When deciding whether or not to expand your family, it’s a good idea to look at the pros and cons of having a second child.
Both of us here at The Moms At Odds decided to take that leap into becoming parents of multiple children, so we know what we’re talking about.
We’re going to talk about all the nitty gritty details today – the good and the bad. Having two children can be wonderful, but so can staying with a smaller family unit.
It’s a big decision and we want to help you make the right one for your family. So let’s dive right in.
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The Pros and Cons of Having a Second Child
We’re not going to lie, having a second child can be a lot of work. But it’s also not a secret that another baby can bring so many joys to your family.
So while there are a few disadvantages, there are also so many benefits of having a second child!
To help you weigh the decision, here is a master list of the pros and cons of having a second child:
Pro: Your Kids Can Play Together
The sound of your children laughing and playing together is one of the sweetest sounds you’ll ever hear. Period.
They’ll be able to entertain each other and you’ll have a few minutes to get things done without feeling the guilt that your child is alone.
With two children they’ll always have someone around to play and hang out with. And when they get older, they’ll be able to bond over how frustrating and uncool their parents are.
Con: Raising Two is Double the Work
Two children means double the diaper duty, night feedings, bottle washing, laundry, spills, car seat installations, shoe tying, etc.
Just when you’ve finally found your groove for how to squeeze everything into a day, suddenly you’re expected to add another little tiny life into the mix.
It can certainly be done, but it does take more balancing and adjustment.
Pro: So Many More Cuddles
You have two laps and two arms for a reason – one for each child!
There are few things more precious than snuggling up with your baby. So I’m sure you can only imagine the bliss it feels to snuggle two!
Talk about a major bonus when weighing the pros and cons of having a second child.
Con: Double the Expenses
Between college savings, expensive grocery bills, tickets, travel, daycare, presents, and clothing – the average cost of raising a child through age 17 is $233,610.
Having two kids… *gulp* doubles it.
Sure you can save a little on hand-me-down clothes, but there’s no doubt that when weighing reasons to have a second child you can’t ignore the financial impact.
Pro: Learning to Share
Having a sibling constantly around forces children to learn to share. They’ll have to share their toys, their space, and even time with their parents.
They can also learn to trade and negotiate to get what they want and need. Such valuable and important lessons they’ll face on a daily basis.
Con: It’s Exhausting
Having two children means you rarely get a break.
Chances are you’re always with at least one of the kids. If by some chance you find yourself alone you’re probably cleaning up after or preparing for one of your children.
Gone are the days of “sleeping when baby sleeps”. Now you have to be constantly juggling the entertainment and schedules of two kids. If you do happen to reach that magic stage where you can have both of them sleeping at the same time, you’re often catching up on laundry.
Pro: Your First-Born Can Help
Just because your first baby can’t do the night feedings or diaper changes doesn’t mean they can’t be a big help!
An older child can go get an extra diaper from the other room, grab a burp cloth, pick up a bottle that fell, or even “supervise” in the bathroom while you’re taking a shower.
Bonus, it teaches them responsibility and the importance of working together as a family.
Con: The Fighting
They’ll fight. It’s inevitable. Sometimes the whining and shouting is enough to drive you up the wall.
Luckily, there are some genius strategies out there for how to stop siblings from fighting.
With two your kids will encounter all sorts of issues and be forced to find amicable resolutions. They’ll improve their communication and problem solving skills… after some trial and error, that is. Hey, it’s a learning process.
Whether it’s competing for your attention or the better sports stats, sibling rivalry is real and can get ugly. It can lead to fighting and bad feelings all around if not properly addressed and handled early.
Pro: You’re Already in Baby Mode
Let’s face it – your furniture is all babyproofed, you’ve learned to change a diaper in less than 60 seconds, your car has cheerios and mashed up raisins smushed deep into the rugs, and you’ve memorized every nursery song on Spotify.
You’re already in baby mode, adding another child doesn’t change much about your lifestyle or your surroundings.
Con: You’ll Have to Divide Your Time and Attention
It’s inevitable with two that you’ll have to ignore one to attend to the other occasionally. You can’t be watching one swing outside while watching another build a castle upstairs.
There are times when they’re both crying out for a parent and you have to do your best to handle them separately. It can be heartbreaking as a parent. It can make you feel like you’re not able to give your full attention to a child who wants it.
Pro: Constant Companionship
For better or for worse, your children will always have each other. They’ll have each other to play with, to fight with, to bounce ideas off, to challenge, etc.
