This month marks one year as a momma with two. Although it wasn’t always pretty and I wasn’t always perfect we survived a busy year. I’ve learned a lot along the way and decided to spend time on this post reflecting on the last year and coming up with 10 tips to offer parents expecting their second child.
10 Just because your first was easy (or hard) doesn’t mean the second will be. They will have their own personality, quirks, likes, and dislikes. They will have different needs and ways of communicating those needs to you.
Now I know just how easy of a baby Parker was. He wasn’t colicky, slept like a champ, took a bottle and a pacifier. While completely adorable in her own way, Caity has been the opposite on all of those. Six months of colic and refusing a bottle and a pacifier made round two a completely different experience. At a year I am still nursing her to sleep and we are still co-sleeping. It’s become our normal now and although I kept waiting for a year to hit to transition her, I now realize I am not ready.
9 No matter the age of your first, they will need as much attention as the new baby. This certainly poses some challenges but finding ways for your first child to help care for the new baby is a great start.
This has certainly been tough for me. Since Caity has been EBF I spent a lot of time early on just feeding her. All Parker wanted was attention and to be with us. That meant lots of cuddles on the couch watching movies while Caity nursed. Caity was born at the start of Fall so the weather turned cold fairly quickly. In order to give Parker time out on the play ground Rob would often take him while Caity and I stayed back. Or I would stay in the car with her while she napped and Rob took Parker to play.
Parker loved helping me out in the beginning and still does. Early on it was sometimes as simple as grabbing a blanket from the floor to cover Caity. Now it’s keeping her company and playing with her. Trying to make her feel better when she is crying. And helping her with toys she can’t figure out.
8 Pay attention to not only the milestones of the new baby but also those of your first baby.
Looking back on photos and updates from Parker last year I can’t believe how much he has grown in just a year. He has gone through some amazing developmental and physical milestones and it was important to celebrate each of those. I loved continuing his monthly updates and keeping a calendar by the changing table to document new things he said or did. We also included him in Caity’s monthly photo shoots which was a great way to document his growth.
7 Routines will change often. Just as you are getting settled into a routine, a growth spurt will hit and completely change up the routine. Try to just go with it. Learn their cues and develop a new routine as best as possible. If a new routine doesn’t fit right away, give them time to adapt.
Looking back on all of my Life With Two posts I feel like each month I was settling in with a routine and then it was changing. When we were settled, I felt like I was on top of the world. When a routine changed I often felt like I was loosing control. I will say that it has gotten easier as Caity has gotten older. They can play together while I get chores done, I can get their meals ready and then eat while they eat, they both take naps (for the most part), and they can even sit in the bath tub together at night. Caity’s morning nap has always been tricky since that is the best time to get out to run errands, attend play dates, or go to the park. I got Caity used to sleeping in the carrier which helped multitask that. Other than that, it’s just trial and error.
October 2014: 28 Months and 1 Month | November 2014: 29 Months and 2 Months
December 2014: 30 Months and 3 Months | January 2015: 31 Months and 4 Months
February 2015: 32 Months and 5 Months | March 2015: 33 Months and 6 Months
April 2015: 34 Months and 7 Months | May 2015: 35 Months and 8 Months
June 2015: 3 Years and 9 Months | July 2015: 3 Years 1 Month and 10 Months
August 2015: 3 Years 2 Months and 11 Months
6 Divide an conquer but don’t forget to share.
Since Caity only took to breast feeding most of the time Rob took the lead in feeding Parker, baths, and putting him to bed. I would feed Caity and then do the same with her. We feel into a routine and before I knew it months had passed since I tucked Parker in or read him a bed time story. From then on we made it a priority to switch spots a few nights a week. It was difficult because it meant delaying Caity’s bed time a bit but we made it work. I couldn’t believe how much I missed my baby boy.
5 Make sure to take time for yourself. I should be looking in the mirror when I say this but it’s true.
This one was really hard for me. I no longer had the energy to wake up early to work out, nap times to take a shower, or evenings to get work done. Showering while they were awake meant moving the P&P into the bathroom and making sure Parker has something to keep him occupied. A 10 minute shower would take more like 40+ minutes. For the first 8 months of Caity’s life Rob was also in school and needed the evenings to complete school work. That meant that most nights I was in the nursery trying to soothe a colicky baby.
Now Caity is sleeping better from 7PM-12AM. This gives me time in the evenings to get things done and to spend time together with Rob. I even take a bath once in awhile and just sit in the silence relaxing. I’ve gotten quick with showers and mastered finding ways to keep Caity safe and occupied. I haven’t starting tackling the exercise thing yet, but I plan to start that once we are settled here in Canada.
The most important point of this tip is to hold on to a few things you enjoy and find ways to still enjoy them whether you have 2 or 10 kids. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, time consuming, or expensive; getting a 30 minute pedicure, taking a 10 minute walk each day, or jumping in the shower in the evening before you finally head to bed.
4 Use the sleepy tendencies of a newborn to your advantage. Since newborns sleep often, invest in a good carrier. It’s a great way to still get out as a family or spend time with your first baby walking to or playing at the park.
I have certainly wore Caity a lot more than I did with Parker. Not only out and about, but around the house. Colicky evenings made it really hard to make dinner, spend time with Parker, and even give him a bath. When I started wearing her I was amazed at how much more I could get done. When she was old enough to start back wearing it got even better. Clingy days I would throw her on my back to get the dishes done, meals cooked, laundry done, and even the house vacuumed.
3 Having two is more than double the work.
It’s something my mom kept telling me. I didn’t believe her (sorry mom!) but man was she right. It’s hard to even explain why or put it into words exactly. I mean it’s double the laundry, mouths to feed, and kids to bath… Other than that though I am most definitely more than double busy. I don’t have any solutions for you on this one. It is just a fact!
2 You don’t have to take those possibly innocent but completely annoying comments: “Are you happy you are having another boy/girl?” or “Will you love them as much?” or even better yet “Did you mean to get pregnant so soon?”.
Luckily we didn’t get too many of these comments but I know some moms who did. It’s annoying and you don’t need to take it. You can choose to walk away or you can address it then and there. Whether it’s a feisty response, reciting the latest facts about why doing xyz is best for your family, or simply letting them know it’s none of their business.
1 Breathe…. And keep breathing. You got this… Even if you don’t think you do… They will end up just fine and love you unconditionally… Just breathe….
Having kids is hard. Whether it’s 1 or 10. In the end all the sleepless nights, messes, and frustrations are all worth it. These two kiddos are my whole world and they have my whole heart.
In each of my Life With Two posts I decided to do a side by side comparison of Parker and Caity at the same age. It was fun looking back on old photos of Parker and finding ones that complimented photos of Caity. I can’t believe how much a like they are while still having their own look.