I remember coming home with my second child – my only daughter – and I looked at my son and my new baby and wondered what in the world did I get myself into. Having our first child went well, but going from 1 to 2 kids felt like a whole new ball game with new rules.
I was right.
Figuring out how to balance the needs of both kids took time. Eventually, we found our groove, and everything started to move well. At times, I felt like I would go crazy, but then I would talk to my friends who have more than one kid and get some encouragement. They all told me the same thing – you’ll figure it out just give yourself time and grace.
Going from 1 to 2 kids is hard, but you can do it! Here are some tips that I think will make the transition even easier for you.
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10 Tips for Going from 1 to 2 Kids
1. Realize Settling Takes Time
Don’t expect things to feel normal or to be amazing right off the bat. The reality is it takes a lot of time to settle down into having two kids. Overtime, you’ll find your groove and the flow that works for your family.
Time. It all takes time.
That may be hard to accept. You had one child and everything felt great, but think back to when your baby first arrived. It took you time to figure out what worked and what didn’t work. The same thing has to happen now but with baby number two, and your whole family has to adjust.
It’ll happen; just be patient.
2. Involve Your First Child in Everything
It’s easy for your first child to feel left out when the new baby arrives, so it’s essential to let him get involved with as much as possible from the start. Toddlers and preschoolers are quite helpful when it comes to raising up their baby siblings.
Your toddler can “assist” during diaper changes, even if it’s giving his new sibling a pacifier or holding his hand – because we all know babies cry during diaper changes. They can pick out clothing; who cares if it matches? Trust me, your older child will feel great about picking out an outfit for the new baby.
Of course, safety is always a priority, and some things your first child cannot do because it might be dangerous, but if it’s safe, I suggest giving it a try. It might take a minute or two longer, but many kids feel a sense of abandonment or replaced when a new baby arrives. We want them to know we love them and value their efforts.
3. Learn to Triage – Fast
Triage means to assign degrees of urgency, and while triage is often associated with wartime medical care, moms triage every day.
If your newborn is crying and your toddler, you have to triage and decide which is more urgent. You might be tempted to assume the newborn is ALWAYS more urgent, but I can tell you that is a surefire way to make your toddler feel resentful towards the baby.
Take a second to access the situation and figure out which person can wait at that moment, and you might consider a joint solution for both. If your baby is hungry and your toddler needs some TLC, feed your baby on the couch while spending time cuddling your toddler and talking to him. If your toddler needs lunch but your baby wants to be held, a few moments to fix a sandwich and cut grapes goes a long way to keeping your toddler happy as well.
Learn to triage as soon as your baby comes home – trust me.
4. Trust Your Abilities
It’s easy to assume you can’t do this. It feels harder, and sometimes, you feel like you’re drowning, but you have the ability to take care of two kids at one time. You have to trust yourself.
5. Sometimes Survival is Key
Some days, you’ll get both kids dressed in adorable outfits and out the door on time – and happy. It’ll feel like you’re on top of the world and won the lottery.
Other days, the toddler cries all morning, the baby has a belly ache, and you just really want to drink HOT – not cold – coffee one time that day. On those days, survival is key. Everyone needs sleep, fed, and clean – everything else is really a bonus. Focusing on survival for that day is totally fine. Honestly, sometimes, going from 1 to 2 kids is like a battlefield!
6. Make Special Time for Your First Child
First children often feel neglected and overlooked when the new baby arrives, so making special time together without the baby is essential. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
Here are some suggestions.
- Cuddle and watch a movie while the baby sleeps.
- Take just your older child to the store and get him a treat.
- Color together and drink hot chocolate.
- Take a walk around the neighborhood.
- Work on a task around the house.
Spending 15-20 minutes per day focused solely on your older child without dividing your attention will go a long way to avoid any feelings of resentment, and it should help your house flow better.
7. Babywear While Multitasking
Multitasking is your best friend when you go from 1 to 2 kids and need to get things done around the house. Putting your baby in a carrier lets you play with your toddler outside while your baby breastfeeds, or you can make dinner while your baby sleeps in the carrier.
Babywearing is a must-do when you have two kids; you really need both hands available sometimes!
8. Get Some Help Lined Up
Getting help is an essential tip for going from 1 to 2 kids. In the first few weeks, hopefully, your partner is home, but if not, see if someone will come over a few days as week to give you a break. Use this time to focus on your older child – or get some sleep.
Another great idea is to see if any of your friends have an older teen looking for a job. A “mother’s helper” is often a teen who comes over to help a mom in their home. They might fold clothes, entertain your toddler, or do whatever you need for a set amount of hours per week. Of course, you have to pay, but it’s a worthwhile investment.
9. Don’t Neglect Your Self-Care
It’s so easy to forget to about self-care when you’re a mom, but when you go from 1 to 2 kids, self-care becomes even more complicated. Finding time for yourself feels like hunting for a pot of gold.
The reality is it may take you some time to find your rhythm, but eventually, you need to take time for yourself. Leave the baby and toddler with your partner for two hours of time with your best friends. Get a manicure, or stay up a bit later to binge your favorite Netflix show with a cup of hot tea.
10. Don’t Be Afraid You’ll Love One More or Less
I remember when I had my second child, I was so worried that somehow, I would love my oldest less or maybe I wouldn’t love my daughter – my second child – enough. I loved my son so fiercely; it didn’t make sense that I could love multiple kids the same way.
Boy, I was wrong.
You will love both of your children equally, and mama, you have plenty of love to share. Your love doesn’t have a love limit; each child you have will be loved as much as the last. Your heart has plenty of space, no matter how many kids you have.
Remember, Going from 1 to 2 Kids is a Season
When you’re going from 1 to 2 kids, it’s going to be hard and have moments where it seems impossible. However, remember, this is just a serious, and it won’t last forever. Most moms say, within three to four months, things start to get better, and you’ll find your groove with two little kids.