Having a second child is a wonderful thing, whether it was planned or a total surprise. While feeding and changing diapers is old hat by now, there are some changes to consider. Having a second baby takes multi-tasking to a whole new level. "You're used to really just be able to cater to your first child's needs, but now you have a second child who needs you just as much... Each child has to learn to wait for your attention," says Hartshorn. Step back from each situation and figure out which child needs you the most at that moment.
Another challenge that parents face with their second child is getting out the door. "It takes practice and bravery," says Hartshorn. Two kids means twice the gear, twice the responsibility. Just getting both kids into their car seats can be a challenge. But, "the more you do it, the more you get into a routine and figure out what works for you," says Hartshorn. "You've just got to do it."
Planning ahead can make getting out the door a little easier. Keep extra essential items, like snacks and diapers in handy places, such as the car or in your stroller's basket. It's good to keep a change of clothes on hand, even for yourself. This way, you won't be caught off guard when something unexpected happens.
One downside to having another child? The return of those oh-so-stressful sleepless nights. "The only good news is that you do know it's a phase," says Hartshorn. "It will eventually pass... [but] you have a little bit more knowledge now. You're smart enough to nap if the babies are both napping."
While you may be thrilled that you're having another child, your little one may be suffering from the "third wheel syndrome". "It's rare that you hear that a child is [completely] happy about having a new sibling," says Harshorn. "They're going to go through a little bit of rockiness." It's important to give your older child some extra attention in those first few weeks, even if it's just more eye contact and some reassuring comments from you. A little bit of attention goes a long way, and it's important that your older child doesn't feel left out now that their new baby brother or sister is home. "Let the house go, let other things go while you soothe them," says Hartshorn.
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By Erin Petrun