*This is part 3 of a series of posts about what it's like to go from having one baby to two.
More to come!*
We started preparing for our second baby to come pretty much when we found out we were pregnant with her! There seemed like even more to do the second time around, mostly because we already had a toddler son who was in the midst of the chaos here and took up a lot of our time. You may think since you already had a baby there isn't much to pick up for the second. The list is obviously a lot less the second time around since you already have the crib, sheets, changing table, etc., but still there are things you may not consider and that will help you if you pick up before baby arrives.
We made a Babies-R-Us registry list because people were asking us what we needed for the second one. Most assume you only need diapers and wipes, but really there were tons of things on our list that we needed (again, not as long of a list as the first time around, but definitely some things people may not consider to get you).
(random photo I found of my super cool dude nephew Atticus a few years ago!)
Here is a list of some things you will need to pick up the second time around:
1. FEEDING SUPPLIES- Whether breastfeeding or formula does not matter, you still need to pick up some supplies to have on hand at home.
*Nursing cover- I got one of these because I wasn't sure how it would be nursing or pumping in front of my toddler. It has been fine, but also sometimes good to have the nursing cover around. I never had one the first time with my son. I also found I was pumping in the car more this second time around (you are busier, more active and out of the house more frequently with the second child because the first needs to keep on movin'!) so having the nursing cover in the car was helpful.
*Hands-free pumping bra- I cannot believe I pumped for 12 months with my first, exclusively pumped every couple of hours, and had no clue about this thing! I'm SO happy someone told me about it the second time around. It makes pumping at work fly by and less boring. It's so helpful when home and I needed to pump and my son was running around, I could then have my hands free to help him with something. And of course in the car, obviously the best thing ever!
This is the one I have http://www.amazon.com/Medela-Expression-Bustier-Hands-Free-Breast/dp/B002NUWQUW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1358011123&sr=8-3&keywords=hands+free+medela+bra
*Breastmilk freezer bags - Get them from the start so you have them easily to access.
*New pump parts - I got all brand new pump parts, including tubing, the second time. I used mine so much the first time I just thought this was necessary. I ordered the tubing on Amazon.com. I could not find it in any store, and it was less than $10 to order online.
*Bottles - Check them over. Are they in good shape? Some replace the nipples. I didn't, they've been totally fine, but some prefer to do that so if you do buy them ahead of time. Did you have enough last time? I was given some bottles the second time around, which doubled what we originally had for our son. Maybe we didn't realize we needed more with my son or maybe it was just so much busier with the second, but we definitely needed more. Make sure you have TONS of bottles, at least 6 of each size is my recommendation. That way if you have been too busy (which you will be!) all day and unable to wash them, there are more in the cabinet.
*Formula - The first time around I was dead set against formula so I gave away any free samples doctors gave me or I got in the mail. Then my son could not latch and was over 9 lbs so was starving, and we ended up supplementing with formula in the beginning and the end of his first year. It was very expensive and I wished I'd had some of those free samples. So the second time around every single doctors visit I went to I grabbed 2 cans of the free samples of formula, just in case. I was planning to breastfeed, pump, supplement, whatever we needed the second time. I have a cabinet full of formula now that we've not even touched once because my second is a champion nurser. So honestly I see it as good luck, the fact that I was open to formula actually helped me get a good nurser! I have thought of giving it away a few times the last 9 months since my freezer is full of breastmilk, but I'm still keeping it until she turns a year old and I don't need it anymore (expires in like 2 years!). My point: You never know how your child is going to do with eating, so be prepared no matter what you decide. And if you decide early on to choose formula over breastfeeding, great! Just make sure you stock up ahead of time also. (although don't buy tons in case baby doesn't like that type...)
*Bibs- At the top of our list with baby #2 was more plastic Bumpkins bibs! Love those things. So easy to wash under the sink, air dry in like an hour. We used tons with my son and just needed more for the second. Yes, I knew it'd be months before she'd need them, but we added it to our registry anyway.
*Meals- I guess this goes under feeding supplies because you have to eat, too! Not as many visitors come by the house after baby #2 is born, it's just how it goes I guess. So that means less food delivered to your door. It's helpful for you to make even two meals ahead of time and toss in the freezer so your family has something good and easy to eat.
*Sippy cups, plates, etc. - Get more! With one child we had 5 bowls, plates, etc. and I just figured we'll need two of all of those so I added those to our list. Also, sippy cups- they get old and used just like bottles do, so check those out to be sure they are in good shape for a second round. Get more now if you need some.
2. DIAPERING- Are you doing disposable again, or considering cloth? Regardless, make the decision now, ahead of time, and gather all supplies you need. You need a thousand more wipes now and diapers of all sizes. Stock up ahead of time. Don't forget that you may also have child #1 still in diapers or possibly making a transition to potty training, so grab some bigger size diapers and pull-ups for him, too. We had no clue when our son would be potty training but figured it'd be around when we had an infant at home, so ahead of time I purchased pull-ups, underwear, a potty, stool, prizes for when he did go potty, etc. We were so happy we had them on hand when I had a 3 month old and my son decided to train! Do you have enough vaseline, like most babies use in the beginning?
3. BIG SIBLING. Have you considered where the baby is going to go? Does that mean moving a big sibling into another location or adding something into her room already? We made a big boy room for our son, which involved some painting and construction around here. It's good to start these projects earlier rather than later.
