As the countdown begins to meeting our second baby, I can’t help but feel intimated by what’s ahead. From going through the newborn stage again, to meeting a brand-new baby who will be nothing like my daughter, all while helping my toddler transition from only child to big sister…I’m not going to lie, I’m nervous!
My daughter Millie will be 21 months old when her baby brother is born, so even though she is young I know she can understand what is happening. So, to help our whole family prepare for what’s ahead, I have asked the experts (aka real moms) on how to prepare for baby #2 home!
Man, aren’t you thankful that there will always be people in your life that are a few steps ahead of you to speak wisdom into the challenges ahead, I know I sure am! I have broken up the tips into four main categories, so read on if you want some amazing tips on transitioning from one to two kids!
Before Baby Comes
Include Baby in Conversations
Laura recommends, “instead of just saying “baby” use the name you have chosen when you talk about the baby. This will not only familiarize your child with the name, but they will have a face to a name when baby is born!”
**I love this idea so much, except if you’re like me you haven’t decided on a name yet..oops!
My friend Jen states, “that I tried to include what life would be like when Baby Sister is born. Anytime we did something, I’d say, “this is how/what we’ll do when baby sister is here” or “baby sister is coming soon and she’s going to be a part of our family.”
Danika recommends involving big brother/sister as much as you can, “it will make them feel like they are a part of things... each task you do use as an opportunity to talk. For example, while you’re packing your hospital bag, what the plan will be for when you go into labor, and letting them help set up the nursery.”
Our Toys, Not Your Toys
Jen says “we try to state that the toys we have are “our toys” not “your toys,” unless they are her big girl toys.”
**This advice is brilliant to me, it instills sharing even before the new baby is there!
Buy Them a Baby Doll
My friend Kayla states, “a baby doll is a great learning tool for any child. It can help teach them to be gentle, which a lesson to be learned overtime!”
**We actually bought Millie a doll for Christmas, and it has been a blast teaching her how to be a little mommy and care for a baby.
Once Baby is Born
Gifts at The Hospital
Krystina states, “When we left for the hospital to have our little boy, I gave a gift to our daughter to help her feel special. And when she came to meet him at the hospital, she had a gift for him. I made sure it was just the four in the hospital room to make that initial meeting special."
Laura also says, “When they met each other for the first time we had them each bring a little gift to one another.”
Kayla also states, “I did a big brother gift for William and wrote in a book for him.”
**I love these ideas so much, they honestly bring tears to my eyes. It not only shows your oldest child that they’re important, but it allows for them to be part of welcoming the new baby by bringing them a special gift.
After Baby is Home
Let Big Brother/Sister Help with Chores
Laura had a great tip: “I let him help me do lots of baby things...folding her clothes, practicing changing a diaper on a doll, and even clipping the doll into her car seat.”
Danika recommends having them help be part of things. “Let her be in charge of getting the burp cloth, clean diaper and whatever else so that she feels important in her new role and not forgotten."
**I mean, who doesn't love to feel important!? I think this is a great tip, especially for my Millie girl who is the worlds biggest helper already. I know she will soak it up if I give her a task to help with baby brother.
One-On-One time with Big Brother/Big Sister
Krystina shared that, “Once we brought Shamus home, my husband would watch him for a little bit so I could take my daughter to the park, just us two. It’s important that the oldest one still gets special alone time.”
Jen also shares, “We tried to spend quality alone time with Evers right away after baby came, and we still do, that helps a lot.”
**Aww. This is a hard one for me to swallow. It just reminds me of the reality of no longer being able to give my one kiddo the full attention they're used to.
Special Activities While Mom Nurses
Jen states, “I made a box of activities for Evers to do on her own... sticker book and dried pinto bean bucket with scoops have been the hits.”
Megan also shares that, “I had little activities for my daughter so that she could do them for at “least a minute “while I fed baby.”
**Again, such a good idea with giving them activities they only get when mom is nursing. This takes the attention off them not getting attention, and puts it on the special toys they get to play with during this time.
Advice for Mama
Kayla told me “always remember you aren’t losing anything, you are only gaining more to your family!! Have complete and total grace with yourself, just like adjusting with one, you will with two.”
**This is such a good one to hold to. I must remember that I am not losing anything, but I am gaining something! I can tend to focus too much on how I am losing my time with Millie by bringing in another baby when really I am just gaining another little companion!
Jenny recommends, “be prepared to do things differently!! Every child is different, and the way you did/do things with your first born may not be what works for #2. From birth to feeding, swaddling, pacifiers, personality, everything could be different!”
**YIKES! Again, with these harsh reality checks. I have to remember that I am not actually birthing out another Millie, oh no, this little guy will be a completely different person!
Megan shares the importance of having a support system! Having struggled with postpartum, her second baby made her even more aware of the importance a community can have on this transition.
Rachel shares in the struggle of, "her oldest losing her baby phase so quickly”. She states, “There will be moments of internal struggle when your oldest wants you to hold her but baby is hungry. So, even though I am not able to pick up my oldest right when she wants me to, I am able to soak in the moment a little more when I do get to hold her.
When I get to put her to bed or lay on the couch with her, I soak it in! I smell her head and touch her hair... let the moment seep into my heart and mind. Every moment is just a little sweeter because I get to focus on her differently than I did before. I take her in differently.”
**I don’t know about you, but I am a blubbering snotty mess after reading Rachel’s advice, gosh but I love it and I am so thankful for that reminder…soak it in!
Rachel’s last little nugget of advice, which I love is, “Mommy first- mess second! Don't let a messy house ruin the moments with babies!”
Man oh man. These golden nuggets of truth and advice are something I will cling to as we wait for this second baby to arrive. When mamas choose to share their tips and open up about challenges they faced in the same transition, it makes it easier to step out in faith and take it on yourself.
I hope you find these tips and ideas as helpful and encouraging as I do! I want to give special thank you to all of my friends who participated in making this blog post possible, you know who you are, so THANK YOU!!
Abby is a first time Mom, and an amazing team member of Baja Baby. She lives in Colorado with her husband Alex, their beautiful daughter Amelia Grace, baby boy Amos Lee and Maple the dog. You can find Abby on Instagram by clicking here.
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