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advice for the newborn days + a preschooler

This is one of those times when I’m asking for your invaluable words of wisdom. <3

Right before we had Liv, many of you shared the most awesome advice for the newborn days. (I loved re-reading this post! SO many awesome comments and tips.)

Newborn livi

Some of my favorites from the list:

1) Sleep when the baby sleeps and accept that you’ll be tired. I had a hard time sleeping when Liv slept (because I was wrought with anxiety, and also that was the only time I would shower/fix food for myself/stare at a wall blankly haha), but I learned my lesson. This time, I’m really going to try and nap when and if I can, because I learned that sleep deprivation and I are not great friends. Also, I love the tip to just know and accept that you’ll be tired. Now that I’ve experienced it, I know what we’re getting into. It won’t make the lack of sleep easier, but it’s comforting that it doesn’t last forever. 

2) Enjoy time just as your new family before visitors arrive. These are precious moments as your new family, and it’s beautiful to spend some time in a little cocoon together. For the first couple of days after Liv was born, night fused into day as we watched movies, followed her natural rhythm (sleep all day, party all night) and napped as often as we could. 

3) Enjoy each stage for what it is. It’s really easy to get into the “I can’t wait until he/she walks/talks/eats solids, etc.” game. Instead of skipping ahead, focus on the right now. As my friend wisely said, “The present is the only moment that is real.”

4) You can’t spoil a baby. In other words, hold, love, snuggle that sweet beeb as much as you can. Having Liv sleep on my chest was one of the best things ever, and I still love when she’ll fall asleep on me. I’m really excited for those newborn cuddles, soft baby snores, and sweet smelling baby hair. 

5) Set up a good sleep schedule/routine. This one helped us a LOT, and also eased Liv into a solid nap schedule and eventually sleeping through the night. We followed the routine in The Baby Whisperer, and plan to do something similar with baby #2. It will probably be more relaxed since we’ll be off to ballet, swim, soccer and preschool, but if we can still follow the eat, activity, sleep routine for the most part, I think it will be awesome. 

6) Comparison is the thief of joy. Even though it’s tempting, don’t compare your baby’s milestones to other babies, or your life as a new mom (or mom of more than one kiddo) to others. I started reading mommy and fashion blogs again basically when we got home from the hospital, and it was depressing to see everyone put together while I had a unibrow, sweats, and unwashed hair. As far as baby comparison goes, I’ve learned that if one kid is early or late to develop a skill, most of them eventually balance out anyway. It’s not worth stressing over. 

7) Motherhood is a great time to learn, not judge. Use each challenging moment or situation as an option to learn. I’ve found that since I became a mom, I also became more accepting and understanding of other moms. (It’s funny to think back of my college days when I was a parenting expect.. with no kids haha.) 

Jenni Jwoww Farley Mom Problems Hunger Games Meme

Source

8) Accept help. Don’t be afraid to accept help from family and friends, or outsource if you need to. Friends and family genuinely want to help you if they’re offering. At first it was really weird for me to accept help -I like to do everything myself- but you get to a point where you need it, and are so thankful. 

9) If anything, go outside. Fresh air works wonders in many situations. I think last time I stayed indoors too long -it was winter, and there was a point where I hadn’t left the house at all in 3 days- and I think that even just sitting outside and getting fresh air (especially during the witching hours) helps so much. 

10) Don’t overdo it. Don’t push yourself back into things too quickly, and use the newborn days as an opportunity to slow down. Everyone says to enjoy every moment, and it really goes by so quickly, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. 

So tell me friends, what would your number one piece of advice be to a family welcoming baby #2?

Some of the things we’re planning on:

-Having a gift from baby waiting for Liv at the hospital (an awesome Ariel castle)

-Having the baby in a bassinet (not in our arms) the first time Liv meets her

-Planning special activities and dates just with Liv after the baby is here, so she still gets one on one time with each of us

-Extra TV/movie/book time during the early days, and we can all relax together

I would love to hear about your experience and any tips/advice as we get closer to Birth Day. 🙂

xoxo

Gina

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96 Comments

  1. Julia on October 6, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    I think you already have a great list going. I will say that with baby 2 and on that expecting to find your new normal super quickly is a surefire way to frustration. It takes quite a while for a family to settle in with a new baby! Being super patient with the process and trusting that things will come to together as they should, and that making dinner with two kids around, and going out with two children, etc. will one day feel so normal you won’t know how you did anything with just one child before! I hope that makes sense.

    Being a mom is a crazy calling, but one that is 100% worth it. Seeing your girls together as they get old enough to interact and be friends will make your heart explode. Best wishes!

