Advice for 2nd Time Moms


The title of this post may make it seem like I am an expert in the subject of being a second time mom. The truth is, I'm still learning! However, I've got just about a year of being a second time mom under my belt and I feel as though I have learned a lot. 

I have 3 friends that are about to have their 2nd babies and one that is about to have her 3rd! It just seems to be that phase of life we are all in right now. While at a play date with one of said friends recently, she looked up at me and asked 'do you have any advice for this second time mom?'

The question kind of stumped me. To be honest, it's not like giving advice to a first time mom where you want to unload allll the gory details of your first experience of having a baby and what it was like that first year. They get it. They've been there. And the fact that they came back for more means they have the confidence in themselves that they can do it again.

The truth is, there is no good advice because everyones' experience is different. It may depend on the first child's age, where you live and the climate, if you have help readily available, how much time you have off of work, how you heal from the labor and birth... the list goes on. But, there are a few things you can do to help prepare your first born and yourself before baby #2 arrives.

To help prepare older sibling:

#1. Tell your first child that they are going to have a baby sister/brother.  They are smarter than we give them credit. Camden was 19 months when Bennett was born which means his age range when I was pregnant was 10 months - 19 months. This was a tough age to communicate what was going on. I would let him touch my belly and tell him that his baby brother was in there and that he would meet him soon. Every now and then Camden would point to my belly and say 'baby' which was adorable. Of course, I may never know if he actually got the concept, but repetition and reassurance helped him understand why mommy's belly was growing!

#2. Expose your first born to babies and how they act. This was one thing I didn't really do enough with Camden. By the time we moved to Illinois, about 6 months before Bennett was born, Camden was in daycare 3-4 days a week. So, he had plenty of exposure to other children his age, but minimal contact with babies younger than him. I didn't have any close friends at the time with babies and the family that would visit us had older cousins. I definitely wish I would have brought him around babies to experience how they cry, breastfeed/eat, sleep a lot, etc. He was expecting for Bennett to get up and play with him from the womb! 

#3. Read Big Brother/Big Sister books. Camden actually loves this Big Brother book (Big Sister version here) and it's so cute to see him say 'that's me! And that's Bennett!" when we read it together. 

#4. Get a baby doll and teach them how to help. This was one I wish I would have done with Camden. He just never seemed interested in baby dolls, so I never got one or pretended like any of his animals were babies. Just the simple act of showing them how to hold a baby or be gentle, feed, diaper, etc. Then, when baby #2 does arrive, they have their own baby to take care of and keep them busy. 

#5. Make sure other people in your family are able to do bedtime/nap routines and are aware of their daily schedules. This is obvious because you will be busy with baby #2 for a while and will need help with #1 during the day and at night. 

#6. Make sure to set aside one on one time with 1st born before and after baby #2 is born. I made sure to have a lot of mommy/Camden days before Bennett arrived. It was tough to get one on one time shortly after Bennett was born, but even just playing while the baby is napping helps. 

#7. Prepare some 'quiet' or 'busy' boxes or have new toys on hand to keep them busy while you are feeding. There are some great ideas for these on Pinterest! This was something I wish I would have done before Bennett arrived. 

#8. Get them a special shirt to wear to the hospital and maybe a gift from the baby. This will just make the older sibling feel more special when baby #2 arrives. 


How to prepare yourself:

To be completely honest, the hardest part for you will be the emotional roller coaster. Yes, you will be healing and physically exhausted from labor and delivery. Yes, you will have a newborn keeping you up all night. You will be exhausted. BUT, the worst part for me was the heartbreak of not being able to be there for my first born as much after the baby was born. There were times when I was breastfeeding or just resting and recovering and Camden would call out for me. It literally broke my heart that I was not able to go to him and comfort him right away. Luckily, we had a lot of great help with first few weeks, so I know he was spoiled with love from his dad and grandparents. However, the mom guilt hurt my heart everyday for a while. 

Just know that this is a phase and a transition for everyone in the family. There will be jealousy from your first born. Depending on the age, they may communicate/show it differently. But, this behavior is actually normal. It took a while for Camden to realize that Bennett was here to stay! 

(taken the week after Bennett was born)

Lastly, give yourself some grace. Take a deep breath and let it go (Daniel Tiger anyone?). You will get through this. And in the end, you will have given your first born the greatest gift... a sibling and a life long friend! The struggle is always worth it in the end!

Also... don't blink because in a minute they will go from this...



To this... 



Seriously, I feel like I just blinked and they grew! 

I'm so excited to see how their little friendship evolves over the next year!

5 comments

  1. Loved this and will be bookmarking! And those before and after pictures almost made me cry! Time is a cruel thief!

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  2. Aww, love this! We'll be welcoming our 2nd daughter at the end of August, and I have such anxiety and guilt already over not being able to give 100% of my attention to my first-born.

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  3. great tips! i loved the DT reference ;) xo

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  4. These are GREAT tips! The transition from one to two is harder than zero to one I personally think. I love the Daniel Tiger reference ;)

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  5. Love all of this advice!! I think one to two was much harder for me than zero to one and wish I would have asked more questions from second time moms to prepare myself.

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