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Tips for 2nd time moms?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Has this been discussed already in the DDC?  I did a little searching but couldn't really find anything.


When I was pregnant with my first, it all seemed so easy.  Sure, I'd be tired and might not get as many showers as I was used to.  But I really felt like I knew how I would handle daily life.   Hold him when he cries, nurse a lot, use the wrap when my arms were tired and for outings, sleep when he slept, etc.


But with my 2nd child coming any day, I'm starting to wonder how to manage.  It's not the change in family dynamics, or helping DS transition to being one of two children instead of the only one.  It's more the practical things:


Like, how do I get the baby, the 2.5 year old, AND all the groceries up 2 flights of steps to our apartment?


And how do I get both kids down for a nap? (Big kid won't go to sleep at naptime without someone sitting next to his bed- really hoped to change that before baby came, but it didn't happen)  Maybe nurse baby next to big kid's bed while he goes to sleep?


Ummm.... there were other things, but right now I honestly can't remember what they were! 


So, wise mamas, hit me with your best tips/stories/little things I may not have considered yet?

post #2 of 18



I know I've seen threads like this...maybe in Parenting...or in the Toddler Forum...but I'm too lazy to go looking for them now.  So, hoping to hear from some of our fellow DDC mamas.

post #3 of 18

All I have to say is I am so glad I waited to have #2 until #1 was already 8 years old and quite the little helper winky.gif  I seriously bow down to mamas who have babies closer together in age. Meanwhile, my #1 is in school full time so I'll have all day home alone with the baby (so I can run errands with just the baby, grocery store, etc). #1 can get himself buckled and unbuckled (I still have to check it, and sometimes he just won't buckle and wants me to do it), he can help carry in groceries, etc. There are still a lot of concerns I have (ds has autism as well so there are some safety concerns as well as adjustment concerns) but they are very different than the concerns I would have had when he was 2 or 3!

post #4 of 18

I'm just starting this journey but I figure our slings/wraps are going to get a whole lot more use this time around.

post #5 of 18

well, I am expecting #3 and worried about this all over again- #1 was 4 1/2 when #2 was born, but now I'll be dealing with a 2.5yo as well. Here is a quick list off the top of my head of some things that helped me survive... not trying to sound like some wise old sage of a mother though, I am totally nervous about what it will be like to go through all this again!!


slings, wraps, and ergo so much of the time. Yes, what a lifesaver.


Accept all offers for help and support in the first few weeks/months.


Do not feel bad if your baby is happy lying on a blanket on the floor to leave him/her there. I think some of us AP and APish mommas feel like if you aren't 100% focused on your kid all the time they are somehow suffering. Not so. They let you know if they need more attention ;)


I used the "my brest friend" pillow a TON, I was able to nurse DD much more easily and have more hands available for #1. I could even kind of walk around with it on...


I use a cooler when I grocery shop now, so that if it takes a while to get groceries into the fridge, they don't spoil. At first it was sometimes a few hours before I'd get stuff shuttled in and put away. In the first 6 weeks, this is totally a job you could ask for help with when people ask what they can do.


Involve #1 as much as you can in the care of baby, find jobs for the sibling to do to feel included and needed.


Make sure you verbalize to the baby sometimes, "I know you want to nurse but you have to wait a moment while I help *older child* finish this". I read this in a book somewhere and used it a lot-- the older is so often being told to wait-- in reality the second kid pretty much has their whole lives organized around the older sibling, but the older doesn't perceive this at all. So just verbalizing it out loud so that they hear the baby being told to wait and be patient too can help.


Try to find some little moments to carve out just with your older. Be sensitive to the fact that their life has changed completely with the entry of this sibling. I tried to remember how difficult my own transition to motherhood was with the first, the way it upended my sense of myself, etc. And then remember- this is happening for my older child, and they didn't have anything to do with it happening!


I spent a fair amount of time looking at pictures together of when my older was young, telling stories about his birth and infancy, etc. I am starting that with my second now, I was better about documenting some of it so she can see pictures of herself nursing, videos of herself cooing and babbling, etc.


naps and bedtime were a bit hard for me at first and I can't envision how this is going to work at our house. Again, here is a time you could ask for help (someone to come sit with baby while you put older child down). Or resort to stroller napping or whatever if you have to. And, expect that sleep may just not be optimal for anyone for a little while. It settled into a fine routine again after a while.