  2. Tessa on October 6, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Let her pick out a special present just from her to the new baby! And let her help, mine loved to help with the new baby!! Just feeling apart of everything helps a lot

  3. Kim on October 6, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Being that my son called his sister ‘it’ for the first 4 months of her life, I’m not sure how much wisdom I can offer but here goes:
    1. Be prepared for Liv to look like a giant next to the baby.
    2. Great ideas about time alone with her, but also involve her with the baby. And some little chores, it will make her feel like a big sister and a help to mommy. And rewards are always an incentive
    3. Above all, trust yourself. You’re already a great mom, you know what to do.

    • Jill on October 8, 2015 at 8:53 am

      hahahaha this was amazing!

  4. Allison on October 6, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Loved reading this post, it is a good reminder to just enjoy the moment and not compare our family to anyone else. One thing we did when our second was born was have our first (2.5 at the time) read some books to her-he read “Goodnight Moon” and it was the cutest thing ever. There were a few others and to this day they are some of her favorite books-obviously she can’t remember him reading to her when she was a day old, but we tell him those are her favorite books because he read them to her and he gets really proud of himself.

    It’s an adjustment at first, but I’m sure Livi will be a great big sister and you guys will just be the cutest little family of four!!

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:54 am

      that is awesome- i think liv would love reading to the baby <3
      xoxo

  5. Colleen on October 6, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    My son was three when my daughter was born and it turned his (and my) world upside down. My sweet, loving, gentle little boy threw screaming fits when he saw me nursing or wearing the baby carrier, and he was hitting me and the baby, and trying to push her out of my lap when I nursed her. It broke my heart because I felt like the special bond I had with my son was gone, and at the same time I couldn’t truly enjoy snuggling and bonding with my new baby.
    BUT, we got through it. If he threw a screaming tantrum or showed any physical aggression, we immediately put him in his room for timeout, and eventually he figured out that there was zero tolerance. We also downloaded some kidfriendly iPad apps and only allowed him special screen time when I nursed the baby. Eventually, he got over seeing me wearing the baby and figured out that I could still play with him even with sister in the Boba. I also started narrating his life for the baby ” Wow, look at big brother eating his noodles! He is so grown up! You are too small for noodles, all you can have is mommy’s milk.” etc.
    There were many tears (from everyone!) as I tried to accept that I couldn’t be everything for everybody all the time, but after a few months we found a rhythm and some semblance of a new normal. Don’t beat yourself up, ask for help, and don’t feel guilty about taking time to recharge! After 7 years of working out at home, I finally joined a gym with childcare so I could have an hour to myself without worrying about juggling everyone’s needs. Some days I actually just go and take a long shower, then drink hot coffee and read a book in the lobby. 😉 Thoughts and prayers for your family!

    • Janice on October 6, 2015 at 6:39 pm

      I don’t have children so can’t join in the advice, but I have to say I admire all of you and especially love, love, love your comment Colleen!

    • June on October 7, 2015 at 6:34 am

      Wow. I totally hear you. I had my daughter when my son was turning 2. Prior to her entering our lives, he went to bed in his own room, in his big boy bed. He started learning about the potty and was really becoming quite independent. When baby girl arrived, he regressed…A LOT. He wanted to sleep with mommy since the baby was with me, and he was major jealous even though we did our best to get him involved, give him a lot of individual time, etc. As a parent, you learn to accept Murphy’s Law and you just roll with the punches. No matter what you do or how you handle small hiccups, your way is the right way and don’t let anyone give you grief. The best you can do is have Dad take over toddler duty while you’re taking care of the newborn. Eventually, you’ll find your groove. Having 2 kids is not easy, it requires a lot of organization (packing for 2 kids, with completely different needs). But, the newborn stage is much easier the 2nd time (practice makes perfect, right?). God Bless your growing family. You’re a great mom, just keep doing what you’re already doing.

      • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:20 am

        thank you so much! <3

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:54 am

      love these tips so much. thank you, colleen! your comment about the gym childcare made me laugh. just a couple of weeks ago, i took liv with me and was going to work out. my hips started hurting, so i got off the treadmill and read in the locker room for 30 minutes. it was amazing haha
      xoxo

  6. Joni on October 6, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    I’m really excited to see how you transition to two kiddos! We’re due with #2 in January and I’m thinking about this a lot too. Just an amen on that anxiety/postpartum after the first one… I read way too many things on blogs/mommy groups, never slept when the baby slept, tried to do everything myself, and was anxious to get back to ‘normal’ life as quickly as possible.

    This time, like you, I plan to RELAX and chill the heck out!! It’s so cool to look at your first and realize that it really doesn’t last forever, and that everything turns out ok! I plan to do nothing once baby is here; I’ll have a ton of meals frozen in advance, sleep all I can, and really let others help (especially when it comes to entertaining the toddler). Best of luck, we can do this <3

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:48 am

      yes we can <3 excited for you!!

