Having a second baby means a big change- not just for you and your partner, but also your first born child. And sometimes, a new addition can take a little getting used to! Here’s how 14 wise North Shore Mums suggest you help your first child adjust to becoming a bigger family.
Jo: Just accept that not every day will go to plan. Some days your baby will sleep all day and your 2yo will be an angel and you will feel like you are nailing it. Some days the baby will scream all day, the 2yo will be a monster and you will wonder what you were thinking! I loved the newborn stage second time round, I was much more relaxed. Enjoy the cuddles
Kate: We went from 1 to 3 but I think it’s a similar (if slightly less chaotic) transition. While feeding I ensure DS3 always has an activity he enjoys, food or movie to occupy him. He loves to be in the room while I settle girls, so I have stopped trying to kick him out and encourage him to help “shhhhh” to get them down. Make sure you also get regular 1 on 1 time with your older child – a park trip, movie, cafe visit.
Victoria: Just don’t underestimate how your 2 year old will feel. Their whole world changes and they may turn against you, or the baby. It might not be straight away but don’t do what I did which was be cross and strict. Be kind and empathetic and cut your child a lot of slack.
Claire: I’d also say that when Bub arrives to bring a little gift into the hospital for DS and then when your home hide little gifts under the pram or blanket that your DS might have used (my DD got a little jealous when she saw her sister using the items she was once in, or used).
Juliet: Don’t always put your baby first – for example, you’re sitting playing with your toddler when your baby wakes. Instead of leaving your toddler straight away, call out to your baby “sorry (name), I’ll come in a minute, I’m just paying with (toddler name)”. Yes, it makes no sense to speak like that to a baby, but by doing so, you are showing your toddler that his needs come first sometimes too. Don’t beat yourself up over using television – I depended on it when I had a just two year old and a newborn quite a bit in the first few months. A double stroller is a must if he’s a young two. I loved mine (baby jogger city select) and it gave me freedom. I used to strap them both in, put on my headphones and walk!
Linda: I felt anxious for my first child when his sister was born. Just the change for him where the world revolved around the three of us, soon to become four. I felt the same for my second child when our third was born. We talked lots, I have a big chair that rocks so when feeding we’d all sit together. We’d read together or draw or play a game. The baby Bjorn and slings gave me the freedom to still go out and things stayed pretty much the same for my older child(ren). It’s more the postnatal rest and recovery that I’d think about as I found the more rest, the faster I recovered, the faster life went on.
Laura: I think the best thing is you already know where your resources are. You know who to call and where to look when you have questions and often you already know the answers! That’s huge! Also set yourself small, doable goals each day like ‘today I will get out of my PJ’s and eat at some point’. Lastly, remember they will only be that little for such a short amount of time and you’ve totally got this.
Madeleine: Try and coordinate afternoon naps so that you can get a rest. I brought my toddler’s lunch and nap earlier so I could get an hours sleep in. It was my saviour in the first 2 months. I also tried to time my outings for the mornings as I had more energy and it tired my toddler out.
Lucy: We bought our son a doll and said it was his “baby” when our second was born. We also had presents from the baby and made sure they were things he could play with or do whole he was visiting me in hospital. When I was feeding the baby he would often “breastfeed” his baby. It was very sweet.
Amanda: I bought a cheap tablet and downloaded some ebooks and also used the TV a lot more. If someone can give you the opportunity to look after the baby to allow you and your toddler the chance to go out for hot chocs or something they love doing just the two of you. I invested in a Juno baby carrier so I could wear the baby whilst he slept as it meant I didn’t have to spend an hour away from my toddler rocking bubs to sleep.
Helen: The toddler learns to love the baby from you- so keep in mind this when you speak to them. Whenever our 2yr old wanted to help but couldn’t ( tried to feed our newborn or carry her ) I would say, ‘Thanks for helping – but that’s mummy’s job.’ Rather than say ‘don’t touch’ or whatever. Recognize your toddler will want to help and will imitate you with baby, so look for opportunities for them to be involved.
Marnie: For me, the busier we were, the less likely my daughter would throw tantrums and the calmer day we would have. So I had an activity organised for every day. One day we did a kinder gym class (I had my son in his carrier), another day a music class. We usually had play dates twice a week and on the days we had nothing planned we would go to the park or even just out to do the shopping.
Josie: Show your son his baby album. New babies spend so much time being held, especially by mum. Show him the photos so he can see it was the same when he was a baby
Melissa: The single most helpful advice I found (that’s just me though) was there will be LOTS of times when they are both crying and you just have to weigh up the ‘needs’ of each, sometimes baby will ‘win’ other times toddler will ‘win’.
How did you make it through the tricky second child transition?