Thursday, February 01, 2007
A beautiful addition to the family
One week ago, my wife delivered our second child. Up to the point of the delivery, we had no idea whether the baby was a boy or a girl. She is definitely a girl. Very pretty, very mild mannered. Beautiful. We could not be happier.

My wife and I are both pretty compulsive people. Yes, we had a birth plan and everything went pretty much as we anticipated. To prepare, I have been reading tons of books written by friends such as Dr. Laura Jana, who often calls to check in on us. Thanks, Laura. I also have read several books by Heidi Murkoff and Dr Ari Brown, who have both been guests on my show. My wife is partial to "The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy." Without a doubt, there are many great books out there and great resources.

Still, I am not sure any amount of reading can truly prepare you for your second child. It is a very different experience from the first. Truth is, I could write a book about all that I have felt over the last week. My friend and colleague John Vause sent his greetings from China and very correctly stated that we "had gone from being a couple with a kid - to a real family." A real family. Interestingly, one of the most powerful emotions I felt had more to do with my 19-month-old daughter. I was so used to seeing her as a baby, and suddenly she seemed grown up, too grown up. When she offered to go get her new sister's diaper, I was both amused and sad. Wasn't she still our baby too?

It is when your children grow up that you are truly forced to stare into the face of mortality. As I reflect now, I realize that I wasn't quite ready for that. I am sure that it will get better over the weeks and months, and then our new one will suddenly seem too grown up. In the mean time, I want to enjoy our moments.

I typically don't solicit parenting advice, but I wanted to get a discussion going here about what experiences other parents have had, especially bringing their second child home, and wondering whether you raised your second child any differently from your first. And, what advice for me do you have on new-dad bonding?
dad and daughter bonding? hmm... well take her to the park every now and then, and play her games with her! this is wat i do with my son, i take him to the movies every weekend, and i take him to the park on a scheduled time and day, which is monday and wednesday from 4-6 which is when im not working, i play catch with him, we go on walks almost everyday, and we just have fun, his dad has him when i have work, and i have him when he has work, and when we are both working my grandmother watches him. as a child ive always wanted a traditional family, just didnt plan when i was 15. im 16 now, and i love my son so much. just do wat i do with my son, it developes a good relationship. read to her before she goes to sleep. let her pick the book though. and play games with her, when its time to pick her room up, play a game called hide the jewels, when your put buy little costume jewlery or a brand new barbie in her room and tell her to clean her stuff and put it in the proper spot or else she cant find it. she will nver find it because u will have it in your room. thats wat my mom did with me, it works its been in the family for years. well take care and congragulations.
Your second child is generally much different than your first. My kids (both boys) were six years apart, and it was very difficult for my older one to get used to having another 'prince' around. But I think as parents, we were much more at ease with the second one, because we knew what to expect. And I think that the stress you feel as a parent (or lack of it) rubs off on your children. My second child is much more easy-going than the first. We didn't raise them any differently; they're just naturally two completely different children. Congratulations - you'll find a rhythm that works best for you with BOTH of your children and it'll be great.
I was so much more relaxed with my second (and last!) child. Eleven years later, I'm still more relaxed with issues related to this child. With our oldest daughter, I felt -- almost from the beginning -- that she was my husband's child. Tired and terrified (of the baby, my emotions, my post-pregnancy body, an all too brief maternity leave, and almost everything else), I don't think I actually able to just enjoy her. Four years later, when our second child arrived, I was smarter, more relaxed, NOT worried about maternity leave (I wasn't working outside the home for most of pregnancy #2), and I knew my body better. I believe that I did bond better with our youngest child -- and have specific and wonderful memories of just sitting and cuddling her. Sadly, with my oldest child, I don't remember having that type of time. The good news is that my oldest daughter and my husband have a remarkable relationship. In the days after her birth, when I was dazed and confused, he stepped in and became a wonderful Dad -- without a single self-help book. All instinct. Thankfully, his instincts are spot-on and he has been a fabulous parent -- loving, patient, kind and fun.
My husband and I have a 10-month-old son, and are expecting our second child (another boy) in June. I have to admit that I got more than a little teary at your description of your older daughter transforming from "baby" to "big girl" upon the arrival of her new sister. Sometimes the prospect of bringing another baby into our son's life makes me feel like I'm short-changing him of his "baby status," while other times I worry that the new baby won't get the same level of "babying" that we lavished on our first child. The transformation of your oldest child out of babyhood is truly bittersweet.
When I had my second child, I didn't think I could love another child as much as I loved my first. I didn't think I had a second in my day left over to accomodate another child, but of course, we go ahead and take the chance anyway. And, blessedly, when my second son , David, was born he seemed to blend so easily, we found ourselves wondering what we did before he was born! Children are such a natural addition to our lives' and should be treated as such. We knew life would be busier, a bit more chaotic, we'd experience less sleep, but that's how it goes. We treated David very much the way we treated our oldest, with tender, loving care. I know that some parents will, when the sex of the child is different, put much emphasis on that. Even in your post you described your daughter in typical gender tones---you probably will treat your daughter differently because she is a girl. My daughter came after my sons and after all of the initial cooing and pink things, we realized we loved all our children the same amount, but in different ways!
My second child was completely different from my first child. We just did what we did with the first one, unless it was obviously not working and then we made adjustments. We did't have a bonding issue, it is so easy to get caught up with a new baby. The real work for us was trying to make sure the first child received enough one-on-one attention without the baby intervening.
make sure that you hug them and tell them that you love them everyday. rock them to sleep and hold them next to your heart.
Dear Dr. Gupta,
Congratulations on the birth of your second child. Our first two children were also girls and they were 19 months apart in age. The addition of the second one was very different because we suddenly realized that we had to give very special attention to recognizing the needs of the new "Big Sister" she didn't see herself as a baby any longer so neither could we. I hope you have many blessings with your new family! Kari Minnesota
In addition to a genuine connection on a daily basis, talking, reading, playing, etc. one on one dates with daddy are so important, whether you have boys, girls or both. Our kids are now 19 and almost 17 and I had the privilege of being a stay at home mom. I had so many wonderful moments with our kids, ones I will always cherish. I also cherish the memories of seeing my husband walk or drive or rollerblade off with one of the kids on a special outing and hearing all about it afterwards.
We also have two daughters and I remember right before the birth of our second child, we kept thinking of how much love we have for our first born...is it even possible to love another just as much? We didn't find out the sex of either of our children, I kept thinking that maybe our second one would be a boy and what an amazing thing it would be for my husband to bond with a son. As it turned out we had a beautiful healthy girl, and our love for her is just a strong. Isn't it incredible how your heart grows with arrival of each child? We feel blessed with two healthy girls who will share the amazing bond of sisterhood for the rest of thier lives!
My Dad always played with us in the pool and at the park - while the other Dads went golfing. We are much closer with our father than our friends are with theirs. My sister famously shouted at another kid in the pool, "That's MY Daddy! Go get your own daddy!" when my Dad was throwing everyone around in the pool. My advice to you Doctor is play, be available, and be reasonable - a girl's bond with her father is deep, mysterious and powerful if allowed to evolve in a natural way.

