Can you prepare for the second baby?

I know that question just sounds ridiculous. From having one kid, I know that. Sure you can prepare the nursery and wash the clothes and get the diapers ready…. but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’ve been spending lots of time thinking back to Ryan’s first few days, first few months… and remembering the crazy we’re about to go through once again. I’m so used to Ryan’s one nap a day… one poopy diaper a day… him being able to talk and tell me what he needs… he’s only 2, but I feel like I’ve forgotten the newborn phase!

There’s such a steep learning curve when you have a baby. It takes awhile to get your daily routine down… and even longer to find a way to do things efficiently again. Getting them in and out of the car seat, nursing, pumping, babywearing, etc.

And I know that even though I’ve done it once before–so things should be easier this time, right?!!–I know I’ll have an entirely new learning curve–one that’s all about getting TWO KIDS ready each day.

Can I prepare for that?!!?! Here are my crazy lady questions for those of you with more than one kid:

The car. I dreaded going anywhere with Ryan when he was little just because I hated the in and out of the car seat. Such a hassle! Once I got better at it (AND realized that was just part of life, lol), it was no biggie. But what happens when I have TWO?! Who do I put in the car seat first? Who do I get out first? I picture: getting Ryan out of the car seat first when we run errands because otherwise my arms will be full with a baby and I won’t be able to unstrap Ryan. So what is Ryan doing while I’m getting the baby out? Running wild through the street or parking lot, of course. AHHH!!! Maybe I’ll lock him in the trunk. MAYBE we need a mini-van!

The stroller. I didn’t use it a ton with Ryan, but it was handy for shopping trips. We are getting a double stroller for the 2 kids, but I guess my question is–does that work? Is it worth it? I imagine Ryan will want to walk and then baby will want to be held. I’ll be trying to keep Ryan from running off… while holding a baby… while pushing an empty double stroller, haha. Oh, and then I’ll be sweating. And swearing.

Sleeping. (What’s that?). Ryan takes one nap a day that’s 1-2 hours long. He’s in bed around 8:30pm and up around 6am. Yea it took us about 1.5 years to get that schedule down… he was not sleeping through the night before that. We co-slept forever.

We want a different plan with this baby. We need her on a schedule MUCH sooner than Ryan was. So my question is…. HOW?!? When Ryan takes his one nap for the day, I want the baby to be napping at the same time. Is that too much to ask?

Right now, Steve and I take turns putting Ryan down for bed. One night it’s my turn, the next night it’s Steve’s turn. It works out really well because we both get quality alone time with him and then we both get a break on the off nights. (Ryan’s bedtime routine takes like an hour). We figure once this baby comes, we’ll just never get a break. One night I’ll be with Ryan and Steve will be with the baby… the next night, I’ll be with the baby and Steve will be with Ryan…. which leads me to another question I guess–when can Ryan go to sleep on his own?! We always stay in his room with him until he falls asleep (an hour long process) otherwise he’d be crying it out and we don’t like that.

Breastfeeding. When I became pregnant with this baby girl, Ryan stopped nursing shortly after. Maybe because I had no milk? Maybe because it tasted different? No idea. I thought we were done for good, but he recently started back up again. I know I don’t have much milk, but there is some. He was nursing just at nap time and at bed time (if I was the one putting him to sleep), but he seems to be asking for it more and more and sometimes nurses during the day now. Maybe 3x/day?

I am wondering what to expect when this baby comes. Will Ryan be jealous? Will he want to nurse every time the baby nurses? That’s like… constantly… so I hope not, lol. I’m guessing he’ll nurse more, but someone told me their toddler actually nursed less/stopped because they said “milk is for the baby!” Anyone have a story to share?

nursing my baby boy at the park

Okay, I think that’s enough for now… I’m sure I have a million more questions, but I think this post is long enough. Basically… please share ANY tips you have for raising more than one kid and how you adjusted! I’d like to make this learning curve as short as possible :)

 

13 comments to Can you prepare for the second baby?

  • I have a 23 month old and a 3 month old. My response to all of your questions is that things will work themselves out when your baby gets here. I know. Not what you wanted to hear, but it’s so true! I stressed so much about how we’d figure out routines and breastfeeding and the night-time parenting stuff for, I realize now, no good reason. My second daughter is a “easy-going” baby so I just work her schedule into my toddler’s. I don’t co-sleep with her like I did with my first, mainly because she’s a different kind of baby who doesn’t need that. My toddler who did need that as a baby still need assistance with night time sleep, but it’s not as bad as it once was. My husband helps her at night and I’m with the baby. Email me at mommyhoodnextright@gmail.com if you have any more questions. Trust me, when the baby gets here, it’ll all make sense!

