When you bring a second baby home, there are times where you are just like “what is happening right now?!”. There are now three people you need to take care of: you, and your two babies. Someone told me that you won't be able to parent your second baby like you did your first. And I doubted them. But, they were right. You have so much more to juggle and it can be so challenging. Right now, I have a 2 year old (Esme) and a 3 month old (Aliya) and Esme probably gets half of the tummy time Aliya did. It just is what it is.
But, you will adjust. This blog is all of the info I wish I would have had six months ago when I was pregnant with my second that I hope will help you as you prepare to bring your second baby home.
Before I had my second, I was super nervous about it. My first postpartum was GNARLY! I think it was a mix of being a first time mom and the pandemic which added a lot of stress. This postpartum has been exponentially better for multiple reasons – I encapsulated my placenta, I've been working with a clinical nutritionist, I took a nice break from work…it's just been so much better.
But, it's also very situational. I have a friend who said her second postpartum has been much harder because she is breastfeeding and the baby won't take a bottle so she has anxiety about leaving…which is exactly what happened for Aliya. So, it can totally depends, but I do think it's important to have some plans in place to try to make it easier for yourself and make sure you have your support system in place.
Sleep when we brought second baby home
Here's a little recap of our first three months with the new babe. When we brought Esie home, Aliya (our oldest) went through a huge transition. I tried looking up all of the things to say to her like making sure you don't blame the baby for things, make sure you have solo time with her, and tried to prep her by reading some books to her beforehand about bringing a sibling home. Aliya truly did pretty well honestly. Of course, it was an adjustment, but she was super interested in the baby to the point where she was almost a little too aggressive with her. She really didn't jealous or anything but her sleep was absolutely bonkers. She already was not on the best sleep schedule, but once the new baby arrived, it was an hour and a half of crying while we held her until she would finally fall asleep.
We FINALLY found some relief when we hired a sleep consultant. Seth had paternity leave for about a month and when it was time for him to go back to work, I told him we NEEDED to find a solution because I could not handle that on my own while also taking care of Esme. There are so many things that you do with your first that you just can't do with your second. I nursed Aliya to sleep for the first 14 months and sometimes it would take her an hour to go down…you don't have the time to do that when you have two. So, I told Seth we needed to hire a sleep consultant for for her. We co-sleep, which I swear helps me get more sleep (I have a whole video on how to do it safely) but Esme's sleep was fine. It was Aliya, the toddler's sleep that needed to change. So, we hired a sleep consultant and in TEN days we went from scream crying for an hour and a half to leaving her in her bed and going downstairs. Having her sleep trained was game changing.
And, it has also been SO helpful to use the huckleberry app that tracks sleep. We keep track of both of our girls' sleep and I used to track Esie's eating and her diapers when she was first born and I still do that sometimes if they are sick. Someone told me about this app when Aliya was born and I was like nah, no thank you. I didn't want another app and it just seemed like a pain. So, I was tracking everything by hand on paper, which was so much more work. This app is seriously so easy and there's so many things you can do with it beyond sleep and eating like medicines, growth, temperature, etc. And, if you are a new parent, you can get the paid version which will tell you their wake windows and other info based on their age and what you've previously tracked. Seriously love this app. It's SO helpful! I use it literally every single day and highly recommend it.
Crying it out with our second baby
It's so funny how different things are with your first and second. With our first, I don't know if I had postpartum anxiety or what, but after we put her down, we tried to let her cry it out for 5 minutes before going in to comfort her. But, after about 30 seconds, I would lose it and not be able to not go in there. With our second, she has to cry it out. We can't be in two places at once and we have to go places in the car (which she does not like, so she cries). So, we have to just let her just cry for a little bit, and I have been okay with that this time.
Doing things for you
Again, there are times where you're just thinking “wtf??”. You feel like you need to be in 9 places at once and are wondering how you can possibly do it all. Like the other day, Esie just got done filling her diaper while Aliya is waking up and I'm like “I woke up early to get some work done, now I'm not going to be able to do that and I need to change her diaper but not until I go get Aliya”. So I go get Aliya and she immediately says “I have to go poopy”. AND, I have to go to the bathroom too. So, I put Aliya on the toilet while I'm holding Esie while trying to wipe Aliya's butt and change the diaper, where I then get it on the changing mat and have to clean that, while I still have to pee, and Aliya is just in her undies. Or, there are those times when you get one kid in the car, and while you're getting the other in the car, the first one spits up all over and you're just like oh. my. gosh. It can just be SO chaotic.
It can seem so difficult to do basic things like shower. You need to talk to your partner or a parent or babysitter to organize making it happen (like both you and your partner getting up 10 minutes earlier so you have the time to shower). Whatever you do to make it work…the point is you WILL make it work. You'll figure it out. Lots of things in parenting is just figuring it out as you go and you will figure it out, just like you have with everything up until this point.
And, the whole “moms need self care” thing is SO real. Of course we do! We don't have the energy for our own self care after we've taken care of everyone else.
It's not just showering…that should be a super basic thing (even though some days we all find ourselves wondering how we are going to find the time to do it). We need to make time for it whether it's hiring a babysitter or communicating with your partner to get some alone time and take care of yourself.
Like I said, you truly can't parent your second the same way you did your first. Esie probably gets half of the tummy time AJ did. Yesterday Aliya threw a book at Esme when she was doing tummy time. She wasn't hurt, but it can ruin tummy time. And it also means it's easier for me to carry Esie around in the carrier I am obsessed with while chasing around the toddler and it just is what it is.
But seriously, that carrier makes it so much easier. It is expensive but the code HEYSHAYLA gets you a discount and I use it every day. She takes naps in it, we take walks it in, I wear her around the house…it's great.
The two most important things
The two most important things I want you to know when you add a second baby to the fam are…
- You WILL figure it out. I promise. Things will go wrong but you will figure out how to resolve it and please ask for help whether it's your partner, a babysitter, daycare, family, etc.
- Every baby is different. I doubted this one so much. I was like they're babies…they eat, they sleep, they poop and that's about it. And, I thought I could absolutely parent them the same way. But, I was way wrong. You won't know until they come but you will see and again, you will figure it out.
I hope this has been helpful. It will be different but it will be okay. You will adjust and figure things out. You got this, ma!