Any tips for how to convince my husband it is time for us to start having kids? I am 34!! We are never going to be "ready".
Congrads to you and your family Dr. Gupta. You and your wife are going to be baby busy for a while. Bless your sweet little baby booming hearts. I'll be praying for ya. The first year of my children's lives, I was always going to the crib every 5 to 10 minutes to check to see if they were still breathing. I hope you're not as much of a nervous parent as I was. I feel like the funniest age of my kids are like after 3 years of age. Once you get though the terrible 2's you can live a little easier. At that age you can take'em trick or treat'in, go to Chuck E. Cheese's for birthday parties, play baseball, or go see kiddie Disney movies that you really want to see, but you can blame it on the kids and the great thing about kids at that age is they don't poop poop and spit up on you anymore, but for the next 2 years or so Dr. Gupta you're going to have lots of diapers and milk spit in your face. But hey just remember Doc there's no better joy than a happy loving family and the smell of sour milk and baby poop poop. (giggle giggle)

Good luck God Bless ya Gupta family. I'm happy for ya.
Make sure you take just as many pictures of your second child as you did of the first one. I'm a second child and there are no baby pictures of me, but my sister had her picture taken every month. I tried really hard to do this with my own two children.
Raising two daughters so close in age will be a difficult job for the next couple of years, then a wonderful blessing. Sisters are the best gift a woman can have, even if she doesn't think so while she's growing up. I have always treasured my sister (13 months apart) dearly my whole life and have raised two daughters who are 2 years apart. Sisters CAN be very different and share a room and still love each other. I am very happy for you and your wife.
We also experienced the challenges of having two very different children. You learn how to raise one and have to re-learn on the second one because what worked with the first doesn't work with the second. Regarding the bonding - do with her what you like to do with her and make it something that just the two of you do, that your wife doesn't. Be prepared to make it through the early "Mommy" years when they really want Mommy and not Daddy as much. My husband had to go through that period with both our children and now we are almost interchangable to them. The surprising thing I found was our daughter, who was just over 2 when our son was born, was fine until he turned 1. Then she seemed to have a lot of jealousy issues. I'm not sure if it was being 3 or that he became interactive and stole more of her attention when we were around other people. People talk about the terrible two's. That's nothing. Three is way worse!
Our children are 19 months apart as well; what a wonderful age difference. While we have a daughter and a son (now aged 17 & 15), they still found plenty of things in common to share and play together as they grew up. Always find things that you can enjoy as a family, and also look for things that you can do one-on-one with each of them separately. This will encourage their unique interests, while the family actvities will keep everyone close. Enjoy...and congratulations!
Oh yes, certainly, I treated my second child different than the first. You feel so much more secure as a parent than you did the first time; this is nice. I also had a lot of ideas about what worked and what didn't. However, kids are all different, so, you're going to treat them differently anyway :) I agree with your friend- yes, with having more than one child, you can now be a 'real family'- complete with bickering siblings for children!

