How to Prepare for Baby No 2
Baby Number 2 is on the way! You’re excited, nervous and a little anxious. A lot of mums wonder how they could possibly love another baby as fiercely as they do their first. Don’t worry. It just happens. But what will be different about baby Number 2? And how can you manage it?
The Same but different
Whilst the physical changes you are going through will be much the same, the preparation for baby Number 2 is different, as is the reality once they arrive. You’ve been there and done this before, so you will have a degree of confidence you didn’t have with baby 1, but bear in mind, all babies are different. So be prepared to be flexible.
How to Prepare You
During your first pregnancy you only had yourself and your partner to consider. If you were tired, you could rest. With your second pregnancy you won’t have that luxury. There are a few things you can do to help:
- If your firstborn is still napping – nap with them. Not only will this provide you with the opportunity to get some much-needed rest, but it can be a great bonding time. Start with a story then snuggle up together.
- Prepare the room early. Get all those hand-me-downs washed and the room set up as early in the second trimester as you can, so by the time you get to the third trimester you can rest. This also gives your first child time to get used to the changes in the household.
How to Prepare Your Firstborn
It is natural for baby Number 1 to be both excited and anxious about the arrival of a new baby. The key to a smooth transition from a threesome to a foursome is preparation, regardless of the age of Number 1.
- Let your child know early on about the coming baby so they have time to get used to the idea.
- If your child will have to move out of their cot or bedroom to make room for the baby, make it an exciting ‘promotion’ to being a big kid.
- Involve your child in the preparations. Ask for advice about room colours, allow them to choose some toys or clothing.
- If you have friends with newborns, try and spend some time with them so your child becomes familiar with how they look and sound, and what they need in terms of caring.
- If your child is coming up for a developmental change – like toilet training – either do it early in the pregnancy or wait until baby is home and a settled routine is in place. Don’t stress yourself or your firstborn by introducing an additional change when baby arrives.
Those All-Important Introductions
The first time you introduce your firstborn to your new baby can set the tone for the coming weeks and dispel any lingering anxiety on the part of your firstborn.
- When your firstborn meets the new baby for the first time, make sure you are not holding the baby. You want your arms free to give your first child a hug and a cuddle so that they know they are still cherished.
- Have a little gift from the baby to your firstborn to make them feel special.
- Depending on their age, let them have a supervised cuddle, so they are able to bond.
When Baby is Home
Juggling a newborn and a toddler or preschooler can be tricky. This is a time when getting some additional help can really make a difference. Friends and family can be invaluable, as can the services of a Postpartum Doula. A few tips:
- Set up a routine for your first child around your feeding of baby. It might be that they snuggle up with you on the sofa and you read a book together, or you may set up a puzzle or some colouring in next to you. This will not only keep your firstborn occupied, but help to make them feel involved.
- Arrange a time of the day that is just for your first child. Whether it be bedtime, a morning walk or play time, have your partner or someone else take care of baby for a while so you can spend uninterrupted time with your firstborn. Even if you hear baby crying, don’t immediately rush to them – your firstborn needs to know they are a priority.
- If visitors are coming and bringing gifts for the baby, ask them to bring something small for your firstborn so they don’t feel left out.
- Go a little easy on your firstborn. When a baby arrives older children sometimes ‘regress’ – if they have been toilet trained they might go backwards for instance. This is normal and should settle. Just show them they are loved and how proud you are that they are a ‘big kid’.
Don’t forget to enjoy baby Number 2 the way you did your firstborn. It’s a balancing act, but with a little planning your second baby can double your joy. A good Postpartum Doula can help you navigate this time with advice, help with household chores and cooking, and wise advice gained through years of experience.
If you would like advice or support in making your family a foursome, I am happy to chat about how I can help you in this transition. Give me a call on 0422 258 771 or: