It goes like this: excitement is uncontainable but then anxiety tries to push in and disrupt this whole, "I’ve got this in the bag" mood. In order to keep my mind at ease with what to expect when expecting baby number two, I reached out to several mamas to fill me in on the best ways to prepare for baby number two. No matter what demographic they fit (working, stay at home, business owner, work from home moms), consistent themes kept coming up and I’m here to spill!
#1 Prepare and Include Your Firstborn
Depending on the age difference this can look very different but its very important to keep them in the loop from the very beginning--bring excitement to their new role as a big brother/sister.
“From the pregnancy announcement, to helping pick her name and even shopping for baby items. Something very important to me was having several conversations about breastfeeding so that our oldest child understood what was going on when he saw me nursing his baby sister.”-Rayshon, mama of 3
“For the transition before having my second baby, we used a baby doll, talked about how to treat a baby, and regularly took our first into the nursery to show him where the new baby would be.” Brittney, mama of 2
“We made sure she was included (getting diapers, bringing bottles) praising her for helping little bro/sis out.”-Andre’a, mommy of 3
#2 Use your team
Simply put—divide and conquer! During the first few months or longer, you two are going to have to work together where one person cares for the newborn while the other cares for the older kid(s) and then SWITCH! Both children need and want to see both their mommy and daddy. It’s also super duper important to use your family and friends! “Yes, come fold this laundry and empty the dishwasher.” “Please take our oldest to the park and play with them!”
“Having a support system is also very important…They came in and rocked babies, watched them so I could nap and everything else. I think it’s so helpful to have that support because they aren’t up all night and they bring a positive attitude, they are willing to help and aren’t super tired.” -Andre’a, mother of 3
“My husband took the lead role in taking care of our son and I took the lead role in taking care of the newborn. Also, rely on any help you can get of course, we used family and part time nanny help. ” -Nina, mama of 3
“We also made it a point for him to have time alone with us, too. Whether it was my hubby taking him to the park to play while baby and I took a nap or me spending quiet cuddle time with my oldest.”-Candace, mommy of 2
#3 The second time is better but expect differences
“Bringing home our second baby from the hospital felt a lot more natural than bringing home our first. All of the newborn memories from my first started to flood back into my mind, and I was more at ease with getting settled and comfortable. I didn’t feel as rigid and just allowed the baby to eat when she wanted to eat and sleep when she wanted to sleep without stressing about time between naps and feeds. I knew that a schedule wasn’t super necessary in the first few weeks. I also felt it to be a little easier because I was already familiar with several of the baby items that I used for my first, and I knew how to use them, what worked, and what didn’t.” Brittney, mama of 2
“They are a completely different child, what worked for the 1st may not work for the 2nd. Remember and anticipate all the challenges from before (sleep deprivation)…you did it before and you can do it again.”-Rachel, mama of 3
“Baby number two holds a ground all their own. With new personality, new things they love and new things they hate. Preparing for baby number two is simply taking care of yourself. Knowing that everything you do is because you love them. Every time you become frustrated remembering this phase won't last forever. And giving yourself grace while doing it. -Lateva, mama of 6 (Check out her Faith & Lifestyle blog, The All Purpose Woman)
“One thing I wasn’t prepared for was how different things would be with our second. I thought it wasn’t my first rodeo - but turns out it was a totally different kind of rodeo, ha! For example, I LOVED the newborn phase with my first so I expected to love it with my second. But the newborn phase was so different with a toddler around, and I found myself wanting my baby to grow faster and get in a rhythm and sleep a little bit more. I felt guilty about that, but looking back, I have realized it was just a totally different season of parenting, and I wish I would have been able to see that in the moment. It continues even now, though - not everything works the same for two different little people, and that’s hard for me to remember sometimes.” Emily, mama of 2