As a mother, I can't really give lots of new-dad bonding advice, but I will say that I feel that any father who feeds the baby or changes a diaper makes the mommy love him more :)
I think it's easy to get caught up in the moment, and then wonder where the time has gone. With 2am feedings, squabbles, etc., sometimes it's not until much later that you look back on those times and recall how happy you really were.

As far as a second child is concerned, because every child is different, I can only recommend keeping alert and on your toes! Make sure your eldest child is shown lots of attention, and let her help out as much as possible. A sense of responsibility to the new baby will help.

It's hard to see your children grow up, but at the same time, that's what being a parent is all about! Seeing them grow up healthy, strong, and happy, and hopefully seeing them bring up their own children.

God bless you and your family.
baby #2 was so much easier. maybe it is because you know what you are doing and what to expect, so that feeling of uncertainty is not there. my best dad bonding advice is simple: hold the baby as much as you can. let her fall asleep on your chest, walk with her in a front carrier, and try to feed the baby whenever possible. this worked wonders for my husband.
One of the best pieces of advice we got when we were preparing #1 for #2's arrival: never tell him, "Don't cough on baby, don't touch baby, etc" instead say, "Make sure no one coughs on baby, make sure no one touches baby." We expanded that advice and made our older son officially "in charge". He enjoyed that role immensely and felt very important, being careful to inform us of his little brother's every need. Whenever I heard the baby cry, I would also try to get my son involved, instead of abandoning him and running to the baby. We maintained his officer-in-charge role as the boys grew up, but also gave little brother certain responsibilities so he also took care of his big brother. They are now 10 and 8, and they are such good friends, but it didn't happen by accident. Yes, sibling rivalry is real, but there is a lot we can do as parents to teach children that they must take care of each other, and treat each other with love and respect. Good luck Dr. Gupta!
Bringing a second child home is beautiful but can be bittersweet. With your first child you have only one set of needs. Now there are two children and many times one parent. There are choices to be made, baby diaper before your book, quiet as the baby (finally) went to sleep. The older child, no matter how young, will have to learn to adjust to another set of needs. A wonderful experience is watching them interact over the next weeks, months & years as they start to form a relationship that is unique to them.
All the best.
Well, I would say that it takes longer to bond with the second child than the first, and don't feel badly if you find this to be true. It will come. For me it took nine months to feel totally bonded with my second child. Sometimes it is hard to let go of the idea of the first child being the only one. There is also a feeling of completeness that comes with the second one that has to do with the family as a whole.
And also, I feel that the place for a father in the early weeks is really to protect and encourage the bond between the mother and the new-born child. That is the father's natural role, and he should do well to go to the first child and make a new, deeper connection there while the mother is busy getting to know the new baby. Let the bond with the new baby come later. Your job as father is to hold the whole brood together and admire what a wonderful family you have.
Our first son was our "honeymoon" baby, he was pretty as a girl and ate like a champ. He was so verbal and a "nighthawk" (liked to be up all night). We tried to get him to talk and walk early. Our second son was a surprise as he was a twin. He was quiet and had a serious look. We did not rush his development. He soon grew to be attached to his big brother, they are inseperable now. I do not think we would have raised them differently. New-dad bonding between a dad and a daughter is not hard. My dad and I had a good bond. Sing to her, make her feel like a princess, and let her future husband know she is a queen.
Your second child will get more by getting less. Less scrutiny, less hovering, less exclaiming that every act they do is "miraculous". I say this with only the best intentions. You will be more relaxed and so will your family. Your children will learn to share, to take of one another, and eventually, to see themselves as a unit just as their parents are a unit (Oh, this comes much later!) Congratulations and all best wishes.
A second child, do the miracles never stop. Advice to give, just be you, hold firm to your convictions, play with them, talk to them (all the time), touch, hold, cry, do all of these things with your precious ones, now, because you know what, before you know it, there will be that moving up ceremony from daycare to kindergarten, then to elementry school, then middle school graduation to high school, then the high school graduation and then on to college (I miss my babies) and you will miss yours. I guess what I am saying in this long, drawn out sentence is, hold on to every moment because the moments pass so quickly and it is my memories of my babies (3 daughters) who are now 23, 26 and 29, that makes dealing with this freaking empty nest syndrome that much easier. There is no greater joy in life than children, while many would beg to differ, (and there will be moments when you will too) but this is my opinion. Enjoy.
It sounds like your 19-month-old daughter is leading the way for all of you to become a family with her involvement with the care of your new baby. Encourage that! As the mother of 5 (4 girls) I can only advise you to spend time with both of your girls together and special time alone with each of them. I found that it is essential to curb their natural competitiveness, and Dad is essential in this role. Enjoy every moment while they are young! Congratulations and best of luck!
With our first child, we were very anxious to reach the "milestones" associated with the first years: crawling, walking, & talking. With our second child, we did not rush walking, but we also did not discourage it. Our daughter began walking independently at 15-16 months versus 12 months for our son-the oldest. The birth of the 2nd brought back many wonderful baby memories of the 1st and the realization that the 1st was indeed growing up.
With bonding-as you are spending time with the new baby, be sure to spend just as much if not more with the oldest. Her position in the family has now been changed and she's no longer the baby.
When I was expecting our youngest, I found the books by Joanna Cole and Maxie Chambliss about being a Big Brother or Big Sister.(Books titled "I'm a Big Brother" and "I'm a Big Sister".) The books are very appropriate for a almost 2 year old to help her (or him) understand that she's (he's)growing and can do many wonderful things that the baby can not.
When I had my daughter I went through post partum, but it was directed at how I had ruined my son's life by having her. I remember, just before we left for the hospital, looking in on him sleeping and thinking how small he looked (he was 2 1/2). Then bringing home his sister and feeling like he had grown up overnight. My only recommendation, let the first participate in everything you do with the second. Let her hold the baby and help with the bath. This was so important in our family to let our son know he was not abandoned and we were all a family.
Dr. Gupta, Congratulations to you and your wife. We have three daughters, each one unique and precious. The best advice I can pass on is to spend TIME with them individually. Have regular daddy-daughter dates at least once a month with each of your daughters and start now with your oldest. And be sure to continue right through their teens,and even when they want to be independent of you gently insist on it. Do something together they enjoy: the zoo now, movies later, sports events, concerts, etc. You won't regret it and it will pay off hugely when they are struggling through adolescence. They will come to you with their problems. Your wife should have individual mommy-daughter time as well. Best wishes to your precious family.
I am pregnant with my first baby and probably only one. I take offense to your colleague's comment about being a "real family" now. What were you before a fake one. Perhaps having a third child will really make you a really, real family. I was born into a family of seven and it was not a happy one. Big families don't always mean happy families. Some parents are not able to handle so many kids or spend time with them. The children are the ones that suffer in the end.
How to be close to your kids? It's logical, spend time with them, be a part of their lives. Give separate time for each of them. They are different children so allow them to be just that.
We just brought home our 8th baby...yes, 8 children! No, I'm not officially insane, yet! Each baby's arrival highlights the age of the next child up.

