Ok guys. Real talk.
I’m starting to freak out that our next little bundle of joy is almost here. Listen, I know J and I are so #blessed to have been able to get pregnant so easily but it was NOT in my plan to have kids this close together in age. I was even thinking of waiting until O was in school so I could send him off and spend my days in blissful adoration of the new baby (HAAAAAAA as if that would happen anyway).
Anddd here we are. Depending on when Newbie makes his appearance, O will only be 16-17 months, still a baby himself. He’s extremely attached to me right now and I’m so worried how this new baby will through off our family dynamic. In summation, all my anxiety bells are going off at full blast.
Listen, I know billions of women/families have done this before us and will do it after us. We are also fortunate enough to have an amazing support system, the means to keep O in daycare part time and parents who live with us. I know everything will work out and we will OBVIOUSLY be fine.
Again. Unknowns. Anxiety. Alarm bells. Panic. It’s what I do.
So, in an attempt to prepare myself, I reached out to friends and family and asked for their best tips and boy did they deliver. Here they are (and hopefully, if you’re expecting a second/third/fourth, these will help you too!)
Surviving a Newborn when you already have a Toddler.
From Michelle M (Momma of 2) – “Ask for help! Admit you need it! If someone offers help – take it! The first little while home is not the time to try and be SuperMom. It will be hard. You will be tired. Your house will be a mess. So take all the help!”
Jennifer R – “Accept all offers of help and reach out if those offers don’t come on their own.”
Make sure you eat & accept food “donations”.
From Andrea G (Momma of 2) – “Also have some easy foods around for you. Veggie trays, fruit trays. It’s hard to prepare foods with a little baby and a toddler. If you can keep your toddler in daycare a few days a week…do it!! Don’t feel any guilt about sending him somewhere that he’s going to be having fun! It will be a nice little break for you too!!”
From Amanda G (Momma of 4) – “Meals dropped off on my front porch were a god-send. I had made a bunch of freezer meals and crockpot meals, but they don’t help when you forget to take them out and only remember at 5pm. I had soups, pastas, mini pizzas, salads, muffins, fresh baked bread and cinnamon rolls all dropped off discreetly with text messages to check the porch.”
From Marie P (Momma of 2) – “Baby wearing. I baby wore S almost once a day for the first few months of his life. That way I could still go out places with R and have baby with me.
From Jennifer R – “Get a good baby carrier (I love my Lillebaby) so you can have your hands free to care for the big kid.”
Embrace the chaos & mess.
From eaghan M (Momma of 2) – “ I would say let something (or some things) go because you can’t do it all and preserve your mental health. I had very little day to day help with a newborn and a 20 month old who could not walk, talk or self-feed yet and I had them all day everyday. I learned to take advantage of the little time I had to myself for things that would recharge me, like resting or personal interest hobbies, and to let go of things that would just make me more tired. That meant living with clutter, bottle feeding rather than nursing, saying no to social engagements, etc. If the plane is going down, whose mask do you put on first? We mamas need to learn to take care of ourselves, otherwise we’re no help to our little guys!”
From Cheryl A – “ Just breath!! Stay calm and all about you will be the same”
Include your toddler & help make them feel special.
From Jennifer H (Momma of 3) – “ Entice the toddler to help more with baby, preparing for meals or help with cleaning and chores…make it as fun as you can.”
From Ronda R (Momma of 4) – “ I found making sure everyone feels special is a way to unite everyone. We were always singing and cuddling, playing games. Everyone has a bit of responsibility and I made sure to thank and appreciate the little things each one did. I was kinda like the ringleader and I would encourage ideas and help because if they helped in decisions, then it made participation easy. As long as everyone feels loved and important and cared for, then you are doing OK.”
From Christine R (Momma to 2) – “Try to make the oldest feel included. Mine was a bit older when I had my second (3) but we asked him to help a lot. Get a diaper, wipes, a shirt, cloth… He seemed to feel like he was included in the small tasks this way.”
From Jennifer R – “One thing that I really try to do is verbalize that sometimes I have to make the baby wait too. Like, “Just one minute baby. I’m making lunch for your big brother.” Even though of course the baby doesn’t understand, I think it’s good for the big kid to hear that sometimes the baby has to wait too.”
HUGE THANK YOU to these Momma’s for passing along their tips and tricks. I already feel so much better about this next stage.I’m so grateful for each and every one of you.
Anything else you would recommend?
NOTE: Some posts have been edited for length/clarity.