Are you pregnant with your second, third or fourth baby? Maybe you’ll soon be the proud owner of two under two, or just worrying about the transition to having more than one child. Whether you will soon be or are currently managing with 2, managing with 3 or even more children, here are my top tips for making your life easier with a new baby and toddlers or older kids to look after.
Adjust Your Expectations
It is important to acknowledge that things will be different this time. If you are going from one to two children, this will be a different experience for you. You won’t have that “oh God I have no idea what I’m doing” feeling that you had the first time around, but your hands will be fuller.
With more demands on your time, it is important to give yourself a break. Maybe, with your first child, you were out and about loads at groups every day of the week. It’s possible that some of these groups won’t be suitable with a toddler in tow. It’s also possible that you’ll be so busy that you simply can’t face daily groups, and this s okay! The most important thing is to acknowledge this difference and not to beat yourself up as things are busier and time is stretched.
Prepare For Baby
The more children you have, the more essential planning and preparation becomes. Time is a precious commodity that becomes more scarce as your family grows. I cannot impress upon you strongly enough how important it is to prepare before your baby arrives.
You might have lots of baby things from your older children, or maybe you’ll have to buy it all again. Either way, it is so easy to become more complacent than when you had your first baby and had a full 9 months of pregnancy to do nothing but plan and prepare for your baby.
You’re busier now though, right? Getting ready for a new arrival when you have your hands full with other children seems like less of a priority. Still, as busy as you are now, you’re about to get a whole lot busier. Get as organised as possible before the birth, you will be glad that you did.
Prepare Your Toddler
How your existing children react to and cope with their new sibling will depend largely upon how you handle the transition. There are lots of simple steps that you can take to prepare them, check out the full post full of tips by clicking the button below.
Make Life Easier
This might be hard, but you are going to have to stop trying to be “Wonder Mum”. If there is a way to make your life easier while you are dealing with a newborn on top of your kids, take it. Accept any and all help that is offered (although admittedly, this is not always something us Mums are good at). If someone is willing to bring you food, clean your house or pick things up for you, let them. End of discussion.
Setup online grocery shopping before the birth. Although it can be a pain for the first few orders to find everything that you want, once you have bought a few times, subsequent ordering becomes easier as you can select from what you have previously bought. If you can start this up during your pregnancy, you can even pre-book orders to be delivered in the weeks following the birth, just to give you one less thing to think about during the newborn haze.
Quiet Time Treasure Box
A quiet time treasure box can be an absolute lifesaver while you are having to both sit still feeding your newborn while simultaneously entertaining your toddler. Click the button below for full details.
Even if you never used a sling, wrapper baby carrier with your first (I think I used mine literally once with my first baby), you will want to with your second baby. Trust me. Babywearing will help to free up your very full hands to deal with the needs of your toddler without having to put down your newborn. My babies 2-4 spent most of their early days snuggled up to me in the carrier, simply so that I was able to care for my other children.
Sleep When You Can
I know the whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” thing is said a lot, but that’s because it is important. Obviously with another child to look after, sneaking in a quick nap with your newborn will not be as easy as the first time around.
Still, if by some miracle your children nap simultaneously or a family member offers to watch one or both of them for you to catch up on some slumber, take the nap. Grasp it with both hands and do not feel guilty. Everything else can wait, nap opportunities are so few and far between that, they must be immediately seized.
Everything else can wait. After all, you are no good to any of your children if you are falling asleep on your nose, are you?
Routine is something that I did not even contemplate with my first baby, it was not even on my radar. I was completely baby-led and that was fine. I fed him to sleep, had not timings for anything and it worked for us. I was tired, sure, but it didn’t matter, I could catch up when he slept.
By the time I had my second son, it was a different story. Whether I wanted a routine or not, a certain degree of routine was naturally imposed upon us by the need of my older child. Regardless of when the baby decided to sleep and feed, I still had mealtimes and bedtimes and all the other “Mummy of an older child” obligations to deal with.
When you realise this, you have 2 choices. Fight routine with all of your might, or lean into it. I chose the latter and can safely say that the routine I developed over the following 6 years with my next 3 babies has changed my life and saved my sanity. Check out the full details of my baby & toddler routines below.
Plan Your Days
Following on from routine, I am also a huge fan of planning. The only way that you will keep on top of every doctor’s appointment and playgroup and mealtime and nap time along with the billion other things that you will have to fit into your days is by planning them out. Click the button below to see how I plan our calendars for my 4 children.
Know That It Is Such A Short Time
The nights are long but the years are short.Unknown.
This quote could not be truer. In fact, the more babies you have, the faster time speeds by. This newborn you are welcoming will go faster than it did with your last baby.
It won’t be easy, heck, if parenting is too easy, you’re probably doing it wrong. Just know that this chaotic sleep-deprived phase where you recover from birth plus care for an infant around the clock plus deal with your older kids, is such a short time. In no time at all your baby will sleep for longer stretches, your children will adjust and you will find your groove.
So try your best to enjoy as much as you can of this time. As had as it feels at the time, you will look back on it as a fleeting yet beautiful phase.