This is our biggest gap in children, nearly 4 years this time. Our seventh "baby" is special needs with polysplenia. Mentally, he's fine and quite a ball of engergy. His difficulties are internal organ development.

Every time I've had a baby, I cried and asked my husband, "What have we done to (insert next older sibling's name)?" My husband always reassures me we've done the best thing possible. We've given them a sibling to share life with.

I think it's more of struggle for me as a parent with the guilt of displacing a child, then what I've seen my children struggle in their new role of older child. Most of my children have just stepped right into their more responsible roles without too many difficulties.

We make sure we spend individual time with all of our children and spend time bonding as a family. I hold both of the "babies" on my lap together. Just as we "make room for baby," we make room for the older sibling to climb on up and enjoy time with mommy and baby too. This simple act of sharing and loving, has helped my older children to adjust to the baby, learn to be gentle and love their new sibling.

Everyone in our home enjoys having a baby around. Even with the lack of sleep, dirty diapers and crying. Even our teenagers enjoy their baby sister. They had so many negative comments from peers, "I can't believe your mom is pregnant again!" Following her birth, their response is always, "It's great! I love my baby sister. She's really cool!" I do admit raising teens and newborns does make the parents feel really old!

The older children are sad to realize they only get to spend a few years with their little sister before they head off to college and independent lives. Any tips on keeping those bonds tight when children leave the home?
I am an internist and I have 2 children aged 1.5 and 3 years old. I didn't believe people when they told me, "2nd child, 10 times the work". But it is true. Our second child was generally better behaved than our first. I took them both to the playground even though the baby could only sit up. He enjoyed watching the other children and his big sister run around. The most special time of the day is at bedtime when we would read stories, say our prayers, and sing songs that we made up on our own. The real fun begins when they both are able to walk and subsequently run in opposite directions as my wife and I practice our man to man defense. Congratulations on your new arrival!

