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BTDT moms of 2 or more: Advice for welcoming second child

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I am expecting baby #2 and I want to ask moms who have already BTDT: What is it like? Any comments, advice, warnings, etc. I would love to hear whatever you want to share, especially about the first few weeks with two.
post #2 of 10

First, I'd like to share my experience with two AFTER the first few weeks... Then, I will get to my experience with the early part.

 

Here is our family's story:

 

Right now (at 5 and 2 1/2) my daughters are BEST FRIENDS!  I look upon them playing sometimes in wonderment and smile because her little sister is the best gift we ever ever gave DD1.  In my personal experience, having one child was very hard (I did have quite a bout of post partum depression which probably played a roll, but, MAN!  Hard!).  I was constantly looked to as the entertainment.  Play with me, play with me, play with me.  It even got in the way of my being the parent sometimes.  Showers were difficult, if not near impossible.  I couldn't cook my DD1 lunch without turning it into a game, for example.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVED playing with my kiddo, but the intensity was quite EXHAUSTING!!!  Then DD2 came. After a few months (maybe 4 or 5 mos. or so), she became DD1's best friend.  DD1 would entertain DD2 in a way that I could not.  DD2 found her sister fascinating!  From then on, a lot of the little things I struggled with with DD1 were not a problem the second time around.  I could take a shower without bringing a playroom full of toys into the bathroom to entertain the little one...DD1 would do the entertaining.  I could make lunch quickly and efficiently because I didn't have to turn it into a game/lesson every. single. time.  DD1 played with baby and before she knew it, "Lunch is ready!!!"  Things just went so much more smoothly on the day to day... like they were always meant to be that way.  And it is such a blessing to have two. :)

 

Now, for the first few weeks....  That drama all started the moment we walked out of the birth center. DD1 was screaming and crying uncontrollably.  Then there was DD2, doing the same thing.  There was no consolling either of them.  My husband was laughing saying that we did this to ourselves (I was sooo mad at him at the time for saying that) and I was crying.... Thinking we not only ruined our lives, but ruined DD's as well...  What was I thinking? I thought.  TWO kids?!?! Oh. my. gosh!  This is going to be TERRIBLE!  Well, for the first 6 weeks, things were ROUGH!  DD1 had a hard time adjusting and was suddenly nursing more than her baby sister, she went through tantrums and violent hitting episodes (never the baby, just against me). I felt touched out and exhausted.  Everyday, overwhelmed at the thought of doing it all over again.  I did all I could to ease the transition, special toys for when I nurse the baby, presents "from the baby," LOTS of one on one time with DD1.  (I say now that baby's sleep so long at first so mommy can ease the transition for the older sibling(s).) Anyway, I did it all...  And then it happened... the light at the end of the tunnel. DD1 started getting better.  She started taking a liking to holding her sister and singing to her... getting me a diaper for her, helping me to potty her... She thought it was HILARIOUS that baby was using a potty (we did Elimination Communication with DD2) at the same time she was learning to do the same.  By the time DD2 was a few months, things started to get BETTER.  Not just better than Terrible, but even better than they were before.  

 

So, while it is tempting to possibly think that you made a big mistake or "messed up" your family at first... know that it is just the intensity of the change that you are feeling...birthing pains for the family, is how I like to think of it.   Also, take heart in the fact that some older siblings aren't bothered at all.... my DD1 has a very strong, spirited personality... I think a lot of your personal experience with going from 1 to 2 will depend on the personality of your first.

post #3 of 10

 My son is 20 months older than my daughter. With my first, I had a horrible time nursing and went through some PPD. With the 2nd, it was totally different and I never had the emotional problems, or at least not to the degree I did with my son. 

 

My situation was a little different. When my daughter was born (Dec 2005) there was an infant day care shortage in Seattle. In fact, we put my daughter on the waiting list where my son was the day I got a positive test and there was still an additional 6 months after I would go back to work wait. Since I was returning to work, in order to hold my son's spot, we had to continue to pay for day care and we actually still needed to send him once in a while. So, we sent him to day care every day for the first 6 weeks or so and then sporadically until I returned to work. I think this helped him because there was no change to his routine, which helped me feel that it was easier on him. He had his friends and then he got to come home to baby. I felt guilty, but I was so scared that I would had the same PPD with her that I went through with him that I think I wanted to protect him from that, too. Granted, this time we will be pulling the kids from day care to save money because there isn't the big shortage where we live now.

 

I will say having two really is a blessing, more for the two of them. Even to this day, they play together and still share a bedroom at 7 and almost 9. They have bunk beds and talk to each other before going to sleep. I have some more conventional friends that always ask why I have a girl and boy sharing a room and I think it's silly for them not to have each other. And, I even feel guilty for this little baby who will be 7 years younger than my current youngest and won't have a built in playmate.

post #4 of 10

I have to agree with a lot of what Jodie said.  When baby #2 is a little older, the kids entertain each other and I find I have a little more time on my hands.  The transition was surprisingly much easier than I was expecting, but my older child is very easy going so that helped.  It was a crazy time in my life-- DH had just started a new job and could only take 3 days off of work, so I was totally on my own with two kids from the beginning.  We also packed up our house and moved when my DD was not quite 2 months old.  I was also a witness to a crime (our house was burglarized a week before the birth) and had to drag my LO to court to testify against the burglar.  So... haha, even with all the additional INSANITY in my life, it was such a sweet time.  My son was 22 months old when his sister was born and he just adored her.  He was a great little helper.  

 

I am much more nervous now for #3 because my middle child is very attached to me and I have a feeling she'll be little more jealous!  But... you just do what you have to do!  Kids are so resilient and get used to "the new normal" very quickly.

