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  • Writer's pictureMary Cook

Bringing Baby Number Two Home - 3 Things I Wish I’d Known


bringing baby number two home

We couldn’t wait to share the news with our family and friends that Jack was going to be a big brother. And we received all of the love and support that we could hope for in the lead up to Will’s arrival. Everyone said “Yay! Jack and the new baby are going to be best friends! He’s going to love him so much!” and “going from one to two is hard, but it won’t be that bad”. But I wish someone had really told me how challenging it would be bringing baby number two home to a toddler.


The lead up to bringing baby number two home


As the months inched closer to Will’s due date, I was mentally preparing myself to open my heart to a second child. I had no idea how it would happen or if it was even possible. I was also nervous about how my time spent with Jack every day would soon change.


As we approached our last month, my days were filled with preparing Jack to be a big brother – reading every possible big-brother book I can get my hands on. Trying to ease the anxiety of giving birth during a pandemic by constantly practicing breathing exercises and yoga. Taking out all the old baby gear and clothes from storage. Scrolling through Instagram to get my mind off of things and ordering every possible piece of baby gear I thought we needed (my husband was not a fan…). Packing my hospital bag. Packing Jack’s overnight bag. Stocking up on pre-made meals and making some myself. As well as mentally (and physically) preparing myself for the potential of another 30+ hour labor.


Whew! It was a lot.


But I had no idea about the emotional challenges that were headed my way… And if I had known, I may have slowed down a little during those final months of pregnancy.


3 things I wish I’d known before bringing home baby number two


To those who told me that bringing home a baby to a toddler isn’t that bad, I want to know your secret! So in the hope that I can emotionally prepare another mom for what to expect (now that I am a little over 6+ months in), here are 3 things I wish I’d known before bringing home baby number two…


1. You need to take time for yourself before the second baby arrives.


When expecting a second baby, I think it’s normal for us to want to spend as much time as possible with our eldest child. We’re scared that they’ll miss out on time so we want to make up for it in advance! What we maybe don’t consider so much is the fact that once baby number two arrives, we’ll spend 24/7 with one child or the other, and absolutely no time alone.


I wish I had read more, got a mani-pedi, and arranged date nights with my husband before Will’s arrival. Time alone is so hard to come by these days.


2. It’s going to take time to adjust, but it will get easier.


The arrival of a new baby will bring with it a rollercoaster of emotions! For me, it felt like Jack’s love for the new baby morphed into something of a fairytale...and then it went 10 steps back.


Some days Jack would wake up wanting to be close to his brother and help me with newborn baby jobs. And the next day, he wants absolutely nothing to do with him. On top of that, he also didn’t want me to have anything to do with Will… Talk about pulling on your heart strings. There were tears, reverting to acting like a baby, and a whole host of other things because he wanted all of my attention. And the housework? Forget about it...


The most important thing is to remember that the hard days come and go. Sometimes you’ll be surrounded by piles of laundry, other days your babies will be loving on each other so much that you feel fit to burst. The smallest acts of sibling love are enough to make you forget all about the hard days. Just wait until your toddler immediately asks to hold his baby brother upon waking up in the morning...it’s everything you’ll ever need to hear.


Not only does your child need time to get used to having a sibling around, but you also need to give yourself some grace and time to mold into being a mom of two little humans - and it’s okay if it doesn’t feel easy! It definitely didn’t for me…


3. You will feel guilty.


Ooo mom guilt - that thing we just want to close our eyes to and pray that it disappears quickly. I felt guilty when I had to nurse Will because it meant that I had to leave Jack playing alone. I felt guilty because I couldn’t give him all of me, something that we had both gotten used to. I felt guilty for changing our daily routine to adapt to the needs of our second baby. I felt guilty for giving him the iPad as a distraction. In short, I felt guilty about everything.


But I realized that it’s okay to want to spend time with the new baby. It’s okay to tell your older child that you can’t be with them right now. It’s okay to take naps and let dad spend time with the kids. Some days you’ll feel like the pressure of having to do it all and to keep everyone happy but the reality is you just can’t and that's normal.


Our babies need to be with us for both bonding and developmental reasons. Just go with it. Your other child will be okay!


Have you experienced bringing baby number two home (or third, or fourth?!)? What do you wish someone had told you?


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