victorkomd@yahoo.com
Congatulations to you and your wife. When my second child was born, I felt I knew a lot about baby care...how to swaddle and comfort the little one. What I found was how much different my second child's personality is from the first. These tiny little babies are clearly individuals with clear preferences and personalities. What a joy to get to know them.
Let me first say, it is definitely a pleasure to be able to share with you. I watch you all the time. As far as raising the second child different from the first, I don't think it's about raising them differently but figuring out how to teach them what they need to know according to their different personalities. I have two daughters, 7 and 5, and they couldn't be more different! My first child is so easy going and mild manner but from birth her sister has always been full of personality, outgoing and very inpatient. Remebering that they are each individuals is the most important. As they have gotten older, I can't tell you how many times I thought to myself, I didn't have this much trouble with the oldest. It amazes me how two people can grow up in the same house, be reared with basically the same parenting style and be completely different. Also, be sure to involve the oldest child in the daily acitivity of the new baby. This helps so the oldest doesn't feel like the new baby is an intruder. Kids love to help, it makes them feel like a big kid, which will help in the transition of becoming "the big sister". It will take some time, but you and your wife will find what works for family. Congratulations and good luck!
Yes, suddenly they seem grown up. My husband and I had 6 children in seven and a half years. Today, their ages are 12 through 19 and they are all different from each other (and us) in many ways. What works for one, does not work for the other. We have learned over the years how important it is to rememeber that every child is his or her own individual and has different abilities and different needs that sometimes are evident even in infancy. We strongly believe that the most important job of a parent is to observe and get to know your children's strenghts and weaknesses so that we can provide the right support, guidence and yes, discipline for them . The goal is to help them develop the knowledge of self and with that, become happy individuals and productive members of society. This is by no means a simple task but perhaps the most rewarding of all. Congratulations Dr. Gupta! Your lifetime rollercoaster ride has just begun!
Congratulations! We have 1 of each, an introvert and an extrovert, both girls. While pregnant w/the 2nd, the 1st, who was such a mommy's girl, became a daddy's girl when I couldn't do as much w/her. My husband & my oldest developed special games that only the two of them played. We found that each child is unique. And while the basic values you are teach do not change, your methods with each child may need a little customizing. And do focus on the little moments because they do seem to grow up when we're mired in the everyday tasks of earning a living and providing for them.
I would say that you should certainly parent your second child differently. In that, I mean each child is so beautifully unique and will have needs that you never imagined. My daughters are now 18 and 16. My older is bi-polar as we just found out a year ago. If I parented my second exactly as my first, it would have been detrimental to her. Read your children. They'll let you know who they are and what they need. There will be no question.
What a beautiful post. Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful little girl. I encourage you to slow down your work schedule and all the other busy work and simply enjoy your family. With two kids, you are busier than ever and the time will fly by too quickly. It doesn't really matter what you do with them, don't put a judgement on how you spend the time. Just be there and be connected to your beautiful family. The bond forms as you put forth your caring effort and see the results in your happy, healthy child. You are obviously a successful, ambitious person. Big success is now in the form of tiny little victories throughout the day. Knowing this is the key to feeling a sense of accomplishment. Your children are so lucky to have you and their beautiful mommy as parents!
Congratulations on your new daughter! Our oldest son, Ben, was 2 years old when I delivered our second son. Prior, we were a very close threesome. Ben understood that "baby in Mommy's tummy" was going to come out. We had spent a lot of time reading books about new babies and talking about what his little brother would be like. However, when we brought little Wyatt home, Ben still wasn't ready and he didn't comprehend that new baby would be sticking around and needing so much attention from Mommy. I, also, looked at Ben and thought how big and mature he had become, almost overnight. Yet, I also saw his internal struggle as suddenly his Mommy was almost attached to his nursing brother. In terms of new-dad bonding, my strongest advice would be for you to spend a lot of time with your oldest daughter. Your newborn needs Daddy too but Mommy will be her center for many months. Your oldest needs to know that her relationship with you has not changed and there is enough love in you for both of them. I think it will help all of you adjust better if your oldest understands that. Then, she can help Daddy learn about her new younger sister without any hesitation. In terms of bonding with the newborn, I have found that bath time is a great time. Babies are so happy in nice warm water. Also, letting the baby sleep on your chest listening to your heart. She heard Mommy's heart for many months, now its your turn. Of course, feedings are a great time to look into her eyes(though I hope Mommy is nursing!). I don't think we have raised our sons any different, though just by default, Wyatt never had the exclusive attention that Ben had before Wyatt was born. I think Ben misses that time. Wyatt is over 1 year old now and it has been challenging to balance our time with each of them, ourselves as a couple, and our alone time too. It all comes together when the boys start playing together and really show their love and friendship with eachother - that is when you really feel - into your core - the amazing bond of family.
I'm not a parent however I am the eldest son out of five boys. I recall my experiences of having my first sibling; feelings of joy, jealousy, and emotions that can be defined as 'mixed' flood my childhood. From that point on, the amount of time my parents spent on me was drastically reduced in half, and appropriately so. Being the eldest son and with both of my parents working full-time, I became the parentified child, not knowing how to mediate between my role as a child and as an older brother, it was difficult since the level of attention that was previously given to me was now reduced. Given that my parents were first generation immigrants, they were not privy to the Western paradigm in parenting approaches and thus did not address feelings of neglect, rejection, and competition. In short, I think it is vital to transition the first born into a new role of having a sibling with constant affirmation and reassurance that is appropriate for his/her developmental age.
congrats on your 2nd! Every child is special, but i think i enjoyed my second more because the fear factor wasn't there. with your first, you are constantly nervous and second guessing every decision, always afraid you might hurt the baby. with my second, i had the confidence that i wasn't going to drop her and i played with her much more. have fun this time goes by fast!!
My children are close in age too, 18 months apart. Racheal was jealous by the attention Sam received and then one day I started calling Sam, "the baby", and Racheal took a whole new liking to Sam. I contined to talk to Sam using his name, but to Racheal, he was the baby and thus not in direct competition with her.