  7. Samantha on October 6, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Hi Gina,

    I had my 2nd child/2nd daughter in January so I’m 9 months in to this. My daughter who is 3.5 now was almost 3 at the time so our dynamics our slightly similar, though Liv will be older when this nugget comes along, which I think is actually better. At almost 3 my older daughter (Ori) was awesome and she’s even more awesome now.

    I gave birth at home, and was open to Ori being present for the birth but it worked out that I went into labor during shower time, I read her a bedtime story, breathing through contractions all the way, and gave birth at 1030pm and I didn’t want to wake her. I didn’t tell her as she went to sleep that there might be a baby in the morning because I didn’t know if it would weird her out or cause her to sleep weird. Anyway when she woke up in the morning my husband went to get her and told her the baby came over night. She was in my arms in my bed when she walked in and was FINE. She was so excited, crawled into bed with me and pet the baby. Ha.

    I think your advice in your post is spot on and is applicable for 2. Rely and let go of caring for Liv as much as possible the first few weeks. Allow your mom/grandma/husband to do all the things Liv related and take care of yourself, sleep when she naps, etc. My husband took over a lot of stuff with Ori, like making breakfast, leaving for work a little later, etc which took the load off me at first. And it was good anyway because it meant they were making their relationship even more solid and I knew she was in good hands and made me feel less guilty for not being around as much. My husband also slept in another room for the first few months and honestly this was awesome. It meant that if Ori woke up at night, I wasn’t bothered, and when she woke up in the morning, I wasn’t bothered, his alarm didn’t wake me, etc. He would come in just before he was ready to leave for work and usually that gave me 1 hour or more in the am to sleep when I wouldn’t have otherwise, plus Ori was usually dressed and fed when he was ready to leave. Anyway this was awesome.

    Just allow yourself to be home, to have Liv watch a lot of TV and slowly get back into your rutine. I let go of the guilt of too much screen time because now 9 months in we have a great schedule, the baby has an actual schedule for sleep etc and we do all the things we could do. I took advantage of those great newborn and early baby time of no nap schedule and went out, letting her nap however, whenever and then slowly adjusted our routine as the baby needed more and more structure.

    Ori has loved having alittle sister, seeing her old clothes on her, getting excited about her learning to walk and run so she can play with her, she shows her off, etc. We didn’t do a gift or anything from the baby to Ori, and again having my parents and my husband spend a TON of time with Ori those first few weeks was a great transition and I think what made Ori not have resentment or frustration towards the baby. I took the advice of others and really emphasized Ori as my helper and praisin her when she helped. Bring me the wipes, can you grab a towel from the kitchen, whatever it was. She feels empowered and really ran with the whole idea of being a ‘big girl’ after the baby came (I’m NOT LITTLE MOM! IM BIG”) ok then….

    Good luck and just trust your gut, rest, and just do what feels right. It seems like you are doing that with Liv and will continue on. But man, 2 kids is exhausting and recovering from birth when you have also another kid is HARD. Harder than after just having 1. So really allow yourself to sit, relax, let other people do for you … your schedule and routine will return and be easy soon, but dont rush. I am super type A, and letting go was hard but once I did, I was able to be present and adjust much healthier.

    Good luck and safe and easy birth! The 2nd one comes much faster, so get ready!

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:48 am

      thank you so much for these awesome tips, samantha! <3 we will do a lot of these things- thank you. and i hope baby #2 is faster!! just not on the freeway haha

      • sam on October 7, 2015 at 10:43 am

        haha freeway babies make great stories!

        my first was 35 hours of labor and my 2nd was 4 hours (active). i think i knew i was in labor all day as the contractions were more pressure than braxton hicks but not painful yet. i kind of denied it was happening and went about my day, walking, hung out with friends, etc which i think helped pass the time (with #1 i think at this stage i was already like, IM IN LABOR GAHHHH) and that helped move things along faster because i was calm, walking and distracting myself and allowed things to just progress once i was in it. when the midwives got there, 1 hour after the contractions were for real (couldn’t talk during them) i was already dilated to 7 and my water broke on its own 20 minutes later.

        but anyway your birth story will be awesome and unique. stay strong!

  8. Kate @KateMovingForward on October 6, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    LOVE all of these! We are expecting a new little in April when my daughter is just a little over 2…I’m already a little concerned about her adjustment, so I love your ideas for helping Liv adjust to being a big sister.

  9. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on October 6, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    I have no advice but I’m loving reading all the advice of others!!