They’ll have a harder time being bored when they’re surrounded by a sibling. Not to mention someone who can sympathize what they’re going through as they’re being raised in the same household.
Con: No Sleep
It’s impossible to put together a list of pros and cons of having a second child without mentioning sleep, or rather the lack-thereof sleep.
Maybe you’re just at the point where your first is starting to sleep through the night… and you’re starting to get used to those long stretches of resting again.
The new baby will be starting over from zero. The sleepless nights will be back only now you’ll have to juggle TWO children the next day.
Pro: It’s Easier the Second Time
We’re going to go into this in a little more detail in the next section, but believe it or not there is a lot easier about raising a baby for the second time.
Parents tend to be more relaxed because they know what to expect. That or their so frazzled from raising two tiny humans they can’t sweat the small stuff anymore.
Is It Hard Going From 1 Child to 2?
This really depends on who you ask, but for many the answer is oddly sort of both yes and no. Somehow, the second baby can be both easier and harder.
Since this isn’t your first rodeo, you feel more confident in your parenting. You don’t have to google “is this normal?” over every single thing. You already know the newborn care basics. All of the baby stuff you had to learn the first go around you just know now and that can make it feel much easier.
And yet… it does not really feel easier.
Because you were probably only caring for 1 baby when you had your first. Two kids is a whole new ballgame. You aren’t just taking care of your newborn, you are simultaneously caring for your older child as well.
So if you enjoyed calm naps, soaked in the quiet cuddles, or constantly doted on your first as a newborn, you may find a very different experience with your second. Its louder, there’s less down time, and worst of all, there’s even less sleep
The younger and more care intensive your first child is can make this even more challenging. You may essentially be taking care of two babies. That is hard.
The temperament of both children can also be a big factor in the difficulty of transitioning to two. There’s a huge difference between caring for a chill baby and a colic baby and this can seem amplified with a wild toddler running around.
Adjusting From One Child to Two
Going from one kid to two can take big adjustments for the whole family. Starting out is especially challenging and it can take some time to find your new groove as a parent.
If your first child is a toddler, they may have some strong feelings about the new baby too. Luckily, we have an entire post with essential tips on how to survive a toddler and newborn. Honestly, many of the tips apply for older children too.
Accept that there will be an adjustment period where things may feel out of whack for a while. Remember that adding a new family member is a huge change for everyone. It’ll take time to settle into new routines and a new normal.
This adjustment is very important to consider when weighing the pros and cons of having a second child.
Tips for How to Handle 2 Kids
Handling two kids is tough, but these tips can make it a little easier.
One on One Time
Spend time with each child on their own. This is an opportunity to give them your undivided attention, but it can be surprisingly challenging to get time alone with each kid. Even just a few minutes together can make a big difference.
Involve Your Older Child
Keep your first child from feeling left out by involving them in the newborn care. Let them feel like a special helper and that their contribution is important.
Find areas where you can encourage your first child to be more independent. These sorts of tasks depend on their age and abilities, but the more they can do for themself, the easier it will be on you while you’re caring for a new baby. Your child being able to complete simple things like putting on their own shoes, getting dressed, or even using the potty without assistance is extremely helpful.
Life with two kids is hectic. Things can get crazy, busy, and overwhelming. Make sure to prioritize very carefully. With so much going on, it’s so easy to get distracted, lost sight of important things, and drop the ball from time to time.
Don’t Forget To Care For Yourself
We’ve all heard the metaphors before about not being able to pour from an empty cup and putting your own oxygen mask on first. We hear them all the time because (1) they’re true and (2) we all continue to not take this good advice. Most of us are exhausted and overwhelmed and we neglect ourselves at the expense of our physical, mental, and emotional health. BUT we can’t be our best self like this. To do our best parenting, we really need to take care of ourselves too. You know it, I know it, but we need to keep repeating it.
Call in Reinforcements
Let people help you. Better yet, ask for the help you need.
We often think that not only do we have to do it all, but we have to do it all on our own. Even if you were able to handle everything just fine with one kid, two can throw it all for a loop and there’s no shame in that.
It’s OK to tell people that you need help. For instance, ask your partner to take on a bigger role at home. Grandparents, family, and friends can be great sources of extra pairs of hands to help lighten the load.
Wrapping up Benefits of Having a Second Child
Do you have baby fever yet? Ready to start planning on #2?
Or maybe you’re on the other side of the spectrum. After reading this, are you feeling like you’re more one and done?
We’d love to hear what you think about our list of pros and cons of having a second child. Let us know what you’re thinking in the comments below!