Things got worse when Sam turned 1 year old and we had to read a lot of books to control the situation. Currently, they are four and a half and six and get along extremely well.

I thought having one child was difficult, I never knew how easy I had it until I had my second. I love how different they are from each other.
Right before your second child is born, you just can't imagine that you will have anymore room in your heart for another - you just love your first born SO MUCH. Then it happens... your heart just doubles in size and there IS room for two. I just had my second son in Sept.'06. My older son was 20 months old. They are both still babies - just one can talk! Good luck Dr. Gupta with your two daughters - enjoy the stages all over again - the first giggle, rollover, and hug are just as exciting the second time around!
First I must say congratulations on your new arrival! We only have one child, and my husband and I consider ourselves "a real family". The size of your family doesn't matter, the love you show your child and each other does. Believe me, we live in Utah, and we are the odd ones out with only one child! But our family unit works for us, and we're blessed with a happy and healthy child. As far as bonding, never ever forget to tell them you love them every day and every night. Life is too short not to.
Run (don't walk) and buy the book �Siblings Without Rivalry� by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. It has some very helpful tips on minimizing sibling rivalry.

Be prepared for your wife to feel stressed out in a way that's different from having the first child (because now she has a toddler AND a newborn). Each child has different needs, schedules, etc., just based on their age alone. So now she (and you) may be less nervous, but more stressed. Take offers of outside help when one (or both) of you start feeling overwhelmed.
Our second son came 13 months after the first. For typical families, it is both wonderful and trying. Suddenly, it is much more difficult to get a family member to watch two kids. We had to divide them up on the rare occassions we went out...

They have always been best friends. Even now that they are in their early teens. I think being so close in age helped with that. My oldest was always very helpful and protective of his little brother. I would encourage you to show great appreciation with your oldest when she does something kind for her sister to help make her feel useful and to not let her feel left out.
Congradulations! I just had my 2nd in sept and she too is 19mo younger than my 1st son. I too had the same amazement of how my son was a little boy and not a baby. I found that it was much easier the 2nd time also- less worry and you know what to expect. The thing I didn't expect was how needy my son would be. The baby is easy and I find myself trying to make time for her because he needs everything NOW. You can't make a 2yr old underdstand patience. He loves her to death and we've luckily had no jealousy problems. My daughter actually likes my husband more (at least it seems that way). Whe he gets home from work she likes to sit with me and just watch her dad and laugh and smile. Good Luck- it's a challenge to have 2 but a joy as well.
As a mama of two daughters, there is certainly wisdom to share...

Your presence, your voice, your smell, your heart rythm, touching, holding, listening, watching, playing...they need it all, every day, EVERY DAY...without exception.

They are going to be women, who will make judgements based on the conditions / foundations you lay.

They are unique individuals. Different and special in their own ways, bringing with them who they are.

Every day you create the environment that signals to them what they may or may not do, with who they are.

Hug them alot! Cradle them for years! Literally!

When you see them, respond as if you have seen your best friend for the first time in years....every time!

Invite them into the center of your warmth. They will find safety and peace there, and remember it for the rest of their lives.

Every day.

Loving my daughters,

Deb C., Bellport, NY
Well, welcome to the wonderful world of an estrogen dominated family. I am the proud father of three girls (now 10, 12 & 14) -- it is both a rewarding and challenging experience. I/we found the transition from 1 to 2 children quite an adjustment; it doubles your workload (and doubles the enjoyment/fulfillment) and having 2 children in diapers. . .the late night trips I made to re-stock. . .On the other hand, the transition from 2 to 3 was seamless and a much less noticable adjustment.
It's the all female family that's the real challenge, I think. I have read several books about the father-daughter relationship/dynamic. I have made sure to devote time individualy to all three of my children; to foster and cultivate an open, interactive, nuturing and emotionally safe realtionship. I remind myself daily of the impact I will have on their relationships later in life. That coupled with a near-militant drive to make sure they grow up with strong self-esteem, a good self-image, confidence, curiosity, respect, motivation -- I don't want any 'old school' ideas of woman being subservient to men or women as 'second class' citizens to be a standard they find acceptable.
Conversely, I often wonder if I have grown sympathetic ovaries after living in this estrogen-rich environment for the last 14 years. We have two family pets, a dog & a cat, both females as well. . .my advice: always get male pets and establish a 'testosterone-only' zone in your house. This will never truly be without the influence of estrogen; I find the concept comforting though.
I wish you the best of luck with you new daughter - cherish these days, they grow up all too fast!
Dr. Gupta:

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter!!!

