I recruited 3 other dad bloggers to share their thoughts, tips and advice about what to do when you bring home a second baby. I asked Chris from DadOfDivas.blogspot.com , Elliott from 21stCenturyDad.com and Jeff from Daddy’sToolbox.com to offer their advice on things dads can do to help make the transition a little bit easier.
We had a good friend of ours bring Austin to the birth center once we were certain of the baby’s arrival. Natural childbirth happens on Mother Nature’s timetable. Fortunately, it was a quick delivery! We signed in at the birth center at 3:05. The baby was born at 3:08! We had a 3-minute baby!
Since we went to a birthing center, we were able to bring the baby home after 4 hours. I’m always careful on the road, but this time, I could feel a new sense of responsibility.
Natural childbirth allowed Renee to be up and about pretty quickly. She was simply relieved to be un-pregnant again! The midwives did a follow-up visit 2 days later. They asked her how many times she’s been up and down the stairs. Her response was, “I lost track after 10 trips.”
It was a big adjustment for sure. A new baby needs constant attention, but we were more than wiling to give it.
For us, having help in the form of my mother coming to assist was a necessary component of making the transition of bringing Diva-PJ home to occur. Having a Grandma to occupy child #1 or some other family member or close family friend continues to make them feel special, and not replaced. It also helped that many of our friends and family members that sent gifts for Diva-PJ also sent a small gift for Diva-J as well, again so that she did not feel like she was being left out. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help that you think you may need!
When preparing for the arrival of the new baby it is important to make sure that as a Dad you prepare not only your other child but the household as well. In my home, J-Mom is pretty particular about what she likes and doesn’t like regarding cleanliness of the home. For me, it was important to do a full cleaning of the house prior to J-Mom returning so that she did not feel that she needed to life a finger of any type when she arrived home (though of course she did â€“ as is her nature).
You may also want to add any special things to the house, flowers, signs, etc, make the homecoming festive and a celebration, and if your other child can help, even better as again you are making them a part of the process which may aid in the transition.
Cleaning is not the only thing that you can do to prepare for Mom’s arrival. Having meals either pre-made or being willing to take on the meals for the week is another great gesture to help Mom feel like she doesn’t have to be a Supermom. If you are pre-making items, consider freezing a number of them so that you have food for an extended period of time which is easy to prepare. It is much easier to toss something in the oven than making it from scratch.
Overall, as a Dad you are going to be asked to do more than you probably think you will need to, but this is all a part of the process. Remember also, that this also means taking your part in the overnight shift duty of feeding (if you can).
The transition to home for us was ok, due to the fact that we did have assistance with Diva-J which kept her occupied, but many of my other comments from the other days’ posts remain true here. No matter what, your other child cannot be made to think that he/she is different or less loved than she was before. As a Dad you will have to be able to find special time just for her (without the baby in tow). This isn’t always an easy thing especially when you are trying to lighten the load of the Mom, but it is necessary for the relationship of you and your child as well as your child’s relationship with his/her sibling.
Bringing home baby number two, our daughter, was a very exciting time for the whole family. Our son was 22 months old and ready for his baby sister to arrive home. My wife and daughter spent a day in the hospital not giving me much time to get the final things done at home but that was ok, we were all excited about our new arrival.
When we left the hospital on our ride home, we were not newbie parents anymore. We didn’t have to struggle with the car seat and actually trying to fit a six pound baby in the car seat. I still don’t see how that is safer than if Mommy just held the baby. Also since it was August we didn’t have to bundle her up as much as we did with our son, a late October birth.
We used all of the lessons learned with our first born that the transition from the hospital to home was way less stressful and concerning. I’m not saying that we didn’t protect her, of course we did that, but we didn’t have to fumble with the car seat, we didn’t have to prop her head up so much, but Mommy still sat in the back seat with her.
Another tip is don’t go crazy and adjust your normal house thermostat. After bringing home Baby #2 we didn’t adjust the temps. It was mid-summer so we had the AC on in the house. And once we got to cooler September evenings we would crack open the windows. I remember with our first child it was October/November and we cranked the heat up at night to 75 degrees, we usually had it go down to 63 degrees at night. I couldn’t even sleep it was so damn hot in the house. We asked our pediatrician at our one week visit and he said, “Infants don’t notice the temp, they will adjust. Leave the thermostat at the normal levels.”
Big brother holding little sister
Tip #2, if you have pets, remember to take home the first head cap the nurse puts on your newborn. Before Mommy and baby get home, toss the cap on the floor and your pets will become aware of the new scent that will be entering the house in a day or so. It helped us with a dog and cat.
Also, involve your first child with everything you do with the new baby. In this photo we would sponge bathe our daughter but also have our son in there so he could be a part of the family and help out. He was just beginning to really want to help!
I just had my son sitting on my lap while selecting photos and he loves to look back at all of the pics of when he was a baby and his sister as well. We do that every now and then. I also asked him, “What did you like when K-bop was born?” He replied, “I liked playing with her!” Of course I laughed and told him that she was too little to play and rephrased my question, “Haha, no, how did you help with the baby?”
“I got to get the bottle and help feed her!” he said with a big smile. He’s right now upstairs waking up his sister, aren’t the first born just “little helpers”! I wish he would let her sleep in.
My thanks goes out to Elliott, Chris and Jeff for helping make this series informative and down-to-earth. I hope many dads take your advice to heart, I know I did, to help make the event a little less stressful on you, mom and your older children.