While you certainly have a better idea of what to expect when welcoming a second child into your family, the idea of going from 1 to 2 kids can be scary and overwhelming. It’s normal to find yourself wondering, “How will I manage two kids?”, “Will I ever sleep again?”, “How will my first child feel about a sibling?”.
We know that adjusting to life with two kids can be difficult, so we came up with a few tips for a smooth transition from 1 to 2 kids.
Don’t move your oldest out of their crib too soon
Depending on the age of your firstborn, the crib may still be occupied when you learn that you’re pregnant with your second little one. While you may feel the rush to move your firstborn out of the crib to make room for the baby, your oldest may not be ready quite yet.
In fact, moving your child out of a crib before they’re ready could result in more nighttime wakings and sleep troubles. If your oldest seems to have a while left in the crib, consider getting a bassinet or second crib for the first few months after your new baby arrives.
Don’t blame the baby
You may be wondering why you’d ever “Blame the baby”. This simply means that you shouldn’t make it sound like the baby is keeping you from playing or doing activities with your oldest. This can cause feelings of resentment from your firstborn. After all, up until this point all of your attention has likely gone to them.
For example, if you aren’t able to go outside and play until after you’re done feeding the baby, don’t say, “We can’t go outside right now, the baby is eating.” Instead, say, “We can’t go outside right now, but we can after lunch.”
Make sleep a priority
As if finding time to sleep with one child wasn’t hard enough, now you have two. It’s important to figure out what works best for your family, so that both you and your significant other are getting some sleep. You certainly don’t want to end up sleepless and insane.
This may mean that you go to bed at the same time as your older child, while your significant other tends to the baby for the first half of the night. Even 4-5 hours of sleep before taking the night shift with the baby can feel HUGE when you have a newborn.
Take advantage of baby wearing
Find a quality baby carrier and take advantage of it. This is a great option that could allow you to be handsfree and play with your oldest, while still comforting your baby. You can go for a walk outside, play hide-and-seek, or pretend play games like house or doctor.
Baby wearing is also a great way to shelter your baby from flying toys and wild toddlers—things will certainly get a little wild from time to time.
Include your oldest in preparation for the new baby
Having a second baby is an adjustment for everyone in the family. There’s so much to do in preparation for having your second little one, it’s a great way to potentially get your first born excited and involved.
For example, they can help you sort the baby’s laundry or stock diapers. Keep in mind that they probably won’t be the most efficient helper you’ve ever had if they’re handing you one diaper at a time, but it could be enough to make them feel helpful and excited to be a big brother or sister.
Ask for help
It’s okay to ask for help—we all need it at times. Don’t be afraid to lean on friends and family a little more than you previously had. Even setting clear expectations for how your significant other can help, could make a big difference.
What help looks like is different for everyone—maybe it means hiring someone to help with household chores, opting for grocery delivery, or asking the grandparents to chip in with #1.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself
Self-care is so important at all stages in life, especially as a parent. As your days revolve around caring for everyone around you, it’s easy to forget that you also need to care for yourself.
Make sure you take a little time to recharge. Maybe you want to watch your favorite show in peace or exercise without a child attached to you — whatever your version of self-care looks like, make it a priority. We all deserve a few moments to ourselves.
Give it time.
While any transition can be difficult at first, it will get easier with time. Be patient with your firstborn and significant other — and give yourself grace. Before you know it, everyone will be used to the new normal and it will be hard to imagine how life was without your new little baby around.