Getting ready for baby number twoPosted: 25/07/2014
Being pregnant with your second child is a very different journey to first time round. The ‘planning for baby’ stage is definitely a lot more practically focused! Here’s a list of things to think about to help prepare for the arrival of baby number two.
When I was pregnant with ToddlerGirl, I spent a lot of time dreaming about her nursery and researching the various baby equipment we needed. I had no real clue what day to day life with a baby would be like. This time, I know exactly what to expect with a baby (it’s like riding a bike, right?!) and all my plans revolve around how we will juggle this with a toddler.
Luckily, a lot of my friends have recently had their second child and being around them has given me a lot of tips and ideas. Here are some of the areas I’ve been thinking about to prepare for the arrival of our second child.
Thinking about how to make life easier…
Set up an online shopping list
Online shopping is a brilliant way to avoid struggling around the supermarket with a newborn and a toddler. Once you’ve done a few shops, you can just refer to previous orders, which cuts down the actual ‘shopping’ time. Even better if you can set up one or more shopping lists in advance, which you can do with tesco.com (and maybe others). I will be creating multiple lists, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, household items, stock cupboard items, baby items etc so that all I need to do is add one or more of these lists to my shopping basket and edit if necessary. This will hopefully make the weekly shop a lot easier.
Stock the freezer
Make dinnertime as easy as possible. I’m intending to cook up batches of quick meals like casseroles and pasta sauce to store in the freezer, which will be easy to defrost and heat up. I’m also planning to have some quick essentials to hand such as frozen vegetables, fish, sausages, pizza.
Use a slow cooker
We were given a slow cooker as a wedding present which I’ve never really made proper use of. I think now is the time! The idea of chucking a few ingredients in at the beginning of the day and then forgetting about it until dinnertime is definitely appealing. I’m collecting a few simple recipes and will practice using it over the summer.
Thinking about your toddler…
Prepare your toddler
I’m sure there will be an adjustment period as ToddlerGirl has been used to having me all to herself for nearly three years. Books always prove a great learning tool for her so we have been reading a variety of stories about babies and siblings so that she can start to understand what life will be like with a baby in the house. Some children are upset by baby crying, so we’ve been talking about how babies have to cry to tell us what they want. We’ve also been managing expectations; a sibling is great fun eventually but newborns don’t do much at first! As well as that, I’m trying to reinforce the idea that Mummy can’t always respond to her immediately. I’m sure this will be a big challenge for us both but hopefully some groundwork is being laid…
Having a baby in the house will be a big change for ToddlerGirl. I am spending these last couple of months trying to get into a vague routine in the hope this will help give her a sense of familiarity and security when the baby arrives. Now is the time to potty train, sleep train, change nursery days, basically make any other planned changes so that your toddler’s routine can stay as consistent as possible once the baby is here.
Make a plan for feeding times
I remember being tied to sofa for long stretches feeding, which will be tricky to say the least with my super active ToddlerGirl to entertain. So I have been coming up with a few simple quiet time activity ideas, ranging from reading books to doing puzzles to stocking up on stickers, which I will make sure I have to hand. They are all things which we can either both do sitting down on the sofa or which I can direct from a sitting position! These ideas will also work if I just want to do something low key with ToddlerGirl if (when) I am feeling exhausted.
Spend quality time with your toddler
This is the last time it will ever be just the two of you without you having to juggle two children or feel divided between them. I’m trying to enjoy time with ToddlerGirl and squeeze in some special outings and activities, even when I could do with putting my feet up!
Thinking about the baby…
What things would you do differently second time round?
It’s really all about the toddler this time, baby doesn’t get much of a look in. But there are a few areas that we have been focused on (mainly sleeping) and we’ve been discussing the things we’d do slightly differently. I’m rereading the No Cry Sleep Solution, which I loved with ToddlerGirl but felt I discovered a bit too late at 8/9 months. I also had problems breastfeeding initially, so I’m reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding to give myself a bit of a refresher. However, if there’s anything becoming a mum has taught me, you can’t make too many plans for what you will/won’t do as baby may have other ideas so I’m flexible about what we’ll actually end up doing.
Thinking about baby equipment…
How will you get out and about with two?
We’ve got pretty much all the necessary equipment already but I have been thinking about how I’ll get around with a toddler and a baby. I have dismissed a double pushchair and opted for a buggy board on the pram and a sling for the baby if I’m taking ToddlerGirl out in the pushchair.
Set up the baby’s room
For us, this baby has to squeeze in the spare room eventually as we can’t loose this space, so we’ve been doing lots of organising and decluttering (oh so much decluttering…) to give it a length of wall to call its own! That’s been our main focus but you may need to juggle furniture, for example if you intend to use the cot that your toddler is in for the baby. Do this well in advance so that there are no negative associations that something has been taken away for the new baby.
Thinking about yourselves…!
Quality time for you
In amongst all of this, we are squeezing in some me time as we figure it’s going to be much harder to come by second time round. We’ve got used to having a little more freedom now ToddlerGirl is older so we’ve planned a few days over the summer where one of us will give the other the ‘day off’ to relax at home or go out and do something for ourselves.
Quality time with your partner
If our me time will be limited, we can’t even get our heads round how on earth we’ll ever escape the house at the same time together once we have another baby! So we’ve planned a few simple things for date nights at home to make the most of our time now: watching a film, sitting outside in the evening with a glass of wine, eating an adult meal together once ToddlerGirl’s in bed. We’re also planning to take advantage of a forthcoming weekend visit from the grandparents to have a night in a local hotel, complete with dinner and lay in the next day!
Who knows whether all these plans will help make the transition from one child to two go more smoothly – I certainly hope so! I’ll report back in six months or so time ;)
Do you have any tips for preparing for the arrival of a second child? I’d really love to hear them if you do!