5 Things Nobody Told You About Having a Second Baby
Bringing home your second baby is tremendously exciting… and it introduces you (and Baby-Numero-Uno) to a whole new set of challenges.
“I was so surprised at how my viewpoint on my toddler changed the day my second baby arrived. I suddenly needed my 2-year-old (who had been my baby just days before) to act like a big girl, to listen well and not tantrum and wait instead of running off while I’m getting my newborn settled. I suddenly needed her to act like a 5-year-old.”
…And Now There Are Two: What Nobody Told You About Bringing Home Your Second Child
When you had your first baby, you made a lot of adjustments – and if you’re like most mamas, you know that it can be really hard in the beginning. Couple your lack of sleep and fluctuating hormones with the fact that you’re worried about the same things most second-time mothers are concerned with (“Will I love this baby as much as my first?” and “What if my relationship with #1 suffers because of my new relationship with #2?”) and you’re…
Well, you’re completely normal.
It’s okay to wonder those things, and it’s okay to be sad about your relationship with your first changing a little bit. Cut yourself a little slack, will you?
That aside, follow these five tips to make things easier on everyone:
• Ask for help… a lot
• Don’t let #1 feel “replaced” by #2
• Know that your second child might be the polar opposite of your first
• Stick to routines, especially with younger children
• Trust yourself
Ask for Help
It’s time to call in the reinforcements. Grandma, your next-door neighbor who has five teenagers, your brother and anyone else you trust can be a tremendous help in the weeks and months after your second child arrives. You can schedule help ahead of time, whether it’s with your first or second child, tasks around the house, meals or anything else.
Sneaky pro tip: Add “so I can take care of the baby” to the end of each request for help, and try your best to look as tired as possible (easy, right?) as you shift your child from one arm to the other with monumental effort.
Don’t Let #1 Feel “Replaced”
You want to help your older child adjust to having a little sibling around, and one of the best ways to do that is to let him or her take some ownership of the new baby. Let them spend time together in ways that make your first child happy – and that’s probably not with you hovering and repeatedly saying, “Be careful! Don’t do that. Do it like this.” Other ways you can help your child settle into a comfortable space with the newest addition include:
• Arranging special time for just the two of you. A half-hour a day can work wonders! Spend that time reading, making crafts or just plain playing.
• Talk about whatever your child wants to discuss about your new little one. Give age-appropriate explanations to tough questions (like “How did he get in there?”) and explain that even though new babies need tons of attention, there’s still an unlimited reserve of love in your heart for #1.
• Reinforce your child’s role within your family and explain that he or she is the big brother or big sister. Turn it into a badge of honor and your child will do the same.
• Avoid introducing other big changes at the same time, like potty training or transitioning to sippy cups, losing a pacifier or enrolling your older child in daycare. Keep things consistent until your child has had a chance to adjust to the new family dynamic.
Expect Your Second Child to Be Different From Your First
If you’re like most of us, your own mother wished you’d have one just like you. And if that wasn’t Baby #1, it’s almost surely going to be Baby #2. Your older child and your new addition are very likely to be polar opposites. Don’t expect your second to be a tiny carbon-copy of your first – and don’t compare the two and wonder where one is lacking, either. (Well, you can do that. We’ve all been there. But in the end, the important part is realizing that they’re both equally awesome.)
Stick to Routines
Keeping your older child on a predictable, comfortable routine will carry you a lot farther than you think it will. Kids live for routines, whether they’re used to you singing a good morning song, eating in the same spot at the same time for lunch, or splashing in the bath for a half-hour before bed.
You’ve been here before. You did all of this with your first, and you pulled it off beautifully… even if it doesn’t feel that way. You can do it with your second child, too. And the biggest bonus is that you’re prepared, less worried* and more confident.
*Less worried about minor details like letting the dishes pile up, doing your hair before you hit the grocery store and making sure the kids aren’t wearing mismatched clothing.
Need to Document Your Second Child’s First Weeks?
The first several weeks after your little one’s arrival go fast – you’re tired, your hormones are on the go, and it takes a lot of mental (and physical) energy to chase after your older child while caring for a newborn.
We can help document your newest arrival’s first weeks, and we love to get you some great sibling shots during your newborn photography session. Call us at 310-600-7518 or get in touch with us online to schedule your session. We typically schedule while our mamas are still expecting, but we leave a little room in our schedule for everyone else, too.