Parenting Amnesia: Second Baby Syndrome


While sitting 9 months pregnant with my feet up, my husband and I shared our concerns, fears, and excitement about being a second time parent. While we know each child can and will be so different, we had a tiny ping of hope that our experience would greatly help us through and give us a better idea of what to expect with our second. Well, we were right, it did. However, as we have been raising our second son this last year we realized we have been suffering from a strong case of parenting amnesia.

This is in no way a real diagnosis. Parenting amnesia is a silly jab at myself for the fact that I forgot some basics of parenting the second time around. When coming across the most basic childcare needs I found myself constantly clueless. I kept asking myself, “What did we do with Paul?” My first son Paul, who was three at the time of my second’s birth, was the ONLY idea I had at what to do for a baby, only now I can’t remember what we did. I couldn’t remember how or when to start solids. When should we transition bath tubs? How did we move to cow’s milk from formula? 

I feel like there are two routes you can take if you find yourself experiencing this:

  1. Keep a journal of milestones from your first or second child’s life that you can refer back to when you are bringing up the next one. Write down common milestones and go-tos for feeding, sleeping, diapering, nursing, illness, doctor visits, travel, etc.
  2. Adopt the “we’ll cross that bridge when we get there” mentality. Kids are so different anyway that there is a good chance what worked for the first will not work for the next.

I personally like a mix of the two. My first child-rearing experience gives me an idea of where to start with my second so I don’t go down a Google rabbit hole looking for answers.

I am sure I am not the only parent who has suffered from this and my guess is that it may get worse the more kids you have. Your experiences and depth of knowledge seem to increase with each child you have but also seem to decrease your overall memory of what you did in the past.

Regardless of which approach you take, have faith in your choices but be willing to go back to the drawing board if your go-tos don’t work the second time around. 


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