I knew I always wanted more than one child if at all possible, but when we finally became pregnant for the second time (after what felt like a very long 10 months), it dawned on me that life was set to change in a big way once again. No longer was I only responsible for the physical and emotional wellbeing of one little person, but two!!! How would I cope and how would my son cope? I think a lot of us worry about what the reality of this big leap will look like… well here is OUR reality and I hope some of these tips and anecdotes reassure you if you too are about to become a mama of two.
My son was just over two and a half when Tilly was born and at the time of writing this we are two months in…
HOW TO PREPARE
- We spoke about the baby as much as possible and used her name (you could always use a made up nickname if you don’t have a name in mind in advance) and this made it more real for our son who started naturally dropping her name into conversation without even realising. This way he was far less surprised when she arrived!
- We focussed on what an awesome big brother he could be and championed all the things he could do and share with the baby which made him super proud.
- We let my son choose a toy that the baby would give to him – he felt involved in the process and was THRILLED at the fireman sam truck ‘she’ gave him.
- We moved him into his new room a good month before the baby came to give him time to settle in and then helped him pick a few bits for the baby’s nursery – he was pretty good at giving his room over… especially when he realised it meant he had more space for toys in the bigger room.
THE EARLY DAYS
- We kept my son’s routine as normal as possible and just ‘got on with it’…. easier said than done, but keeping him at nursery in the mornings has meant that we both get head space and time out, which then means afternoons are all about him.
- You will never realise how many times you can say that words ‘GENTLE PLEASE’ in a not so gentle voice when your little one is squishing the baby with cuddles – but they do learn pretty quickly not to smother their sibling.
- Taking shifts – it is EVEN harder to take ‘time out’ when you have two children as each parent can be one-on-one… we found that actually, it’s fine just to take turns with both children so you get head space for a walk, bath, pop to the shops solo (you know how to live the high life)!
- Invest in a sling/carrier – newborns love to be close to you and it just allows you to be hands-free which is SO necessary when you have another in tow. We have a caboo close to me which has been fab.
- We stocked up on treats and things we knew my son liked. Call it bribery or simply rewarding good behaviour, but it meant our house was a happier place in the early days and I had toys and sweets that would keep my son distracted.
- If you know you are stuck on the sofa feeding but your toddler wants to be with you ALL THE TIME, it’s a great idea to get a box full of interesting toys and play things for them to have and explore right by the sofa/ your feeding chair.
- GET ORGANISED – evenings are my time to think ahead for the next day. Food / outfits / activities – it means I wake up with purpose and can get out of the house on the nursery run by 8.30am. Sometimes I am too tired / forget, but having a plan does make a big difference.
THE HARDEST BITS SO FAR
- The ‘I want daddy’ phase – we had a few weeks where my son decided he just wanted daddy. Naturally, my husband spent more time with him and I was busy feeding and getting to know our new baby. It killed my soul a bit, especially when he’d cry for daddy when he went back to work…. but it WAS a phase and he’s back to wanting whoever he thinks will give him Percy Pig sweets.
- When they both cry – turns out my toddler HATES it when the baby cries. It makes him say ‘she’s too loud’ and he then starts to cry himself, which makes her cry even LOUDER. FUN.
- When you simply don’t have enough hands – sometimes they both need / want something done now. Don’t beat yourself up – just take it one step at a time.
- Sometimes the baby just has to cry for a minute. When they are both demanding my time, sometimes I have to let that happen for a moment so that I can get the toddler set up eating / doing an activity etc. Short term gain for longer term gain (and peace and quiet).
- The routine juggle – my husband leaves for work at 6am so I am responsible for getting all 3 of us up, dressed and fed in the morning. It’s not easy – but is do-able and does get easier as you fall into the new rhythm.
THE BEST BITS
These far outweigh the hard bits by the way…
- The LOVE – you never knew you could have even more love in your heart than you do.
- When my son asks to sit next to the baby / hold the baby / stroke the baby – it’s heart melting
- Knowing they have each other
- When we all get to nap at the same time, because sleep is the route to all happiness, non?
Any other tips / hacks please let us know – we’re all in this together!