You fell hopelessly in love with your first child and now you are expecting your second. There are so many unanswered questions about this major transition in your family. It is true that life will change, as it does in every major life transition. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a one size fits all book on adding a new baby to the family? Truthfully, every family is different and every child is different for that matter. However, there are ways you can ease the transition from one child to two.
One of the biggest fears for every expectant mom of baby #2 is whether you can love the new baby as much as the first. Sometimes there are even feelings of guilt thinking about having to divide your love and attention between Child #1 and the new baby. I pinky swear that as soon as that newborn takes that first breath of air and you hear their sweet little cry, your love tank will fill to full and overflowing. Then you will not be able to fathom how life could be so sweet without both of your little ones.
There is, however, some practical matters to prepare for another baby that don’t come as naturally. It does take more time and energy to mother two little humans. They will have different needs at the same time. Although there is only one of you and two of them, having siblings teaches our children valuable lessons in patience. It really is OK for one or the other to have to wait for a little bit, even when they are upset and crying. It helps to remember that children are not born with patience. Don’t succumb to the idea that you are not a good momma because you can’t always meet both of their needs at the same time. Give yourself grace. Our tendency is usually to care for the baby first. It helps to occasionally tell the baby out loud, “Just a minute little one, while I help your big brother or sister”. This will let your older child know that they, too, are important.
Preparing your first child for the new baby is so vital. This may look different depending on their age. You can let them be involved in helping you shop for items for the nursery. Tell them about when they were a baby. Talking to them about how much fun it will be to have a sibling, is another good way to get them thinking ahead.
Here are some great books that you can read to your child about having a new baby in the house.
“Babies Don’t Eat Pizza” by Dianne Danzig
“My New Baby” by Rachel Fuller
“The New Baby” by Mercer Mayer
“Hello Baby” by Lizzy Rockwell
“Baby On The Way” by William Sears
The way you introduce your two littles can make a world of difference in getting them off to a great start. That first meeting is the beginning of a friendship that will last a lifetime. Your first child usually meets their new brother or sister in the hospital. A great ice breaker for your older child is to help them buy a gift for the new baby to give to them on their first meeting. Also have a gift at the hospital for them from the baby. When your older child is still young themselves, it helps to have open arms to snuggle with them when they enter your hospital room. Arrange for someone to present the new baby to both of you so you can introduce them to each other.
In the beginning, it will probably feel a little crazy and out of control. You will find your rhythm. One of the great things about Baby #2 is that you will probably be more relaxed. You have experience being a mother now that you didn’t have the first go round. Babies and Toddlers don’t keep. Don’t wish them away because of unrealistic expectations of yourself. It’s ok if the laundry piles up and the dishes aren’t washed. Savor the special moments with your little ones. When life gets crazy, just take a deep breath and think about how blessed you are to be the mother of these two children.
SOME SURVIVAL TIPS:
* Read a book to both of them while nursing. Have a basket of books by your nursing chair.
* Put on some fun music and let your toddler dance around while the baby watches from their bouncer.
* Go for a walk.
* It’s ok for the TV to babysit your toddler occasionally. I give you permission. Just choose quality programming.
* Ask for help when you really need some.
* Plan for both children to nap at the same time at least once a day so you can too.
* Don’t compare yourself with other moms. This is your family. Everyone’s circumstances are different. Just because your sister-in-law potty trained her first at one year doesn’t mean you have to or should.
Congratulations on your new baby! It’s hard work making humans. Yes, you will be tired. Yes, you will wonder if you brushed your teeth or try to remember the last time you had a shower. Building a family is one of life’s greatest accomplishments. It’s worth the sacrifice.
If you are expecting a new baby or have brand new one, I would love the honor of capturing the magic and wonder of your little one as well as the special relationship between your first and second. Call today and schedule an appointment for a newborn photo session. C’est l’Amour Photography specializes in newborns and families and serves the Durham & Toronto Region including but not limited to Bowmanville, Courtice, Oshawa, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Thornhill, and Vaughn.