post #6 of 18
Thanks, emmaegbert - those are great tips. I've been really worried about this myself. We have a Sleepy Wrap, which I'm sure will get a lost of use...but...I'm pretty nervous. Glad I'm not the only one.
post #7 of 18

oh, and and here is some kind of annoying advice that is all easier said than done: don't try to do anything in a hurry. lower your expectations for yourself. and be kind and forgiving for yourself when you aren't a perfect mom (nobody, and I mean *nobody* is). You love your kids with a fierce unconditionality that can make up for each and every one of your imperfect moments.


on the upside, I found many things about parenting an infant less stressful the second time, and now hopefully by #3 it will be old hat. I just knew that this infant stage wasn't going to last forever, and that made it less emotionally overwhelming for me. The proof is right there in your older kid sitting there..... I've posted elsewhere that I am not a huge fan of the newborn/infant stage, so maybe that was just my issue though.


and of course, relaxxxxx (as per the chat thread last week)

post #8 of 18

I was just going to come and start a thread like this ... more for ideas of things to do to happily occupy the olders while busy with the littles, if that makes sense.

My big concern is nap time, being that dd still nurses for a bit and has me lie down with her until she's asleep.  I've got help for the first two weeks, so I'm trying to figure out what to do.

I'll be reading along to find out everyone's tips!


post #9 of 18


Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post

I was just going to come and start a thread like this ... more for ideas of things to do to happily occupy the olders while busy with the littles, if that makes sense.

My big concern is nap time, being that dd still nurses for a bit and has me lie down with her until she's asleep.  I've got help for the first two weeks, so I'm trying to figure out what to do.

I'll be reading along to find out everyone's tips!



I have given some serious time and thought to stockpiling simple activities for DD (2.5 yo) that are fun, easily played with sans Mama, inexpensive and don't make a giant mess. 


Here's what I have stashed away (some are part of her Xmas gifts as well)


-water beads http://playathomemom3.blogspot.com/2011/06/water-beads.html

-new puzzles, colouring books, stickers, crayons, glitter glue pens, construction paper, her first scissors etc

-playdough (+toothpicks, new cookie cutters, etc)

-sensory tubs (I made a Halloween and an Xmas themed one)   http://countingcoconuts.blogspot.com/search/label/Sensory%20Tubs

-dollar store items - tiny farm animals,  bangles, foam numbers and letters for the bathtub

-glitter pipecleaners (give them a colander, poke the pipecleaners into all the holes or an icecream tub with holes punched in the lid) or they can make letters, shapes out of them etc -  big hit

-I have saved some bigger pieces of cardboard to colour on

-I have also saved some styrofoam blocks from a packing box - fun to stick toothpicks or skewers in, and you can then put cheerios or beads on the skewers

-a baking dish with some water, dish soap and a straw to blow bubbles in the water with

-some new dressup pieces from the thrift shop

-glow sticks - either on their own or give them several in the bathtub and turn off the lights - super fun!

-I dyed some pasta, either for stringing or sorting by colour

-some new little instruments for her music basket

-a few new books

-made her some puzzles by cutting out pictures from magazines of cats, dogs, etc, glueing to cardstock and cutting into three or four pieces

-made her a button snake  http://activitymom.blogspot.com/2009/11/button-snake.html

-some craft sand to make moon sand  http://www.playbasedlearning.com.au/2011/03/moon-sand-recipe/



These also look fun:


Sponge towers  http://toddlerapproved.blogspot.com/2011/07/sponge-tower-time.html

Discovery bottles  http://pre-schoolplay.blogspot.com/2011/09/discovery-bottles.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Pre-schoolPlay+%28Pre-school+Play%29

Ball maze:  http://a-happy-wanderer.blogspot.com/2011/08/ball-maze.html

Pushing pompoms http://engagingtoddleractivities.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/homemade-toy-pushing-puff-balls/

Maybe a flashlight to play with? 



So, basically, a whole bunch of simple little things I can pull out when I need a few minutes of peace, that can be put away again and pulled out fresh on another day  


It's already come in handy in this last few weeks of pregnancy

post #10 of 18

I'm dreading drop off and pick up from preschool. It's the shortness of the errand that freaks me out--in and out of carseats for both kids in the space of 5 minutes.


A friend of mine with 4 kids told me that ultimately, kids are responsible for their own sleep. I still scratch my head about this one, and it's probably because she has so many that she can say that, because our ds is pretty needy at bedtime, though he doesn't nap anymore. I expect that a 3.5 year difference will come in handy at least in the sleep department. We transitioned ds off me for bedtime over the summer and now he's glued to papa. However, my friend's words would rumble through my head when I was going on 45 minutes of laying there with ds while he chattered, fidgetted, and cried.



post #11 of 18

Katico, you rock! You inspired me to start a sensory tub (I'm doing a water-themed one), and a bunch of other fun things with the site(s) you linked in a different thread. I think we need some of those water beads though.

