Hailey is now 8 months old, so I can safely say that we’ve transitioned into having two kids. I feel like I’ve got my stride with this thing now. That’s not to say I don’t have bad days, but overall, we’re out of survival mode. We’re moving into thriving again.
I’m pretty sure that every new baby brings with it a season of survival. Knowing that ahead of time can help you prepare for that season. I’ve found it incredibly helpful to simplify the home before the baby comes.
The less mess and cleaning you have to deal with right after a baby comes, the better (at least in my book). Speaking of books, you can check out my ebook Minimize the Mess to help you get started.
2. Set Lower Expectations
Once the baby comes (and even during those last few weeks of pregnancy) lower your expectations for yourself. It’s a lot to juggle a newborn, toddler and your crazy postpartum hormones.
My first day alone with the kids my goal was simple. Get dressed and fed by 9am and keep everyone fed, changed and alive the rest of the day. That was it. No cleaning, no meal planning, just resting and keeping everyone alive.
We gradually worked our way up to more activities and cooking. But those first couple of weeks (or months) are a time to give yourself grace. There was a lot of T.V. watching, but we weaned ourselves off that as time progressed.
3. Accept Help
I remember calling my Mom the night Hailey was born and asking her if she could come stay with us a little bit earlier than we had asked. Trying to juggle everything was just too difficult and it was nice to have help with food, laundry and basic cleaning.
I had several friends offer to bring us dinner and that was such a huge blessing. Basically, if someone offers something, don’t be afraid to accept the help.
Also, don’t listen to the women who proudly tell you that they got right back to housework after having a baby. I’ve found this especially common in our grandmother’s generation.
Women need time to heal after having a baby. And it’s been scientifically proven that women who jump right back into things are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression and experience iron deficiencies which can then lead to iron deficiencies in their breastfed babies.
4. Be Flexible
You may have worked really hard to establish routines before the baby came. But sometimes those routines need to be tweaked once the baby comes.
One example of this was our nighttime routine. Before Hailey was born, Jordan was the one putting Noah to bed every night in his own bed. But as soon as Hailey was born, he didn’t want anything to do with that. We fought it and fought in the name of following the routine.
But one night, I finally just laid down with him and nursed him to sleep in our bed. He fell right asleep. So we switched it up and let him back in our bed and I put him to sleep every night. Bedtime became a peaceful time again and everyone was getting more sleep.
It took him about 6 months to get back to sleeping in his own bed, but it happened. My best advice is to be flexible with these things and play around with the routine till you find something that works for your situation right now.
5. Know That The Toddler Might Not Sleep
Speaking of sleep, be aware that your older child may be the one not sleeping for a while. I expected it for a couple of weeks. But it lasted probably 3-4 months. For some kids, it’s even longer.
I was understanding of the fact that Noah wasn’t sleeping those first few weeks. His world was turned upside down. But after about 6 weeks I started to get frustrated, really frustrated. What was going on? Was this normal?
The answer is yes. It’s very normal and it won’t last forever.
6. It Will Get Better
And my final point after all of this is that it will all get better. You’ll catch your stride again and a new normal will develop for your family.
Your toddler will eventually learn how to be (mostly) gentle with the baby. You’ll be able to go the bathroom again without all heck braking out and showers will become more manageable again. It may take longer for you than other people or it may not.
Just give yourself grace and know that you are a great mom.
Do you have any tips for people transitioning from one kid to two?