  10. Sarah on October 6, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Things will not be fair. Listen to me on this. You can try till you make yourself nuts, but you will create unfair & unrealistic expectations for Liv. Let her see you hold the baby 1st! Why not. Don’t hide your love from her. Don’t walk on egg shells around Liv. Do you want her to be resentful? Of course not. This “sneaky love” stuff actually sends the message loud & clear that you feel bad for loving the baby as much as Liv. Kids are smart. Give Liv credit. She can do this. She can build character and wait. And be patient. And do things that you think are asking just too much. (Mommy guilt galore.) Teach her to DO HARD THINGS. Build her spiritual muscles. She will be fine. If YOU let her. She is a girl, after all. ;))

    • Sarah Crowder on October 7, 2015 at 7:28 am

      I agree with this. Everyone is different, but I couldn’t wait to hold both of them in my arms together, and it was such a beautiful moment for our family.

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:47 am

      it’s not sneaky love at all haha. she’s already quite a strong and smart girl. i just read online that the first time they meet the baby, it’s helpful if the parents aren’t holding the baby because it doesn’t turn on their confused/threatened impulse. i don’t think liv will feel like that, but i’m willing to try it. then she can meet the baby and we can pick her up and snuggle her together.

      • Sarah Crowder on October 7, 2015 at 5:24 pm

        It’s going to be amazing 🙂

      • Kristy on October 8, 2015 at 10:09 am

        Just curious where you read this? I’ve never heard this advice, and literally everybody I know has introduced #2 to #1 while holding the baby, and I’ve never heard this bit of advice before.

        • Fitnessista on October 8, 2015 at 10:37 am

          http://cupofjo.com/2013/07/toby-meets-anton-for-the-first-time/
          I’d love to hear how it worked out for your family!

          • Elana on October 12, 2015 at 1:43 pm

            This is actually advice that I read in my maternity nursing text book as well 🙂



          • Fitnessista on October 12, 2015 at 4:14 pm

            yay, that’s good to know!



  11. Kaneil on October 6, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    love this list of tips! We had our second girl shortly after our first turned 3. One thing I wish I would’ve done was to wait and have my 3 yr old visit us in the hospital when it was time for us to go home. We had her come a few hours after the baby was born and it was really hard for her to leave us at the hospital. Next time, I will wait and have the kids come to meet a new sibling when we can all go home together. Just an idea!

    Also…try to have patience and breathe. I had a hard time being patient with my older daughter. It’s a big adjustment for everyone and I wish I would’ve lowered my expectations a bit. Just know that it gets better and the new normal will be great after a few weeks!

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:44 am

      ohhhh i hadn’t thought of that. i could totally see liv wanting to stay there with us. i’m not sure how long i’ll be in the hospital, but i’m hoping she can come hang out for a little while each day

  12. Katie @ Live Half Full on October 6, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    These are great tips! I’m 38 weeks with my first and I really appreciate all the advice I can get!

  13. Kate on October 6, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Don’t expect your oldest to act older then she does now just Bc she is a big sister. And don’t spoil the oldest with gifts the first few weeks, cause when all the excitement is over and family is gone, shit is going to get real and she will want more gifts. Million upon millions of children have survived and thrived on having siblings.
    And you should really focus on your newborn for the first 2 weeks. Have family and husband and friends watch liv. Those 2 weeks are so important for breastfeeding, bonding and your healing.
    My little is now 9 months and they have An amazing relationship already. Having 2 is GREAT!! You will rock it

  14. Katie on October 6, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I was going to text this little nugget of advice to you anyway…so here we go! Load Liv in the car first, then baby. Mason locked us out of the house one time. I’ll never make that mistake again!

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:39 am

      AHHHH. good to know!

    • Maria on October 7, 2015 at 11:15 am

      my daughter locked me out of the house when I was throwing out the trash. It was an awful experience!

      • Julie on October 8, 2015 at 5:54 pm

        Oh my gosh this is the best advice- my older son was 2.5 when my younger one was born and I learned this one the scary way too- he bolted from me one time close to the street (thank god he didn’t run IN to the street, but still!). Now he’s first in the car and last one out!

  15. Dot on October 6, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Good list! We let our nearly 3 year old pick out a present for the new baby too which she brought to the hospital on her first visit. The baby’s present for the toddler was a new doll and a little bag of doll accessories – lots of them. This was great because it gave her lots to do when she visited us in hospital. We also had our laptop with a couple of favourite movies on it so when she visited we could still cuddle up and watch Frozen like normal (yes my new baby saw Frozen before he even left the hospital). Our first month was very difficult, toddler loved the baby but took a long time to forgive us! But we are now 3 months down the track and its getting much easier. I love seeing them together, makes it all worthwhile!

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:38 am

      so happy to hear that it’s easier already <3 we will definitely download some movies onto the ipad- thank you!

  16. Laurel on October 6, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    Our first was exactly two when his sister came. We included him a lot in “helping” (grabbing a diaper, wiping her hands with a wipe, etc). The first few months were so great! Then it got trickier….lots of attention-seeking behavior. The book “Siblings Without Rivalry” was super helpful. As was a post on Cup of Jo (google it).

