Second baby adjustment advice

Hi parents, 

I’m due with my second baby in mid February. My toddler will be 2years 5months by then. He stays home with me (no daycare/preschool-no budget for help) and we don’t have any family in the area or many reliable friends. My husband also works 12hr days/6 days a week and will only be taking off 2 weeks. 
 

I’d love to hear some things parents would suggest I have prepared during this transition in life. Tips, products, words of wisdom- anything will be greatly appreciated! 

Thanks!

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

You don’t mention what kind of advice you are looking for so here is a smattering of some of the things we are doing to prepare our soon to be 3yo for the second child coming this December:

  • A postpartum doula (worth asking for sliding scale - we also don’t have much means for this either but knowing how hard the first time was we knew it was crucial if we could get any support)
  • Dr Becky, Good Inside - support with helping a toddler transition to being a sibling. Her Instagram and podcast are good free resources and she has an online course (under $100 I believe?)
  • The Fourth Trimester, Kimberly Ann Johnson. I took lots of this book with a grain of salt (it’s a little woo woo and extremely heterosexual which may be perfectly fine for some) but also had loads of discussion of taking care of yourself and your relationship during this time (so important!) and how to gather what resources you do have.

Feel free to reach out if you need someone to talk to while you’re “in the trenches.” 

Hey I just read your post and have a 2 year old boy (bday was 10/24). Im replying cause I too have been stay at home with him and with little support. 
so I’m just lending my support for especially when you have your second one. If you need some help with your toddler (play dates) depending where you’re at , I wouldn’t mind. My belief is it takes a village. And support is so important. 

I had my second right when my first turned two. Doing it completely on your own sounds hard. If at all possible, I would suggest looking for some additional help for those first few months -- can your husband take a little more time off or cut back his schedule temporarily? Can a family member come stay with you for a few weeks when your husband goes back to work? Can you hire a teenager or college student for cheap to come over a few days a week and help you out? 

I also strongly recommend talking to your kiddo as much as possible now about the impending change. Remember that toddlers have no concept of the world outside their own experience, and they don't understand what a sibling is or what a new baby is. The biggest factor in our smooth transition, I think, was that I spent time every single day in the months leading up to the birth of the baby talking to my toddler about what was coming. This is where the baby will sleep. This is how the baby will eat. When we go to the park, you will play while I sit on the bench holding the baby. When we got on walks, I will wear the baby on my chest while I push you in the stroller. Etc. Explain every detail to ease his confusion and worry. Get books about new babies, watch the Daniel Tiger episode where Daniel gets a baby sister. 

Once the baby is here, you're going to have to relax your standards. Your two-year-old will probably watch more TV than you're comfortable with and may eat more processed foods than you like. The first few months are survival mode, and you will get through them, and everyone will be fine. Try to spend 10 minutes a day when the baby is sleeping focused solely on your toddler -- play with him, read with him, do whatever he wants to do. I promise this is more important than doing dishes or whatever else it is you think you might need to do during that time -- if your toddler starts acting out because he is jealous or worried or whatever, your life will be much harder. Taking time to reassure him that you still love him and still have time for him will do wonders. 

 I also would suggest stocking up on a few exciting toys or activities or art projects that you think he will like, and waiting to give them to him until after the baby is born. Some people suggest having some special toys that he only gets to play with while you're feeding or taking care of baby -- we didn't do that, but having a few new exciting toys help. 

Lastly, start scouting out places you can take your kiddos that are kid-friendly and contained when you're ready/able to get out of the house. (My babies were born pre-COVID so this may be different now, but still worth considering). There are a lot of indoor playspaces, fenced in parks, etc. You're going to want to find a place where you don't have to keep your eyes on your toddler 100% of the time -- so somewhere contained and safe is essential. 

Good luck! It's going to be hard, so prepare your expectations. But also, you'll be fine. You'll get through it. It gets much easier. And it's a really beautiful time. Enjoy your babies. 

Our daughter was 3 when our son was born and we also had zero outside support. I will be honest--it was pretty chaotic! On our first day home from the hospital our daughter basically ran yelling from one end of our small house to the other for most of the day as we sat exhausted on the couch. You will get through it one way or another. :)  I did want to share one tip that worked well for us from a fellow BPN member--we bought and wrapped a gift "from the baby" to give to our daughter when she first met him in the hospital; we put it in the birth bag in advance. I couldn't believe that she accepted the story that he brought it with him from inside my belly to give to his big sister--the thrill of a surprise gift outweighed any logic! It was a small but important moment and made the meeting that much sweeter.

First thing that comes to mind is being kind to yourself and knowing that if your toddler has some screen time and it buys you time for a cup of coffee or tea, all is great. If the baby goes in a swing or bouncer for a bit and you can shower, same.

I'm also thinking of how important it was to always have quick meals on hand for myself and the toddler and baby. Frozen soups, fruit, cheese, yogurt, bread. Good basics that you always have on hand if you just can't get out with both of them. I was mostly solo as well with my toddler and baby and found this helped a lot. Too often we feed the kids and do not take care of our basic needs.

Also investing in any gear that facilitates getting out--the right stroller (lots of deals second hand), wraps, carriers, even having a good lunch box for snacks on the go helps so much. Getting outside sometimes helps to just shift everyones mood.

Our days were long and not always easy but we got through. :)