too big for child 2, things for child 2, plus all of the things child 2 has grown out of that you can't bear to part with or are saving just incase you have a third. Every spare cupboard or drawer is crammed full with clothing that doesn't currently fit either of your children but cannot possibly be parted with at the moment.
First time around I had photos that probably captured every single day of my baby's first year thanks to the convenience of camera phones. Second baby has significantly less photos. I suppose I can't spend hours snuggling and photographing my little one while they nap so I have a lot less 'sleeping' baby photos but also the speed of daily life means I just don't mange to take nearly as many as I'd like.
Sibling love is amazing. I worried they wouldn't bond or that number 1 would feel left out when number 2 arrived. I know every family is different but we've been really lucky, watching their little bond grow each day has been one of my favourite parts of parenting and makes the madness all worth it.