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling a little anxious about this.


Thanks for the tips emmaegbert- sounds like some really great advice in that list. I love the cooler idea- wish I would have thought of that even just for the pregnancy- it's hard enough getting just my belly, groceries, and DS inside :)  And I love the verbalizing to baby thing- will definitely be using that. 


Katico- you've really got some good ideas for keeping the older child busy.  I keep thinking I need to get some simple fun stuff like that, but haven't done it yet. 


I'm definitely expecting to be using my wraps early and often.  With DS, I didn't even bother to get them out and learn to use them till he was 2 months old- just didn't really have a need.  This time, I'll probably have baby in a wrap ASAP.


One piece of advice to add from a friend of mine- Never tell older child "we can't do _________ because the baby is sleeping."  That's one sure way to get big bro/sis to wake up the baby.  Sounds like good advice to me!  

post #13 of 18

I had my daughter when my first child was 27 months old. He was very active and I found the babymooning was much shorter then with him- I had to get out of the house and wear him out- kid's museum membership in our neighborhood was a lifesaver. I could go to the toddler area and nurse/read, and he could play and tucker himself out.


With two you learn as you go and do whatever works. It changes alot. Be prepared to try new things and throw out old routines if your child changes and needs something else. Work as a team.


We would do bedtime together, and after the kids slept with me, they moved on to sleep together.


Older child will want to help with the baby too. Give older child more responsiblity helping you and their self, too. let them help you with your chores, or bring you something for the baby.


Playgroups for the toddler, or a reading/ or music program once a week help to get them out and get attention from someone else, while you chill with the baby.


Don't expect your house to stay clean for more then an hour ever again. Well, for at least 10 years or so. ;) Take it easy on yourself , and be prepared for messes. I love cleaning wipes and dustbusters.


Best thing to entertain a toddler? Another toddler! Swap a 2 hour playdate weekly with another toddler's mom, you can get some time for you and baby, and toddler gets friends and worn out for nap!


when you are planning an outing for the day, get your kid's clothes picked out the night before, and your dipe bags packed and ready. Then in the morning you only have to get the kids and yourself fed and ready to go, because you will be late to many things with 2, at first.


Double jogging stroller and LOOOONGGG walks outside.


Watch the amazing bonding between siblings unfold...


post #14 of 18

Thread crashing to tell you the 2 little bits of advice that worked best for me. 


1. Layer the cribs/beds with numerous layers of sheet/mattress cover/sheet/mattress cover as much as you can.  That way when someone leaks/wets/spits ups etc, you can just pull off the top layer and you're not trying to change the sheets in the middle of the night or at some other inoppotune time.


2.  Never blame the baby.  Such as, I can't do that right now, I'm feeding the baby.  You can't make noise right now, the baby's sleeping.  I can't play with you right now, because the baby's crying.  If I really can't do whatever, I try to blame myself.  For example: (You're nursing baby.)  I can't chase you around the house right now, mommy's VERY tired and I need to sit down right now.  Can you bring me a book and I'll read it to you? 


Good luck!!  You'll have lots of fun seeing how different they are!  And, how similar! 

post #15 of 18

I really love the suggestion a couple pp have made about making sure not to "blame the baby" & to tell the baby sometimes that the older needs attention. I'm definitely going to try to use these. I've also been trying to really praise ds with the things he is doing well & telling everyone what a great helper & great big brother he is as it seems to encourage these tendencies in him.

post #16 of 18


Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post
I've also been trying to really praise ds with the things he is doing well & telling everyone what a great helper & great big brother he is as it seems to encourage these tendencies in him.

I always try to focus on the positives with my kids relationship (though I think its important for them to have the space to also say what is hard about having a baby. Babies are a lot of work. Heck, its important for us moms to be okay with saying that we aren't loving every second of motherhood...) I also try to help the olders to see how the baby is communicating, the way the baby watches their older sibs, etc. I tried to help my older to be an observer of his sister, and we'll see how that goes with the same sister now that she will be the older. I actually have been talking to my oldest about how he will help teach his sister how to treat a baby (b/c she models herself after him so much). I NEVER verbalize in front of them about rivalry, etc. Its actually a pet peeve of mine how many kids things (especially the more commercialized ones I find) focus on the competition and unkindness in sibling relationships. Ah! Why introduce that? I try to help them (and ME!) to have a positive vision of what sibling relationships can be. I liked "Siblings Without Rivalry" even though its not focused much on the early years, they talk about the fact that we can't make our kids be best friends, but that the sibling relationship can be a model for being tolerant, respectful, and accepting of other people. So while I certainly will think on the idea of don't "blame the baby" (that is funny and a good point that it might just teach the olders to wake up the baby! Though DS did do that A LOT when his sister was little. It was so irresistible to him, even when he was eagerly waiting for her to go to sleep so he could do a special baby-free activity). I also don't mind talking about various people's needs... "right now baby needs to sleep" or "right now I need to take a shower" or "right now I can see that you need to play by yourself" or whatever. I think its good for family members to learn to accommodate eachother and recognize that people might have conflicting needs... how to work that out.


