You Know You’re a Second Child If…11 Signs

I gave birth to my second daughter earlier this year. Soon after, I realized that my parenting style with No. 2 was a bit different (lazier?) than it had been with No. 1. Kids, here are 11 signs that you’re a second child…and these are only through the first 10 months. Who knows what the next, oh, 18 years or so will bring? Hang in there.

1. Your mom prepared homemade, organic breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for your older sister, and you (Sister No. 2) just dined at Chick-Fil-A for the third time in five days. Pass the French fries, please!

2. In anticipation of your sister’s birth, your mom thoughtfully selected and had monogrammed designer onesies, bathrobes and swimsuits. Before you made your debut, your mom hauled those hand-me-downs out of storage and outfitted you in them. Maybe she even washed them first. So what if the monogram doesn’t match your actual name, except for the last letter that you and your sister both share?

3. Monogrammed outfits, diaper wipes warmer, shopping cart cover…the ‘rents went all out for their first bundle of joy. Meanwhile, you’ve learned to live with secondhand styles, room-temperature wipes, and riding shotgun around the grocery store, sans designer cushy seat for your tush. But you don’t know any different (or better), so you’re not complaining.

4. By the time your sister was your age (10 months), she was enjoying a rich social calendar of story time, swim lessons, museum visits and play dates. Um, play dates? Not in your vocabulary. You do have an always-available playmate, though (except when she thinks she’s too sophisticated for you).

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5. Also by the time No. 1 was 10 months old, your mom had already planned her first birthday party, a special event of Mindy Weiss proportions. The custom invitations had been designed, the perfect cake batter researched (e.g., visits to various local bakeries for cupcake taste testing—research sure can be tough!), and the favors ordered. Your first birthday party? Yeah, it’s going to be a cupcake after dinner at home with your regular party of four. Your mom may spring for a balloon or two, but you’re not holding your breath.

6. Your mom and dad are stretched thinner than they were the first time around, giving you more space to scoot off, explore and cause trouble.

7. Your family nickname is, in fact, Troublemaker.

8. At the same time, your parents know, in a way they didn’t then, that this baby time is fleeting, relatively. So you’re the spoiled recipient of hugs, kisses and snuggles galore from your mom and dad (and usually your older sister too, along with the occasional semi-jealous push that she claims was an accident).

9. Despite those occasional passive-aggressive outbursts, your favorite person is your older sister. Nobody can make you light up quite the way she can.

10. Your mom took approximately 1.3 million pictures of No. 1 and lovingly created photo book after photo book of her first few years, in three-month increments. Your mom has taken tons of pictures of you too…but for the foreseeable future, they’ll stay stored on her phone rather than artfully arranged in physical scrapbooks for posterity’s sake.

11. Your parents know what they’re doing (they didn’t with your sister—trust me). And about that sister, how lucky are you to have her? To be born into a ready-made family? Sometimes second place isn’t all that bad.

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Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s e-books, available on Amazon.com. Writing at its most heartfelt.

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Breastpumping for Your Next Baby: 9 Tips

There’s a 3½-year age difference between my two daughters, Little G and Baby G. So far, this spacing has worked out well for my hubby and me—we had plenty of time to catch up on rest before this current bout of sleep deprivation with our newborn! 🙂 One shortcoming, however, was the “updating” I needed to do to my breastpump, the Medela Pump In Style Advanced.

I bought this breastpump in 2011 and used it fairly regularly for about a year. So for about the past two years then, it’s hung out, unused, in a corner of my closet. I knew I’d need it again when Baby G was born (she recently arrived!), for those times when I needed help feeding her. When I pulled it out, though, I noticed that the breastmilk collection and storage pieces (e.g., the breastshields and bottles) looked “cloudy,” possibly stained with old milk.

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I talked with two family members who work in the medical field and read some articles online to come up with the following tips for breastpumping for your next baby, especially if you haven’t used your breastpump in a while.

Tip No. 1: Buy new breastmilk collection and storage pieces. Everyone agrees on this one. Over time, bacteria and/or mold can build up on these pieces. I replaced my Medela breastshields, valves, membranes, and tubing with this Maymom kit. Maymom doesn’t sell Medela-compatible storage bottles, so I bought these Medela-branded bottles at my local grocery store (HEB here in San Antonio). So far, all of these new pieces are working well.

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Tip No. 2: Consider buying new bottles. The jury is mixed on this one. Some sources say that you can safely reuse old bottles after cleaning them, while others recommend starting afresh with new bottles. Ultimately, I decided to start afresh, replacing my 3½-year-old First Years Breastflow Starter Set with the exact same kind. For $16, I have peace of mind (priceless, for me!) knowing that Baby G is getting my milk from a fresh source.

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Tip No. 3: Wash everything before using it. The collection and storage pieces, the bottles, the bottle brush—everything. Both the Maymom and First Years products have detailed instructions about how to properly clean and sanitize the pieces.

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Tip No. 4: When you wash the two pieces of Maymom tubing, it’s possible that some water will get stuck within the tubing. To get the water out, run your breastpump for a few minutes without expressing milk—simply run it with the tubes exposed to the air, so that the water will dry out.

Tip No. 5: Your health insurance may cover the cost of a new breastpump for you—look into it! Some helpful resources include (a) this page from the HealthCare.gov website, (b) Medela’s “Insurance Pump Lookup” page, and (c) this New York Times blog post.

Tip No. 6: Remember to stock up on other breastpumping essentials. For example, these Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags and these Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags—for after expressing milk! The first time I expressed milk for Baby G, I didn’t have any Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags. Luckily, a Breastflow bottle acted as my storage substitute that time.

Tip No. 7: Refresh yourself on breastmilk storage safety guidelines. La Leche League International offers this wonderfully helpful resource. This webpage details “Storage Guidelines” as well as “What Type of Container to Use” and “How to Warm the Milk.” The Mayo Clinic provides this additional resource, too.

Tip No. 8: Ask for help if needed. You may have a question that the Internet, including my blog post here, doesn’t have an answer for! Sometimes it’s best to chat with a professional, rather than check in with a website.

Here in San Antonio, a variety of sources exist to help breastfeeding and breastpumping mothers. One that I know and have turned to is the Mother’s Milk First Lactation Center, part of the Baptist Health System. Your city may have similar services; try Googling “breastfeeding help [INSERT CITY]” to locate them.

Tip No. 9: Take care of yourself. Breastpumping, like breastfeeding, is both rewarding and demanding. Drink lots of water and eat well. Rest when (if?!) possible. Most importantly, do what makes the most sense for you and your family—try not to stress.

Good luck, friends. ❤

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Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s e-books, available on Amazon.com. Writing at its most heartfelt.