Considering the transition from one child to two? Currently pregnant or "paper pregnant"? These tips are for you!
Let me start by calming your fears. The transition from one child to two is a million times easier than the transition from zero to one. Sure, you'll have an extra mouth to feed, but you're already used to putting someone else's needs before your own.
I have two daughters (ages 3 and 2) and I'm currently pregnant with a third baby. Since I have a couple of years balancing two little ones under my belt, I’d like to share what I learned going from one child to two.
5 Tips for Transitioning from One Child to Two
1. Schedule "me time"When you have two or more children, “me time” doesn’t naturally exist anymore because there is almost always at least one child awake who wants your attention. The only way to survive is to schedule "me time." For me, it happens by putting my husband in charge of bath time, taking advantage of my gym's daycare, and swapping childcare with friends so we can both enjoy some child-free time. It doesn't matter if it's five minutes or five hours, it makes all the difference in the world.
2. Ask for help and be specificYou're going to need help transitioning from one child to two, especially during the early days. Involve your spouse or partner as much as you can. If you have friends and family in the area, tell them exactly what they can do to help you. Whether it's dinner delivered to your door or entertaining your older child for a few hours (or both), be specific. You may also want to consider hiring a high schooler for a couple of hours after school and a cleaning lady.
When we bring my third baby home, I'm hoping my daughters will stay with my parents for two days. I think this is a good idea regardless of whether you give birth or adopt. Women who give birth in a hospital are typically there at least 2 days, shouldn't adoptive parents get the same amount of one-on-one time with their new child?
3. BabywearingIf you are transitioning from one child to two, invest in a good baby carrier or wrap (if you don't already have one). I consider my Moby Wrap and Ergo Carrier to be the most essential baby items that I own - more important than any crib or swing!
Wearing my second baby in a carrier or wrap was the only way I could leave the house with two little ones. (I needed my hands free to chase after my toddler.) Not only will a carrier or wrap make the transition from one child to two easier, it’s also a great way to bond with your newest addition.
4. LogisticsI don't think there's a one-size-fits-all answer to juggling two baths, nap times, bedtimes, etc. I always helped my older daughter into and out of the car first, because my baby could wait. My girls took baths together. (I just put the baby bath into the bathtub or held the baby until she could sit-up unassisted.) I put my baby down for naps first because then the house was quiet for my older daughter to fall asleep. My husband and I normally split up bed time - he puts my older daughter to bed and I tend to the younger one. If I'm home alone, I try to get the younger one to fall asleep first.
When you add to your family you may find that your schedule goes out the window. That's fine! I felt pressured for a long time after my second daughter was born to try and get her onto a schedule until I realized that many other moms with multiple children were ditching their schedules too. How freeing!
5. Happiness is a state of mindAs a social psychologist and wellness coach, I think the secret to thriving as a mom is all in the way you think. When you transition from one child to two, the first few months may feel especially overwhelming. My advice is to focus on the good things in your life. Before you go to bed at night, think about three things that you accomplished during the day, not what's left on your to-do list. Also, keep the quote, "It is not happy people who are thankful, but thankful people who are happy" close to your heart. Start a "gratitude journal" and jot down a couple of things that you're thankful for every day. Small joys and moments of happiness add up.
I hope these tips help you ease your mind about making the transition from one child to two. You have a whole lot more love and happiness coming your way!