    So I guess just know that the process of being a sibling is lifelong! There will be smooth days and “spicy” days. It’s how they will both practice sharing/attention-getting/love/play and all the rest. As an adult I am still learning some of those lessons with my little sister. But the moments of tenderness and love between them are priceless! Seeing Weston tell his sister “it’s ok, Eloise” and hug her after a big fall is amazing. They are so lucky to have each other! Liv and her sister will be the same!!! Good luck.

  17. Nicole on October 6, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    All I can say that as a mom of 2 (mine are 11 and 9). I had a motto when things might get rough and they will -juggling the needs of 2 young dependants is hard – ‘This too shall pass’. Because it will and years from now you will look back on it and think yeah it did.

  18. Ashley on October 6, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Ask her for help! This was such a huge way to involve kiddo #1 with #2 especially because of Livs age, she can become mom’s super duper special helper when dads at work. When I was nursing and maybe needed something (burp cloth, pillow, etc) instead of disturbing baby I’d ask my special helper to do it! I found that this made big sister feel really big and special instead of reverting back to baby stage of I want attention and why isn’t mom focusing on me.

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:37 am

      we will definitely do that- thank you, friend <3

  19. Georgia on October 6, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Sounds like you’ve got all of the good things down already! We focused so much on not making #1 feel jealous or sad etc. that honestly… I felt like I cheated the baby. The girls LOVE one another and all that we did worked well but I would also say just this:

    Plan time where you each take one child (even if it’s only for 15 minutes in different rooms etc.) and focus on that child. We do daddy/daughter dates or mommy/daughter dates etc.

    Our girls have an amazing bond which I wanted, but I was so focused on number one who is HIGHLY verbal/expressive and even relationally demanding that I wasn’t prepared for an introverted. self soothing number two who kind of got lost in the shuffle… 🙁 Number 2 is 2 now and I try to make it up but.. I wish we had done more mommy baby special time. 😉

    you’re going to do GREAT.

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:37 am

      that’s a great tip- thank you! since liv is in preschool, it will be easier to get in special mom and baby only time while she’s there. we’ll definitely plan some mom and dad dates with each of the kiddos <3

  20. Elisa on October 6, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    Not long anymore! My daughter was 22 months when our son was born. It really turned her world upside down and it took some time and a few tantrums before she truly accepted her baby brother. I realised early on that there were going to be times when both of them were crying and that the other one would have continue a little bit longer as mummy only has two hands. And it could not always be her left crying. I also kept some toys (only a couple) as truly hers. She needs to share with her brother most things, but for instance her teddy is only hers. It’s the same now with my son as he is a bit older (19 months). It truly is the most amazing thing being a mummy! My heart just got bigger (along with my butt;)) when my son was born. And now watching them play together is so much fun!

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:35 am

      that is great to hear. i can’t wait until they can play together <3

  21. Shaina Anderson on October 6, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    I’m sure you’ve gotten a ton of great advice already (I didn’t read through allll of it), but knowing how alike we are – I’ll tell you that I came home and tried to do too much too fast. I felt amazing after rocking the birth I wanted and up doing laundry when Ry was 3 days old. Yeah…don’t do that. It almost landed me in the ER with huge clots and the only way I avoided it was to promise my Dr that I would put myself on bed rest for 24 hours and observe. Luckily everything was fine, but in the interim, Tripp hated me. I couldn’t get up and do anything with him, and he didn’t want to come in my room to hang with me because “she” was in there. It broke my heart!

    The postpartum hormone dump and tears are inevitable, and this time around the tears were almost mourning. I mourned the loss of just Mama and Tripp. Thankfully Patrick and my Mom took over seamlessly, but I WANTED to make his lunch, I WANTED to bathe him, and it tore me up that I couldn’t right away.

    It was probably a rough 6 weeks until we all got into the rhythm of our new normal, babywearing saved my life, and everything was fine once he saw that Ryleigh was basically along for the ride and our schedule resumed.

    Speaking of which, I tried my hardest to keep to the Baby Whisperer routine with her but Tripp is just so active that it honestly wasn’t feasible. Since she was in the ergo so much with my boobs in her face, she wanted to nurse all. the. time. so I ended up nursing her on demand way more than Tripp ever did. In the end, it was fine and I think the first year of a baby’s life is challenging no matter what your routine is. It definitely got easier once she was able to sit up on her own, and then INFINITELY easier once she started consistently sleeping all night around 10 months.

    Its going to be rough. There’s no getting around it, but you’re an amazing Mom and a strong woman. This baby girl is lucky to have such an awesome family!

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:35 am

      thank you, friend. these are awesome tips. i’m already a little bit afraid of the hormone dump. i cried SO much last time… hoping those placenta pills work their magic 😉
      i definitely plan to wear her as much as possible, and i feel like second babies are easygoing and tend to just go with the flow and rhythm of the family (eventually)!
      hope we get to see you soon <3

      • Shaina on October 7, 2015 at 10:18 am

        They totally do. It will be fantastic!! And yes!! We definitely need to hang before the big move.

