This week we hear from Jess aka The Prosecco Mum…
Having a toddler is challenging enough but what chaos ensues when you throw a newborn baby into the mix too? Short answer. Lots!
Having a newborn and a toddler is a whole new experience. Do you remember those very early days with your first where, dare I say it, sometimes you got a bit ‘bored’ because you didn’t realise how much they slept? Yep, wave goodbye to that because with a toddler on the loose – when baby sleeps, you’re left entertaining the firecracker.
Here are some of my tried and tested tips to help the whole family adjust to the new arrival.
Top tips for getting your child ready for a new baby
It’s not just your world that’s about to get shook, think about the one who’s had you all to themselves for as long as they’ve been around!
- Talk to your little one about what they were like as a baby, make them feel special and tell them how they had all of this attention too when they were born (and they didn’t have to share it!)
- Explain how much help they’re going to be when the baby arrives – make them the ‘nappy, wipes and cream’ chief
- Ask what they may like as a ‘big sibling’ gift from their new partner in crime
- Go shopping with them to find a little toy of their choosing for their first meeting – be sure to always have it in the baby’s crib/pram and explain it is the baby’s favourite gift
- Be honest and explain that there may be some changes for them initially but it will all settle down once baby is in a routine
- Keep their routine consistent – during pregnancy and when the baby arrives. There’s going to be a lot of upheaval so if you can keep them to their existing routine this helps them to know what’s happening and when
- Typically, mum is number one in the house (generally) due to the extra time they spend with us. Plan for dad to arrange some days out, just the two of them – this will help massively when the baby arrives as you will be preoccupied and it will soften the blow for when you have to say no to some things that you used to be able to do together. Don’t panic though, you will get this time back!
- If you are going to make changes, such as moving the little one from cot into a bed, then make the change early into your pregnancy so that they don’t feel like the new arrival is ‘turfing them out’
Top tips for ‘preparing’ you and your partner
Now that you’ve prepared your little one for your upcoming arrival, it’s your turn. I was petrified how our family dynamic would change, I mean we’d only just started nailing this parenting one child thing!
- Accept help from family and friends – take the older one out for a couple of hours, pop in and hold the baby whilst you take a long leisurely shower and then sip a hot cuppa
- Ask for help – whether that’s people bringing you round some ready made dinners, cleaning a couple of rooms or holding the baby whilst you eat cake
- Lessen the routine and relax the to-do list, I find that something as simple as this can immediately ease the feelings of ‘failure’
- Date nights – kids need happy parents, book a couple of hours out each month to spend time with your other half
- Self care – the old cliché, you can’t pour from an empty cup is SO true. And this only doubles when there’s two little people to look out for
- Get out to groups – second time round can be harder to meet people, make the effort to drag yourself out, even if you’ve done it all before
- Snacks and wifi-enabled babysitters are a godsend for child #1 – take advantage of them
- Make the older one your ‘helper’ and praise, praise, praise when they help you with any jobs
- Dependent on the age of your older child, you may want to consider a baby carrier for the little one. It will mean you’re still mobile to chase around after your older one when out and about
As long as they’re fed, watered, clean, have love then everything else you manage is a complete bonus.
Worried about how you can possibly love another child as much as you love your first? You can. Your heart doubles in size and your arms get longer as soon as the new bundle is born.
Just remember, there aren’t that many only children on the planet so you’re not the only crazy one to do it again – and it is true what they say – stages are phases and each one is a step closer to a lie in…