First, Congratulations! Now, let me guess a few of the adjectives that ran through your brain when you found out another baby would be entering your family: Excited? Nervous? Thrilled? Overwhelmed?
Am I right? If I am, don’t panic. All these emotions are perfectly normal and to be expected.
As you probably learned from having baby number one, all the planning in the world still leaves you unprepared. But you certainly can try! Here’s my take. And while some of it is specific to those who are pregnant, most of this info is for all parents entering round two, and beyond.
- Now is the time to start thinking of ways to make your life more doable with a before-the-baby-comes checklist.
- Get the baby’s room organized. Start earlier than you did with baby number one. Let your toddler help and be part of the process.
- Stock up on easy meals and healthy snacks. Places like Trader Joes and Whole Foods have lots of healthy frozen meals these days to stock in your freezer. If you have the time to cook, prep some meals and freeze them.
- There always seems to be too much laundry, and now there will be even more. I find that doing each person’s laundry separately helps lessen the time, because no sorting is involved. If you are lucky enough to have good relations with a parent who is close by, this is the perfect opportunity to reach out and ask for help! They’ll be more than happy to lend a hand.
- If you thought you were tired the first time you were pregnant, brace yourself! Not only will you be dealing with the usual pregnancy fatigue, but there will be a toddler or two in constant need of your attention. Baby sleep deprivation will take its toll, no matter how you are expanding your family. So…
- Try to nap when they do.
- Say “YES” to anyone who offers any sort of help
- Ask for help…now is not the time to be shy!
- It’s okay for your house not to look spotless and perfect. No one cares but you, so go easy on yourself.
- Don’t waste your energy packing up the car and dragging along your little one to go shopping. Just pick up the phone or go online to place an order for delivery.
- Visualize life moments with multiples. Turn those thoughts into a list of items and approaches to support whatever will work best for you.
- Diaper Bag: Is the one you currently have big enough for two? Even if your oldest no longer wears diapers, they still need a water cup, snacks, change of clothes, etc. And just in case, it might be wise to refresh your memory with a review of what to place in that diaper bag of tricks to meet the needs of your new baby.
- Stroller: Spending money right now may not be your first choice. But investing in a double stroller will pay for itself in the long run. You will use it–OFTEN!
- Bath Time: It will be a while before your newborn and toddler can share a bath. Plan ahead for how you will juggle the two of them. I loved using a bouncy seat for my baby while the older one was in the tub. It was a way we could all participate together.
- Baby Carrier: Maybe this wasn’t how you hauled around baby number one. But it will be the perfect accent to your wardrobe, now. Baby close and hands-free—Win, Win!
- Diaper, Burp Cloths and Blanket Basket: These should be EVERYWHERE! Babies don’t always have to be changed on a proper changing table.
- Binkies and Bottles: Hide some that are washed and ready-to-use. When you suddenly realize you can’t find the only binky style that works or that all the bottles are dirty, you’ll be grateful for having that emergency stash.
- New Toys Basket: When things get overwhelming, the 99 Cents Store can be a parent’s new BFF. Buy a bunch of small new toys or books you can give to your older one(s). Even a new small Playdough is exciting to get when they least expect it. It will be a welcome distraction and take the chaos down a notch.
I hope my advice hasn’t made you feel more anxious about expanding your family. My goal has been the opposite. I believe the more we plan for things, the easier and better life will be. As a mom of two and a grammy of two (with another on the way), I can honestly tell you this: It will not always be easy. And it will get crazy. But your heart will never be fuller.