Changing Expectations When Baby #2 Is Born

Setting expectations when bringing home baby #2 is important

Changing Expectations When Baby #2 Is Born

When you bring your newborn home from the hospital, there is nothing but time. Depending on how you and your hormones are feeling, that can be both good and bad. You’ll be exhausted, but at least you know you can sleep when the baby sleeps. Plus your friends and family will be so enamored by your little one they will hopefully lend many helping hands.

And then at some point you may decide to go and have another one. That’s when everything changes.

Bringing home your second baby from the hospital is a much different experience. Instead of focusing 100% of your attention on your infant, you are chasing another child around.

There are lots of ways parents deal with this change. Here are a few of our top tips:

  1. Change your expectations
Giving all your children your all is never easy

Giving all your children your all is never easy

I remember lying in the hospital bed with my second daughter and missing my first-born. And then she came to visit. My parents brought her into the hospital room and she was a whirlwind of activity. At 2-years-old, there was no sitting still, instead she ran up and down the hospital hallways hollering at the top of her lungs. After her visit, I looked at my husband with tears in my eyes and told him I had no idea how we were going to survive two kids.

During my parenting journey from one to two children, I had to change my expectations of how newborn life was going to go. Instead of enjoying all those baby snuggles I had so been looking forward to, I had to accept that the baby would be put down a lot. She spent a lot of time in the swing, or being worn in a carrier, or in her bassinet while I tended to a very demanding toddler.

At first this really upset me, I felt like I was missing out on precious newborn time that is so fleeting. But, I began to realize that this experience was just as special and just as necessary. I got to watch my children bond and form a relationship that will hopefully last their entire lives.

Because I was upset about not having the time to really snuggle with my baby, I had my husband do my toddler’s bedtime whenever possible and I took the next few hours to lay in bed with my baby and enjoy all the snuggles she’d allow. It wasn’t an all-day cuddle-fest like with my first, but I found a way to get what I needed while giving both my children the attention they deserved.

  1. Give yourself some grace
A sibling bond is beautiful, but takes time and hard work

A sibling bond is beautiful, but takes time and hard work

There will be times when you need to tend to both children at the same time and you will not know how to do this. These are the times when you need to give yourself some grace. You are not a bad mother if you turn to the TV. You are not a bad mother if one of your children has to cry for some amount time when you tend to the neediest one. You are a wonderful mother simply because you do care, and you are worrying how to give your all to all your children.

  1. Ask for help

Asking for help does not come easy to many people, but when you are a new mom (whether to your first or fourth child), asking and accepting help is necessary. When I had a totally sleepless night and my toddler was throwing tantrum after tantrum, I had to learn to ask my husband, mom, dad, friend, or neighbor to hold my baby while I tended to my toddler. Or they took my toddler to the park while I tended to my baby.

Most humans know that having multiple children isn’t just hard, it’s impossible. And yet, as mothers, we seem to do the impossible every day. But it takes a village, and sometimes you need to ask that village to come into your home and help.

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