  22. Sarah B on October 7, 2015 at 1:31 am

    I second what others have said about enlisting the “big kid” as a helper. I have five little ones now (ranging from 4 months to 4 year old twins) and that’s always been a huge thing for my kids when I have a new baby in the house. They love to feel helpful! Even the most mundane things like grabbing a diaper for baby or a snack for me, having a little job can really help. I think it makes them feel like they still have a very important place in the family 🙂
    I didn’t do gifts from baby exactly but the older kids all got a lot more time spent with grandparents, our beloved babysitter etc including special adventures and one on one time for activities (ballet etc) which they LOVED and then it didn’t totally feel like baby was taking over ever aspect of their lives, you know?

    Sleep, take care of yourself and treat yourself as much as you are able! You just did the most amazing thing ever, after all! 😀

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:33 am

      love that tip! i think liv will enjoy being a helper. even when i ask her to do little things around the house, she seems to feel so proud and empowered after she does it 🙂
      that is a great point! tom is off for two weeks and then my mom is coming, so she’ll get some special time with her nana
      xoxo

  23. Jess on October 7, 2015 at 3:06 am

    Definitely agree with making special time for Liv, even if it is just that while baby naps she chooses quiet activity you can do together. And reinforce continuously how much her sister loves her, admires her, is smiling at her etc. Help Livi and the baby spend time wirh each other, talk to each other etc. I found once my bub was smiling her big sisters couldn’t help but love being big sisters. Their baby sister loves them soooo much that even when she is being a pain by snatching their fave toy (she is very much a toddler now) they are so sweet and empathetic.

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:30 am

      that is so great to hear <3

  24. Julia@yogawinehappiness.com on October 7, 2015 at 3:47 am

    This is all great advice that I definitely need!! 🙂

  25. Kristen on October 7, 2015 at 5:33 am

    I’m the oldest, and I remember my parents giving me a present to give to each new baby. I got to pick out a super soft stuffed animal and give it to my little brother and later, my little sister. I also used to get “special helper tasks,” like handing my mom the baby wipes or “making sure everyone was quiet so the baby could get some sleep.” They were totally self-serving now that I look back on it haha, but I remember feeling pride and ownership instead of jealousy bc they were “my” babies and I got to be “a good helper.”

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:30 am

      that’s how i felt with my brother, too! i was 4 when he was born, and i remember feeling like i was a little mommy 🙂

  26. JN on October 7, 2015 at 5:34 am

    Things will be different, hectic, draining but oh so worth it. My daughter was 2.5 when I had my son. And like you, I tried to think of different ways to make her transition from only child to older sibling easier on HER. Well, that all went out the window once my son arrived. We all basically retreated to survival mode. My planned one-on-one sessions with my daughter went out the door because my son was a constant nurser. And can I tell you something? My daughter did great! I don’t think I gave her enough credit and assumed that she would turn into a jealous sibling who resented her brother. So, give Livi some credit. Cuddle that baby when she first comes to visit, and invite Liv to join in on the cuddle. I’ll be honest, your plan of having the baby be in a bassinet when Liv arrives seems a little bit over the top. Cuddle that baby as much as possible and let Livi see that this will be the norm moving forward. She is a confident girl, she can handle it!

    The first few weeks, make the baby and you a priority. This is so important if you want breastfeeding to go well. Livi will be put on the back burner but that is where your husband and family can come in to help. I felt so much guilt for putting my daughter second (harsh reality) but it was short lived. after a few months, we finally got a routine going and i get to devote more alone time with my daughter.

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:28 am

      that’s so true. liv is extremely resilient and goes with the flow, so i’m sure that even though we’ll hit some bumpy spots, she’ll do awesome.
      as far as the baby in the bassinet thing, quite a while ago i read that siblings feel less threatened/jealous if the parents aren’t holding the baby when they walk into the hospital room for the first time. i’m not sure liv would feel like that anyway, but i like that it gives her the ability to go up and “meet” the baby and we can hold her and snuggle together.
      that’s great to hear. tom will be home for a couple of weeks before my mom arrives, so they’ll both be able to help out with liv while baby and i get into a feeding groove. i’m thinking i’ll probably end up wearing her in the wrap most of the time… and can’t wait 🙂

  27. Amanda on October 7, 2015 at 5:53 am

    Hello! What worked for us as parents of a newborn and preschooler is pick out the things that liv can help with. Like bringing you diapers or the powder (as long as she can resist squeezing the container, ask me how i know about that 🙂 ). My daughter loved helping and felt important to be doing things for her brother and helping mommy. My second thing that really worked for us is using time now to search for simple activities or crafts that liv can do with a limited amount of help or interaction from you. This helped us because she could bring the craft or whatever it was right near wherever me and the baby were and be entertained and included in our “circle” and i could interact with her without having to run all over the house. This worked especially well during feeding times. Most importantly, have fun! The baby had a blowout and the prek’r is pre nuts? Just laugh and get out the baby tub.

