Gosh, where do I begin? It’s officially been a month since our second baby was born. I’ve had so many thoughts on what I want to share with you from transitioning from one to two children. I know it’s different for every mother and family but I want to share our experience in hopes that it will encourage some of you.
For me personally, transitioning from 1 to 2 hasn’t been nearly as hard as going from 0 to 1. The fact that I’m sitting in a coffee shop by myself a month out from having a newborn tells me a lot. I had so much anxiety leaving my firstborn and I rarely felt like I could take any breaks from her for the first 6 months.
The Easy(ish) Parts of Transitioning to 2
1. Not much could be harder than our first baby.
Our first baby was colicky, breastfeeding was extremely challenging, she ate for 45 minutes every 2 hours, and I struggled a lot of anxiety and some postpartum depression. My pediatrician said “oh you had one of those one and done sort of babies, but it was your first baby. Usually people get those type of babies the second go around.” That about says it all.
I also struggled a lot with the loss of my freedom with our first. Having to schedule my time in two hour increments felt extremely restrictive and claustrophobic. I felt like I was stuck in a box that I couldn’t get out of. Since having our first three years ago, I’ve been able to adjust to that box and know what my limits are and when I need breaks.
2. Our second baby sleeps, eats, and is more content
This is obviously not going to be true for every family, and from what I heard this is usually the opposite for most people. But our baby boy is delightfully content and goes with the flow. He sleeps 6 hours straight at night. I feel like I can say that without bragging because our first slept in about two hour increments for months. So I know that pain os extreme sleep deprivation, that’s why I’m SO grateful that we have a baby that sleeps so well.
3. There’s more to do so days go by faster
While it can obviously be more tiring and taxing when taking care of two children, it also helps the day go by faster. I often felt with just one that the days would creep by or never end. Now, I’m almost always either feeding one or playing with the other. While this may sound overwhelming, it actually helps me in multiple ways because:
4. I can’t dwell on the hard things.
If my toddler had a tantrum that day or the baby didn’t nap, I can’t dwell on my frustration because I have to keep moving in order to care for two children. My personality tends to dwell in the past (anyone else a 9 on the enneagram?) which can easily lead to anxiety and depression. But now since I’m constantly moving, I can’t dwell on the hard things. I give and receive more grace and keep moving forward.
The Hard (ish) Parts of Transitioning to 2
Making Sure our Toddler Feels Loved
Our daughter is three and has been talking about her baby brother for months. One of the things I most looked forward to was for her to meet baby Jake for the first time. She is very sweet with her brother and wants to help me out whenever I change her his diaper.
What I wasn’t fully prepared for was how much she still wanted me. For two weeks we had my parents here as well as my husband but she was still constantly asking for me at night, when she changed clothes, went to the bathroom etc.
This has been a real learning experience for me in offering grace to her. When there are three other adults around to help her, it’s so hard for me to be gracious and help her even when I’m trying to feed the baby. I texted a friend of mine and said I was about to lose my mind trying to balance a newborn and a stage 5 clinger and her wise advice was to just:
“lean into it.”
She said that the more you give your toddler attention, the faster this stage will be over. While this is hard to hear when you’re simultaneously breastfeeding a baby and helping a toddler take of her clothes to go potty, I think she’s right. When I’m intentional about showing special attention and playing with my toddler, she is much more likely to be happier towards me and the baby. After a month, she’s even letting my husband help put her to bed, I just have to sing to her after he reads her a book.
2. Functioning on Low Energy
With one child there are times during the day where I could “sleep when the baby sleeps.” But with two, this is increasingly challenging and sometimes impossible. So if the baby has a bad night and I’m exhausted, there’s still a toddler to take care of at 7AM.
Fortunately our three year old still naps or has “quiet time” in the afternoon. So if I’m extra tired that day, I can put the baby down for a nap at the same time and grab a quick power nap to get through the rest of the day. I also have an amazing village and husband who have taken our toddler when I’ve had a particularly exhausting day.
Overall, it’s been an extremely sweet and joyful time for our family. I can’t begin to express how thankful I am to have an easier baby this go around.