When you’re expecting your first baby, it seems like just about everyone tells you something along the lines of, “Your life is about to change”….”Your life will never be the same”… etc. And this is definitely true, but I still had people telling me the same thing when I was pregnant with my second baby – possibly even moreso than the first time around. The addition of one baby is definitely a big adjustment, so I knew that adding a second baby into the mix was going to be a whole new experience. We were both very happy to be welcoming another child into our family, but understandably, I was nervous that I would not be able to meet both of my children’s needs, while still having the responsibility of taking care of the home, and helping our son to adjust, as well. At the same time, I knew it would all be okay because I have a loving, supportive husband, who would help me adjust. And for best part… he had a whole month of paternity leave when our daughter was born!
Now, I’m not sure if one month is standard for other jobs, but this was a big deal to us (especially me), because he only had a week off when our son was born. A week wasn’t too bad with one baby, but I knew that I would need his help a lot more this time, and it was truly a blessing! My sister-in-law also came to stay with us the week Violet was born, which was also a great help. The month that my husband had off of work, was not only helpful with taking care of the house and kids, but it was a great opportunity to bond as husband and wife, and as a family, and spend quality time together. Unfortunately, some people may think that they would get annoyed with their spouse if they were home 24/7 for a month, but it was just the opposite. At the end of that month, I still felt like I wanted him to have more time off, and having been used to having his help around the clock, I felt slightly nervous.
One of the first things I noticed when my husband returned to work, was that it was more challenging than I expected to nurse my daughter, because my son was used to being able to ask for something (i.e. food), knowing I was able to get it for him right away. Now, with a new baby, I was (and sometimes still), not able to respond to his needs as quickly. So really, this was part of both of us learning to adjust to having another child in the home. Nonetheless, I learned that it is beneficial to try to get certain things done while my daughter does not want to nurse and/or sleep. For instance, if there are chores that need done, preparing a meal/snack for Avery, etc., I try to get started on these things as soon as I get up in the morning, so I can have some things taken care of before Violet wants to nap. Of course, these types of things are easier to get done, when my husband is home later on, but there are still tasks that I had to learn to adjust to during the time he is not home.
As far as adjusting as a married couple, my husband and I have realized that taking advantage of spending time together is even more important, because of the simple fact that it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day things. This doesn’t necessarily mean going out on dates, but simple things such as, watching a movie together when the kids are asleep, eating dinner alone together after putting the kids to bed, etc. There are even nights that we stay up late together on his days off to watch movies/TV shows, and eat snacks, like we’re teenagers LOL, and honestly, I love doing stuff like that.
Here are some tips for adjusting to baby #2:
- Be patient – it’s going to take some time to adjust
- Get rest when you can – especially in the beginning
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help from spouse, family, friends
- Realize that it’s okay (and normal) to be nervous & feel overwhelmed
- Spend one-on-one time with older sibling (baby #1)
- Allow older sibling to help with new baby (tasks that are appropriate for the child’s age)
- Encourage older sibling to bond with new baby
- Be patient & understanding of older sibling’s feelings & new behavior that may arise
- Keep the same rules for older sibling – in other words, don’t let them get away with stuff they couldn’t get away before baby #2, out of guilt
- Make good use of time with spouse
It’s no doubt that taking care of a home and kids can be exhausting and demanding, but at the end of the day, we realize why we do it all, and it’s because there’s no more rewarding or important job we could ask for❤
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