Changing your family dynamic is hard, no matter the change. Whether you’re moving in with a loved one, getting married, welcoming a pet into your family, adopting a child, or having a baby, these new additions force transitions that can be challenging. When we welcomed Magnolia into our family, we had no idea what to expect. I prepped and planned as much as possible, but you just don’t know what it’s going to be like until the baby arrives. Still, every child is different, so my experience with Magnolia is completely independent from what other first time parents may experience.
As the week fly by and we move closer to having a second child, I can’t deny my curiosity about how this baby will be and how their addition will change our family. I’m excited, nervous, joyful, scared, you name it! I don’t really know how the transitioning from one child to two will be, so I asked moms who have been through the transition for their advice.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is to not reinvent the wheel. So many people can relate to our experience, no matter the situation, so I strive to gain insight and advice from those around me. Hearing other mom’s tips for transitioning from one child to two is helpful and a great reality check. Their words help me to not only prepare, but also to be ready for this shift. If you have transitioned from one child to two, I would absolutely love to hear your advice over on the Balancing Today Facebook page!
“My advice to mothers transitioning from one child to two, is to remember that nothing lasts forever. One of the most difficult aspects of adding a new baby to our family was missing out on my toddler’s bedtime routine. The baby’s nursing schedule conflicted with reading stories and rocking my older daughter to sleep. My husband happily took over, but I really mourned this alone time with her. Now that I’m on the other side of babyhood again, I realize that this was just a phase. A tiny blip on the radar. I’m back to being an active part of my daughter’s bedtime routine, and we’re both more appreciative of our time together. I think this advice holds true for so many aspects of motherhood. It’s important to acknowledge how you’re feeling, but remember that nothing lasts forever. Balance is always sure to return to the things most important to you.” – Joanna from Making Mine
“Try to prepare your older child as much as possible beforehand. Get them excited about the arrival of a new baby. If you have a name picked out and don’t mind them sharing it with others, tell them the name and have them call the baby by name. Also, tell them about some of the big details about babies, for instance: they cry a lot, you have to be gentle with them, they need to grow up before they can play with you. Be sure to carve out time with them before and after the baby comes. Understand that while this is a huge transition for you, it’s one for them, too.
Make time for you and your partner before the baby comes. Once the new baby arrives, depending on your situation, you may not get a lot of alone time for quite a while. So try to soak it up beforehand. And talk to them about expectations, worries, excitement, etc. about the huge change in your life so that you all can know how the other is feeling.
Take care of yourself. This time around I have been much more accepting of help and understanding of my own feelings. Try to stay in tune with your emotions and ask for help from your doctor if you aren’t feeling 100%. There’s no need to suffer, help is out there. You aren’t alone.
I try to remember that people have done this before with so much less than I have.”- Meghan
“Kids (especially toddlers) thrive on routine and adding a new baby to the family really shakes up your ordinary routine! Prepare your first child for what is to come.
Get some new books about being an older brother/sister and read them with your child.
Get your toddler excited about helping with the new baby. Try giving them simple jobs like being in charge of the burp cloths or getting wipes. It gives them a sense of responsibility and they will enjoy helping you out instead of fighting for your attention while changing the baby!
For nursing moms, while you are trying to have that bonding time feeding your newborn – consider making a “busy bag” or some special toy that only comes out for your older child during nursing. That way, the older sibling has something special to play with and you can focus on the baby.
Once a month, I take each child on a special “date.” Either a movie, out to lunch or to a museum, I try to do something special 1 on 1 with each child so we can have some alone time.
Remember to give yourself a break. It is a big step transitioning to 2 children and some days I feel like I am being pulled in so many directions. Just know that your children love you and you are doing your best!” – Nancy
“Allow yourself extra time getting out of the house. What took you an easy 15-20 mins to get things together in the beginning, will take you 30 mins.
It’s ok if you can’t get things accomplished on your “To Do” list that day. Nobody will judge you.
Know that there will be a transition period for everyone in the house. A nurse told me when I had my second daughter to give my older daughter a job or 2 so she felt important. My oldest’s job was stocking the baskets with diapers upstairs and downstairs and to help get the supplies when it was time to change the baby.
Schedule a break in the day for yourself, even if it’s 15 mins to watch the news, talk to a friend, or read a chapter of a book in the bathroom for some quiet time. You have earned it. It also helps from going insane.
Remember each child is different. Your 2nd child may do things earlier or later then your 1st and that’s ok.
Now that there is an extra person that needs you and your partner’s attention, don’t forget to bond with your partner. If it’s possible try taking a dinner or lunch date with just the two of you within the 1st few weeks. You need to support each other, especially the 1st few months with the lack of sleep and added responsibilities it can get stressful.
Lastly, enjoy all the little moments that you can with your family of 4 and take many pictures because the kids love to look and hear stories later about when they were little.” – Sharon
nough for both children? Will you still have one on one time with your oldest? Will your oldest be okay with having a younger sibling? How could you ever love another child as much as that first?
There is a certain amount of guilt I felt almost every day in the beginning. Newborns, when not sleeping, are pretty needy of their mommas. It makes focusing on both kids kind of exhausting. Sleeping when baby sleeps is out the window when you’re also alone with a toddler so I used babies nap time to really focus on one on one time with big brother and tried really hard to get the kids to at least nap at the same time once a day to get some rest.
Just don’t feel guilty about meeting both of your children’s needs. You are enough even if you have to put crying newborn down for a minute or tell a toddler to give mommy and baby a little space!
ALWAYS accept gelp, the first few months may be hard. You will be all consumed with love for 2 little humans and completely lacking sleep. You’ll try and keep up with everything else but make sure that you also take time for yourself and to sit back and enjoy all of the moments.
The best is yet to come when the two little best friends you’ve created really start interacting and somehow it goes faster the second time around!!” – Jaime