baby bunching stages: what to expect when you're expecting #2
Posted Jul 13 2009 10:39pm
Finding out you are expecting a baby sends every mom-to-be on a lifelong nine-month emotional roller coaster ride. When you discover you are expecting another child when your first isn't even walking yet, you will experience that same voyage - this time at warp speed. Having weathered five pregnancies between the two of us, we've learned some survival tips along the way that we'd love to share with you.
Hands down, one of the things that sucks the most about Baby Bunching for those of us gals who suffer from morning sickness is having to care for a baby while you're feeling like you have a four-month-long hangover. Unfortunately, once the "hangover" is over, many women are so exhausted they then experience another 4-5 months feeling like they're recovering from a hangover. There isn't much you can do to mitigate this, but we do recommend that you immediately and thoroughly baby-proof a section of your home that is bigger than a crib, but no bigger than a room. You need somewhere safe for Baby to play while you rest your eyes or sprint to the bathroom occasionally. Also, take care of yourself. Sleep when your baby sleeps (we mean it even more now than we did when you were pregnant the first time!), take your prenatal vitamins (at night before bed if they make you sick), and eat small, frequent meals.
Once you're through the first couple months, you will start to feel better, albeit exhausted because you are parenting one tiny person while growing another. By this point, the whole concept of "another tiny person" arriving with still only one of YOU to take care of all tiny persons may be starting to sink in. But there is a job to be done and no amount of worrying is going to change the event at hand. Suck it up, get organized, get positive and know that when you get to the other side we SWEAR it will be worth it. Trust us.
To make the transition to a mom of multiple kids easier, do yourself these favors:
Get Big Baby on a predictable eating/sleeping schedule BEFORE New Baby arrives. One unpredictable kid will be enough, we promise. Yes, there are those of us (not Linda) who can coast along on no schedule for a while, but adding in another person who more times than not will eat, sleep and cry differently than the first, will have you better set up if at least someone (your oldest) has a guaranteed bedtime. You'll be amazed at how simple it seems when just one kid is awake. You'll wonder why you complained so much the first time around.
If you stay home,find a Mother's Day Out program of some sort, even if it is just one or two days a week for a few hours. Your Big Baby will thank you for the playmates and time out of the house and you will thank yourself for creating quiet time with New Baby.
Find some mommy friends with kids the same ages if you don't already have them (see Linda's tips on building your "momtourage" ). These are your reinforcements - you will need them for support, advice, hot meals, and the occasional splash of Baileys in your coffee once New Baby is born.
Once you've found those friends, beg, borrow, and steal any maternity clothes, baby clothes, or baby gear you need (including that second crib). After all, that's what friends are for!
As you head into the final trimester and D-Day approaches, you'll want to be sure you've checked the things off your list:
Slowly increase Big Baby's individual playtime - you will be grateful he developed the skill of solo play when you have another child vying for you attention.
Hire a babysitter or swap services with friends for your doctor's appointments. Don't make Big Baby (or yourself) suffer through these frequent appointments with you at the end.
Make sure you have a bed for New Baby - it can be as basic as a PackNPlay - but it is one of the few things you MUST have when you get home from the hospital, along with a car seat! If you need some thoughts on a second crib, we have lots of opinions on that.
Develop a plan of attack for delivery day - where your Big Baby will be and with whom while you're in the hospital. And have a backup plan, maybe two!
Don't worry about preparing your toddler for the Little Baby. He really has no idea what's happening. Talk to him about it. Read a story about it. Let him rub your tummy. But in the end, he really has NO idea what is about to hit him. Just go with the flow and surround him--as best you can--with lots of hugs and attention both now and after the birth. Bringing in grandma always helps.
Stock your freezer with pre-made food. If people ask you what you need as shower/baby gifts, tell them you need babysitters and meals!
Relax and enjoy the last bit of pregnancy and your last few weeks alone with Big Baby. With all the chaos joy Big Baby no doubt brings to your life, it's hard to believe, but this may be the most peace and quiet you'll have for a long time!
As always, please let us know about some of your Baby Bunching pregnancy tips.
Above photo: Linda (8 1/2 months pregnant with her daughter) sits with her son, then 15 months.