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  • Having done this a couple of times now, I can tell you that it will all come to you when the baby gets here. Jules was the biggest booby monster ever, but weaned about three months before Jolene arrived. I was CONVINCED that he’d see her nursing and want some too, but that didn’t happen at all. To him, the boobs were for the baby, and he wasn’t the baby.

    The one thing that nobody told me (which seems obvious, but wasn’t) was how HUGE GIGANTIC HUMONGOUS my first baby would seem once the newborn came along. Seriously – when my son came to meet his brother, I was like “WHO IS THIS GIANT AND WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY SON??!!” And now that I’m a doula, I see that reaction from second-time-moms every single time. We’ve easily forgotten how small newborn babies look and feel, but then we see their older sibling, and it causes the older child to age INSTANTLY. Pretty soon, Ryan won’t seem like a baby at all. ;)

    You’ll figure the rest out in about two seconds. You’ll have to. And you’ll be fine. I wrangle all three of my kids to the store by myself – something I never thought I’d be able to do. But you find a rhythm.

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  • These are great questions and I ask them to myself almost religiously. My daughter is 2.5 and we’re going in tomorrow to work on an induction. Even though I have two older boys I never had them close together so this is a bit different for me.

    I’ve thought about the car seat issue, the night time routine, and breastfeeding {I have a fear my boobs aren’t even going to work!} And then that leaves me returning back to work in April…I don’t want to.

    Anyway, my advice, do the best you can…somehow, someway it all has to fall into place. Surely, right? I mean, if not, people would just stop having babies…wouldnt we? :)

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  • I agree with Jessica, it will all work out. You will find what works for you and your kids. Since you asked, I will answer your questions based on what worked for us. My boys are exactly two years apart, so the age difference is pretty similar. They are now 15 months and 3.

    1. I always got the baby out first. Jack isn’t a runner but I don’t trust him. If I need to get him out first, I have him stand between me and the car as I get his brother out. If using the stroller, get the baby situated in the stroller and then pull it right next to you as you get Ryan out. Jack was helpful enough getting out of the car that I could do it one handed. As for getting in the car, do it in reverse. Older child in first then the baby.

    2. Strollers – I didn’t get a double stroller. Again, Jack isn’t a runner and he has always been good at holding my hand. We do have two strollers and will bust them both out every once in a while, but not often. One thing I didn’t forsee was having to carry the toddler while pushing the stroller. It’s far easier than in looks.

    3. Sleep – So much depends on the baby, but we did slowly put the baby on Jack’s schedule. At first it was just bath/pjs, turning lights down, etc. He didn’t necessarily go to sleep at the same time, but we started a routine fairly early and that routine led to the same bedtime by 2 1/2 months.

    4. Breastfeeding. Jack was weaned before I got pregnant, so my experience is a little different. Jack was never jealous just interested in what was happening.

    Good luck!

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  • Rachel N

    I have 2 boys, ages 7 months and 24 months. So, I had 2 under 2 for 6 months…it is fun but a crazy whirlwind. Here is what we have found works for us:
    1- Depends where you are and how you are planning to transport children. When putting in the car I always put the toddler in first so I don’t have to wonder where he is. At stores, if I am wearing my baby I put him on first and then get the toddler, otherwise I get a cart and then get toddler out first and then baby. When getting home always get baby out first so toddler isn’t running free with no supervision.
    2-Stroller. We have a double stroller and it was wonderful since my youngest hated being worn 80% of the time. We bought an expensive stroller…a Valco twin tri mode and honestly it is easier to push than my single stroller one handed if needed. My son was much too young to walk though last summer, only 18 months so we needed the stroller.
    3-My toddler had been putting himself to sleep at night for a while before the baby was born so that was not an issue for us. At naps he was still rocked but we stopped that once baby came and he had no issues with that. I would say that your son is old enough that a few nights of cry it out will NOT harm him. He knows that mommy and daddy are still there and that they love him. It is up to you of course but I guarantee your life will be so much easier if your toddler can put himself down to sleep. I would just try it, he might surprise you and cry for a few minutes and then be fine. Or you could try letting him listen to music or an audio book while going to sleep, that might work. Our baby had been going to bed at the same time as his brother since about 4 months old. We cut out the evening nap early because he wasn’t wanting to sleep until midnight and we just put him down earlier. You will figure out your groove, don’t worry.
    3- Don’t know about the breastfeeding, my son weaned himself at 13 months so it was not an issue for us.

