Becoming a "Party of Four," how exciting! The transition from one kid to two can be a little overwhelming and a process many don't speak about. Ana Welsh spills on everything she found out and everything she wished she knew during this time of her life.
Getting pregnant the second go-around can be a completely different experience. Depending on your older child's age, it can pose lots of questions, worries, and stress. My kids are three years apart almost to the date. When I was pregnant with my second I had no idea how the transition was going to be, so I asked around far and wide (aka on Instagram), and here were some of the best tips I received. A few I knew of and a few blew my mind so I’ll list those first:
- Don’t hold the baby when the older child first meets the new baby, bring the baby to him/her
(will make him/her less jealous and visually it's less omg I’m being replaced by the younger child).
- Set aside 1:1 time with older child daily and say to the baby “Mommy’s going to
spend some time with [insert older child’s name here] right now, I’ll be back soon”.
(so this way when you say it to the younger child they know it’s a fair thing you’re
doing for both parties)
- Mentally prep the older child with: YOUR baby sister/brother is coming (play up
that the baby is theirs) + reassure them they will always be your first baby.
- Get the older child a gift from the baby and give them one at the hospital (and my
own special twist since Dylan isn’t traditionally a great sleeper, I’m getting him a
gift when we bring her home, it’s new Toy Story bedding to mentally attract him
to stay in his crib).
- Have a backup “present” for the older child in the event someone comes over
and only brings a gift for the baby. Hazel baby has a great options for like this game or or this puzzle. #genius
- Act as if the baby “talks” and sends messages to the older kid. I told Dylan today
“Monroe just told me she’s so proud of you for eating your entire sandwich. She
wishes she could eat good food like you but she can only drink milk!”
- Don’t be afraid to ask for and/or hire help (your mental health and sanity is worth
letting your pride down).
- Consider moving the toddler car seat (esp if front-facing) to behind the driver's
seat and baby car seat to behind the passengers so you can see the baby
diagonally and easier through the headrest mirror. The older kid you can still
easily see through your rearview mirror.
- This one is personal - don’t be psycho about breastfeeding...I pumped
exclusively for 6 friggin months and it was such a stress factor on me, Dylan and
my whole lifestyle/household. This go around I’m hoping she latches but if she
doesn’t, fed is best and I won’t let society guilt trip me into thinking formula is so
bad for the baby because it’s not (no offense to anyone). ((Of course, Monroe naturally
latched and we’re currently entering month 3 of nursing))
- If you’re breastfeeding or pumping get ready to have your older kid get super
freaked out and confused. Dylan has been staring at me breastfeeding completely
mind blown. I’ve been explaining more and more to him but maybe should have
been more proactive about it earlier.
- This is an extra personal one - be prepared for the mental breakdown/emotional stress
(ie am I giving both kids enough love? Did I spend enough time w Dylan? Is
Dylan mad at me?) I have little spurts of guilt daily and it surges whenever Dylan
acts out or tantrums (which luckily has been minimal but still). My heart is so full
and happy but sometimes it hurts as we all adjust to the new norm and I can’t put
100% of my time into Dylan or even Monroe.
Even after reading all of these remember, everyone's experience and all children are different.
You are doing a great job Mama. You are never alone.
Written By Local Mama - Ana Welsh
Ana Welsh @MrsAnaWelsh is a working mom of two trying to achieve that illusive work-life harmony. She is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil paid her way through college and built her career in the heart of New York City while growing her family in Hoboken, New Jersey. Ana's life philosophy is to help and inspire others - forever chasing that feeling of fulfillment and joy.