Congrats, Shelby, and thank you for sharing your story with us.
Images shared from Shelby Davis.
Picture above taken by Photography by Kay in York, Maine
1. How did you try to prepare yourself before baby number 2 arrived?
Honestly, I didn't do anything! I figured there wasn't much I could do to prepare, besides get all the clothes and equipment ready. I had most everything I needed because I was having a second boy.
I knew it was going to be hard, so my husband and I just talked a lot about how we were going to have to hold on tight for the ride.
2. How did you try to prepare your first child for his little sibling? We talked about it CONSTANTLY. All the time. Every single day, multiple times a day. We read books, we talked about how the baby was going to come out of my belly, we had our older son (recently turned 3) help get out all the baby stuff. He even worked with my husband putting the entire crib together. He was very excited, and very patient while waiting for his brother to arrive.
3. What are some of the biggest changes with going from one to two children? It's a lot harder. Any free time that I had with one child, I definitely don't have with two. The biggest struggle is getting back into all things baby, since my son had turned 3 and was self sufficient and potty trained. I had to pack a diaper bag again, get strollers out, make room for bottles. The hardest thing is when they both need something. Dinner and bedtime are the hardest parts of the day.
4. What has surprised you about being a parent to two? How much they love each other and how fast it happened. The baby (Griffin) smiles the biggest for his brother, and my 3 year old (Nolan) is so amazing with the baby. There is no jealously which surprises me. Nolan is extremely patient with me when I'm alone with the two of them. He waits, he offers to help me, he never complains or acts out around the baby. I thought for sure he would be on a power trip and it's completely opposite.
5. What are some of the greatest things about adding another one into the mix, making two better than one? I love that they have each other. Griffin is only 7 weeks old, so we have a long way to go before they can play together, but I'm so glad that Nolan won't be alone, he'll have a brother to go through life with.
I was so nervous to have two, and I now realize I gave them both an amazing gift - each other.
6. What did you do with your first child while you were in the hospital with baby number 2? I was very adamant about not having Nolan's schedule interrupted. The day the baby was born, Nolan went to school as usual. Griffin, was born at 10:33am, and my husband went to get Nolan at school at 3pm, which was after nap time. For the 3 nights I was in the hospital, my husband stayed at home with Nolan.
7. What is your advice for moms who are going to have a second child?
Enjoy your last days with your first, because life is about to change a lot. And when the baby comes, just do whatever you need to do to survive. I'm big on making dinner from scratch and we have eaten a lot of frozen pizzas, sandwiches and grill food this summer.
8. How was it when you were pregnant with baby number 2 with a toddler running around, was it a different pregnancy? Any advice for those pregnant with a toddler? Not going to lie, it was AWFUL. I was so much more tired between working full time and having a toddler. With my first pregnancy I could just come home after work and collapse. But with my second, after getting off work I started my second job as I like to call it. Picking up Nolan from school and spending the next 3+ hours in a rat race to spend time with him, make dinner, do bedtime routine, get him to sleep, as well as pick up the house, etc. My husband works late often so I was on my own a lot. I hated every single second of my second pregnancy.
9. Any books, Web sites, blogs, or friends' advice that helped with the transition to two? Just friends who told me to not worry about anything but surviving the first few months. They said don't worry about anything but getting through it. And they were right.
10. Can you share any silly or funny moment between your two kids or your husband and you when baby number two came that shows what it's like? My husband just shakes his head a lot and says, "I can't believe we have two kids."
11. Think back to all the things you worried about before and after baby number 1 came along... did you worry about those same things, or lighten up a bit and worry about different things the second time around? I still worried a lot and about the same things during my pregnancy. But after the baby arrived, it was second nature. I didn't stress much with my first child, just learned as I went, but I never felt like a new mom with him. Everything just sort of came naturally to me. I will say with the second I'm a lot more laid back about leaving him - with my mom for a couple hours or my husband for a couple hours, so I can go recharge with a pedicure or a dinner out with a girlfriend. I guess I'm not so obsessed and I know he'll be okay without me for a little bit.
12. Name 3 things you could not live without having a second child. 1. My support system. My husband, my parents, my SIL and my girlfriends. These people are SO helpful to me. Whether it's to come by to see how I'm doing, to hold the baby, to watch the kids for an hour, to bring food by, to keep me company on our lazy days, meet me at the beach, invite me over for playdates. I need these people during this transition and they've all come together to be there for me.
2. Bob stroller with infant seat adapter. I have to take this baby everywhere. I can't toss aside summer at the beach and our activities to just stay home. We are on the go a ton. So that stroller, which is full of sand right now, is a lifesaver. A bonus is being able to snap the seat into the stroller if he's sleeping.
3. A front carrier. I need my hands free A LOT more than last time. I wear the baby a ton. Running errands, on hikes and nature walks, at parties and get togethers. I need free hands to help my older child, and a good front carrier has been so helpful.
13. How has your relationship with your first child changed by adding a second one? Do you try to put special time in for your older one, mommy and son time?
I feel like Nolan has matured a lot as a little person. He loves one on one time with me, with my husband and with us together. But he also loves family time including with Griffin. Nolan and I almost seem to have an understanding that we didn't need to talk about. He knows I need to devote a lot of time to Griffin, and he's very understanding of that. But we do what we can to have one on one time.
I took him to the movies and lunch when Griffin was a month old. My husband set up the tent in the backyard and he and Nolan have slept in it twice this summer and will continue to have camp fires and sleepovers in it. My husband and I took Nolan to Funtown/Splashtown recently, which is an annual trip with my brother's family, and we left Griffin with my mom. We had such a great day! And I'm taking him to a show at the Ogunquit Playhouse later this month. He still gets one on one bedtime stories, and whenever Griffin is sleeping I'll try to spend special time with Nolan. I also kept him in school this summer for 2 full days a week, which has been very good for him.
14. What is your advice to a new mom of two as she prepares, and as the baby is here? What works?
Don't worry about the house, making dinners, dirty laundry, etc. Just take care of yourself and your family. Life changes so much when the baby first comes. Everyone tells me the first 4 months are rough and then it gets better. We are 7 weeks in and I can tell you, it very slowly gets easier.
Don't be afraid to venture out with both kids.You have to pull the trigger eventually, so just do it. I'm so so so glad I get out of the house almost every single day. It does so much for my mood, it keeps me happy and sane. Call friends, take time for yourself, even if it's just an extra long shower. I need "me time" so much more right now than I ever did before, Ask for help. People are willing to help, just ask. I'm not one to ask for much help and I have called my mom constantly. She is more than happy to help me.
Hold on for the bumpy ride. It's crazy to begin with, but it calms down. I am looking forward to all the amazing adventures we have with two kids in the years to come.