What did you do when you had
a newborn and a toddler?
Ha-ha! I didn’t sleep much and my food was usually cold. My first baby was amazing she slept through the night very early on and just spoiled me. I assumed that #2 would be a carbon copy of his sister…I was dreadfully wrong. It was a year before he slept through the night. He was colicky and would cry when tired, hungry, or when needing a diaper change; pretty much all the time for the first 4 months. But I learned so much during this time and grew as a parent. And being on this side of the journey, I want to offer hope and suggestions to make your transition easier.
The Inspired Doula’s Top 10
For Bringing A new baby home to a full house!
Enjoy your current family! In the weeks leading up to delivery, make time for marked moments as a family. It does not have to be a huge vacation, but take time with each of your current children and create those special memories that you might not have the energy for in the upcoming weeks.
Explain! What is going on? Maybe have your child feel the baby’s movements or record the heartbeat for them to hear. Explain the sleeping arrangements and if they might change. Maybe your older child is moving to a big kid bed.
Always spin it to the positive!!! You are shaping your toddler or older child’s thoughts about your newborn.
Don’t change too much, too quickly! Or for that matter too late in the game. Give your older child a chance to react and accept the changes. Some children can do this easier than others.
Encourage your child to be a helper. You are going to need their help and they will want to be made to feel important! Taking a diaper to the trash is a big deal to a 2-year-old!
Prepare! It is a struggle for some to make a list, but with a new baby on the way…do it! Clothes are washed. A few meals are prepped. Supplies for your other child(ren) are ready. And be sure to note of any special needs for your family i.e. pets.
A gift from baby! For each of our children, we would find a simple gift for the others. (stuffed animal, baby doll, book, or small toy)
Talk to them about how things will change once the baby is here. You might want to discuss feeding times or when the baby is sleeping.
Recruit helpers or extra support for your first few weeks at home. A spouse, family member or friend may take time to focus on your older child while you are bonding with your newborn.
Relax! You have this! Your family is unique, one of a kind, and an original masterpiece; no two families are the same and you get to do it all your own way!
To the Families with MORE!
One question I am often posed, “How do you manage all them?”
As any parent of 2 or more children quickly assess…is this person ready for the truth?
Well, honestly, somedays are better than others and I am in prime running for my mother of the year trophy. Sadly, on other days, you might see a glimpse of the real struggle all parents have. I have made mistakes and raised my voice. However, you make it through and have a mulligan on the next day!
You will make it! I have faith in the process! I can’t wait to share and read your stories of life on the other side of chaos!