Preparing for Baby Number Two, What You Need to Know

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

Baby Number one is all done; now it's time for number two! You may be excited to add a new member to your family and thrilled to watch your firstborn be an older sibling; some may even want a second go at things you may have gotten wrong the first time! You may feel like a well-seasoned parent. However, the transition is always a bit nerve-wracking, and it's normal to feel nervous, whether you are anxious about how your family dynamic will change or stressed about navigating childcare. You are not alone on this journey, and lots of families have experienced the same feelings! There is no harm in asking for advice and getting some tips for second pregnancy!

You Will Feel Pregnant Sooner

With your first pregnancy, you may have been wondering when you would actually feel pregnant! But since you have done it once, you are a pro and will recognise the signs sooner!

The symptoms might be a bit different from your first pregnancy, but they could also be identical. Some signs that you may experience more or less include:

Morning sickness
Tummy Troubles, i.e. constipation
Emptying your bladder frequently
Food Cravings
Breast Enlargement and Sensitivity

Also, tip: the gender of the baby has not got a lot to do with the symptoms, so if your second baby is going to be the same gender as the first, it does not mean the symptoms will be the same.

Your Labour and Delivery May Go Faster!

Your body's prior experience with labour and delivery play a role in faster delivery. Every phase of labour tends to be shorter for second-time mums. Even the amount of time you spend pushing will be shorter, that is because certain parts of your body have loosened up, like your cervix or uterus.

Tell Your Older Child and Talk About it with them!

Your new baby is going to have an impact on your older child in many ways. For a long time, your first child was the apple of your eye and the centre of attention! Now they have another sibling to compete with. Older siblings will often want to protect and take care of their younger siblings, but they understandably will feel jealous!

Kids are their own little people, with their own thoughts and big emotions. And this announcement, in particular, can turn their little worlds completely upside down, so it's really important to get it right. So it is a good idea to tell them straight away!

Keep the announcement simple in an environment where it's just you, your partner if you have one, and the child. Answer any questions they may have and emphasise that your love for them will not change; it's just going to expand with the new baby!

They may also have expectations for their younger sibling; they may want them to play football straight away and be ready to play with them! However, logically we know that can't happen for a few months, so it is good to have the older child's expectations managed!

Consider Your Mental Wellbeing in a Second Pregnancy

Mentally you are going to be in a different place than you were with your first pregnancy. This is because you are unlikely to have the same amount of time to enjoy the pregnancy you have with your first now that you have another child to look after. So your mental wellbeing may be all over the place, so it's a good idea to get your friends and family to help out!

If you are at home but have a partner who works the regular 9-5 hours, hand over your child when they come back in the evening and take an hour for yourself. Leave the house if you can to grab a coffee break or to see a few friends.

If you work, then make sure you take a day/half a day off for a few hours off every few weeks but leave your child in childcare or with friends, that way, you get time to prepare for the new baby, and you take care of yourself.

Also, with taking care of a little one and yourself, you may find that it is difficult to pay attention to the dos and don'ts of pregnancy, so set the alarm to take your folic acid and vitamin d and to keep track of any appointment. Also, keep any folic acid or vitamin D out of reach of kids but in your line of sight! For example, keep it near the kettle if you have a hot drink in the morning.

Build exercise into your day if you can, whether cycling to work or walking to the park with your child; building it into your routine will make it one less thing to think about, and it's good for your unborn child.

Go to bed early, it is easy to be tempted to stare into your screen into the night, but it makes sleep a lot harder, a good night sleep will make a difference to your energy levels and mental well being.

Don't forget to take care of your own needs. Pamper yourself, even if it's something as simple as a haircut or a bath with candles and music to help you relax after a trying day.

Planning for Early Days with a Newborn and an Older Child

Managing in the early days with a newborn and an older child can be challenging, especially if the older child is under three years old. So it's a good idea to prepare for the early days when you may need a little extra help.

Ash family and friends who are nearby to make some meals for days after the birth because you will need to eat and you may not get a chance to make a proper meal.

If your child needs to be near you to sleep, work on withdrawing from this process if you can; if you have a partner, then get the partner to put them to bed so you can focus on the newborn or sleep when the time comes.

If your child is in childcare, think about leaving them there part-time at least for a few weeks after the birth if you can afford it. It gives them continuity and gives you space to concentrate on your newborn.

If you have family or friends who can take your firstborn out for a few hours in the first few weeks after birth, line them up to do so! They are there for a reason!

The First Few Weeks/Months is Adjusting Time

These first few months are daunting; you think every five minutes that you have done something wrong, look at your kids thinking, or are they supposed to be doing that? Is this what they are going to keep doing? Don't panic! All kids are different, and they are built to survive new parents.

If your kids are snacking all day instead of eating meals, it's fine; if they wear pyjamas when you run to the supermarket, it's fine! These few months are about adjusting your daily lifestyle to adjust to the new person in your life; nothing will be pristine and perfect! But, if your child watches three films in a row in one day, you have not failed as a parent, and you have not ruined them, you are doing a great job!

Enlist the Older Child's Help!

Older siblings may express feelings of excitement to jealousy, or even resentment, they may start misbehaving, throwing tantrums or refusing to eat, but these are often short-lived. But to help the older child adjust, it's good to help them focus on the role an older sibling plays.

For example, let them help pick out items for the new baby's room; this is important if your kids share a bedroom.

Find a special gift that your older child can give to the baby, like a new toy or book or a photo. Consider picking something out for your older child, too, as a special big kid chair that they can sit in while feeding the baby. Or even have a gift ready from the new baby to the older child!

Arrange a special time just for you and the older child; this may be going on a walk, going to the supermarket together to the library, getting someone to help care for the baby at this time.

Reinforce your older child's role in the family, reiterating that they will be the big brother/sister and help them enjoy this role!

Your child can also be a part of the baby's care. They can grab you burp cloths, grab nappies and wet wipes, help pick out clothes for the day or even help entertain the baby when they are cranky!

Siblings play a very special role in a new baby's life, so don't leave your child out of the decision making; so much attention is given to a newborn, making it easy for older kids to feel overlooked. Instead, reassure yours by encouraging their help in the preparations.

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