The love and happiness that come with your first child are immeasurable. It is the same case when you are expecting another baby. Preparing for this situation will be as special and rewarding as it was the first time. However, there are a few more things you need to consider as you wait for your second child with bated breath. Let us go through the best ways to prepare for this joyous occasion.
When to have a second baby
While this is a question that causes a dilemma among several couples, no specific answers can be provided. Various factors like finances, health, and certain preferences govern this decision. We have listed a few factors that will help you decide the best time to have a second baby.
- Your physical health should be at an optimal level since pregnancy involves huge changes in your body. If you have recovered and are in a proper condition healthwise, you can have a second baby even if the first pregnancy was not very long ago.
- The menstrual cycle starts changing as a woman grows older. The number and quality of egg production diminish with an increase in age. It leads to genetic defects and problems like miscarriage many a time.
- The father’s age also comes into play if you are planning to have a second child. According to research, there has been a significant decrease in sperm quality once a man turns 35 years.
- The costs double as well. There are a lot of questions that you need to think about carefully and in advance when you are planning a second child and going through the finances involved in the process.
- Family goals play a crucial role as you and your partner need to be on the same page while raising a second child. Differences of opinion might arise with regard to this but communication between both of you will help in reaching a middle ground.
- In case the gap is less than two years, you will again have to go for a cesarean section for the new baby. Vaginal delivery is not a good idea if you have had a C-section earlier. Opting for a multi-specialty hospital will equip you with emergency situations.
Preparing yourself for a second pregnancy
- The first step is to opt for a health check-up. After you and your partner decide to have a second child, you must go for a blood test. It will help you to figure out various things like how you can improve the iron content in your body and get rid of maternal anemia and such complications.
- A missed pregnancy does not necessarily mean that you are pregnant. It may so happen that your menstrual cycle is out of sync after the first baby. Therefore, you need to observe your menstrual cycle and chart out the optimal days for conceiving. It may take some weeks but you need to have patience.
- Though it is challenging, you can achieve your former shape after your first pregnancy. Perhaps you can hit the gym and get back on your feet. Gaining weight can cause hormonal imbalances and inhibit fertility, thus making it difficult for keeping a record of your ovulation.
- Pregnancy does not depend on a woman only. Both you and your partner need to be aware of male fertility. Smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol reduce the sperm count in men to a great extent. Obesity has a connection with male infertility as well. Therefore, both of you can hit the gym together.
- If you have spent a considerable amount of time trying to get pregnant for more than half a year, you can resort to an IVF specialist. Even after you conceive the first time, infertility can occur later in you or your partner due to health problems, increased age, changes in lifestyle, and so on.
Things that can change
Initially, it can be quite overwhelming to have a second baby and handle two kids simultaneously. Therefore, you must organize before the birth of the baby. It might prove to be challenging as your once organized routine will get stretched. Taking care of your older child while you are pregnant will require a great deal of energy. The first six to eight weeks can be specifically demanding. While trying to get your infant on a sleeping and feeding schedule, you have to handle your older kid’s needs also. You might be interested to know that there is a positive change that the second child brings in you. Not only do you gain enhanced confidence in your abilities but also the earlier difficult things do not seem like a crisis now.
Emotional and Physical effects
When you bring home a new baby, you will experience extreme exhaustion if you have a C-section and the like. It becomes tough to breastfeed during feeding sessions in the middle of the night or even later. A postpartum doula is a woman equipped with training related to caring for mother and baby during the initial weeks after delivery. You can resort to her help or even get help from a newborn care expert or baby nurse. Thus, you will be able to get some rest and sleep during the daytime.
Developing a bond with the infant can be a cause of concern for you. Talking to a doctor can help you get rid of baby blues. However, you should know the difference between baby blues, which generally last for a few weeks, and postpartum depression, a grave disorder leading to mood and sleep issues. Given that you will have little or no time for yourself following the first few months, you should prioritize some “alone time”. It will enable you to feel calm and relaxed. You can also set up occasional dates with your partner.
Preparing your older child for their soon-to-arrive sibling
It is not essential to inform them about your pregnancy as soon as you receive the news. It may so happen that your inquisitive toddler starts bothering you every moment regarding the arrival of their sibling. So, it is best to wait for some time before you finally break the news to them tactfully. Since they are not so capable of verbalizing their feelings yet, younger ones take to various behaviours like baby talk, thumb-sucking, wanting to drink from a bottle, and so on. The older kids can show resentment or throw tantrums. These problems are not permanent in most cases and you can help your older child adjust to this situation with a little preparation.
- Allow your older child to choose items for the new baby’s room. It is especially vital if you are planning to provide a shared bedroom to them.
- Pick out a unique gift that your child can give to their sibling. Additionally, you can also find something like a chair that they can sit on while you are feeding the infant. It will make them feel special as a “big kid”. Keeping a cute gift ready from the baby for your first kid is also a great idea.
- Allot a specific amount of time to your older child and engage in special activities with them. Be it a trip to the library or reading bedtime stories, it can include anything. During these times, you can arrange for a family member or a friend, or even your partner to care for the baby.
- Reinforce their role in the family so that they enjoy being an elder sibling. You can involve them to get a burp cloth or a diaper when you need it for the baby or even let them help you soothe the cranky newborn.
Coping with the extra responsibilities of a second child
You need to be prepared in advance for the added tasks before the big day. Here are some tips to help you get through.
- Since it will be hard to acquire energy for cooking, you can stock your house with quick, easy dinners.
- The biggest issue of new parents is the laundry which seems to triple with the arrival of another child. So, reorganizing the system is a wise decision.
- You can stock your car with a diaper bag containing all the necessary extra items for the baby and a toy bag for older kids.
- To get minimum rest, you can request the presence of a family member to spend time with you after the baby’s birth.
- Arranging for a babysitter or a close acquaintance to take care of your firstborn during the processes associated with labor and delivery is of paramount significance.
- Pregnant women tend to declutter their homes naturally. Also called nesting, you need to ensure that everything is prim and proper before the arrival of the newborn.
- You should also take care of your needs and pamper yourself with relaxing things after a hectic day.
With the arrival of a second child, parents rarely have time left for breaks. Giving everyone some time to accommodate themselves with the new reality of life with a second baby can be rewarding for all as you celebrate and explore the joyous moments of your larger family.
This article has been written by Madhurima Bhadra and the opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of 9HappyMonths. You can contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org