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:22 am

      love that tip! liv is really starting to get into arts and crafts, so we can pick up some fun things to do together when the baby naps. i asked her if she was going to help with diapers and things like that, and she was like “isn’t that your job?” hahaha.

  28. Anne on October 7, 2015 at 6:08 am

    I saw that picture of your new baby was already here!! Enjoy your last bits of three, but so excited for you to become four 🙂

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:21 am

      ahhhh i wish! so soon <3

  29. Debbie on October 7, 2015 at 6:19 am

    Go back to Tip #10 ….don’t overdo it with Baby #2…let yourself heal and rest while you have help in the first few weeks. It is harder because you have two and think you don’t have time to rest…. I overdid it and almost ended up in the hospital. Don’t forget to focus on yourself and what your body just went through. Good luck!

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:21 am

      thank you!! yes, i definitely need to remind myself of that. a day or two after liv was born, i was doing dishes and started bleeding more heavily. the midwife said GET IN BED, so i’m really just going to enjoy snuggling and being lazy until i recover <3

  30. Leah on October 7, 2015 at 6:35 am

    While I agree that comparing yourself to other moms can be really upsetting, I have to urge parents out there to keep those milestones in mind. It’s one thing to compare your sweats and greasy hair to the perfectly dressed mom at Whole Foods eating kale, but milestones are important for a reason. If your baby hasn’t hit important milestones, please seek the advice of your pediatrician, don’t just blow it off thinking “oh it will all balance out in the end.” That absolutely can happen, but this early stage is so important for brain development that if something is wrong and it is caught early enough, a little therapy could go a long way! I say this as a speech-language pathologist who specializes in early intervention and preschool-aged kiddos.

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:19 am

      that is awesome point. i just meant the difference between being cognizant of milestones and obsessing about them and what you’re baby is doing compared to other babies. for example, liv was verbal extremely early but took longer to walk than some of her baby friends

  31. Katie on October 7, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Love this!! Expecting #2 in March, and big sister will be barely over 2. I’m expecting it to be easier in that I KNOW that it’s all so fleeting (it does seem never-ending in the moment!) and that we can survive it, but of course much harder because of an active and attention-hungry toddler. I try to remind myself often to be kind to myself and my family. Let go of some of the high expectations I sometimes set – embrace convenience dinners, be more lax with screen time, and don’t get so caught up in scheduling the baby.

    We were talking about this at work yesterday, and my coworker who is about to be a new mom said she just couldn’t imagine being pregnant with another baby and I said it’s just survival! You just do it because your a Mom and you have to and you’re stronger than you think. I think this will apply even more as a new Mom. We just find a way because we are strong, awesome mamas!

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:18 am

      so true. you just kick it into survival mode and roll from there <3

  32. Maria on October 7, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Thanks for this post! It’s a nice reminder of what life was like with a newborn. I especially need to remind myself of the last one. I told my husband I’m not doing anything the first two weeks but savoring all the baby cuddles I can. Not one household chore, nothing. He gave me the side eye, like “yeah right.” ha! We are planning on taking our 3 year old to pick out a gift for her to give to her new baby sister and also getting a gift from “the baby”. I never thought of having the baby in the bassinet the first time she meets the baby. I like that idea a lot. That way she can see her, sit down and be the first to hold her. Love it!

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:18 am

      yes, i read that online quite a while ago and it said that kids tend to feel less threatened/jealous that way. i’m not sure if liv would be anyway, but i think it’s worth a try!

  33. Jennifer (take the day off blog) on October 7, 2015 at 6:58 am

    I had my second daughter in May, the day after my first child turned three. I was so anxious about how big sister would adjust to the change and I was REALLY worried about how I would adjust. We were in such a great groove with our three year old and I was not sure I was ready to go back to sleeplessness and all of the other less glamorous parts of having a newborn….BUT going from one to two has been honestly awesome. I did a lot of things the same (like BabyWise / Baby Whisper for scheduling and sleep) but gave myself tons of grace with things like breastfeeding (say it with me now, formula is not poison, formula is not poison…). I actually just wrote a post about my honest experience thus far.. Check it out if you want some nitty gritty truth telling 😉 http://takethedayoff.net/2015/09/second-times-a-charm/

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:17 am

      i will definitely check it out- thank you!
      and YES on the formula. i’m going to give bfing a solid try again, but if it doesn’t work out, i’m not beating myself up about it

  34. Stella on October 7, 2015 at 7:18 am

    I feel like I am on baby watch with you! Thank you for posting this…my second is due in the next couple of weeks with the first being the same age as Livi. I am so glad to read through the comments. Big brother has been excited so far but I’ve been keeping an open mind to how things will change when little one gets here. Thanks other readers for the comments!

