A friend of mine (thanks, Sarah!) who has one baby posed the question to me recently, “How do you transition from having only one child to adding another?” Having gone from one child to three when we adopted our older two, I guess it didn’t really phase me and I didn’t really think too much about it. Now that we’ve added our fourth child to the mix, my friends look at me, think I’m completely crazy, and ask “How do you do it?”
All I can say is, it’s definitely a full time job trying to simply keep up with the house keeping! Between running our oldest to and from school, keeping up with all the papers to sign for school, and running the household smoothly, I feel pretty frazzled most of the time. Thank goodness for a helpful husband!
Anyway, back to the first question! Here are some tips when having one child doesn’t feel like quite enough and you’re delving with the idea of having a second.
1. Decide the age difference you want between your children. I personally like about 3 years because your 3 year old is old enough to understand a lot and help with the baby vs a two year old is still very babyish himself, so to me, that would be hard to handle.
2. Line up some day or night help for the first several weeks. Night help is great even if you’re planning to breastfeed so you can still get the maximum amount of sleep, having the baby nurse or family member bring the baby to you for feedings and finish putting him back to sleep afterward. Day help is great if you want some bonding time with baby. You can have your family or baby nurse entertain your toddler while you bond or rest with baby. Don’t be afraid to assign day help certain tasks that will help ease your burden, such as throwing in laundry, cooking, light cleaning, etc.
3. Be sure to schedule one on one time with your toddler so he doesn’t feel left out. This goes back up to number two. If you have some daytime help, they can care for the baby while you spend some special moments with your toddler, uninterrupted.
4. If you have a handy mom or mother-in-law, before baby is born, plan a cooking day. Stock your freezer with meals you can pull out and throw in the oven. Food prep is one of the biggest time consumers and can be pretty difficult if you’re interrupted by a crying baby and clingy toddler.
5. Sleep, sleep, sleep. I can’t stress enough the importance of sleep! It can be hard to simply rest because you have so much on your plate, but sleep is so essential to your body’s healing, fending off postpartum depression, and giving you the best overall mental health. Again, if you have family or hired help, this can be more easily done.
Those of you who have been through this, what other tips do you have?