No matter how many children you have, adding one more means adding workload and mental load.
Each child adds to the mess.
Even just the laundry one person adds takes up a fair amount of time each week.
Each child also adds in need for mental focus.
You now have another child to worry about, analyze, spend time with, and track. Of course each new child doesn’t only add stress and work.
Each child also brings along a great deal of joy and love to the family.
There are things you can do to help maximize the joy and minimize the stress as you make the one to two child transition.
Prep Before Baby is Born
One of the best things you can do to make adding your second born to your family easier is to prep your first born before baby comes.
Prep in a variety of ways:
- Prep by talking to your first born about the new baby.
- Read books, watch kid shows like Daniel Tiger that talk about adding a baby to the family, and have your child help get baby’s room all ready.
- Read more about preparing your child for a new baby here.
- You also want to prep your child by having a solid schedule before baby comes.
- Have regular nap or rest time so you can continue that when baby is born.
You can use the older child’s nap time to line up with baby’s nap and have a nap yourself, or you can use that time to spend with your baby one-on-one.
- You also want to have consistent independent playtime each day.
This again gives you a chance during the day to either focus on the baby while the other child is occupied or have some time child-free.
Read more at Prepping for Baby Tip: Establish Consistency
You also want your first born child to be as independent as possible:
- Get your child capable of doing any skills that are appropriate for your child’s age and ability.
- Getting dressed, chores, shoes on, jacket on…help your child learn to be independent with as much as possible.
This will help lighten your load as you add a second child to the home.
You want your older child consistent and independent before baby comes for a couple of reasons:
One is that a new baby will change the dynamics in the home quite a bit. Life will change forever for everyone. This is not a bad thing! But it is change.
Oldest children typically have a difficult time with change.
Having a solid, predictable schedule before baby comes that can be continued after baby comes will give your oldest child some stability in life.
Having consistency also helps your child not get bitter toward the baby.
If you wait until the baby comes to enforce nap time and independent playtime, your child could deduce that the reason for these events is because of the baby.
You want the two separate.
Prep Home and Food
If your pregnancy is such that you can get your house in order and some freezer meals made, do as much as you can to have your home and meals prepped ahead of time.
You can also stock up on ingredients for simple meals give yourself grace and allow time to get in the grove.
You don’t need to spend an hour cooking a meal with a two week old.
Have fast meals planned and ready to go so you can make dinner in a simple way.
Keep in mind slow-cooker meals, instant pot meals, and breakfast for dinner.
Accept Help When Baby Comes
If you have people offering to bring you meals, take your older child, or coming over to help clean your house, accept it!
I remember feeling like I really wanted to show the world I could do the mom of two kids thing all on my own.
I wanted to be capable and independent. The day will come you will have no choice but to be capable and independent.
Accept the help while it is being offered.
When you have one baby, you have a lot more opportunity to rest and recover than every baby you add after that.
You have to intentionally set aside time for yourself as soon as you have two or more children.
Having extra help makes that easier to do.
Plan a Schedule for Two
Plan your day with baby so your older child gets some time with you.
You also want time you can spend with baby while the older child is occupied.
As I said above, you will also need to intentionally set aside time for yourself.
When I had my babies, I would write down an ideal schedule we could aim for each day.
The main two focus points are morning wake up time and bedtime. Those are most easily managed if you stagger them with your older child.
So you either get baby up, fed, and back down before your big kid gets up or as soon as your big kid is taken care of in the morning.
With my first two, I had my oldest get up at 7. We would eat breakfast together. Then he would have television time at 7:30.
I then got my baby up for her first feeding of the day and fed her and had her first waketime of the day and back down for her first nap before the oldest child was done with television time.
You can see more of our two-child schedules in this post: Sample Schedules: Tandem Schedules.
Get Enough Sleep
It is hard to have patience with your older child when your baby is keeping you sleep deprived.
Even a great newborn sleeper will get you up a couple of times in the night. That gets to you.
Just make it part of your plan to take a nap each day and get to bed as early as possible for the first while.
This will help you be the best mom you can be. That means you make sure to schedule in time to take a nap each day if needed.
You make sure you go to bed as early as possible.
Get sleep when you can so you can be patient and attentive
Keep life simple until you are really ready to take things on. Cut things out you can and cut back on others.
Do not feel the need to travel and appease everyone. Cut out anything unnecessary.
Give yourself time to adjust managing two children.
Give yourself time to figure out how long it will take to get both children out the door and in the car.
Motherhood is not a sprint. It is a marathon.
It is okay for you to ease into parenting two children. People are patient and understanding in the early days.
Take advantage of that and give yourself the time you need. You have got this! You can do this!
There will be hard moments and long days. There will also be moments sweeter than you could ever imagine.