Having a baby is the best, hardest, and most overwhelming period of your life. When you first become a mom and hold that baby in your arms your entire world changes. All the stress and pain suddenly becomes just a past memory and your struggles to get to where you are become completely worth it. Something about that fresh new baby makes you forget just how hard pregnancy and childbirth actually are. You become so forgetful that you happily decide to do it again a year or two later! Thankfully it’s a little bit easier the second time around….but not by much. You are more experienced and more confident with baby number two, but now you have to figure out how to care for two tiny humans….at the same time! As a mom of three I’ve learned a few tips and tricks about getting ready for baby number 2…or 3!
With your first baby you probably over-prepared…and stressed yourself out about a lot of things for no reason! Remember what you found to be most helpful the first time, and stick to just the basics!
1. Get big brother or sister involved! Talk about the baby with them often, let them feel baby move and kick in your tummy, and let them help you wash baby clothes and decorate the nursery. Take them to the store and let them pick out a gift to give to the baby. The more excited the older sibling is about the new baby the better!
2. Prepare for your needs. This isn’t your first rodeo. You now know from experience what you found to be the most helpful after giving birth. Stock up on comfy clothes, nursing tanks, and breast pads. When you make a meal, double it and freeze the second half so that you’ll have lots of easy options after baby comes. Stock your pantry with your firstborn’s favorite snacks, and make sure you have a 2 month supply of toiletries for your family.
3. Write out your older child’s schedule so that whomever takes care of him or her has all the details they need to care for them while you are in the hospital. Have a plan in place for child care at least one month in advance and make sure everyone involved is on the same page.
4. Let older children explore the baby equipment. Trust me on this one. You don’t want to bring up the baby swing from the basement and put your new baby in it, just to have big sister loose her mind over a fun new toy! Bring out all your baby gear: car seat, swing, bouncy seat, nursing pillow…everything and let your older children explore, sit in, and play with them. After a few days they’ll get tired of them and leave them alone.
5. Re-familiarize yourself with baby gear. After you let your older child play on everything, make sure you re-read your baby car seat, breast pump, bottle warmer, and baby swing manuals. While you are at it, re-read your older child’s car seat manual too and make sure he or she is in the proper seat for their height and weight.
6. Install car seats now. Take a Saturday to get your car cleaned and vacuum out all of the smashed Goldfish, empty applesauce packets, and candy wrappers. Install baby’s car seat and help your older children familiarize themselves with their new position in the car.
7. Make the big transitions in advance. I know it’s tempting to try and cross off all these big transitions for your first child off of your list while you are on maternity leave….but having a new baby is a big enough transition as it is! So leave the potty training, big boy bed transition, and any other “new” things for the months before, or months after baby is born.
8. Prepare your child for seeing mommy in the hospital. If you decide to have your first born come to the hospital to meet their new sibling, make sure you talk to them about this at first! When my second child was born, Hudson was scared to see me in a hospital bed. There were lots of wires and machines and he didn’t understand what was happening. With baby number 3 I made sure I discussed all of this with him ahead of time, and re-assured him over and over that mommy wasn’t sick and that he could touch me or anything in the room.
9. Have the baby “give” their big brother/sister a gift. With my third, the baby gave Hudson a kid’s digital camera. This was a HUGE hit. He opened it up in the hospital and then we let him “document” everything with his new camera. He loved it! And it was funny to scroll through his photos and see pictures of the hospital floor, windows, and my IV!
10. Line up play dates and fun things for your older child to do when you first bring home your baby. The MOST helpful things for me were when friends either brought us a meal or took Hudson for a playdate.
11. Make busy boxes for your older children to play with while you feed the baby. Those early days of breastfeeding are long and hard…and you can’t always get right up to help your older child with whatever “emergency” need they have. I love to make up a box to pull out during those nursing sessions that included little toys, puzzles, or books that my older children hadn’t seen before to help them pass the time while I take care of the baby.
12. And finally, do your research! When you are pregnant, there are so many decisions that need to be made with your doctor or midwife team. If you are a long time reader here, you’ll know I did a lot of research on doctor vs. midwife and c-section vs. VBAC. Everyone is different and it’s important that you discuss all of your options with your medical provider. With all three of my pregnancies we explored the option of cord blood banking. We donated cord blood once, too! Your baby’s umbilical cord is made of tissue and contains blood, both of which are rich sources of powerful stem cells. Preserving your newborn’s stem cells with Cord Blood Registry (CBR) may give your child or an immediate family member the opportunity to use this resource for current cord blood therapies. In the future, there may be other potential applications, like regenerative medicine. Over the past several years there has been a lot of new research in the field of newborn stem cells, working to find potential therapeutic options for conditions that have no cure today. CBR partners with researchers on FDA- regulated clinical trials to advance newborn stem cell research as well as connect families to trials if they qualify. CBR’s goal is to provide the best service and quality in the collection, processing, and storage of newborn stem cells. If you are pregnant, you can consider the option of cord blood and cord tissue banking.
If you are interested in storing your cord blood and cord tissue for future use, you can find more information on CBR’s website: cordblood.com or watch this helpful video that breaks down how it all works.
Enrolling online is easy and CBR will help you take care of all the details. Right now you can receive a promo code for $200 off of the initial fees with CBR when you fill out your information.