What You Need to Know Before Having Your 2nd Baby

Photo from Pixabay.com

Let me be totally honest: I had no idea how difficult the transition from 1 to 2 kids would be for me! I know that it isn’t this way for every parent, but for me going from 1 to 2 kids was much harder than going from 0 to 1. Several factors can play into the ease or difficulty of adding a second child to your family:

Age of your oldest child when the second baby is born
Age of your oldest when you become pregnant (I hadn’t even considered this factor until I realized that it was hard being pregnant and tired while taking care of a very active 1 ½ year old!)
Stage of life you’re in (Are you and/or your spouse still finishing college? Are you settled into a career?)
The transition you experienced going from 0 to 1 child (This is the experience you have to go off. My first pregnancy and my oldest baby were pretty easy, so I had high expectations going into my second time.)
Personality of your oldest child  (Every child has their own adjustment process when they become a sibling. My oldest acted out more towards me than towards his baby brother.)
Temperament and needs of your new baby (My second baby was a physically demanding little guy. His personality is typically more mellow than my high-energy oldest, which makes him so fun and snuggly, but he has had more sensitivity and physical discomforts we’ve had to figure out. He wasn’t the type of baby I could just set down while getting things done; he preferred to be held. He also hated the car at first… All these things surprised me, because lots of people had told me that the second baby “will sleep through anything!” Ultimately, it comes down to each individual baby and their temperament and needs.)

I wish someone would have given me a list of realistic, practical (and yet still upbeat) advice before my second baby was born. I thought I totally knew what I was doing because I had already had a baby; but the reality for me was that my second time around was quite different from my first. Even though some of that had to do with the babies themselves being different human beings, a lot of the difference rested on the fact that there were 2 to take care of instead of just 1.

So, if you are pregnant with your second baby or are planning on having a second in the future, here are things you should be prepared for:

Advice for Second Time Parents

  1. Expect to stay at home a lot: It will take time adjusting to feeding a newborn as well as taking care of your other child. Give yourself time and don’t worry if you don’t get out much for the first few months- that’s to be expected!)
  2. Choose your battles: You have to give yourself and your kiddo some leeway while everyone gets adjusted to all the changes. What saved me was screen time for my 2 year-old: I told myself that I would not feel guilty about letting him have lots of screen time those first few months after having my new baby! This saved me because I was often able to sleep while the baby slept during the day- because my toddler was occupied with his favorite movies and shows. If you’re super against screen time, good luck finding ways to occupy your oldest… 🙂 I know there must be ways, but you won’t hear them from me because like I said- screen time saved me!
  3. Take care of yourself: I know this is said a lot, but take this advice seriously. I didn’t have any postpartum depression after I had my first baby; but I got it after my second baby was born. Know the signs and don’t be afraid to get help if you need it. And even if you don’t have PPD, take good care of yourself! Keep doing things that you love to do!
  4. Let people help you: Don’t hesitate to ask for help from family and friends. It was so refreshing for me when a friend would babysit my oldest for a little while so I could get one-on-one time with my baby. It reminded me how easy each of my boys are when it’s just one of them! 😉
  5. Do dates with your oldest child: Adding a second baby to the family brings big changes for your first little one. Taking one-on-one, uninterrupted time to remind your oldest that they are still your special child will rejuvenate you both.

I LOVE having two kids!!! I was unsure about how I would establish a special, intimate relationship with each of my children since my time would be divided between them. But I figured it out, and so will you. And even though your oldest child may act like they don’t like the new baby at first (or they may love him or her from Day 1- who knows!), you will eventually see a fun and precious relationship form between them, and it will melt your heart!


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