Photo by Grace Claire
So you’re having your second baby. Bet you’re wondering how to prepare and what to do before baby 2.0. Remember your first little one? Your house was a war zone of glass tables with sharp corners and unsecured book cases. You sought out every mom you could find to ask which stroller to buy and how many burp cloths were appropriate. Then, you had the baby and realized that all your preparations and baby gear didn’t really prepare you for motherhood.
Now, you’ve got another one on the way! It’s comforting to know that you’ve (at least to some degree) been there, done that. But just like no one can explain how having your first kid will feel, having two means you will still be constantly learning, constantly surprised, and of course, constantly exhausted.
So, what can you do to prepare for the unknown?
Sort Through Your Firstborn’s Old Baby Stuff
This is easier to do if you find out the gender beforehand, or if you went with gender-neutral gear with your first baby. But either way, go through the attic and comb through the countless vacuum-sealed bags of Boppy covers, tiny socks, and onesies to figure out what you have and what you need. You might be surprised at how many pieces are missing from that baby swing you stored in your mom’s garage. Go through every thing and make a list of what you’ve got and what you’re lacking – step one.
Prepare Your Firstborn
Your first baby is in for a huge change, and of course there’s no way for them to fully grasp that until they are finding themselves competing for attention with the new crying baby in your arms. But, there are many things you can do to prepare your little one for the role of ‘Big Brother’ or ‘Big Sister.’
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to address the future with enthusiasm and honesty. Get your kid excited about how great it will be to have a live-in playmate and built-in best friend. But, be honest about the changes. Explain that your attention will be divided and you’ll need them to be a big helper.
You might start now, helping them become more independent in fun ways – teaching them to pick up their own toys and feed themselves (depending on their age). Make it a fun thing, though – you don’t want them dreading the baby’s arrival.
Something else that’s great to do is to ask your loved ones to bring gifts for your oldest when the baby arrives. Of course, if they’re already preschool age, you’re not going to expect them to believe that these gifts are “from” the baby, but it will make your big one feel special and excited to get gifts too, when baby is being showered with toys and clothes – and to know that they are getting gifts because the new baby is here.
The key here is to stay positive and be creative about training your kid ahead of time, in ways that she can be more independent and more ready.
Handing your new baby to your first baby is the most amazing feeling because you know that you are giving your firstborn the greatest gift you could give in that little human: a forever friend.
Remember how different it was to go from no kids to one? Maybe you don’t. You’ve been too busy since kid #1 came to reminisce and remember the spontaneous movie outings and jet setting. Well, you might think that you know what’s up, now that you have a kid, but going from one to two is another big change when it comes to logistics. If getting out the door with your firstborn took an hour, learning to get out the door with two might be double that, at first.
Now is the time to take a trip with your tinier family while travel costs are cheaper and your hands are freer.
Double Up on Date Nights
Your foggy pregnancy brain may have forgotten the non-stop-ness of the newborn phase, so allow us to remind you how difficult it was to be fresh and done-up and ready for date nights with one newborn. Pretty soon, you will be running on only a few hours of (interrupted) sleep a night, and you’ll have a whole extra kid to care for. Make dating your partner a priority right now, because it won’t be as easy in a few months.
Yes, it will be different. Yes, it will be difficult. But, oh will it be wonderful. The most important thing you can do to mentally prepare for Baby #2 is to daydream and be excited, because just like your heart exploded with love when you gave birth to your first, that love will be multiplied when you hold #2 in your arms for the first time.