Expanding our family is something that we are incredibly excited about and crazy nervous about at the same time. It means more nights without sleep, but also now a child who may be woken up by the screaming baby as well. It can be a lifelong best friend or worst enemy for child number one.
Bringing home baby number two should be easier, right? We've done this before. We're basically old pros. While that is true, we do have to consider how baby number one is going to adjust to his or her new brother or sister. Will he run out of the hospital room when he meets his sister? Will she be a great helper with her little brother? There is really no way of knowing.
Having a new sibling is a big adjustment for a little kid. He or she went from being mommy and daddy's whole world to having to share us with someone else. It's normal if baby number one isn't exactly a fan of his or her new sibling and doesn't want to share attention or toys for that matter.
Some children are over the moon excited about bringing home a new sibling. It means he or she will get to be the big kid in the family. Being an older sibling means new responsibility as well which some kids are really excited about. He or she will get to be mommy's helper with the new baby. Baby number two is also going to be someone to play with, when he or she gets a little bigger at least, and that's always exciting!
14 Don't Forget The First Child
We know from experience as parents, that once a new baby arrives, that's all anyone cares about. Seriously going from pregnancy to when we have a baby, somewhere in that process a mom basically becomes chop liver. We don't want our oldest child to feel that way.
We should try to include the oldest as much as we can when the new baby arrives. Some moms try to teach baby number one as much as they can about babies so they're able to help if they want. This will let the oldest feel included and even like a big kid being mommy's helper.
The eldest still needs time, love, and attention. We can schedule some one-on-one time where either our spouse or someone else watches the newborn, even if it's just for a little bit. The oldest child will probably have had to adjust to a couple nights without us while we were in the hospital. Kids miss their mommies!
13 Do Get Child Number One Something Special
We all know that everybody gets something for the arrival of a new baby. Who can honestly resist all of those itty bitty baby clothes? As parents, we will be overjoyed by the arrival of our new baby. We do need to be extra cautious to keep baby's sibling(s) in mind during this time though.
Some parents get child number one a bag for the hospital. It can get boring just visiting with the new baby, mom, and dad for a little kid. There isn't much to do at the hospital for a little kid always. This bag can be filled with coloring books, a book or two, and some hospital friendly toys. Some parents also include a new big brother or big sister shirt for the older sibling.
It's a cute way to remember the event and something for the older sibling to brag about too.
12 Don't Try To Do It All
Bringing home baby number one was inevitably easier because we didn't already have a child waiting for us to take care of them at home. When we have another baby, we obviously are going to have more to do. It will get easier once we get the hang of the routine, and everyone gets a chance to readjust to the new circumstances.
Don't try to be supermom and do everything all by yourself. We will drop the ball, at least once. Ask for help. Mom should have someone to give baby number one some one-on-one attention because a newborn does need mom a little bit more. Parents don't want baby number one to feel forgotten or replaced at a time it is easy for him or her to get lost in the shuffle.
This would also be a way to keep baby number one included in some of the new activities. Kids need to feel involved and some LOVE to be mommy's helper. He or she can bring clean diapers or a snack for mom. It will keep one child entertained while we tend to the baby.
11 Do Take A Break
While we have two little humans to take care of, we still need to remember to take care of ourselves. Mom is still recovering from delivery, whether that was a natural birth or a c-section. Mom will most likely be sleep deprived due to the arrival of a newborn. It's likely mom is also feeling a little stressed out and worried about baby number one and how he or she is adjusting to their new sibling.
Mom will be anxious to make sure he or she doesn't feel neglected or replaced.
We take the best care of our little ones when we don't feel like we're running on empty. Mom needs to keep her strength up to heal, chase the little one, and possibly breastfeed. This means she will also need to make sure she's eating and drinking enough as well. It's okay to take time for ourselves to do these things.
The time home with a newborn is exhausting. Mom is probably covered in spit-up, breastmilk or formula, and some urine if not worse. It can be easy to get worn out and run down. Take the time to shower and feel like more than a mombie. This can be incredibly helpful for mom's mental health and self confidence too.
10 Don't Constantly Compare Baby Number Two With Baby Number One
Every baby is different. Our second child will not be like the first. Our third will probably be different than both of them. It's just the way it works. Parenting is a continuous learning curve. Baby number two might not be soothed the same way as baby number one. They may not like the same things. One may get a diaper rash from one brand of diapers and vice versa.
Children grow differently as well. One baby may just be larger than the other. One baby may have had colic, and the next one won't. There's no way to tell and no guarantees. For some reason, babies STILL don't come with instruction manuals. Someone should really work on that.
Baby number one might have loved to cuddle, and baby number two might hate it. Try new things to see what baby prefers, and don't be disappointed if he/she does things differently than we're used to.
9 Do Ask For Help
Family and friends seem to be coming out of our ears when we first have a baby. Everyone wants to help, bring something, or cook something. LET THEM. It won't last forever, and we will eventually really miss or need the extra hands. It's okay to let people help. After all, it does take a village to raise a family. Have a village.
Now not only does mom have a newborn to take care of, but she has a child who still needs meals, attention, and time. It's okay to ask someone to come over and play with the older child or hold the baby so mom can play with her child. People like to help, or maybe they just really want to see the new baby. It's probably the second one.
Baby number one often feels excluded during this time. Mom can include them in some of the things that she needs to do for the baby. Let them help with diaper changes or feeding sessions. Cuddle the both of them (safely, of course). Watch a movie with one while nursing or feeding the baby. Having baby number one is a great way to get a couple extra helping hands and let him/her feel included in everything.
