Mother and Baby

Dear Kate: Why you’ll care less with your second (in a good way!)

The Duchess of Cambridge is expected to give birth to her second child later this month. Here, writer and mum of two Maria Lally, gives Kate the lowdown on the difference between your first and second…

You’ll care less about their sleep  

When my daughter Sophia, now four, was a baby, I was obsessed with her sleep and read every sleep book out there. When she napped, I made a note of what time she went down (heaven forbid she wake after the first sleep cycle!), double checked her monitor was on, stuck a post-it on the door that read, ‘DO NOT RING THE BELL – BABY SLEEPING!’ And if she had a lovely long nap I checked she was still breathing.

When my second daughter Rosie – now nearly two – napped, I simply put her down in her cot, made myself a strong coffee and played with Sophia (or let her watch TV so I could read the paper with my feet up for five minutes). Until I heard Rosie’s faint cry (I’d usually forgotten to put her monitor on). And guess what? They both slept the same. And I still cringe when I think about that post-it. 

You’ll care less about routine 

When Sophia was almost one, my mum had her overnight one weekend. I remember typing up three – yes THREE! – pages of A4 notes. Every hour was accounted for, including this little gem: ‘Between 9 and 10am let Sophia have a good crawl around so she wears herself out for her morning nap. If she’s hungry please give her blueberries (wash them first).’

Now if I can get my mum or mother-in-law to have the girls I drop them off – minus notes – and don’t bat an eyelid when I pick them up to find them eating Haribos. 

You won’t take as many photos 

If Kate’s anything like us she’s probably spent the last 20 months taking 50 photos a day of George. George propped up on the sofa, George smiling, George eating and so on. And if she’s anything like us she’ll, err, take a few less of number two. Rosie only accounts for about a fifth of all the pictures in our house. 

Or remember as many things 

Sophia’s beautiful hard-backed baby book details the date she first rolled, smiled, ate porridge, cut a tooth and had a haircut. Rosie? Umm, she doesn’t have a baby book. Although I did write ‘Rosie walked!’ in my diary the day she took her first steps. 

You won’t hurry milestones  

Talking of first steps, I was desperate for Sophia to crawl and walk and spent hours placing toys just out of reach in the hope it would get her moving. With Rosie I was the opposite and dreaded the day she did because I knew it would mean the end of my coffee shop days (and that I’d have to run around twice as much). 

Your second won’t have hobbies 

In her first year, Sophia did baby yoga, baby massage, baby sensory, baby swimming, baby ballet and had weekly meet ups with her little NCT friends.

In her first year, Rosie tagged along to Sophia’s ballet class, tagged along to Sophia’s play dates and spent an awful lot of time in Sainsbury’s. And guess what? She loved every moment (and I saved a fortune on baby groups). 

You’ll love them just the same

When I was pregnant with Rosie I often wondered (well, worried) whether I’d love her as much as Sophia. But then she came along and those fears evaporated. But my heart wasn’t shared equally between them – rather, it doubled in size.

And now when I watch them playing or holding hands or laughing mischievously together it grows even bigger. Kate, you’re going to love every moment…

Maria’s daughters Sophia and Rosie
Maria's daughters Sophia and Rosie

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