You’ve had time to bond with baby #1, and now you’re ready to grow your family. You might have planned for this, or it might be a surprise, either way, your brood is about to get bigger. Having another baby will be an adjustment for you, your partner if you have one, and your first born child. Here are some things that you need to know before your new baby comes into the world.
13. Child #1 Has No Sympathy
Your first born child has zero cares to give. They don’t care that you’re tired because the new baby isn’t sleeping. They don’t care that you have less energy and patience. They don’t care that you just want to nap for 10 minutes. Your eldest still wants their routine to be exactly as it was, and they do not want some small human bundle to come in and change everything. You’re doing all of the same things that you did with your first born, with the addition of having to also parent a toddler or child that has no regard for your exhaustion. Prepare yourself by asking for lots of help when the new baby comes. Ask your family to visit and plan activities for your older child, that way you can get the rest you need with baby #2.
12. You Will Be Delighted By The Changes In Child #1
What will shock you is how instantly your first born child will mature and want to help. You might find that you now have the perfect helper. Let your eldest help by passing you diapers, entertaining the baby, get them as involved as you can. This will cut back on jealousy and make the eldest child feel like they are still a very important part of the family. It is a real pleasure to watch your older child step into the role of big brother or sister.
11. You Will Be Horrified By The Changes In Child #1
Once your new baby arrives, prepare yourself for some changing behaviors from your eldest. No matter how many big brother or sister books that you read them, there’s a huge shift once the baby is out in the world that is hard to prepare for. You might notice that your eldest is more moody, jealous, or angry. The best thing to do is to not rush your children’s bonding. Let them take their time getting to know each other, and don’t expect your eldest to be 100% on board right away. Make sure that you still schedule time with your first born, and do little things to show them they are still a top priority in your life.
10. You Will Be Tired
You will be so tired. More tired than Baby #1, and with less time to nap. Gone are the days of curling up on the couch and napping with your newborn. Chances are, your older child has activities that you have to go to, and still demand the same level of attention from you. Except now, you’re up all night with a baby. With your first child, you might have been able to feed them early in the morning, and then sleep in for a bit while they dozed. However now, you’re feeding an infant at 5:30am, and have a toddler climbing over you at 6am, ready for the day.
9. There Will Be Slightly Less Excitement
Your friends and family will obviously be delighted that you are having another baby, but not quite as excited as they were for baby #1. There will most likely not be a baby shower, and constant texts and calls asking how you’re doing. It will be assumed that you’ve done this before, so you’re all good to go. Don’t be offended if you don’t receive the same level of care or presents that you got when you were pregnant the first time around. While your friends and family might not show the same level of excitement, they will still be there for you when you ask for help!
8. Your Ability To Multitask Will Increase
With your first baby, it might have seemed hard to get ready to go out somewhere. Packing a diaper bag, making sure you had everything you needed for baby #1. After baby #2. while it might take you longer to get out of the house, you do it with what seems like octopus arms. Changing a diaper while directing your toddler to put on their shoes, shoving your resistant toddlers foot into their shoes while balancing your newborn in your arms, it will all become the norm. You will catch yourself cooking dinner while feeding the baby, and also somehow be helping your toddler blow their nose. Pregnancy brain has been replaced by Mom brain, you will be able to do 8 things at once.
Let’s say your first child is 3 years old when your newborn arrives. Up until that point, your toddler will probably easily slide off into dreamworld at nap time, and nap for at least 2 hours. You will foolishly think that this will happily continue on once your baby is born, and you will be able to get some rest yourself. Don’t be fooled. It’s a trap. As soon as your new baby is out in the world, your toddler will all of a sudden start resisting naps, and instead of happily dozing off as soon as you lay them in their bed for a nap, they will happily yell the lyrics to Row Row Row Your Boat and throw stuffed animals around their room.
Having a full shower will be a sweet dream of the past. Now when you try to shower, it will be like you are trying to schedule a family reunion of flight attendants. Your older child will be banging on the door, or laying down sticking their fingers under the opening of the doorway. Your baby will most likely use that exact moment to start crying, and you will most likely just jump in the shower as quickly as you can to wash the dried baby goop off your body. The best thing you can do, if possible, is shower at night. And get some dry shampoo. A lot of dry shampoo.
5. Your Friend Circle Will Be Growing
You might think that there’s absolutely no way you would be making new friends at this time, but you will. Your circle will most likely grow, and this can usually be linked to your oldest starting school. When your child starts preschool or kindergarten and you’re home with the baby, you will start to meet other Moms at the school, some who may also be on maternity or paternity leave. You will be surprised and delighted at how many new friends you will accumulate during this time. Embrace it. This means more play dates and gatherings, and will give your oldest child some new friend options.
4. You Will Gain An Extra Helper
Odds are, your oldest will want to do everything. Changing a diaper? There will be your eldest with wipes and cream. Putting the baby down for a nap? Your older child will be turning on nightlights and soothing music. Breast feeding? Somehow, your child will find a way to want to help with that as well. Helping your child feel like a really great big sibling is one of the best changes in your family dynamic. As long as they are being gentle with the new baby, let them help out as much as they want. Always let them cuddle and snuggle with their sibling, it will lead to less resentment towards baby #2.
3. Special Celebrations Will Decrease
Your first born child might have a scrapbook that is bursting to the seams. You probably have a lock of their baby hair, their first tooth, and their first words and thoughts all painstakingly recorded so everyone can go over it when they are older. You probably have a million photo albums filled to the brim with almost every day documented. With baby #2, there are pictures, but definitely not as much as baby #1. You might have a scrapbook, but there is no way that it’s as extensive as it was for your first child.
2. Alone Time Will Become Precious
After baby #2, you will become obsessive about carving out time for yourself. Now that you have two kids, there is no time in the day for you to watch a show, or read a book. Don’t be surprised if, even though you are exhausted, you find yourself staying up until 1:30am, so that you can binge watch an entire show while snacking on chips and chocolate. As long as you aren’t tiring yourself out, don’t feel bad about staying up late if it gives you your much needed “me time.”
There are things that you say, simple phrases that you always say to your first born that you don’t even notice you are saying. What will sound shocking and hilarious to you, is what it sounds like coming out of your eldest child’s mouth (most likely directed at baby #2). All of a sudden you will hear your oldest threaten your baby with a time out, or overhear them say to their sibling, “UGHHH. You’re cooking my grits!!!!”