 

If I had any advice, I would say to have extra help on standby if you need a break the first few weeks... your priority should be taking care of your postpartum self and your newborn, but you also need time one on one with your older child to make them feel special and included... and time can run out very quickly.  My toddler son thought it was really fun to spend time with other loved ones.  Sometimes its hard to juggle your time between the two kids and the older child will think that having lunch with Grandma or going to the zoo with an Auntie (while mom and baby nap!) is super special. Also.. Try to keep your older child on some kind of nap schedule so that you can have an hour a day of peace and quiet!  haha.  :)

 

 

Its super fun to say "my kids" instead of "my kid" and to see your children interact with each other.  Sometimes I just sit and watch them play with each other-- the stories they share with one another are hilarious.  And to this day, my son understands my DD's 2 year old language much better than anyone else, haha, and he is very good at "translating" for us.  :)  Siblings have such a sweet bond with each other-- you are going to love seeing them together!  

post #5 of 10

DS is 23ish months older than DD. He is very attached to me, and so much a mama's boy. When DD was born, he was glued to me - and I expected that. I nursed her on one side while he sat right by my other and played with my iPhone. He honestly didn't know WHAT to do with his baby sister. I think he saw her just as an extention of me, at first. I don't know that he was jealous, but he definitley craved attention and wanted to make sure nothing had changed with HIM. Once she was sitting up and more interactive, he really enjoyed playing with her. I willl not say that he always plays nice - he doesn't - sometimes he acts out, and takes it out on her. But now, they are 3 and 1 and play really well together. She's no longer nursing, and since she's not, he does not think she's entitled to cuddles anymore. He'll say "daddy hold baby" "baby get DOWN" etc.

 

Learning to wear both of them at once (tandem wear) was a HUGE, HUGE plus for me. It's not easy lugging that much kid around, and people think I'm crazy sometimes for doing it, but it is such a sanity saver. I think I have a pic . . . - They were 2 1/2, 8 months, and I'm about 6 weeks pregnant in this shot. That is one long wrap (a size 7 petrol hemp indio, if you are really curious)

400

post #6 of 10

Anyone out there who has two spaced further apart? My daughter will be 5.5 when #2 shows up, and is in Kindergarten, so I want to say that it will be easier, but a friend of mine had a daughter last year when her son was 6, and in Kindergarten, and they had a lot of acting out in school.

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by cabbitdancer View Post

Anyone out there who has two spaced further apart? My daughter will be 5.5 when #2 shows up, and is in Kindergarten, so I want to say that it will be easier, but a friend of mine had a daughter last year when her son was 6, and in Kindergarten, and they had a lot of acting out in school.

I am worried about that, especially my son. My husband pulled out my bin of diapers last night and my daughter found my front carrier in the bin. She put it on (YAY! FOUND IT!) and wore her doll all over the house "practicing to be a big sister." But, she is 7 and in the 1st grade and I think involving her in helping where she can will be a solution for her just based on her personality.  I expect some issues with my son because I've noticed a correlation in his acting out and when I'm super busy, whether it is work, my  helping his sister or anything else. He is more introverted than my daughter and wants to be involved, but will stand back and wait to be invited in where my daughter will dive into the situation head first. I've been trying to schedule down time, i.e. not over schedule our normal life, so we can find time to spend with just each child and really try to draw my quiet boy into things. I hope that helps, but I know it will be harder on him. 

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by akind1 View Post

DS is 23ish months older than DD. He is very attached to me, and so much a mama's boy. When DD was born, he was glued to me - and I expected that. I nursed her on one side while he sat right by my other and played with my iPhone. He honestly didn't know WHAT to do with his baby sister. I think he saw her just as an extention of me, at first. I don't know that he was jealous, but he definitley craved attention and wanted to make sure nothing had changed with HIM. Once she was sitting up and more interactive, he really enjoyed playing with her. I willl not say that he always plays nice - he doesn't - sometimes he acts out, and takes it out on her. But now, they are 3 and 1 and play really well together. She's no longer nursing, and since she's not, he does not think she's entitled to cuddles anymore. He'll say "daddy hold baby" "baby get DOWN" etc.

 

Learning to wear both of them at once (tandem wear) was a HUGE, HUGE plus for me. It's not easy lugging that much kid around, and people think I'm crazy sometimes for doing it, but it is such a sanity saver. I think I have a pic . . . - They were 2 1/2, 8 months, and I'm about 6 weeks pregnant in this shot. That is one long wrap (a size 7 petrol hemp indio, if you are really curious)

400


That's amazing! I can't even get a LO on my back in a wrap by myself, let alone 2! That's fantastic!

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by cabbitdancer View Post

Anyone out there who has two spaced further apart? My daughter will be 5.5 when #2 shows up, and is in Kindergarten, so I want to say that it will be easier, but a friend of mine had a daughter last year when her son was 6, and in Kindergarten, and they had a lot of acting out in school.

 

There's 4 - 4.5 years between each of my girls and it's worked out really well for us! I don't think I personally would handle two in diapers or tandem bfing very well.

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by firespiritmelody View Post

 

There's 4 - 4.5 years between each of my girls and it's worked out really well for us! I don't think I personally would handle two in diapers or tandem bfing very well.

 

Those were some of my main concerns when I decided to spread my children so far apart. I don't think I could do two in diapers or tandem bf, or have to worry about two babes in the bed, though my daughter still wants to sleep with us from time-to-time, and that's going to be a hard one to deal with, when the time comes. I also like the idea that my daughter got my full-on attention for a full five years, and this one will get a lot of full-on attention while my daughter is in school. I just hope suddenly no longer being a single child becomes an issue for my daughter.

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