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  • Megan

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now – I think our first kids are about the same age (mine daughter turned 2 last weekend) and I now have a 12 week old baby girl. I had all the same worries before #2 was born.
    1) I have a minivan. It’s awesome. I never wanted one and now I could not live without it. That being said, even when I have my husbands car, I follow the same in/out routine. My toddler is behind the driver. My baby is behind the passenger. I get out of the car, unbuckle toddler and tell her to climb over to baby’s door. This gives me time to get around to the other side of the car and gives her a sense of “big girl” independence. Then I open baby’s door, take her out, and then get toddler out. I reverse the process to put them back in the car — toddler in, ask her to climb over to her seat, baby in, shut door. Walk around to drivers side, open door, buckle toddler, close door and then I get in. Sounds like a lot as I type it, but it works for me. I get them both in and out of my hands from the same door…

    2) I have a single stroller and then a Beco, Hotsling, and a Ring Sling. One child gets the stroller, the other gets carried (or toddler walks). The Beco and the Ring Sling comfortably hold either child with only minor adjustments.

    3) Call it a nap or call it bedtime – baby goes down at 730 with toddler. Though, I do dream feed baby just before I go to bed around 1030. Both sleep until 730 or 8am… this is just luck i think….

    4) Toddler weaned at 16.5 months. I was about 4 months pregnant at the time. Toddler asked to nurse again when seeing baby nurse, but then decided she didn’t want to. The jealousy for us is that toddler yells “no baby, that’s my nipple” when baby needs to nurse. I’ve curbed this by trying to feed baby when toddler is also eating and explaining that big girls get table food and special things, but baby gets milk… I also give toddler sippys of pumped milk when she asks for mommy’s milk.

    While there probably isn’t anything I can say that will curb your anxieties/nerves, the first time you hold them both and look in to their eyes will be awesome. I LOVE nights when I am rubbing toddlers head as she falls asleep and nursing baby at the same time. It makes all the craziness of the day completely worth it :) Enjoy!

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  • Megan

    ^^ ps ignore typos/grammatical errors… after 2 years, typing while nursing is still a skill I need to master :)

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  • Know this: Your sweet baby girl WILL survive if she has to cry for a couple minutes while you get Ryan something to eat or turn on a movie or whatever. 98% of the time, the older child’s needs can be met faster… so it’ll relieve a lot of your stress if you realize that now instead of later and have 2 screaming kids while you try to multitask. Focus on what Ryan needs and get to it quickly… then feed/change/snuggle that new baby :)

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  • olivia rubin

    friend having unexpected third

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  • abbi

    I have 5 kids with my youngest 2 being only 13 months apart. The only one I thought would have issues was my 3rd child because he was such a momma’s boy. While my husband was at work one day I decided to buy him a baby doll. My husband didn’t agree with his SON having a doll but I thought while I did things with my baby he could do it with his and get use to the thought of having a baby. I tried to let him help me as much as possible which really seemed to work. After the baby was born my husband saw how much that baby doll helped and he actually thought it was a good idea. Logan’s baby only stayed around for a couple of months after the new baby was born and my husband was happy with that too :) Good luck!

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  • Jenny

    What I’ve learned and worked for us this last year w/2 15 months apart: Getting them out of the car-unbuckle Ryan, but leave him sitting in a spare seat or still sitting in the carseat. Then pull out Baby and go back to his side of the car and hold his hand as he jumps down. Opposite for getting in. Oldest in first, but not buckled yet-just safely waiting in the car. Now, a year later, we just have the rule “Hand on the car, or “touch the car”. I now pull him out first and he stands patiently waiting with his hand somewhere on the car where I can see him. With the stroller, they both liked our double one, but there were times I’d use one of those umbrella strollers and my son liked being the “pusher”. Sleeping-that just sucked for awhile, but now that she’s about a year old their scheudules sometimes match…Breastfeeding, I don’t know when my son stopped he never tried coming back. Though he was JEALOUS of all the time my daughter got w/me when she fed so I tried to get him to come back, but he wouldn’t. This next time I’m going to make sure to do the “breastfeeding basket” that I’ve heard about. Special items or treats only used when you’re feeding Baby. Good luck! I know those mama instincts will figure it all out pretty quickly!

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  • The gap between my first and second child is 22 months. The gap between my second and third child is 19 months. I’ve done this a few times and love the other posters advice. It’s true that your motherly instincts will just work. It’s amazing but somehow, you know what to do and your heart makes room!

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  • Sheena

    I’m really glad you wrote this post as I have had some of the same questions! And thank you to everyone who has commented; it makes me a little less anxious!

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