The only advice I can give you is from a daughter's point of view. Teach her how to maintain her car (ie., oil change, radiator flush). My dad taught me how to maintain my car and it will give her a healthy dose of self-esteem when you teach self reliance.
My second child, a 20 year old girl, is very different than my first child, a 24 year old girl. I know that I gave my second child a lot more freedom as a teenager and was less panicky about every developmental phase. However, every child is born with a different temperament, at a different time in history, and into a changed family, so who knows. However, I do believe that second children are effected by being second to someone else. My youngest daughter stives to be "as good as" her sister. I have heard it said that we are everything that our siblings are not and up to a point, I see this in my own family of origin and my current family. I can only say as a parent that I am glad that I had them both, because both in their individual ways have brought me so much joy. I hope your children will do the same for you.
Congratulations!
I'm a mother of three widely-spaced children; over the years I've lost four babies. The youngest is almost sixteen now and my best advice for you (speaking now as a cultural anthropologist) is to hold your new baby. That's it. Keep her warm and snug and sing to her till you both fall asleep. And keep holding her.
I had 4 children, and I also felt a sense that my older baby had grown into a huge child when I brought the new baby home. It saddened me.
Try to spend some alone time with the older child while your baby is small and so demanding of your time. Make sure you listen to them without judging their observations harshly. Validate their special place in the world, even when they're small.
And as each child grows, I strongly recommend taking each child out once a month for an afternoon or evening, just to give him or her some mom and dad time, an opportunity to get their parents' full attention, even if it's an hour at the park. We didn't do that with our four, and now I wish I had. And as a final bit of advice, stop and enjoy them, because you'll blink and they'll be grownups.
First of all, congratulations on your new arrival and thank you for opening the discussion on parenting the 2nd time around. As previous commentors have shared, learning to accommodate your little one into your already active life will pretty much just happen naturally. On the advice end of things, even if your birth plans did not include a doula, why not think about working with a postpartum doula for a couple of months to help support everyone through the transformation that a new baby brings to the family? Doulas can help with everything from newborn care and household management to anything that a mother might need in order to best enjoy and care for the newborn. The doula is as available to the father and older children as to the mother and the baby. Treating the family as a unit that is connected and always changing enables doulas to do their job, which is to nurture the family. I think taking a holistic approach to the care and support of the family is what appeals to me most about doula services. I also feel that the opportunity to transition as a family to your newborn helps bring everyone closer together. Congratulations again and thanks for allowing your readers to share opinions and advice - we certainly appreciate yours!
Congratulations to you and your wife. Our two daughters are also 19 months apart and I completely understand your feelings. Though they are now 13 and 14 1/2, I still vividly remember when my older daughter was brought to the hospital to meet her new baby sister. After telling us how pretty she was and kissing on her like a good, big sister , she smiled and told us sweetly that we could "take her back now". I was not upset that she had said it, more daunted by the fact that for a long time, she would no longer have our undivided attention. My heart broke as I felt that I had , in some way, unknowingly betrayed her.
Now, my two girls are close. They still argue sometimes, but they have been each others greatest playmates and partners. They are very different personalities- amazingly so- and I can't help but wonder if it is simply "genetic roulette" (as a friend calls it) or a difference in parenting a firstborn as opposed to a second born.
We were much more confident of our parenting skills after the birth of our youngest daughter- a simple fact of experience- and perhaps that nurtured a more relaxed and therefore free-spirited child. Who knows? We certainly didn't feel compelled to boil her pacifiers and weren't quite as alarmed when she got the sniffles or fell. Now, she is a tenacious
young athlete while my older daughter is a much more cautious, yet "differently wonderful" teenager.
They have grown up so quickly- it truly happens in the blink of an eye. So take many, many pictures and make videos and be sure to cherish their individual strengths/accomplishments as well as their combined creations.
You will find that they grow up to be each other's greatest allies.
" I wanted to get a discussion going here about what experiences other parents have had, especially bringing their second child home."
When the twins were born, Ellen and Laura, we thought that the first born, Philip, who was then 1 1/2 years old, had been adequately prepared. When the girls were brought home from the hospital and installed in their room, Philip toddled in. He took one long look at the two of them, probably concluding that this was unfair double jeopardy, and so he expressed himself unequivocally by promptly throwing up. As time passed the interactions among the three of them did become more civilized. Laura has even gone on to write two books on parenting.
levy@wisc.edu
I, too wanted my 33 month old son to still be whatever he wanted...my baby or my big boy. I always referred to his sister growing inside me as "his baby" and I reminded him that she wouldn't be much fun at first. He was always so cute at responding to the question, "What do babies do?" with "They poop they sleep they cry they nurse. That's all ! " They are very different people, not because I was different. But, because they have very different personalities. He is a quiet sensitive charmer and she is an outgoing effervenscent charmer. We did find out the hard way a few times what being distracted by one and forgetting that the other can still get into trouble too! They are wonderful 14 and 11 yr olds now. They are very close despite the small fights- no one can hurt your feelings like your family...lol. I'm very proud of them both. They will always have each other-hopefully long after we have passed on.
Congratulations on your new baby and your "old" baby.

