Written by Daphne
Thinking about having another baby? Worried about being pregnant with an active toddler? Expecting and terrified of the thought of going through the newborn phase all over again? About to have two kids under the age of two? Well, you’re in luck: I am living it right now (I have a two month old son and a 22 month old daughter). I won’t lie. It’s craziness, it’s chaotic, but it’s also pretty amazing and totally doable. And I’m here to tell you how my family made it work.
Pregnancy & Toddlerhood
Being pregnant is tough enough as it is, but throw in a toddler and it’s really exhausting -- especially during the first trimester (hello nausea and fatigue!) and the third trimester (hello more fatigue and general immobility due to your huge belly!). Key tips? Nap when your toddler naps (hopefully it’s still at least once a day). Get as much rest as you can. Don’t underestimate the power of being outdoors, for you and your toddler. Getting some fresh air can be energizing and it allows for your toddler to run around and burn off some energy as opposed to being cooped up at home. Do not hesitate to ask for help or get help; there is no shame in this. This is a skill that will even carry you through postpartum.
Preparing our First Born
Our family spent a lot of time talking to our daughter about the arrival of a new sibling. We constantly talked about the growing baby in my belly, read books about being a big sister (my favorites are My New Baby by Rachel Fuller and I am a Big Sister by Caroline Jayne Church), and had Daniel Tiger’s “The Baby is Here” episode on replay. We let her play with and touch my growing bump, and eventually she understood that there was a baby in there; that something exciting was about to happen to our family. We also got her familiar with all the new and old baby gear that was showing up around the house.
Introducing the New Sibling
Teacher Mireille gave me some great practical advice when it came to introducing our daughter to our newborn son. On the big day, we made sure he was in the bassinet when she arrived (as opposed to holding the baby when she came into the room). We had a photo of her in his bassinet and a gift ready for her (which we said was from the baby). She was cautious but curious and the introduction went smoothly. After settling home, we let our daughter be the big helper when it came to diaper changes, keeping her as involved with him as possible. They are 20 months apart so the gap isn’t big and so there’s less she can do versus older kids, but we definitely tried to make her feel like she was involved in the whole process. What really helped throughout this big time of change was to ensure that very little of her routine was disrupted. She still had one on one time with each parent and still went to all her activities. It was extremely important to us that she had a strong sense of consistency in her life during this time. Change is inevitable but we definitely felt that having her grounded in her routine has helped weather this transition.
Your New Family Unit
There will be an adjustment period; accept and embrace that. Things will be chaotic and getting out of the house will take longer than before, but you will find your new normal as I am doing now. Get help if you need it, whether it’s in the form of a nanny or daycare, or friends and family. Remember that none of it lasts forever: they don’t stay little for long as you probably realize. Enjoy the newborn snuggles, load up on coffee, let the laundry sit till tomorrow or next week, and watch your first born grow into their role of older sibling. And when your toddler gives their little brother or sister a kiss for the first time, tell me it wasn’t worth it.
Daphne has two kids: Penelope Lee, twenty months; and Spencer, a newborn. They are a returning family to Little Wonders and Daphne is grateful for the advice and support she has received with her daughter and looks forward to experiencing this with her son as well.