The day your second baby was born 3



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With all this talk about our Royal arrival last night, it took me back to the day my second child was born; and thinking about it made me  want to hear about yours today and have a little giggle at each others’  stories.  We know the birth got off to a good start, with The Prince of Wales, Prince William there at the birth, which many who had babies in the 70s might giggle and attest that for their second children the husband was more likely to have been at the pub than the hospital.

I can’t imagine the Duchess of Cambridge with her baby in cloth nappies, let alone contemplating soaking them in a bucket of whitener like the 60s of today can remember their babys’ lives.  I can’t imagine her baby’s nappied bottom wearing “Plastics” which I remember well from my siblings that stopped those cloth nappies from leaking as much.  Nor can I imagine her having to cope alone in the Palace with the potty training challenges of  potentially having two in nappies when she comes home to two year old Prince George.  Heck, I  don’t think my mum, now 65, even had a “change table”, just choosing to change the baby on the bed.  There was no baby capsules in the car, you just seat-belted the bassinet into the back seat.  And frankly, there was no “coffee shops” either, so there was fewer outings unless you went to visit someone by invitation.

I’m not envisaging that her mother in law will drop in for a spot of babysitting so she can go out for an anniversary dinner with her husband, although I would rather like to imagine it.  Nor can I imagine the Duchess relying on the simple parenting advice we all were obligated to of Dr Spock, who reigned long before Dr Google arrived on the earth.  She certainly wont have whipped out her sewing machine and sewed the curtains for the baby’s rooms or the nightdresses the baby will wear like my own mother did.

And I just can’t see her letting the kids play on the street the way our second children were most keenly allowed to.  Motherhood second time around is a whole lot different nowadays than it was when the 60s of today did it. The question is, has it changed for the better or worse?

As you would well attest, in the 1960s women did three quarters of all housework, including childcare, averaging 18.5 hours per week and this quantum of work increased in the 80s.

What do you think are the biggest differences between raising your second child today and back in the ’60s, ’70s or ’80s?  Tell your stories and share your reflections of the period after you gave birth to a second child.  

Chime in in the comments below.  


Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. My firstborn was a few months older than Prince George when my second was born. My husband was with me for all of our births, 4 of them ! Yes, I remember the plastics,although quite early on an aunt of mine introduced me to knitted fluffies which were so much kinder to little soft bottoms. I made a lot of their clothes, soaked and rinsed nappies and hung on the line to dry. I have to say it was always a greatly satisfying sight – all those white squares fluttering in the sunshine. It’s a bit sad that so many mums these days are rushing here and there, back to work, parking little ones in care, not getting any time at all to spend watching them grow. I think the Duchess will be a much luckier mum in that respect alone. She will be allowed to be with her babies, and she has her own mum to help. My children were allowed to play out in the dirt, climb trees, ride bikes. The prevalence of technology was njot quite so huge – they did watch a fair bit of tv but then there can be quite a lot of good gained from that if you sort it out.
    I wouldn’t have missed any of it, but I’m glad it was then and not now. I think it’s harder somehow, people seem to want more of everything. Maybe it’s time to get back to some basics.

  2. Have four grandchildren, the last one only 3 months old which takes me back as did this article. I will admit to using disposables. My own were born in 1975 and 1977. But it certainly was a lot different though not necessarily better or worse – just different. My children are lucky enough to be in positions where generous maternity leave is offered by their employer. They both work for, large, incredibly family friendly firms and both male and female employees benefit.
    When I fell pregnant with my first it was ‘when are you leaving’ from my employer! Just wasn’t accepted to work and be pregnant let alone work and be a mother of a young baby. I did work when they were babies up until their teens really. Teens are the hardest years when I consider they need a parent around even more.
    Looking back is always interesting. Glad I am here for my grandchildren too.

  3. All my four babies, including my second wore Viyella night-gowns, were brought home wrapped in shawls, and wore silk and wool singlets, and terry towelling napkins. My second was born much quicker, and mothers’ wore ‘binders’ in hospital to help regain abdominal muscles…the babies too. My second wore smocked tops buttoned to the pants, and was vaccinated against polio at six weeks of age.

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