I also like the segments in Becoming the Parent You Want to Be about siblings. That is more focused on younger kids.


Katico way to go on all the activities. I have not had the time or income to stockpile anything. I will definitely be doing some playdough etc (actually, maybe DD and I can make some this mornign!) Luckily DD is actually very good at self-entertaining, she plays independently for hours, talking with her toys and dolls, making up stories and activities for herself. She has always been that way and its awesome. (DS didn't do that consistently until he was much older.) Also, I am just planning on leaning on my parents who are upstairs to take some of the heat off of me at first- she can go upstairs and play with them almost anytime. She does go to a playgroup around the corner two mornings a week for 3 hours with 5 other kids and she LOVES that, so its nice for her to have those friends and that "big kid" time for herself.


Those of you having #3 (or who already have #3) do you find people saying things along the line of "oh poor #2 will be a middle child now"? Annoying! My son said something really cool that I think about instead lately- he said (not knowing about this cultural idea of the neglected middle child), "She is lucky because she can always look ahead to what she will be doing soon, and she can always look back to remember how she used to be"

post #17 of 18

Great tips, everyone ... thanks!


I do have a few things that I've set aside over the last little while, but I'm waiting until my mom goes before I pull those out.

Bedtime and naptime is going to be our biggest challenge, but that seems to be working out okay for the time being ... I nurse the baby, then lie down with dd and nurse her for a bit and we listen to an audiobook fairytale (my lifesaver!).  I've stocked my iphone with audiobook fairytales and she will pretty much do anything with one of those things playing in the background.


Thanks for the reminder about making playdough ... we haven't done that in a while.  I've got a magnadoodle and a new set of blocks in the closet for a rainy afternoon after grandma goes home. 


How about outings with baby and olders?  Any tips other than the fabulous ones suggested so far?


I'm trying to decide if I want to use my woven wrap or stick with a sling or ergo.  Any idea about which would be easier, considering the need to wrangle two children?

post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'm really enjoying reading everyone's responses. Such great advice, and stuff to think about.  Thank you!


I really like the idea of not "blaming the baby" as well. But I can see what emmaegbert is saying about acknowledging everybody's needs.  I guess you just have to try to keep it in balance.  Sometimes baby needs to sleep, so we can't go to the playground right now.  But sometimes DS needs help with the potty, so baby may have to wait a minute to nurse.   


Something else someone told me is not to make the older child feel like they're always wrong, especially if they think they're helping. Instead of "NO! Don't feed that to the baby!" say "Baby doesn't like food yet, but Mama's hungry- can I have some?". Of course, I guess there are times a strong "no!" might be necessary (No standing on the baby!! lol), but I can see it being really easy to make the big sibling feel "wrong" all the time.


Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post

How about outings with baby and olders?  Any tips other than the fabulous ones suggested so far?


I'm trying to decide if I want to use my woven wrap or stick with a sling or ergo.  Any idea about which would be easier, considering the need to wrangle two children?

Like sunanthem said, I'm not really expecting much of a babymoon with this one.  And I'm actually really looking forward to being out and about early and often.  Honestly I can not imagine 10-11 hours in the house with a newborn and a 2.5 year old and no help for more than a couple of days.


So yeah, getting out the baby carriers early and often.  I have a woven wrap, mei tai, and Ergo to choose from.  I know that the Ergo or mei tai is probably considered easiest for popping in and out (don't know about the sling- never used one), but I really love the Front Cross Carry for "poppability" with a wrap. Plus, I don't have the newborn insert thingy for the Ergo.   So I'll probably go with the wrap and see how that goes first.  I'll put it on before leaving the house and then just pop her in once we get where we're going.  I also think the wrap will be more comfortable under a coat, which will be nice once it gets cold.


Those are my thoughts on that, but I reserve the right to completely change my mind once I actually have this baby :)




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