As I pen this, my husband and I are about to welcome our second child in the next few weeks. Entering the 3rd trimester means we’re also prepared for our second baby’s arrival!
I’ve always been a fuss-free person. After we had our child, Gideon, we kept his baby items because we knew that having another addition to the family will be part of our plans.
If you are a second-time parent and are feeling lost, hope my sharing about what I did to prepare for our second child can be helpful for you too.
1: Be open with your spouse about how you’re feeling
Having a baby takes two. With mum physically going through the pregnancy, it’s important to have daddy’s assurance. Growing a baby is tiring – coupled with the multiple demands of women and hormonal changes, it’s normal to feel upset one minute and all jovial the next. The impending future of managing 2 children may seem like uncertain for some, and it helps to talk to your husband. A partner for life will be supportive, loving and caring to make this family teamwork a good one.
2: Get sensible and practical advice from fellow mummy friends and family
What better way to prepare ourselves for the day-to-day operations of handling 2 children, than to discuss it with fellow mummy friends and our family? Gather real, practical advice from mums of multiple kids to learn how they manage their schedule with a newborn and an elder child and address any family financial topics. I’m glad to have my maternity insurance sorted too! Share your concerns, and there’s a high chance they would have some answers for you because they’ve already gone through similar experiences. It helps me know what to anticipate when the time comes!
3: Share the news with your firstborn when you’re ready
I officially talked to Gideon about “baby” after the first trimester. He was just 3+ and the idea of pregnancy was foreign to him because, well, he can’t see the baby. So, I showed him ultrasound photos of his baby brother and he could see my growing belly over the months. After some time, he was very excited, and he went to school telling his teachers, “Mummy has a baby!”
4: Get him excited about having a new sibling and involve him
His excitement about having a sibling was pure innocence. He would ask me, “Is he coming out from your belly button? Can I share my cake with baby? Can he play Lego with me?” He would also give his baby brother kisses, and when we went to take some maternity photos in a studio, he was shy but happy to be involved. It was heart-warming and he seems more prepared than I thought he would be. Whenever I express my love for him by saying, “I love you, Gideon! Didi loves you too!” He would reply with “I love you, mummy and I love you, Didi!” This has now become our morning routine and it feels wonderful to start our day on a positive note for all of us.
5: Have fun with your older child when you can
Honestly, the new weight is starting to take a toll on me. But I still try my best to send him to and from school. On weekends, we play together. Yes, pregnant mums can still have fun with your older kids! His “only child” status is only going to be for another few weeks, so I want to be fair to him and give him my attention now when I can. It’s important to let our older kids know that they are still a priority even with another child.
6: Understand that the family dynamics will change once baby number 2 arrives
One thing for sure, we’ve to accept that our time will be split with the newborn. The new routine involves changes, and that’s something we need to embrace positively. Maybe we might not have luxurious “me time” like a facial, but that can be worked around with facial sheet masks at home. We may spend a fair bit of time expressing breastmilk, or, having disrupted sleep. Know that every family will find a way for things to run smoothly – hence, point 2!
7: Don’t be in a hurry about nesting instinct
Some mums experience strong nesting instincts, and they start stocking up on baby’s essentials like diapers, newborn outfits, washing preloved swaddles and assembling the baby cot. Let nature take its course and enjoy the current state. Remember not to overtire yourself too, mamas.
8: Start preparing to buy or wash baby’s things bit by bit
I mentioned that I’m pretty fuss-free, and I like breaking down my tasks into manageable portions. I start preparing a month before my EDD – this is to avoid last minute panic and pregnancy anxiety! We kept my elder son’s bulky items such as the stroller, baby cot, mattress… will be using them for baby! Packed my hospital bag and finalised all confinement matters. We’re going the DIY way, so we booked the confinement food catering. Meanwhile I will try to rest whenever I can from now till then.
9: Give your boss and colleagues a heads-up on your EDD and maternity leave plans
If you’re an employee, do pre-empt your bosses and teammates about your due date, and how long you will be away for during maternity leave. Preparing for your second child’s arrival is not only about yourself or your family. Be a responsible asset and ensure handover is done right. This will be a step to ensure things run smoothly at work with minimal interruption during your confinement and maternity leave.
I think we’re pretty prepared for baby number 2! To me, it’s hardest to be prepared for delivery! While we have an EDD to plan with, the real truth is, baby decides when he’s ready to be born. I’m trying to maintain a positive state of mind, but my elder son’s birthing experience keeps replaying in my head lately. We had a long labour, so my stomach was very empty when pushing Gideon…I was vomiting at the same time due to the epidural side effects. I tell myself that every pregnancy and birth story are different. Now is the time to enjoy the fluttering kicks in my belly and countdown to welcoming our child.