“Baby number 2 is due in the next few weeks and the thought of how I’m going to cope is freaking me out”
It’s scary, and can sometimes feel overwhelming, the thought of adding a new baby in to your life (especially when your hormones are raging!). You’ve finally got a good system going with your little family. You know who is doing what on which day, everything is predicable and calm. So…..
“How on earth am I going to juggle having 3 children?”
Those were my exact words the day after I bought home my youngest son Hugo. My eldest two boys were wired, arguing and fighting at dinner, one refused to eat anything and the other was struggling to use his “indoor voice”. The dog was barking at everything, sometimes just because an ant walked past the house and the baby was permanently attached to me feeding. And I cried……
In fact, I SOBBED!!
My husband cleared the table, set the boys up with separate activities, gave me a big cuddle and said “we’ll manage”. And it’s true, we did! But at the time you can’t help but feel totally overwhelmed thinking “what on earth have we done”, and then beating yourself up for feeling that way! But trust me when I say those feelings are completely normal.
But to help you I’ve put together my top tips when bringing home number 2, or 3, or 4 😬
1. Give yourselves time, your life may seem like a whirlwind of chaos but believe me, it will settle down. You are physically healing and trying to cope with a hormone rollercoaster. So don’t worry about the little things, I know it’s easier said than done, but try to relax.
2. Don’t worry about getting baby in to a routine. We all have schedules that inevitably still need to be stuck to whether you have a newborn or not. Baby groups, school runs, your partner leaving for work and coming home. By following all these regular activities, the natural rhythm of your family’s life will become their routine.
3. Get out. Getting out and seeing people, communicating with adults and simply getting fresh air can be powerful. But start small and gradually work you way up. Taking a stroll around your neighbourhood is a great way to start, then upgrade to walking to the park or the shops. It gradually increases your confidence at being “out with two babies” and you regain your freedom.
4. Ask for help. This one is really important! And I’m not just talking about getting people round to hold the baby while you still have to entertain and make cups of tea for. Get your family and close friends on standby and give them an hour each (you know the ones who won’t bat an eyelid seeing you with zero makeup, covered in baby sick and your hair in nots!). They’d be more than happy to look after your little ones while you enjoy a long bath or sleep.
Learn to lean on your partner too. Often our partners feel a little overwhelmed with everything that is going on and want to help but don’t always know where or how to help. So split some jobs, let them know where you need them, divide and conquer!
5. Special toys. Having some special toys that come out when you are feeding baby can be a great way of giving you some uninterrupted time to feed while also making that time a positive experience for their older sibling. When I had my middle son my eldest pushed me away for the first few weeks (which hurt like hell!) and would only want to have cuddles with me when I was feeding his brother, great. But by introducing special toys that only came out when I was feeding, he started to look forward to milk time, and our relationship quickly recovered.
6. No two babies are the same, so don’t worry if you feel like you “don’t know how to do it” with this one. This can be particularly hard if you had an “easy” baby the first time round. It can really knock your confidence when you things aren’t the same as the first time round and you will completely out of your comfort zone. My advise is to prioritise bonding and getting to know your new baby and the rest will come.
7. No one knows your babies like you do, so don’t compare yourself to others or other families, we are all different. No matter how you feel you are DOING A GREAT JOB!