Congratulations on baby #2! As you may have already noticed, having a second baby is not the same as having your first. Things are a little different this time around. There is less time to sit back and soak in the new baby. There is less opportunity for naps and quiet time during the day now. There never seems to be enough time in the day anymore. But, it’s all so worth it! You will survive the infant stage and you will find your groove but until then here are some of our favourite tips to help you find your footing and balance your new life with two children!
Baby Wearing for hands free time
I found with my first baby I used the baby carrier maybe a handful of times. I truly discovered the benefits of baby wearing after I had my second baby. I used the baby carrier for hours and hours a day, she practically lived in it! I needed to be able to have my hands free not only for my first daughter who was 4 years old at the time, but it also made a big difference in ensuring she was getting the sleep she needed while I was busy with my oldest. The freedom a carrier allows is almost a priority once you add a second child into the mix.
For the first couple of months of a little one’s life WHERE they are sleeping (as long as it is safe!) isn’t as important as the fact that they ARE sleeping. The path towards healthy sleep starts with ensuring good daytime sleep.
We’ve got lots of tips for infant sleep month by month in our Infant Sleep Foundations class here.
Get prepared for feedings
There will be times during the day where you are going to have to sit with your little one while they eat. This can add a little extra stress knowing that you have a toddler walking around and getting into who knows what, really quickly! Being prepared can help ease some of the stress and will allow you to enjoy those precious feeding moments in the first few weeks.
Prepare for feeding time by:
- Having a snack ready to go so that when you sit down to feed the baby, your oldest is eating as well
- Plan Activities – depending on your child’s age, you can have a basket or box of ‘special’ toys that only come out when you are feeding the baby
- Cups of water at the ready- be sure to have a cup of water within reach for your child (make sure you have one ready for yourself too)
- Use baby gates – desperate times calls for desperate measures sometimes. If you have a young toddler that doesn’t like to sit still for any amount of time, using gates to keep them contained in one area is totally fine!
Getting organized for feedings won’t be needed for the long term but until they are ready to be able to self entertain, putting a little extra into organizing them can make feeding time a tad more peaceful for everyone. Who are we kidding, you have two now! Maybe not so much peaceful, but perhaps a little more manageable. 🙂
Plan where you sit for feedings
- As comfy as that rocking chair in the baby room may be, it may not be convenient for daytime feedings. Planning where you are going to feed based on where your older child will be the most entertained will be necessary.
- Set up your older child on the floor and sit with your back against the couch to feed baby so you are still within reach of your older child
- If you are sitting on the couch, have a little table close by so that you can have items close by to distract or coax your child over when you need them
- If need be, picking a room that has a door that you can close may help the first few weeks if you need to keep your toddler from wandering unsupervised.
Doing double duty at bedtimes can be a little scary and stressful, but with some thought and planning before the time comes, it can be done! It takes a little time for everyone to get into the groove of things and to build your own confidence in juggling two at the same time. Try not to take on more stress than needed by overthinking it though.
When managing two at bedtime it can really, really makes a difference when your oldest is able to fall asleep independently. Having a predictable schedule and routine allows you to be able to plan what you need to do for the baby around your older child’s routine. If you know that baby is going to need to eat at 6:30pm and that’s when routine starts, plan to have one parent feed the baby and one do the bedtime routine. If you are alone for bedtime routines, plan to be reading stories while feeding the baby. My oldest loved holding the book and turning the pages while I fed her sister!
It is quite an adjustment for older children when a new baby arrives and acknowledging their feelings will be needed in those first few months. Having conversations with your child about the various different things that baby will do and need will have to happen on a regular basis. Some of the topics you chat about may include:
- How you may need to step out for the baby when you are doing bedtimes but that you will be right back;
- That when they were a baby, you had to do all the same things you are doing now with baby#2;
- That they are still so important and that you still love them;
- How much you miss spending time with them but the baby will settle soon and you will have time again soon;
Allowing your child the opportunity to offload their emotions, as well as taking time throughout the day to spend some 1-on-1 with your older child will also be tools you will want to implement daily. Check out this blog post for more on the importance of one-on-one time with your child and how you can fit that in to your day.
We hope these tips for coping with your newborn and older child were helpful! If you find yourself struggling with sleep or general parenting issues- we can help! Check out our services page for options or contact us for a free 15 minute consultation.