I’m in a little bit of denial, but baby #2 will be here in just over three months. John is still loving his cousin, and I don’t know if that will carry over with his little brother. However, my biggest concern at this point is just every day logistics. I reached out to a few friends who are further along in the motherhood game, and got a few tips.
“Rule one: take all the amazing tricks you learned with baby 1 and throw them out the window. Baby 2 will not give a crap about all your hard-earned wisdom and will like things 180 degrees different from baby 1.”
-Jen, Mother of 2
“Despite having two kids of the same gender (and only born a few months off seasonally), we have NOT been able to re-use many clothes, which is unfortunate. Other than that, we didn’t need to purchase very much for baby #2. Also, it was glorious to have older son out of diapers by the time #2 arrived (but I wouldn’t want to be potty training a toddler with a new baby around either, so I’d do it early or wait for a while!). I definitely found going from 1 to 2 easier than from 0 to 1.
Our first is 3 years older than baby brother, which has been a good thing for us–he has actually been able to understand what is going on pretty well, help out with some small things, and works hard to take care of his baby brother. He’s been good about the tasks I give him to help with things, so he feels involved in things. When I was in the hospital after delivery, I was a little surprised that visiting us freaked him out, so after visiting once he stayed home until we were ready to head home. I read a lot of books to my son while nursing the baby, which he likes. You get good at multitasking. ”
-Elizabeth, Mother of 2
“Give yourself tons of extra time to get out of the house. It takes exponentially longer to dress and get 2 out. Cut yourself a break. The house will get dirtier, tons more laundry, and you will feel like you are barely keeping it together some days. Get rest when you can, the kids won’t have lasting damage if you miss a night of baths, and they sleep just as well in their clothes as they do their PJs. It’s called survival, and any parent that claims they never missed a night of brushing their kids teeth is lying!
Daddy should plan some dates with the older one out of the house to do something fun. The older one will start to feel left out when everyone’s attention is on the new baby and start to act out. Getting the older one “big brother” gifts makes them feel special and that people are also excited for him and his new role.
Always load both kids into the same side of the car. Have the older one climb through and get the baby situated. Once he’s all buckled in, go to the other side to buckle in the toddler. It’s safer because the toddler will run off when you buckle in the baby and a stranger may honk at you and tell you he’s by the cart return….hypothetically.”
-Kiana, Mother of 2
“Schedules are important for sanity but it is equally important to stay flexible. Remember that you are doing the best you can and breathe. Accept the chaos and laugh.”
– Katie, Mother of 3
“If you’re nursing and have a toddler, make a little activity box or bag that they can pull out just when you nurse the baby. It will keep them occupied, and it’s something they think is special. Try to incorporate your toddler into helping. They can fetch stuff for you, they can “babysit” or keep baby entertained while you make dinner, etc. Make a big deal that they are the big brother or sister. Oldest kids, in particular, like to feel like they are older than they are. They also generally like responsibility. Keep the nap as long as possible! If they won’t nap, at least keep an afternoon quiet time.
Your kids will be happier if you’re not freaking out, and as long as you do a good job loving them, they won’t sweat (or even remember) the details that you may have dropped the ball on. Family life is amazingly forgiving if you just do your best to love. ”
-Carolyn, Mother of soon-to-be 5
“Mine are 2 years apart. I always tell people I wish they were a little closer together or a little farther apart, because their age gap was hard– but here I am about to have a 2yr 4month age gap between #2 and #3. Our second was a much easier baby. But a lot of it was because I already knew what worked. I had a much better handle on nursing, I knew a Velcro swaddle was better than a blanket, etc. I wore him in a carrier all the time which was mostly great except when the toddler would decide to bolt off and I had to chase him or climb after him somewhere with a baby strapped to me. I got the baby napping during the toddler’s nap time from the start.
Because I’m a SAHM and neither is in school yet, it’s all me, all the time, so I try to get out and stay busy. I brought the baby to the toddler music class and library story time from a few months old on up because I wanted to keep getting out of the house. I learned to let a lot of stuff go and not stress, especially about nursing in public or other stuff with the baby. My concern was keeping both kids content so whatever that meant, we rolled with it.”
-Kirsten, Mother of soon-to-be 3
“Baby wearing will be your new favorite sport.”
-Amanda, Mother of 2
“Our first was a little older and we got her a gift from the baby. She got it in the hospital, and still talks about how her brother got her a gift. She definitely regressed for a bit. Very jealous. That goes away after a couple of months. He’s now two, almost three, and they can’t get enough of each other.”
-Lauren, Mother of 2
“I think if I could share one thing with a new mom of multiple kiddos it would be this. My expectations were set too high and again after again I felt defeated. Set realistic goals. There will be days when nothing seems to follow your pre-planned, thought out, schedule. Kids get sick, cars break down, you end up late for an appointment, dinner is McDonald’s drive thru eaten in the car, there are nights you get little sleep and yet the next day’s activities are still needing you to be there to follow through. Sometimes tasks will feel unproductive as you accomplish one thing, something else is being un-done. All of this is a part of life. Especially, life with kids. It can be unpredictable and it will be much more enjoyable if you can take a breath, re-group, re-plan and start moving forward again. Life is short, enjoy the days, cherish the small victories and try not to get too bogged down in what’s ahead. Somedays I live naptime to naptime as to not let myself get too worked up about all that “needs” to be done.
Knowing our family is complete, I find myself sitting back a little more and not sweating the small stuff like when homework didn’t get completed because it was a beautiful day and kids played outside until dinner and showers, no problem, I’ll send the teacher a note and let her know this time we need an extra day. When the baby is not saying as many words as the 2 year milestone recommends, it’s ok, he has 4 other little people doing the talking for him and is taking it all in. Try not to get caught up in the rush and race of life and sit to enjoy the little miracles of life from time to time. ”
-Kristen, Mother of 5