*This is part 2 of a series of posts about what it's like to go from having one baby to two.
More to come!*
You have been trying or even had an oops and find yourself changing diapers for your first while you are expecting another one. Congratulations! I have written about being pregnant with the second one a couple of other times last year when I was pregnant with my daughter.
In this previous blog post I wrote last year, The Differences Between Pregnancy 1 and 2, I explain how from the start of finding out we were pregnant things were so different than it was when we announced we were pregnant with our first. Tons of great moments, mixed with challenging ones. See the post below for more specifics.
In this one I wrote in October 2011 when just a few months along pregnant with my second, I explained more about how difficult it was chasing a busy toddler son when feeling nauseous and wanting to sleep all the time but not being able to. Check this out, Embracing Pregnancy with a Toddler.
In this post from February 2012, right before I had my second, it explained how we were changing in to this bigger family now going from one to two, in 2nd Baby = Bigger Family.
Overall some tips for successfully managing baby bump #2 and being pregnant while chasing another one already:
1. Nap when your child naps. While you can't get the rest you did when pregnant with your first any time you want, it's still so important for you to rest when you can while pregnant with your second. I slept when my son took a nap in the beginning trimester of my pregnancy with #2. I ignored the chores I needed to do and just rested and it helped with the nausea. I went to bed at 7 p.m. most nights that first trimester also, having not been able to take naps during the day. Allow yourself this freedom to sleep. It's necessary.
2. Practice not picking up your child. I knew I was going in for a C-section and would not be able to lift my son for at least 6 weeks post-surgery, so I tried teaching him how that would be way in advance while still pregnant. I taught him to walk up and down our stairs, how to walk outside to the car, how to climb down from his high chair seat at the table, etc. It was sad to me sometimes, realizing I would not be able to lift him and carry him like I liked to do, but at the same time it was important for him to feel like a big boy and learn these things on his own. It was a win-win really. I also suggest not lifting your child as much while pregnant because it's a lot of extra weight on your body. My son was 30 lbs or so and the baby bump was 20... yikes! that hurts your back!
3. Ask for help sooner rather than later. You cannot do it all. Ask for help from family to care for your child when you need to rest. In the end of my pregnancy it was really hard for me to walk around outside because of sciatic pain I had, so I'd have my mom or other family come over and run around outside with my son. He loved the one-on-one attention. I'd sit out there with them, so I was still part of it but just could not do the running. This also really prepared him for what was to come after baby was born - other people stepping in while I could not do as much for a little while. This is especially important for those of you who are with your children 24/7 and don't have many others helping out.
4. Enlist Super Dad early on. My husband and I used to take turns putting our son to bed, but more often than not it was me putting him to bed at night. When I was pregnant we started very early on making sure Dad put our son to bed often so that he was used to this when baby came and I could not get up and down those stairs as often. It was also nice bonding time for them. Again, starting early with these transitions is what helped our son.
5. Take care of your body. I exercised the entire time I was pregnant. I KNOW this had a direct impact on me recovering quicker after the surgery and me not piling on tons of weight while pregnant. It helped me sleep better and helped me keep up with my busy toddler. I stopped working out at 8 months I believe, but after that was still making sure I walked around the yard with my son to get a little exercise. You already get TONS of exercise just walking around your house, up and down the stairs to change diapers, etc. with your child so it's helpful that way. I ended up losing my baby weight much faster after pregnancy #2 also and I think it's a direct correlation to having a child who I had to be up and moving for.
6. Watch what you're eating. While feeding a toddler who snacks all day long it's easy to just finish their meals instead of be conscious and make sure you get the fruits and veggies and things that you need for pregnancy. Just keep an eye on what you're putting into your body. We oftentimes don't think about us when we have another kid around to take care of, so make sure somewhere you are writing down what you need to eat or have fresh fruit around to naturally reach for.
7. Pay attention to your symptoms. We are so busy in our lives having one child that we put off doing things for ourselves. When pregnant, that's not a good thing. We have to listen to our bodies and make sure we do what we can to take care of ourselves. I started having sciatic hip pain really bad at 4 months pregnant, it continued the entire pregnancy. I didn't get physical therapy until 9 months along. I should have done it much sooner, as the physical therapy really helped me out. Stop and focus on what you need sooner rather than later.
8. Start preparing your house and family early on. Do it gradually. This was the best thing for our current child. We didn't take everything out at once - bassinet, swing, high chair, baby seat, car seat, etc. We did it a little at a time over the course of maybe 2 months. That way he gradually saw how things were going to change.
9. Focus on the baby you already have. Spend time with them one-on-one and prepare them, read books, etc. Plan who will take care of them while you are in hospital, what that first meeting between your two babies will be like, etc. I took my son on a mommy-son date out the day before I went into labor actually because I knew it was coming soon. Do something memorable just you two. It's not like after baby comes you won't ever have time alone with your firstborn again, but in all honesty you won't have time or be physically able to take him out to the playground for a few weeks, so do something fun just you two before the big day. It's also important to note that kids sense changes are coming - they see your growing belly, they get something is happening. This may make them more needy so offer extra hugs when they're needed.
10. Talk to your partner. What didn't work well the first time around? Make solutions now. Talk about your changed wants, needs, etc this time- it's not going to be the same as last time. Talk about what you think your child will need from your partner while you are in the hospital taking care of #2, how things will be when you're all home together.
11. Let things go. You cannot do it all while pregnant. You can do even less while pregnant with a second child, taking care of a first. Accept that you need to rest, chores can be done later on, toys can stay on the floor since it's too hard to bend over the preggo belly to pick them up anyway. Say no to outings more if you are happier at home. Eat breakfast for dinner if that's easier. Do what works for you. Take it easy.
Pregnancy is definitely different the second time around. You are more tired, busier. The best part though is that you have already gone through this once before, so you are more prepared for the changes and understand what is happening to your body like the flutters and first kicks- very amazing. Enjoy the process and know that you can do it again, you already did it once! :)