When I became pregnant with my second, I was going through a lot of emotions--but one of my biggest worries was that it was going to be overwhelming adding another child to our family. Since my son was 2.5 when his sister was born, we had a good routine going for awhile; naps were pretty consistent, we had a daily schedule, and most importantly, everyone was sleeping at night. For some people, going from zero to one child was the hardest adjustment, but I had a feeling that going from one to two children would be harder for me because there would be more to juggle.
When we brought our daughter home, there were some major differences that I had to adjust to right away. While I stayed in the hospital for a few days with my newborn, my husband was at home with our son (though they came to visit every day) since I delivered early and we didn’t have help in town yet. When I got home, it was such a trip holding the two of them--I felt like I was in two different worlds and had to adjust my mentality with each one. With a newborn, you mainly need to deal with eating, pooping and sleeping; with a toddler, you have to care for those things as well as their emotional and educational needs, like making sure he has activities to do so he’s not just rotting his brain in front of the TV all day (though he still got some of that…). But the biggest difference for me was that my son felt physically huge compared to my newborn; after holding a tiny 7 pound baby, my 30 pound son felt so big and it was a sobering reminder of how much he’s grown and matured. All of a sudden I felt like time had flown by because I remembered when he was the same size as his sister, and it was incredible to think that a tiny helpless baby grew into such a funny, lively, talkative and smart boy. My husband and I would reminisce about Darian as if he were going off to college tomorrow.
I also found that this time around, my patience wore thin much faster because I knew how things could be, but they weren’t there yet. For example, breastfeeding was still tough at the beginning, but the only way for it to get better was to practice and just wait til she grew a little more since her mouth was so tiny. Due to the frequent feedings, I wished I could give her some solid food to fill her up, but that won’t happen until 4-6 months! However, this time I saved myself the misery of waiting til my milk came in, and gave her some formula at the hospital to hold her over. Because I knew things would get better and we would master breastfeeding soon (since I was able to nurse for a year with my son), I saved myself the mother’s guilt of supplementing with formula because I knew that a fed baby is a happy baby, no matter how it’s done. I also quickly found out that each child is different, and things that worked for my son weren’t necessarily working for my daughter, like affinity for the pacifier. That was an early reminder for me to not compare the two of them, since though related, they are absolutely different people. I can already tell that they will probably have different personalities!
There’s a saying that the days are long but the years are short, and adding a new child makes that so apparent. Though life with two kids is definitely more hectic than with one, I am taking it one step at a time and trying to give myself a little grace along the way.
How did life change for you when you added another child? Any tips you can share?