8 Don't Blame "The Baby"
Elizabethpantley.com has a really great article with simple tips for bringing home baby number two included how we as parents may in so many words, "blame the baby." The firstborn is adjusting to having to share mommy and daddy with the new baby. It's more than likely the newborn monopolizes a great deal of our time.
However, parents should try to explain it to the older child in a way that will prevent him or her from resenting his or her new sibling.
Child number one most likely realizes this new kid in town isn't going anywhere anytime soon, but that doesn't mean he or she has to like it. Parents shouldn't make it any more difficult than they have to. Mom and dad should pay attention to how they explain things, especially things that changed, to their oldest child.
No one wants to create any more problems or resentment towards the new baby and all of his/her attention stealing, newborn ways.
7 Do Enjoy The New Baby
While parents have already done the newborn stage once before. They have an older child to worry about, a new baby, and all of their other responsibilities. But mom and dad should still take the time to enjoy their new baby. They did it with the first one, and they should do it with every sibling following. It's also important for bonding.
They are only little once as mom and dad probably realized with their first child. They grow so quickly. Whether or not baby number two isn't the first baby and may or may not be the last, mom and dad should still enjoy the newborn stage.
Parents probably got a lot more alone time with their first child. While mom and dad may not have the exact same amount of time to dedicate to their new baby, they should still make an effort to have some alone time with him or her. Baby number two deserves it too!
6 Don't Expect The Oldest To Understand
Most likely the first child won't be at the age where he or she exactly understands babies. He/she isn't going to really understand how much a baby needs, especially time, during those first few months. The oldest will see that the baby takes mom and dad's time and attention away from them. That part he/she will see, but it may not be easy to understand exactly why.
That's normal, and parents can't expect so much from a young child or toddler.
Mom and Dad have to teach their oldest to be gentle and careful with the new brother or sister. They can use this opportunity to teach their oldest about babies. (Keep it age appropriate of course.) This is a great preparation and beginning step if he or she ever decides to baby sit when s/he is older.
If the older sibling wants to help with his/her new sibling, it will also be an opportunity for the two of them to bond.
5 Do Spend Time As A Family
While it is awesome that everyone and their mother wants to visit when a new baby arrives, mom still needs time for herself and her family. Mom needs time to adjust, bond, and just enjoy her new addition. Moms try to carve out some time to do just that whether it be at the hospital or at home. Maybe don't have any visitors until the sibling(s) have met the baby.
Parents can emphasize to their oldest that the family is growing and expanding, but they'll always be family. Do some of the same activities as before, just bring the new baby along. This will help reassure the oldest that he or she is still part of the family. No, mom and dad didn't forget them. It will also be a great way to include the new baby on an old tradition, at least for the sake of memories.
4 Don't Sweat The Small Stuff
Coming home with a newborn is always chaos at first. Now add an older child to that mix and mom is crazy to expect anything short of a disaster. That's okay though. This is a time of learning and adapting. Things will be a mess. There may be a lot of dirty dishes and laundry and not a whole lot of time to do them.
This is a time where it's alright that the house looks like a tornado hit, mom's hair is constantly in a messy bun, and every shirt she owns is covered in milk or spit up.
The most important thing during this time is spending time with the children. They both need and deserve attention. That should take priority over some housework for right now. It is especially important the oldest feels included and important. The newborn is obviously incredibly needy because well he or she is a NEWBORN.
Basically, they need constant care and attention, and that's okay. In fact, enjoy it. Enjoy the snuggles because we know from experience they don't stay so little forever.
3 Do Establish A New Routine
While children need stability, the old routine may not be practical anymore now that there is a newborn or second child in mom's life. Mom has to accept that and adjust. Creating a new routine may be a challenge at first, but once she gets used to it, the oldest will have an easier time adjusting to the new sibling and new routine.
The first couple weeks home with a newborn and the oldest may be a challenge. In fact, it may be complete chaos. Mom has to juggle two children, two schedules, and whatever else she needs to do. It's okay to put housework on the back burner until mom can readjust and adapt to her new addition and new schedule.
Mom will have to learn to how to manage nap times, feedings, and baths in the best manner possible. This will also make it easier to find some time to have quality one-on-one time with the oldest and ensure she/he doesn't feel too left out.
2 Don't Ignore The Spouse
Being a mommy of two is a busy role. At first, it can feel overwhelming. By the end of the day, mom is ready to collapse into bed, touched out, and exhausted. We've all been there. It happened with baby number one, and now that there's a newborn in the house again, it's probably happening again.
Mom hopes to fall asleep as soon as she hits the pillow because she knows she'll be up in a couple of hours with a hungry newborn before she knows it.
Mom can't forget her biggest child of all, her husband. it's likely that dad feels ignored or replaced, just like the first born does. Women can't sacrifice their spouses and their marriage for their children, and they shouldn't want or have to. Whether couples do date night or just spend some good quality time together, it's all the same.
We have to put in the time, work, and effort our marriage needs and deserves.
1 Do Something To Take Care Of Mom First
First and foremost, we need to take care of ourselves. This means mom needs time to be a person, a woman, not just a mother or a wife. She needs to have time to decompress, destress, and relax. It is important for her mental health which can get wonky after all of those hormones from pregnancy and delivery.
Postpartum depression is a very real thing. It happens to a whole lot of women, and women need to be aware of that. Taking time for mom and taking care of herself may be two things that can aid in preventing postpartum depression.
As women and mothers we also must know that our family is our own. This is a time when everyone has advice, suggestions, and the sudden need to visit. It's okay to say no. People will get over it. We are the parents, and we know what's best for our children and our families. It's great that other people want to help, but that help isn't always necessary.
We can take everything that is thrown at us with a grain of salt, but know that we are in charge. We are allowed to be "selfish" and have time for just our little family and ourselves.