Transitioning From One To Two Kids

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Everyone asks "was it hard going from one to two kids?" I'm going to be honest with you. The answer to that question is yes and no. Yes it was hard in the beginning because you need to adjust your routine and you need to figure out how to ensure that both kids are getting enough attention. It definitely took some trial and error to figure out what works for us. That being said, what worked for us may not work for you and your kids. My oldest is fairly independent and when our youngest was born she was really excited and wanted to help. She was interested in assisting with diaper changes, or picking out clothing for her sister to wear, or giving baths. (That excitement faded shortly after).

As for the "no." After having done it all once already with my first it all came back to me pretty quickly.  That doesn't mean that it wasn't hard. Lack of sleep is always hard, but your body adjusts.

So let's start at the beginning. It is important to include your older child in everything. Before G (my youngest) was born, Scott took B (my oldest) to a sibling class at the hospital. Not every hospital offers this, but ours did and I thought it was really beneficial.  We were told to have her bring a baby doll, a swaddle blanket, and a picture of herself. At the class, they learn how to change a diaper, how to properly swaddle a baby using their baby doll, and made a card for their baby brother/sister with their picture on it that the hospital would hold onto and distribute when the baby arrived. They also got a shirt that said Big Sister or Big Brother and some Big Sister/Big Brother stickers. I'm sure they did other things, but Scott took her so I am not sure. All I know is that she really enjoyed it.

Leading up to G's due date, I had my go bag packed, but I also had a "gift bag" packed for B. It was a bag full of new toys from her baby brother/sister (we didn't know gender).  I had a large canvas bag made with her name on it from Lands' End.  I thought a bag would be a good idea because it could be used again for the beach/pool. One side has her name in pink and the other side has an embroidery of a unicorn. Inside the bag I included a bunch of "presents" from the baby. I bought a couple big sister books, a Wild Bird ring sling to match mommy, a VTech Kidizoom Camera and carrying case (G has a Minnie Mouse one, but I linked a Frozen one below), a pretend diaper bag with accessories by Melissa and Doug, and a few other goodies. I also had a big bag of baby accessories that I scored at Babies R Us (before it closed) ready for her when we came home from the hospital as an extra little gift from baby sister.  I linked a similar set below.

When G was born we had a plan in place for who would watch B. That is especially important and even more important that they are comfortable being away from mommy and daddy overnight. We were lucky that we only ended up staying at the hospital one night versus two. I'd say with my first I was glad that we stayed two nights because I was a new mom, but when you have a second and you feel comfortable, it was so much nicer to be home with both my girls.

I think one of the most important things you can do for your older child is that when friends and family want to visit they need to be sure to say hi to the older child first and give them attention as well.  If they bring a gift, they either need to have something little for the older child, or you need to have something to gift them so they don't feel left out. This is something I plan on doing even for birthdays when my youngest gets older and understands presents. She doesn't necessarily need a lot of gifts for her sister's birthday, but I do feel like she should have 1-2 small things or the gift that we get my older child can be something they can share/play with together.

 One thing that was a challenge for my toddler is mommy having to take her baby sister in another room to put her down for her naps. Learning to be quiet is not something they understand. B just figured out how to whisper and G is almost 8 months old. Now that she can whisper and talk quietly, once my youngest is asleep she can sometimes come into the room.  However, we had many days where my oldest ended up waking my youngest up from a nap. I know it may be easier to let your toddler watch a show while you put your little one down for a nap but we are very restrictive on screen time for our kids. G obviously doesn't get any, and B gets a limited amount.  That doesn't mean screen time is a bad thing -- every parent knows what is best for their household and their kids. (This is a judgment free zone!)  That also does not mean in the slightest that I haven't had those days where my youngest was late on her nap and I let my toddler watch a little extra that day.  You do what is best for you and your family.

My toddler does not nap. She probably has not napped regularly since G has been maybe 2-3 months old. When we first brought G home, B would take an afternoon nap when G did. That disappeared pretty quickly.  It's not necessarily a bad thing because she is tired by her 7:30pm bed time and usually falls asleep fast.  Typically once G falls asleep for her nap, I can either get a rest in while my toddler plays independently or we will do crafts, or educational activities/games together.

Another thing that I thought would be a challenge (but ended up not being an issue) was sleeping arrangements.  B sleeps in her own room in a twin bed.  Eventually the two girls will sleep in the same room.  G sleeps in our room.  We moved her crib into our bedroom once she outgrew the bassinet.  From the start I was worried that my oldest would be jealous that her sister got to sleep in the same room as us, but surprisingly it wasn't an issue.  She absolutely loves her bedroom.  I think that is something important to establish before baby #2 arrives for anyone, otherwise you may get even less sleep than you would with the typical new baby lack of sleep.

Transitioning from one to two kids is definitely an adjustment and does not happen overnight, but you will figure out what works for you and your family.  It just takes time and a lot of coffee!


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