Congratulations! You’ve decided to take the plunge and return to the realm of pregnancy and newbornhood. The second time around can be a lot more relaxed emotionally (you know what to expect), but also a lot more demanding (after all, you have a little one to keep entertained this time).
Never fear! We’ve dug deep into the minds of mums to answer the most common second-baby concerns and help you prepare for the exciting journey ahead.
‘Second-time around’ fears are real
Many mums don’t talk about it openly, but second pregnancies often bring a looming feeling of concern. Not of labour, but of your ability to love (and take care of) two children. Questions may run through your head – ‘Will I be able to love my second child as much as my first? Do I have what it takes to take on two? And how will I possibly find the time for both children?’.
If you feel that uncertainty, then this next bit is for you. You DO have enough room in your heart for both children; you WILL love your second child as much as you love your first; you CAN handle two. Once you have another baby in your arms, your heart magically expands. It’s pretty incredible, actually. You just need to trust in yourself, in your expanding heart and in your abilities as a mum. You’ve got this!
Keep up when your energy is down
Next stop is pregnancy. And it’s a doozy. Why? Because pregnancy makes you tired. Oh so very tired. But how can you crawl away for a quick sleep when you have a busy little bee to take care of? It’s pretty much not possible unless your partner is home or you have someone who can watch your little one while you rest.
These 9 activities designed for tired mums and busy kids are sure to help on those extra exhausting days. You may also want to check out these must-have family movies for the weeks when nausea (and Netflix) take over.
Pram it up
One of the things that might need an upgrade is your pram, especially if you’re sprouting a small baby gap between bubbas. Our articles on the best side by side double prams and the best tandem double prams can help narrow your selection.
You might also want to look into a buggy board or Bumprider for older toddlers and preschoolers. These add-ons are ideal for an older child who may be too big for a pram, but still too small to walk a long distance without hitching a ride.
Where will the new addition sleep? This is a question only you and your partner can answer. You can choose to co-sleep with both children, have bub in your room in a bassinet, put bub in his own nursery or set up both siblings in a shared space.
There is no right or wrong way when it comes to bedtime logistics. The right way is what works for you, your older child and your new baby. Think about too whether you need to evict your firstborn from the cot to make way for the new arrival. Which leads to the next step …
Getting a sibling is exciting, yes, but it can also be scary for little ones, especially if they weren’t sold on the idea in the first place. First step? Focus on the positives – your firstborn is getting a friend, a playmate for life, a partner in crime. Next, get them involved. Include your toddler in the pregnancy announcement, give them various tasks to help prepare for baby and let them help when their squishy little sibling arrives.
You can warm them up to the idea of being a big brother or sister through stories and through role play. Give them a “baby” of their own – a new doll or cuddly toy to care for. Even movies can help. One of the best we’ve come across to help children understand a new sibling is Boss Baby. If you haven’t seen it yet, this is your perfect excuse!
You’ve had the baby. And now it’s time to test your abilities as a multi-tasking ninja by taking on a hungry newborn and a busy older child. Ready, set, multi-task!
You will need a whole bunch of one-handed activities to do which can keep your older child busy while holding, feeding or rocking your newborn. Puzzles, colouring books, flash cards and story books all work well for these instances. Check out our extensive list of toddler-friendly activities for more ideas.
Getting out with two
Running errands with one is a lesson in timing. Running errands with two is a lesson in luck. Start short and sweet with one small errand. Try to time it around feeds, poops and naps and always leave plenty of time for accidents along the way.
Be prepared, even if that means travelling with half the house. You will probably need the jumbo nappy bag, the double pram, the baby carrier in case bub won’t sit in the pram, toddler toys, emergency snacks and an extra large coffee.
Returning to the land of sleepless nights
You probably remember what it’s like watching the sun rise with a newborn asleep in your arms. You are beyond the point of tired and entering into a dazed sleep-deprived state that is eerily comforting. It’s a confusing state to be in and it can be made even more interesting when you have a well-slept toddler to entertain (usually rising, ready to party, around the 6am mark).
It’s okay, mums. Deep breath. You’ve done it once. You can do it again. All that matters in this sleep deprived fog is keeping your two babies happy and healthy. So focus on that. The rest can wait until you have had a semi decent sleep (or at least a two hour stint).
Staying on the same side as your partner
Two children and no sleep make mummy and daddy lose the plot. And when you are in this exhausted, emotional state that communication breaks down, anger and resentment sets in and fights happen. Who had the harder day? Whose turn is it to change the nappy? Who cleaned up from dinner last? Which parent slept the least?
Who cares? Both of you had a hard day. And both of you probably look like you haven’t slept in weeks. So be tired together. Support each other. Vent your frustrations. Celebrate the mini-wins that occur each day (like going to the store and not experiencing a tantrum or a poo explosion). Set up a tag teaming system for night-time. Accept defeat and order takeaway. And remember, you’re a team. So go through it together. It’s more fun that way.
Asking for help
Taking on two is hard. Some days you will nail it. Some days you won’t. But even on those days that you feel like you’re failing, please remember that you’re not. Not to the two people that matter the most. If you are there for them, to offer them a snuggle, or a story, or a shoulder to cry on (even when you’re exhausted) then you are doing everything right.
Sometimes though it’s not that simple. Sometimes a chemical imbalance occurs, which can alter your ability to be your best. You may blame yourself, your hormones, your situation, but post-natal depression shouldn’t be blamed on anything. It happens … and to more mums than you may think. It is so important to know the signs of PND, to be aware of what help is out there, and to accept this help when needed, not only for your sake, but for the sake of your family.
If you are still weighing up whether it’s time to go for round two, check out our article about ways to tell if you’re ready for another baby.