Preparing for the arrival of a baby can be one of the most important and exciting times of your life, but there is one extra thing to consider if you're having your second baby: How do you prepare and deal with the other small child?
Yes as a second time mum you know what to expect, but I didn't take any comfort in that, in fact it made me worry more as I knew how busy I would be.
Here are 5 suggestions of ways to prepare and deal with 2, and know that it will be absolutely fine!
1. Get rid of the stork and ditch the cabbage patch.
There are loads of books out there designed to help you teach your toddler about what is about to happen. So spend some time and find one that works for you. Yes we read Topsy & Tim, yes I know they are a bit freaky as they always seem to get on and not want to kill each other but yes Tony's mum breastfeeds and I love that!
I found my toddler was more interested the more realistic something was we didn't think she needed the situation sugar coating. I started by reading books with her aimed at her age and then we watched (carefully pre-chosen) videos of real life Hypnobirths which were calmer and beautiful. She asked loads of gorgeous questions like 'why is the mum in a bath?' 'why is the mum going OOOOOO' 'why is the mum breathing!' 'why are they crying' (when baby arrived - we had to talk about happy & sad tears) 'can i get in the bath?' 'why is that baby SO unhappy!'. I will never forget her delight... "Mummy that baby came out of her bottom! No Mummy it was her lady bits!"
2. Time for you is time for 2!
Rest and relaxation aren't words that most toddler mums will associate with their lifestyle! But now, as you are prep'ing for another arrival it becomes extremely important to make sure you are healthy. I loved the quote "If you don't do things to keep your cup full, you have nothing left to give or share with others." You are the cup, the others are your family - fill yourself up! It is often easier to 'book yourself out' and make it a weekly, frequent thing - Pregnancy Yoga class is an absolute haven if you are a busy mum. 90mins of nurturing my own body, relaxation just for me (and bump of course!) and tea and a chocolate biscuit afterwards... er yes please!
3. Visitor Protocol.
When greeted with a rush of visitors coming to cuddle my new baby, as a 1st time mum I hoovered, washed up, dressed baby in something very white and clean.
2nd time me realised they all came in saying 'how can I help, what can I do?' and I was very quick to point in the direction of the washing up or babies nappy needs while I took time to colour-in or play trains with my bigger one. I was a happier mum when I realised my friends and family didn't expect me to be super mum and were not here to judge if the floor was a mess! Be kind to yourself and spend time when and where its important.
4. Baby Clubs
I'm a big fan of baby clubs but felt the FOMO when it came to socialising, so managed to fit in and try most things out there with my first born. I was stressed, she was tired and I knew that it just wasn't possible 2nd time round. Instead I chose activities that benefited both of us, only expected to attend 1 class per week and the things I felt that were important were my own health (exercise) and my own mental state (need for mum chats) 'Buggy Fit' with Sarah www.wellfitmums.com in Cotteridge and Rowheath Park has always been an absolute favorite. Being outdoors always made me feel so much better, baby slept and we finished off with lunch at the cafe! What is not to love...
5. You will certainly have forgotten how much a newborn sleeps during the day! They do a-lot. Unfortunately not many toddlers do ;)