Friday, July 1, 2011

Do More Babies=More Work?

Having our first baby was a huge adjustment. She nursed every hour on the hour through the night, until I night weaned her when she was 18 months old. At one month old she had a marathon nursing session that lasted 7 hours and she screamed every time I tried to suggest we do something else, like, I don't know... nap... We were committed to following the Church's teachings on being open to life and we'd always hoped for a large family, but suddenly I found myself wondering, could I really do this, again and again, year after year? Would I not sleep for more than 60 consecutive minutes until I was retirement age? Were all babies this much work?

Then Mae Bae came along. My first night in the hospital I watched her, worried. Why was she so quiet? When the pediatric specialist came in in the morning to check her with a team of student doctor's I started questioning him about the length of time that she was sleeping. She'd slept for four hour stretches, I told him, my voice filled with worry. Should I wake her?

After he managed to stop looking at me like I was insane he told me to let her sleep when she wanted to sleep and to feed her when she woke up.

Mae is no longer the champion sleeper she used to be (although she's not a poor sleeper either... she slept from 8pm- 3am last night before she woke up to nurse and then from 3am-7am) but I have to admit things are still pretty laid back around here.

The girls are pretty good at playing on their own. At least that's what I thought, until earlier this week when Sadie went to get hay with Nani and Grumpa and was gone for the morning and Mae became a barnacle attached to the side of my leg. There was no way she was going to be leaving my side to play on her own. I had big plans for getting things done that morning, but very little was actually completed. She suddenly needed to nurse more and be held much, much more.

Sadie returned and Mae was transformed back into her normal, independent self. She cruised around the house on her own. She played with her sister. She hung out under the kitchen table (a popular spot). She emptied my cooking utensils out of their drawer (her favorite activity).

It was then that I realized that for me, having two has been much easier than having one. They play together. Sadie constantly says various forms of : "I want Mae Bae to ________ with me!" Examples are: "I want Mae Bae go on walk with me." "I want Mae Bae go in bath tub with me." "I want Mae Bae go swimming with me." "I want Mae Bae go outside with me!" "I want Mae Bae go to Nan's house with me!" Today she was upset because she wanted Mae Bae to sit in the same car seat as she was sitting in. I had to put my foot down.

A toddler and a baby do keep a mom pretty busy. But I've been pleasantly surprised to find that I'm not nearly as busy as I thought I'd be (certainly not twice as busy as I was with one!). It does probably help that they're fairly close together (Mae and Sadie are two years apart, the new baby with be a year and a half younger than Mae Bae).

And Mae Bae and Sadie both seem pretty excited to throw Baby #3 into the mix! It's going to be quite the party at our house...


  1. It was the same for me when we had our two foster daughters. Things actually did seem much easier and that is why I am actually looking forward to having another one or two children soon.

  2. My sixth is now almost 8 months old and here is what I have found. I am incredibly busy... and it is this busy because I have lots of kids. It is so busy, in fact, that I don't even try to get it all done anymore. :) The answer to your question is: Yes, more babies definitely equal more work; just not in the way some people imagine.

    Having six children is NOT the same as having six first children. Some things get easier even while the work load increases. They play together and watch each other and help me with a lot. So, it's not as if I have 6 clinging, nursing babies (although I guess some rare people do have that). I could barely find time to take a shower with three little ones but now that I have 6, my first children are older and can babysit responsibly. But it did take a while to get to that point!

    For me, three was easier than two. It is going to be a party at your house! It will be wonderful. :)

  3. I think calculating the amount of time 1 child takes per child is a misleading way many people rationalize choosing not to have more than 1 or 2 children. Certainly more people = more work, but the same is true with adults and, as you said, children help satiate each other's needs sometimes. My oldest was very desirous of human interaction. This made my second child a great blessing in relation to my first. My fourth seems to be similarly desirous of human interaction. Do I need to explain why having 3 older sisters is a definite plus for her?

    I am still "in the trenches" as my friend tells me, meaning I have several small children but no older ones to help me. My girls are 5, 3, 2, and 3 months but I still find some time to clean, read, organize/unpack, etc. No, I can't do "everything" (I'm not delusional), but who can? Realizing you can't do it all is a critical step to learning to trust God to help you with it and when you let Him help, it always works out for the best.

  4. I have two and one on the way. I think my first was/is far more work than my younger daughter has ever been. With the first I was also nursing around the clock. She slept well, but not all the time. She was a very needy baby and at nine years old is a very needy child. It's just her nature that she doesn't want to be alone. My second is so laid back it's amazing. Right off the bat she'd sleep for 3-4 hours at a time and really only woke us up once a night between 3 and 10 weeks. After that the kid slept like a champ with the exception of maybe 10 nights total in nearly six years. As we get ready for baby number three I simply hope that she's as laid back as our second child. Sure having another child will be more work, but I don't expect that work to increase by 50%.

  5. For me, 3 (4 and under) was more difficult than 2 (at the time 2 and under) but then again my third baby was a very easy baby actually sleeping at night. It's just more difficult since my husband is deployed and I only have 2 hands. Sometimes I wish I had three hands instead :) - J

  6. I have no experience caring a child till now, but in time i shall, God willing. My husband tells me once i deliver, we'll need another child very soon, simply as he mocks, so that i won't have much tension parenting two, both of them will play together. But when children fight rather than find comfortable with one another, it might get real problem at home.Happy to see your kids playing together so comfortably.

  7. My husband is an only child and I have a younger brother. I've had to explain numerous times that having siblings is not the same as a singleton/first child. He's still not over the fact that HB can't "entertain himself." HB is one. He still needs interaction. But every kid is different as far as needs. I hope after baby number two arrives that Hubby will be a happier guy. Not sure about that though. I think he's having a tough time letting things go. He's a natural clean freak (which is hard with a toddler; hubby has tried to pick-up toys when he gets home because it's "getting to him") and he's used to going off by himself for long periods of time. I've basically told him to get over it, but I know it's hard for him.

    Great post. I think I'll e-mail him the link.

  8. I love reading posts like these. It gives me hope that my next child will be easier and sleep better. I'm counting on that to be true. :)


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