Our Short Story
I always said I wanted 4 children. Well, that number quickly changed with the experience of our first child. She’s been a real handful (maybe 2 handfuls!) Our daughter, born in November of 2016 after a blissful pregnancy, has definitely challenged us as parents. She was a difficult baby, very fussy early on and then constantly wanted to be on the move. She is spirited, super active, strong willed and increasingly independent as she grows. So I may have changed my thoughts on 4 children, but we definitely knew we wanted one or two more. We started planning for a second baby before she turned 2 but things went differently than imagined. We ended up with a rainbow baby this past February. And I can honestly tell you, as difficult as that journey was, God had a plan for us. He blessed us with the most amazing baby boy. He’s exactly what we needed, at exactly the right time. Our son is a mellow little guy and happy as ever, a great compliment to his wild big sister.
All the Feels
Ahh the worry…the excitement…the guilt! It never ends as a mom. I worried about how our daughter would handle a baby around and sharing the attention. She was very very attached to me. Leading up to having our second child, she really did not like me holding another baby. She was very jealous any time I had my niece or nephew in my arms. So that was obviously a big worry! Then I also had concerns of her not liking the new baby, or what if I don’t love this new one as much?! I have a girl, what if this one is a boy! Can I love a baby boy the same way I love my baby girl? Oh man, how silly those thoughts are. My heart literally grew the second he was born. We are built with more love than we think, moms. The moment happens and you just naturally, unknowingly adjust.
In true second child fashion, there was no fancy nursery décor or elaborate baby shower. Don’t get me wrong, we were super excited to be bringing in a new little human to our world. But with experience brings change and growth, and you realize what is necessary or what truly matters.
As this baby gets older, I’m definitely more relaxed. Is it the experience? The personality of the baby? Who knows, but this newborn thing was a bit easier the second time around. I felt more confident, enjoyed it more, and was not as high strung about what’s going on or how messy he gets. It’s totally that “second child” motto everyone jokes about. Just be sure to have a safe space for the new baby to be placed as you tend to the older child or have to leave the room. Consider somewhere the older child can’t reach the new baby, whether it be a swing, bassinet, or bouncer.
Preparing for Baby Number Two
We talked to our daughter A LOT about the arrival of a new baby. She took it very well. I truly don’t recall her being upset or angry that there would be a new baby. We read a couple books about being a big sister, told her what a big helper she would be, and expressed how exciting it would be to have a baby around. We included her on one of our prenatal ultrasounds and she was SO excited to see the baby. I let her feel the baby when he or she was moving around and she loved cuddling my big baby bump. She was wishing for a sister whenever anyone asked her about the new baby but was not disappointed when she met her (surprise!) baby brother at the hospital. We included her on talking about baby names too, which was so funny hearing her suggestions. She actually picked out the girl name, but…new baby was a boy! Prior to going into labor we had planned for her to stay with my mom and dad (whom she is really close to and used to sleeping over with), so I knew she wouldn’t miss us too much while we stayed at the hospital. If your child isn’t used to sleepovers with family then I would recommend doing that beforehand, one less thing to worry about.
Food! You have a lot less time to cook so prepare some frozen meals before baby two comes along. Have healthy snacks on hand and things you can eat with just one hand. I had an amazing support system, comprised of my family and a friends from the moms club, who helped out by making meals for the first two weeks. It was seriously a life safer!
Managing Two Little Humans
Well I’m still in training. There’s certainly a big difference from one baby to two little humans to look after. It feels like the days are just nonstop, they fly by. Fortunately I was able to cut back my work hours a lot to stay home with these two, but I could still use a few more hours in a day. Each day I try to set a goal to stay organized. Whether it’s finishing the laundry or sterilizing the bottles. There’s a million things you feel like you have to get done, but it won’t all happen in one day. So focus on one task at a time, even if that task is taking a nap that day!!
Setting time aside to give the older child undivided attention is crucial. Our daughter was definitely used to having us all to herself so as you can imagine, the transition can be difficult. She never directly expressed being jealous, as she’s only 3, but there were moments of tantrums and meltdowns that were certainly the results of adjusting to this new life with a baby brother. It’s such a big change in their little world and individual attention for her was so important. Asking the bigger sibling to help and do small tasks can make them feel special and wanted. Certainly the first few months were easier with a sleepy newborn. But now as our baby is awake longer and starting to be more active, I try to involve both of them in similar activities and playtime.
Ask for help. You can’t do it all alone, as much as we want to and think we can. There’s no shame in asking for help as you navigate a very busy beginning.
Just go with it
You can plan all you want, but now you have two tiny humans to change it all up on you. The new baby will need to be fed at the same time that your first child has to be taken to the bathroom. It’s inevitable that you will now be pulled in two directions. Nap times change, feeding baby (and child) will seem like it’s never ending, and cleanup is around the clock. So plan for a lot of flexibility.
This second one grows twice as fast too. We have put away the baby items already, dropped the crib to the lowest setting, and now have to remember all the baby proofing! I’m holding this baby a lot longer and harder.
Give yourself grace, take a step back, and look at your two beautiful creations. They are so worth it all. Don’t forget to enjoy every second.