Growing your family by two feet and one heart: How to cope with a second baby
Growing your family is a big and exciting decision. There are lots of questions you may be asking yourself including how can I keep my relationship strong while growing our family? How can I balance my baby and toddler? Will I be able to cope with two little ones?
Finding balance with your partner and new baby
We talked to a few parents on how they went about deciding if and when to grow their family, and the majority felt they needed to be sure their relationship with their partner/spouse was strong enough first. Having one baby is rarely easy for new parents. Lack of sleep and time to care for oneself mentally and physically as well as financial pressure can add strain to your relationship among other things.
It is important to have ongoing honest discussions about how things are working on a practical and emotional level since you started your family. If you have family to support you, try to go out for at least 1-2 hours each week to have alone time to connect as a couple. Have some fun (also important!) and have some honest conversations. Are you both feeling appreciated, loved and connected? How is mum feeling about her post-natal body and her general mood? Does the other partner feel part of the family bond? Are there financial pressures that need to be addressed with a short and long term plan? Are you both happy with your intimate life? Do you have the support you need or how can you find it to make things better at home? So many questions to think about together and work through to continue to build your solid foundations as a couple and growing family.
Balancing your toddler and pregnancy
Your first child loves and is used to having you full-time. Adding a sibling is always an adjustment for them too! From around three months, it is great to involve your first born in the pregnancy so they can get used to the idea of having a brother or sister and feel involved. Throughout your pregnancy let them help you look after yourself and your growing belly by preparing healthy snacks, feeling kicks and watching your belly grow together. When the time is near, have them help prepare your nursery and perhaps make a welcoming gift from them to their sibling! My son painted a piggy bank for his brother as well as chose a new soft toy to give to his brother in hospital; he was SO proud!
Once baby arrives and you are comfortable, have your spouse or family watch your newborn as you continue to have fun 1 on 1 time with your toddler. Off to the park or anything that you have done in the past is perfect. If support is limited, try to have 1 to 1 bath and bedtime while your newborn is looked after or napping.
Taking care of yourself with two young children
Trying to balance everyone’s needs can easily overwhelm any new mum. With your body adjusting to post-pregnancy life, your sleep being compensated, you may be breastfeeding as well as trying to get meals on the table while keeping sane! The best advice we hear; be kind to yourself. Do what you can and don’t worry about the rest. Try to keep your stress levels low so your milk will flow (if breastfeeding!) and your baby will feel the calmness, which hopefully will lead to better sleep. If there is a mess by the front door or dinner is out of a can – oh well!
Decide day by day what your priority is for you. Is it sleep? Is it 20 minutes of Kegal or Pilates? A long walk with fresh air? 30 minutes for some online retail therapy? Small goals for the day may help organise yourself and ensure that several times a week you get a little break for yourself. A happy mum makes for a happy family! Everything you do is amazing, so don’t be hard on yourself and make yourself a priority.
With modern families with all sorts of situations, your challenges may be different to your friends, but finding balance with your children, looking after your closest relationship and looking after yourself the best you can, will make everything fall into place. It might take time, and that is ok too! Time is on your side and growing your family by two feet and a heart is the ultimate gift.
Mum of two, Kari raised two boys without family nearby or a partner at home. Her youngest son Tommy also had multiple food allergies and could not eat what was on offer in the shops. From this experience, Tom Pom Organic was born; allergy-friendly, freshly frozen puree and meal rings that can be enjoyed frozen as a teether or quickly defrosted for a meal. A perfect and nutritious back up for when you need one. Check out www.tompomorganic.com for product information and home delivery.