My Guest Blogger this week is Nanny B. I love reading her blog because it is packed with helpful information for raising little ones! Check her out at NannySavvy.com !
Preparing for a second child is not like preparing for the first. So much of what you might have been scared of, or worried about, when you were waiting for your first baby to arrive will be water off a duck’s back now. Your confidence in your abilities and knowledge about babycare have increased and you can rely on your own experience when readying your life for a second child. But you also have one big point of difference from your first pregnancy that comes with its own set of challenges- you already have an older child.
Where first time round you could plan solely around the new baby, this time your attention will be divided and the needs of your family have shifted. Thinking ahead about ways your second baby will impact your older child, yourself, and your family can help prepare for the new addition.
A newborn is exhausting at any time, and with an older child also needing your attention you could easily become tired and overwhelmed by everyday tasks. Prepare meals ahead of time that can be frozen, stock up on dry foods, and keep take away menus to hand. Mak sure your washing machine is in good working order and if there’s a build up of any laundry, get it done now.
Sort through any toys, clothes, bottles etc from your first child and reuse as much as you can. Anything that needs replacing buy early. You know now what you really need and what works best for you.
If your older child needs to move out of the crib do so plenty of time before the birth to give him time to adjust. If possible, do not begin any big changes in your older child’s life (such as potty training, starting childcare, or a new routine) close to the time of the birth. Consistency will help your older child adapt more easily to the changes in your family.
If you feel comfortable, ask a family member to be on hand to help when the new baby is home. It may take some time for you to get used to balancing the demands of two children without extra assistance.
Create baskets of toys and activities you can place strategically around the house to direct your child towards at times when you will busy with the baby (ie. feeding). If he doesn’t already, encourage your child to play autonomously sometimes, so he won’t always require your participation.
Prepare your child
Explain that a new baby will be joining the family and be guided by their questions, age and understanding regarding how much to tell them. Younger children may not understand time and anatomy and need only know that they baby is in mummy’s tummy until winter when it will come out, older children might like to read (age appropriate) books about conception and childbirth and have a calendar showing when the baby is expected.
Reading books about siblings, playing with baby dolls (for boys and girls), and discussing the arrival of the baby helps your child become used to the idea. Visit friends or family with babies and look through your child’s own baby pictures to encourage his interest in a baby for his family.
Emphasise the role of big brother/sister to your child so they feel important. Let your child contribute to name discussion, selecting something for the baby’s room and passing on something of their own they no longer want and need (as they are too grown up for it now).
Plan where your older child will be when you give birth. Include them in the planning and try to arrange for them to visit you as soon as after the birth as possible- without extended family or friends, to reinforce the idea of the intimate family unit now including the baby.
Having a second child will be just as exciting and challenging and rewarding as having your first. The challenges and rewards will be different, just as your children will be different, but the joy that comes from adding to your family will be as immense this time round as it was the first.
Nanny B is a specialist in the care of infants and the very young. Check out NannySavvy.com where she writes a weekly blog and answers your questions. Nanny B also provides a personalized problem solving service. She is savvy with babies and children!
Check out Jillian Mak’s Guest Blog: Will I love my second child as much as my first?