This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
This week, Dema JS of NewBabySmell.com is sharing her insight on how to transition from one to two kids. How to get ready for the second baby? I am so happy to share this with you and we prepare ourselves to become a family of 4 in the near future! Enjoy!
How to Get Ready for the Second Baby?
Having a baby is a real adventure! From 2, we go to 3; from “couple” we pass to “family”.
So exciting.. Yay!
We may say to ourselves that we do not want to change the way we live, welcoming a baby is, all the same, a lot of changes.
But.. the second big upheaval is when the little brother or sister arrives!
OK, we managed the arrival of the first one, but a second pregnancy is never the same.
We are less available, more tired…
We have an idea of how it will go…
You may be wondering now…
How do we manage the arrival of the second child?
Worry not, I got you covered!
Here, I will not give you turnkey solutions, I will simply share my experience and my tips on the second pregnancy and the time of childbirth…
Related read: What is a Birth Plan? And Why You Need One
A second pregnancy is the same and different!
Play on words aside, being pregnant for the second (or third or fourth time…) is necessarily different.
No two pregnancies are alike, just as no two children are the same!
Physically, the stomach often rounds faster because the abdominals have already been relaxed.
It is also common to feel a baby’s movements in utero earlier.
On the chest side, it often happens that the breasts grow less than the first one.
False contractions, cleverly called Braxton Hicks contractions, often appear earlier in pregnancy.
Plus, they say that childbirth is faster!
Then, the ailments that we may have had (gestational diabetes, nausea, insomnia, bloating, constipation, etc.) may come back… or not!
There is nothing to anticipate…
What is certain, however, is that we are often less available to prepare for the baby’s arrival (here is a great newborn checklist for you).
And it’s not a scoop, we are also more tired..
So it is important to listen to yourself and allow yourself to rest and ask for help!
The childbirth preparation course? For the second pregnancy, do we skip or not ?!
Before birth, you are already aware that there are 9 months of pregnancy, that you probably will finish them all!
And personally, I felt that I had much less “time” or at least “availability of mind” to think about the arrival of this second baby.
I was impatient of course..
But honestly, I didn’t feel so invested in this second pregnancy.
It made me a little uncomfortable, but when I told my friends and the childbirth preparation group classes, I quickly realized that it was quite common!
We already have a first child to manage, and we may have more confidence in our body to live well this second pregnancy.
And, well, speaking of childbirth prep classes…!
For lack of time or just forgetting, I did not register for any course until a month before D-Day (proof of my lack of investment).
And then once on mat leave, I told myself that it would keep me busy and that it was the opportunity to invest in this end of pregnancy.
Well, take me!
I decided to do it with a liberal midwife, who organized small group sessions with always the same mothers.
Honestly, the group brought me a lot of comforts..
… we shared our experiences and realized that we are not alone in feeling such and such a thing
… and then a feeling of fraternity (the sorority I should say!) develops rapidly. Yep!
It also allows you to talk about your first childbirth and express what you liked and what you would like to change.
Related read: What’s the Best Online Birth Class for You?
Another thing to keep in mind…
Second childbirth is also an opportunity to improve this funny experience!
We can deepen the birth project…
We are often more comfortable communicating with the medical team, asking for certain things, or asking them certain questions.
A friend of mine enjoyed using prenatal yoga as a preparation for childbirth… It works!
What to do with the oldest child on the day of delivery?
A big thing that changes a lot of things compared to the first childbirth is that we have a child to look after when we go to the hospital!
And if the birth is not planned (triggered or cesarean), we necessarily do not really know when it will happen… Oops!
Keeping the big one to accommodate the little one can be planned!
Ideally, we live close to our parents that we can call at any time of the day or night to disembark.
My in-laws are also -relatively- close to us..
Fortunately, we have friends who live next door who we had asked well in advance if they could help us out.
It’s not surprising…
We had considered all the possible solutions depending on whether it would be day or night, whether it would be the week or the weekend.
Related read: How to Have a Confident Birth
Anticipating allowed us to be serene.
And if you don’t feel like asking friends (but honestly, it’s one of the most important days of your life, and I’m sure they will understand!) talk to your babysitters
You can also set up an action plan. For example, if it’s such a week, I can call my mom at any time, if it’s the following week, I call my sister-in-law.
When I started to organize this, my husband thought I was a bit of a psycho, but I needed to be sure that someone could call someone anytime!
In the middle of the night, we try to focus on childcare at home
In any case, if we have to leave our home during the night, it is better to try to bring someone over to our home rather than having to wake up the future big brother and carry him around in the middle of the night.
Falling asleep may be difficult if he knows you have left to welcome Baby 2!
Also, remember to talk about it with your oldest child so that there is not too much surprise..
“You know, the baby is coming soon. In the coming weeks, Mom and Dad may have to leave for the delivery quickly. In these cases, your grandmother will come and keep you. If it’s nighttime, you will see her in the morning when you wake up, and you will have breakfast together. Afterward, Dad will come and get you to come to the hospital to meet the baby. ”
Also, there are plenty of books on the subject, which may help him visualize as well.
If you don’t have geographically close friends or a babysitter on hand, you can also talk to your midwife, who probably has a network. Some of them offer an “emergency babysitting” service for childbirth.
The main thing is to anticipate all possible situations well so as not to have this stress of managing on D-Day.
The stay in the maternity ward
Whether you give birth in the same hospital as for the big one or not, this second stay will be very different from the first!
Between rest and frustration
Personally, I was very divided…
On the one hand, I was happy to be able to rest peacefully (this second childbirth had tired me much more than the first… would it be the age?).
But on the other hand, I was a little bored and I found the visits of my husband and other people very frustrating (that was before the confinements and bans on visits)!
Find time for everyone
This impersonal room greatly impressed my older kid – who did not understand that I will stay here for a couple of nights.
He was bored there, only vaguely interested in the newcomer, and wanted to climb everywhere..
His father spent more time managing him than getting to know his little newborn! Result, they did not stay more than 30 minutes in a row.
…and this is just the beginning of sibling jealousy!
Keep your eyes open, Mommy!
There is a lot going on in his mind. Yep!
Related read: What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Labor
Organize the first sibling meeting:
If the eldest is old enough to realize the birth of his brother/sister, quickly organizing the meeting between them allows him to feel “integrated”.
It can also be nice to offer the big one to choose a gift for the newborn to welcome him..
And why not, conversely, provide a small symbolic gift “big”, without putting pressure.
We often dream of a magical moment of meeting!
In reality, it is not obvious…
You gotta expect it, Mommy.. Don’t ever feel disappointed! They are so little to understand!
What are you doing to prepare for baby #2 (or more)? Do you have any tips for someone about to go through the transition?