Do you remember the first day you brought your baby home? What an exciting, joyful, yet scary moment, right? Perhaps you wondered how you would ever manage to adapt and raise this little being and, after all those sleepless nights you certainly wondered how you would ever cope.
When baby would cry, you’d wonder if she’d ever stop, and when she smiled, your heart would melt. There were nights when you would watch her fall asleep and deep inside your heart, you would secretly wish that you could slow time down. But instead your baby grew up so quickly.
As time went on, you began to have this niggling feeling that perhaps having a second baby would not be such a bad idea. Now you’re pregnant again.
As your due date approaches you may find yourself filled with mixed emotions of fear and guilt. It is perfectly normal for any parent to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of looking after two children. Many expecting second-time-round moms have confessed that they did not feel an immediate connection while expecting their second baby. Some even explained that they were unsure if they would be able to ever love him as much as their first child.
Some moms said they felt utterly guilty about having to share their love between two children and felt they were being unfair to their first child who, after years of having undivided attention, would soon have to share their time with a sibling.
These thoughts and feelings are all perfectly normal and are valid responses when expecting your second child. Most parents said that, despite their fears, when baby did arrive, they found their love doubled rather than halved. It is an unexplainable phenomenon, but you will find that, even as you divide your time and focus, your love will remain whole for both your children.
Going through changes
Chances are your family has settled into a cozy routine. Now, with baby coming along, that will inevitably change and you may find yourself dreading those changes. Change is never fun or easy. However it is a natural process of life and is a necessary aspect needed to grow and strengthen family relationships. If you all work together to get through the tough times, then you will emerge closer, stronger and happier. Yes, it will be difficult looking after two children, especially in the first few weeks, however if everybody is willing to help, then with time, things will become easier.
Having your second child can be just as rewarding and amazing as when you had your first. You just need to make sure you are fully prepared. When baby arrives, it may take some time before you fall into a comfortable routine again, but things will fall into place. The most difficult aspect is probably that your time will be limited and you will tire easily as you are nursing the baby and also looking after your toddler. Making preparations before baby arrives can go a long way in eliminating added stress.
Meals: It is a good idea to precook meals and freeze them a few days before your due date. This will ease your stress of having to cook meals for those first few days after coming back from the hospital.
A clean house: Although it may be tough to keep a house clean with a toddler around, you can ensure that the house is spring cleaned before going into hospital. This can become a fun family activity and you can get the whole family involved. Alternatively, if you are feeling too tired, you can enlist outside help.
Babysitter: It is important to have someone available who can help care for your toddler when you have to go into hospital. A babysitter can also help take your toddler off your hands, a few days a week, when the little one arrives. Just ensure the person you ask is reliable.
Connecting with baby
With your first child, you may have had all the time in the world to dote around, but this may not necessarily be the case the second time round. You may have limited time to spend with your new baby. Some parents say this hampered their ability to bond with baby for the first few weeks. However it is important to make the time that you do have with baby count.
Quality alone time: Arrange with your partner so that you can have regular alone time with baby, even if it is just for an hour while he bathes and tucks in the older child. Then switch it up so that you spend alone time with your toddler while your partner spends time alone with baby. This ensures a balanced dynamic in the family, and will also contribute in making your toddler feel that he is still special.
Family time: It is also important to schedule in quality family time so that everyone can be together. It may be difficult to go on outings during the first few months, however there are fun things you can do in the comforts of your own home. Arrange a picnic in the backyard or even in the lounge. Or just have an evening of board games. Baby may not be able to physically participate in this, but having the whole family together doing something fun will create a sense of togetherness.
Remaining close to your first child
You may be afraid of losing your connection with your first child, however by implementing simple strategies, you can maintain that connection, and even utilize the situation to strengthen your bond.
Make baby a combined effort: Enlist your oldest child’s help in simple activities such as bathing and feeding baby, and hand over other tasks such as running basic errands. Your older child will treasure this status of being the older one, and her added role of responsibility will make her feel wanted. This will also allow her time to bond with baby.
Get to know your toddler: Take some time to really get to know your older child and to discover her world. Find out about her interest and dreams and share your own.
Be a doting parent: It is easy to get lost in the cuteness of a baby, but be sure to also fuss over your older child. Be affectionate and shower her with hugs and kisses too.
A final thought
The most important gift you could give any child is a sense of safety and the feeling of being loved. Make sure you take time out each day to make both your children feel that way. Encourage them, show them affection and appreciation, and always tell them you love them.
Praise your children and celebrate their individuality and differences. Always show a genuine interest in their lives and interests. Really listen to them, be approachable and refrain from favoritism and taking sides. Most importantly, remember to cherish these moments as time waits for nobody.