Mum knows best... Especially second time around

Little ones - range

While it’s long been recognised that Mum knows best when it comes to their little one, a new survey from Sainsbury’s Little Ones has today shown that the maternal instinct can be helped along by gaining some hands-on experience, as over a fifth (21%) of savvy second-time Mums save up to £200 on their second baby.

Over three quarters (78%) of Mums said they bought unnecessary items for their first child which they avoided second time around after deciding they were useless; designer baby clothes (32%), wipe warmers (23%) and shoes for new-borns (21%) topped the list of items that were most likely to remain unused and gathering dust in the nursery.

Whereas 18% of new Mums said they over-bought baby items through fear of being caught short in the middle of the night, the second-time Mum is more likely to think with her wallet and adopt cost saving tactics such as buying own-brand wipes and nappies (29%) and accepting hand-me-downs (18%).  

Yet it’s not just money that the savvy second-time Mum is banking; it seems she also saves time by avoiding certain rituals that she undertook with her first child, such as weighing baby on a daily basis (54%), over sterilising utensils (38%) and ironing baby muslins (15%).  They also spent considerably less time swatting up on baby books or online parenting forums, with 78% relying on instinct and experience as their main source of information, compared to first time Mums who search for advice, in the form of  friends, family, baby books and online forums (60%)

While they may not be so reliant on friends and family for information, that doesn’t mean the shrewd second-time parent doesn’t make the most of the help on offer. Rather than seeking guidance, Mums are more likely to use their loved ones to make sure the baby’s cupboards are well stocked. Over half (59%) said they were more likely to ask for certain gifts with their second child, citing confidence (26%) and resourcefulness (46%) as the main reasons for specifying what they wanted.

In a bid to share the key things learned from having their first child, Mums of two have set out the top five things they wish they had known first time around:

  1. Some days, routines don't work and it's not the end of the world (57%)
  2. Don't keep expensive baby clothes for special occasions as they grow out of them too quickly (52%)
  3. No two babies are the same (50%)
  4. Asking for help isn't admitting that you're struggling (47%)
  5. You don't have to immediately rush to them when they cry (46%)

Dr. Pat Spungin, Parent and Child expert, said “Experience is the best teacher, as we can see from this research. First time mothers are going through all the stages of their baby’s development for the first time, which inevitably means they turn to those around them – be it people they know or independent experts – for extra reassurance. Second-time mothers on the other hand are more willing to trust their instincts and this ultimately affects the way they care for their baby. The most important thing for any mother to recognise, regardless of whether she’s a first or second-time mum, is that there isn't a rule book; a mother is always the authority on her baby.”

Rhian Bartlett, Sainsbury’s Little Ones spokesperson said: “As someone with two children of my own, I can well remember how much information there was to absorb first time round and how much simpler things seemed when baby number two arrived.  Whether you’re a first-time Mum or already have a house full of little ones, having a new baby is a momentous experience; with the excitement of a baby also comes the expense of preparing and caring for your new arrival. Undoubtedly, a parent – first or second-time around – knows their baby’s needs better than anyone, but as this research suggests, with experience also comes the wisdom to know what you do and don’t need in order to care for them really well.

* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Opinion Matters.  Total sample size was 1001 UK mums with at least 2 children under 5 years old. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th - 12th April 2013.  The survey was carried out online. 



About the article

  • Posted on: 24 April 2013
  • Type of article: Press release