I also found the "real family" point offensive. I'm of the "Love makes a Family" school of thought. My husband and I were a real family before we had our son, and we are a real family now with one child.

I'm sure you and your friend meant something by the comment. There's some special feeling you have from the extra fullness in your lives. After all, there can be special feelings about all sorts of different situations. But calling it a real family, and implying that other families are fake, is not necessary.
I had my daughter two years after my sweet son. A fellow mom gave me a great piece of advice that really helped keep my son from feeling jealous or displaced by the baby. When the baby is peaceful in her bassinet, say quietly to her that you can't play because you're going to do a puzzle, or whatever, with her brother. Cameron heard "not right now, I need to take care of your sister" but he also conveniently overheard "not right now I need to be with your brother" just as much.

My daughter also got a lot of cuddles where she was told how wonderful she was, and how lucky she was to have such a terrific brother -- and Cam heard every word.
The fondest memories I have of my father are going fishing with him. Just my dad, my brother and me. Sometimes just the two of us. It taught me not to be too 'girly' to handle some of the nastier things in life such as, handling worms, cleaning up pet poo, changing a tire and other stuff taught to me by dad. Now that I have boys of my own, I will delight in teaching them how GIRLS think, act, react and some of the more civilized things that boys normally poo-poo.
I am a mother of five children and with each pregnancy I always asked myself if I am going to be able to love this child as much as I loved the other children. This was especially true when you are having the second child, because I had two and a half years between the first and second child. We had experienced so many firsts together. Just the three of us: mom, dad, child. Then you begin to wonder...will I be able to respond to the second one like I did to the first one. The answer is YES. You won't have just that one-on-one time you had with your first, because now you have two to share your time with. But, it too is wonderful because the older child feels special because they are older and they at that age want to help and "be older." All children are special in their own way, all of my children (3 boys, 2 girls) are similar in many ways, but different in so many others. I have tried to treat my children equally, but you can't really treat them the same because they all have different needs, dislikes, strengths, and yes weaknesses. We have to learn what these are and help them to become strong, independent children despite the fact that there isn't just one of them but there is only one of you. You have to learn to divide your time in a way that allows you to spend some individual time with each child. Here is one small example. I started with making it a priority to eat lunch (during my child's lunch hour at school) with each school age child on my day off each week. They really enjoy this in kindergarten and all the way to 5th grade. It drops off when they get to 6th grade. My little preschool ones would go with me when my older ones were in school and we would enjoy eating with them in the cafeteria at school. Of course I would bring Subway or some other enjoyable treat (non cafeteria food). Now that my boys are 12, 14, 16 and my younger two (girls) are 7 and 10, I eat with the girls only. I think this was just one special thing that we have done together over the years. I'm sure you will be able to come up with many of your own that will be special.
Well congratualtions! As an older mom myself and 2 boys 18 mths apart and a daughter 4 years apart I will suggest some great advice. Each child is different rsponds differently you love them all the same and respond to them differently. Discipline should be consistant with all children and age appropriate. Rewards the same.
Love time discipline is key. You don't have the team to learn from mistakes if they are close together. Do whats in your heart, educate yourself and love your family. After 11 years and staying home it all comes together!
Good Luck
Its wonderful you are a caring father.
enjoy your family. The years fly by!
Congratulations on your new addition!
I am a mother of 2 beautiful daughters ages 3 years and one that is 4 months. So we too understand what you have just gone through. We were thrilled when baby #2 came into the world but we had such a heaviness for the first child....it was mom , dad and child for 3 years!!!! she was "golden" !!! When new baby came into the world our one and only greeted her warmly but then had hives and sighed a lot...it broke our hearts....not taking anything away from our 2nd but that was extremely hard for us. But I have good news it has been 4 months and now our oldest ADORES the youngest and we are excited to watch the two of them together....sisters are amazing and I can't wait to watch them grow together. Dad is still having a hard time bonding with the youngest but he is working really hard at it...I think it was hard to watch our #1 have to grow up over night (it seemed)...But you hang in there it is wonderful and I promise it only gets easier. They both are GOLDEN and such a joy..You can enjoy the memories of the three of you but make room for 4 cause here comes a whole lotta fun:)
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