This post is intended for moms of toddlers who are currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant. In it, I name things to do before having another baby.
- Read a real book, as there will be awhile before you’ll be able to do that again.
- Write down all the things that are driving you insane about your child, your marriage, your body, and your life right now. You’ll forget them or think less of them when baby #2 gets here.
- Encourage your child to be as independent as reasonably possible before your newborn arrives. By “independent,” I don’t mean that you should encourage them to make their own lunches or drive to their own doctor’s appointments or wipe their own butts, though these things could be nice. By “independent,” I mean that you should help them (keyword: help, not force them) to be able to do the things that are developmentally appropriate, i.e. playing independently with their toys rather than the safety covers on the electrical sockets or having a snack in their high chair without you sitting with them at all times or going to the potty (if they are potty trained) and staying on the potty without you hovering over them. These small things will make all the difference when your next child gets here.
- Try to get your toddler into a toddler bed or full-sized bed. This will not only save you money, but it will also just seem to make more sense when the new baby, the really tiny baby, gets here.
- Make sure your toddler feels loved and secure. During your pregnancy, be sure to make it a point to spend lots and lots of one-on-one time with your toddler. Read books together about becoming a big sibling and communicate how you feel about them. This will not help your toddler with the adjustment, but it will also help you with the adjustment.
- Go out…to the mall, or the grocery store, or the park, anywhere really and love it. Remember these moments. Savor the simplicity of the process of leaving your house with one child, the predictability of their temper tantrums, their needs for snacks in the diaper bag while driving 60 mph on the highway, and their sleep schedules. Do all this because it gets so much harder with another one.
- Sleep… a lot.
- Take a vacation (without your child).
- Use the free time that you do have (yes, you do have free time!) to get a lot of things done with your job, your hobbies, around the house, etc.
- Buy the following items: a larger car, a double stroller, a baby wrap, a video baby monitor, lots of coloring books, cheap toys, a nursing pillow, educational DVDs, and another TV. Trust me. This list may not make sense now, but, when the baby gets here, it will.
- Write down all the reasons why you think having two children close in age is a GOOD thing. You’ll need this list for the hard times that are ahead.
- Don’t forget about your husband/significant other. Make time for them and cherish how your life currently is with them, too.
- Enlist help. You can’t do everything, and you can’t be everything to both children all the time, so it will help to figure out who can help (whether family members, friends, of babysitters) with what and when (i.e., on weekends, once a week, etc.) to save you the stress.
- If you’ve been the only one putting your child to sleep, giving them their meals, etc., now is a good time to get daddy more involved in the day-to-day routines of your child.
- Read “Siblings Without Rivarly” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish and “Raising a Happy Unspoiled Child” by Burton L. White.
- If you haven’t already, just make plans for potty training after the baby gets here. The stress before the baby isn’t worth it. Trust me.
- Burn a DVD of all the pictures and videos of your first child, so that he can view them when baby #2 gets here. This DVD will be a nice break from the hours of Nick JR or Disney channel that she’ll likely be watching otherwise.
- Join a playgroup or sign up for some fun age-appropriate classes for your toddler at your local mall, Gymboree, church, etc. This will ensure that your toddler is interacting with children his own age and staying active without your direct assistance.
- Allow your toddler to pick out a special gift to give the new baby.
- Know that you can be a great mom to two little ones, that you will arise to the occasion, and that your children will love you always.
Moms who’ve made the transition from one to two, are there any tips you’d add?