Tuesday 1 November 2016

8 Ways to Prepare for Baby Number Two

Image Credit: Boy cuddling pregnant belly from Shutterstock

You've found out you're pregnant, you've had the three month scan and all is looking good so now is the time you can start to tell all your friends and family and spread the joy of knowing that a new babe will soon join your family. Of course you are excited, but if you are anything like me you'll also be a little nervous and maybe even overwhelmed. Your family of three will never be the same again!

How you feel might well depend on the age of your first child and the potential gap you'll have between your children. According to the U.K. office for National statistics the average age gap between a first and second babe is about 36 months, although I have friends who had as little a gap as 8 months by falling PG with a newborn and then having their second baby prematurely. That really would scare the pants off me! My age gap was a much more sensible 45 months but the tricky part for me was that babes two and three came at the same time of course!

To help you beat that feeling of being weighed down with worries of what might be it is important to get prepared for your second babes arrival. Try and get all the practical things but of the way nice and early and this means if you do feel tired or poorly later on in pregnancy you are not stressing about all the tasks still to be done.

Here are eight things to think about and organise once you know your second babe is on the way -

1.  Preparing your older child - chances are that your older child is just a toddler and this means they are still a baby themselves really. It is so important that you don't forget this, don't tell them too early on in the pregnancy as a few months feel like an eternity to a 2 year old. Spend time together talking about their new sibling, perhaps reading a book together to introduce the idea. Tell them they will be the big brother/sister and that this special job comes with some responsibilities and of course rewards.

You might want to have a special weekend for just the three of you before the new baby comes along and you need to decide if you will buy you child a present from their new sibling. Many parents do and it can help ease the shock of having this new tiny all-consuming person home as part of their family.

2.  Think about Transport - depending on the age of your child you might choose varying options to get them about. Can use you reuse their first car seat or are they still in it? Will you need a double pushchair or just put a buggy board on the back? Or are you a baby wearer and you'd rather have your little one wrapped to you when out and about?

Personally I did a little wrapping but a sturdy double pushchair was essential for us. I don't think I've ever quite got past the disappointment that we couldn't have a Bill & Teds double due to having twins but for sure if I had one toddler and a newborn this is what I would have gone for. My great friend Sue had one of the first ones in the UK and it was amazing. Super light and easy to push due to the air-filled wheels, compact for storing away, stylish to be seen with, easy to get in the boot of the car, versatile as you can have a carrycot, carseat or traditional seat and really comfy for both younger and older child. Oh yes the a Bill & Teds Vive V3 tandem pushchair in cherry red is what I would go for if I could do it all again

3.  Sleeping arrangements - Where will your new babe sleep when they come home from hospital? If it is in your room then make sure you have the Moses basket, cot or whatever they will use ready in plenty of time. If they will sleep in another room, you'll want to get that room ready and if by any chance this means a room move for your older child then make sure you do that early on, perhaps even before you announce the pregnancy to them so they can get used to the move without any resentment towards the new baby.

4.  Do some batch cooking - At the end of your pregnancy or once baby is born you may not want to be preparing family meals so it can be a really good idea to batch cook some easy meals and freeze them and then whether you are home or not, the rest of your family can eat healthily with minimum fuss.

5.  Dig out all your baby items - I'm sure you have boxed away newborn babygrows, bouncy seats, bottles, sterilisers - the works. Make sure they all come out of storage nice and early, so you can get them washed, check batteries and buy new items if necessary.

You might want to find out if you are having a girl or a boy this time so you know if you need to buy some new items. Also think about how you will feed babe - will you breastfeed? If yes, have you got pads, breast pump, lanisol etc or bottles, steriliser, milk etc if you will bottle feed.

6.  Pack your hospital bags early - Second babies are known for arriving a lot quicker that first babies, so make sure your hospital bags are packed and ready near the door in plenty good time.

7.  Make arrangements for your child during birth - Where will your child be when you give birth? Do you need a sitter? Will they stay home or go somewhere else? Think though what is best for your family and if necessary get a bag packed ready for your child whenever it is needed. It might also be an idea to type up a time line of their normal day so your sitter will be familiar if they are not already.

8.  Involve your child once baby is home - Once home it is even more important to include your older child. Get them to help you with practical tasks for the baby but also make sure they get your undivided attention sometimes. Tell your child 'time for Sarah's special time with mummy' and go and do something they enjoy, even if it is just for 10 minutes.

Also when the babe cries (but is safe) and you are busy with your toddler, make sure you tell the babe 'Mummy will be there soon but I'm just helping Sarah right now'. Of the course the baby won't understand but Sarah, your toddler will and this could be helpful for when you need her to wait at other times. Parenting multiple kids is all about juggling and being strategic.

I hope you find this helpful, please do share any other ways you got (are getting) prepared before the birth of you second child. All the best, Mich x

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