*Big kid bedding, bed, etc.- Do you have all of this, even if your child is not yet ready to move from crib to bed? We had the big boy room set up months before he actually moved from the crib. It's important to get things done ahead of time because when the second comes there is no time at all to focus on things like this, and it's important to give your child time to process the physical changes that come with a baby arriving, like moving into a new room. We also had to buy a gate for our son's new big boy room so he'd stay in there and not go into the baby's room and wake her up, another safety thing but something to think of.
*Presents- Do you have a gift from you or the new baby wrapped and ready for your child to receive in the hospital? This is always fun. It can be anything at all! Baby dolls, diapers, bottles, etc. are fun for kids -boys or girls - to play with in preparation for a new sibling to come. Also some big brother, big sister shirts are cute for photo ops when they visit the hospital to see the newborn. Gather these items now. You're too tired and busy later to do it.
*Special foods- I also went to the grocery store a few weeks before the baby was due and picked up all of my son's favorite dry cabinet food items that perhaps others would not know to buy for him when I was tied up with baby after surgery. Things like oatmeal, cereal, granola bars, crackers, fruit cups, etc. Your child's world is going to change. Make little things like the food he likes stay the same, despite who is taking care of him. I made a list of the breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner ideas of things he liked too for our in-laws who cared for him while we were in the hospital.
4. MISCELLANEOUS - Of course some things just come up at the last minute, but here are a few to try to remember.
*Diaper bag- Now you have two kids to pack things for. The old diaper bag may not be big enough. I also bought another diaper bag to keep in the car. Always have one in the car that stays there, you will have an even worse memory now with two kids, so forgetting items in the diaper bag that comes to and from places with you is inevitable. The diaper bag stocked full of supplies in the car is helpful.
*Baby monitor - If your kids are still young, you will want a second baby monitor. Find a deal on one. Ask a relative to use their old one. Or end up getting one, but look early and wait until you find a coupon to use. Figure out a system for these ahead of time.
*Baby book- To write down all those cool memories! Don't forget this.
*Clothes - Go through all the old baby clothes- are they in good shape? Do you recall needing more newborn size items, or needing more burp cloths or onesies? If so, get those things now.
*Dreft detergent- Get the baby washing detergent early also. Again, something you may forget because now your toddler doesn't use that detergent anymore.
*Mirror for the car- I never had one of these in the back with the car seat with my son, just didn't seem to care or need it. But with two kids ... you want to see what's up back there! With an active toddler or older child back there possibly tossing a hat or blanket or book at your newborn, you want to see everything is all set. Plus I think there is something helpful about being able to see the newborn on the mirror back there after having your older child facing forward in his car seat for a while now, which of course makes him easy to see. I love the mirror now.
*Think ahead- Are there birthday parties coming up? Are there holidays right around the corner? Think ahead to these things that are coming right near your baby's birth and prepare. We had a birthday party to go to a few weeks after my baby's birth, so I got those gifts early, wrapped and everything. Yes, may sound super organized and freak-ish, but honestly I'm telling you that you won't have time or energy or even the memory to think of doing this when two kids are in the house. Prepare a little and it makes life much easier later on.
*Double stroller- Must have! Maybe not right away, but yes be thinking of it. And if anyone throws you a second shower put it on the list or tell people you'd love gift cards to save up for one. Definitely something you will love.
*High Chair seat- Since our son was 2 years old and 2 months when his sister was born, he was still using the booster seat at the table. We used to take that booster seat in the car with us when he was 6 months old and older to restaurants, other people's houses, etc. So we needed to get a second one of these to keep in the car at all times for when we were out and about.
*Bath seat- We were given this awesome bath seat for our infant (for when she was sitting up but not entirely on her own, 5 months/ish) to use in the tub. This came in SO handy for giving the two kids a bath together. You need your hands free to take care of two. Definitely would recommend this. It's on Amazon.
*Something new- Get a new blanket, hat, music toy, etc. for the new baby. Most second children get lots of hand-me-downs, which I think is AWESOME and cost-effective. However, it's also nice for you as parents and for the new baby to see something new on them or being used by them. I loved that our two children had different going home outfits. It was just something important to me. Our second also used a different blanket in the hospital than her brother did. Think up something small you can give to the new baby from you that's entirely new.
*Sophie the Giraffe- Our son used his so much that we definitely could not give it to our daughter, so we asked for a new one.
*For mommy! Some new nursing tanks, bras, pads, etc. Whatever makes your job more comfy!
*Thank you notes. Yes, you will get some gifts and help and food the second time, so be prepared with plenty of thank you notes.
Just a few ideas for things to do ahead of time to prepare your home for number two to come! Do what you can to make this transition smooth on yourselves. It's helpful to know there are a few things to buy. It's totally OK to make a Babies-R-Us registry or Target registry, or even Amazon wish list with ideas for what you need. It's not rude. It's not weird. It's even OK to have a baby shower yourself for the second one, to celebrate baby. There is nothing wrong with that. It takes a ton of money to raise children, everyone who loves you understands that and will want nothing more than to shower you again with love and presents for this new little one coming on the way. So just accept that!
I would also add to this overall list to get anything you desperately wanted while or after you had your first. That thing you saw other moms have that seemed to make their life easier but you didn't get for some reason. Or that thing you swore "next time I'd do it this way, etc." Try to remember what those things were and get them now. Anything to make it easier for you is worth spending money on this time.
Enjoy this process! Take it a step at a time when preparing for baby to come. Don't do it all at once. Let it be fun! Who doesn't like shopping for a BABY?! :)