Our youngest is just over 2 months old. We are thrilled that our family has expanded and we have been enjoying our new family dynamic immensely. I have picked up on a few things in my transition to 2 children that I thought I would share with you.
1.) You CAN do this and so can your oldest child. I was slightly petrified that I would somehow find the transition to 2 children to be insurmountable. While it has definitely had it's bumps in the road, the learning curve hasn't been nearly as steep as I had imagined it would be. I found the infant stage so much easier this time, mostly due to the fact that I trust myself now. You are always a little unsure of what you are doing with your first child and I was a definite worrier. This time I know that I have done this before and that I know what I am doing
Our oldest daughter had an emotional first few days as she navigated the family change. She was always thrilled about her little sister, but still seemed a little out of sorts. We just made sure to gently assure her that she is a very important part of our family and that we love her very much. She seemed back to herself after the first week. It was a big change and she just need a little time to settle in. She has been such a big help and loves to sing to "her" baby.
2.) Frozen Meals and a Snack Basket will save your sanity. Before I had my baby, I made sure to stock our freezer with frozen dinners. I spent a whole weekend cooking and freezing meals for after the baby arrived. It was such a lifesaver. It was so nice to just grab a lasagna or soup from the freezer and heat it up for dinner. I know that freezer meals can be a lot of work, but they are worth every minute. You can find my post about freezer meals here.
I am breastfeeding and my daughter can feed for anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Her feeds often run into snack times and meal times. My oldest daughter can't open our pantry and does not have access to the fridge. I didn't want to make either of these accessible to her so I created a snack basket. In this basket I place pre-approved snacks for her to grab when she is hungry. I like to put in things like bananas, applesauce, craisins, crackers and oranges. This has been such a wonderful thing to have. I don't have to interrupt a feed to tend to my oldest daughter's hunger. She thinks that the basket is great, too!
3.) Keep the routine. When we first arrived home, we were not paying much attention to our routines. Our oldest daughter was often late getting to bed and we were all over the place with morning routines and waking up on time. It really did a disservice to our household. Young children thrive on routines. We have to stick to a fairly strict bedtime in our house. With our oldest daughter, we have found that it isdifficult to get her to go to sleep after 8 p.m.. If she gets to bed late she doesn't sleep as long and her quality of sleep isn't as good. When her sleep is off then everything else suffers. We quickly returned to enforced bedtimes and predictable morning routines. It makes a world of difference. Our daughter doesn't fight her bedtime and wakes up happy. She knows what to expect in the moning and that seems to set her day off right. We still have the odd day where things don't go as planned, but for the most part our routines really make our household run smoothly.
What are your tips for helping a family transition to having 2 children? I would love to hear your ideas!