    • Fitnessista on October 7, 2015 at 9:16 am

      ahh so excited for you <3 and yes- so many amazing tips here!

  35. april on October 7, 2015 at 9:28 am

    i don’t have any kids of my own yet, but i love the advice for taking care of liv during this time. i was 5 (almost 6) when my younger brother was born and i stayed with my grandparents while my parents were in the hospital. i still remember opening a gift bag from my mom with a couple small toys and a sweet card. it made me feel really special, loved, and excited to be a big sister – i’m sure liv will feel the same way! 🙂

  36. Amy on October 7, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Having my second was a harder transition for me than having my first. There’s just a lot more work with two kids- but mine were two years apart so both napping, diapers, etc.. Trying to coordinate their schedules was tough. My daughter was definitely not happy to see a little brother nursing and getting lots of cuddle time with me. I will admit that I really missed my daughter while I was in the hospital after giving birth. It was hard to have everyone else take care of her and I missed her. When I felt comfortable, I would get some babysitting for the baby for little chunks of time so that I could hang out with my daughter a bit and that was really nice. We got into a rhythm and adjusted nicely. Congratulations!! I only focused on the challenges, lots of great things too!:)

  37. Jackie on October 7, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Maybe this is obvious but my #1 comment would be to let Liv help! Sisters are such a special thing….they need lots of time to bond too.

  38. Monica on October 7, 2015 at 11:55 am

    I’m due the day after you and we also plan on having our baby girl in the bassinet when our son visits the hospital. He just turned two and although I know he can “handle” it, like you I just feel it will be more special to snuggle him first and then introduce him to his little sister! He will be bringing a gift for his sister that he picked out and she will have a gift for him too. Once we get home I am just going to take it a day at a time to adjust to our new normal. I’ve loved reading all of the tips!

    Can’t wait to hear the news on your little one!! Best of luck <3

  39. Michaela on October 7, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Hi there! My advice is to be easy on yourself. There will be challenging moments when you just don’t have enough arms, both are crying at once & you can only help one at a time, you need to make a tough split second decision, or they seem to be in cahoots to push all your buttons. Know that these things will happen and, when they do, just don’t be your own worst critic. Trust your instincts, be accepting of yourself and, when in doubt, remember that we’ve all been there – and survived. Seeing your children interact together is one of the most indescribably rewarding feelings (my son is 3 & my daughter is 1 — this is the good stuff!) and I’m so happy that you’ll be able to see this soon. Wishing you a safe & healthy delivery & lots of positive thoughts toward your growing family!

    • Fitnessista on October 8, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      thank you so much. i needed to hear this!
      and thank you for the good wishes- i really appreciate it <3

  40. Alissa on October 7, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    You’ve got lots of great advice here, so I don’t have much to add, other than congratulations! Excited to hear the news! I just had my 3rd baby 6 months ago — you just have to remember this is a season of messy and going with the flow. When things aren’t going well in my house, it’s because I have placed some sort of schedule demands on my kids, when it would be much wiser to chill out. (on the other hand – I’m very scheduled about sleep! After six weeks or so, using their natural rhythm, I get babies on a sleeping schedule that is workable for me. They are pretty pliable at that age still and everyone is happier. With a first baby, it’s fine to do whatever, whenever, but a preschooler needs some sort of routine and a baby’s sleep needs to fit into that. In my opinion. :))) )

  41. Lisa G on October 7, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    I think Liv will adjust fine. She will be able to have a live babydoll- can help bring you diapers, help feed, & hold her new sister. To me it was easier having the second baby, both labor & afterwards. I wasn’t as worried or stressed with what to do & since my older one was in preschool part of the day I wasn’t as overwhelmed.

  42. Leah on October 7, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    I’m so excited for you! You have awesome advice and great lists already. Just here to cheer you on! My kids are 3 years and 3 months apart. My son did awesome after his sister was born. Trying to remember what we did specifically as it was 5 years ago! Biggest advice no matter what number baby you are having is lower your expectations. If you thought time flew by after your first, it’s even faster with the next. Take time to enjoy the small moments. Yes, survival mode kicks in. My daughter had some struggles as a baby including surgery. My oldest watched way too much tv, ate whatever I could get him quickly, etc. He survived and is fine and has no memory of those days other than getting this sweet sissy to love on. They are great friends now (most days!) and I can’t even imagine life without the two of them together. Line up lots of help and take it. I wasn’t used to that or letting others bathe, do bedtime routine with oldest etc. He adjusted and was fine. Later when naps were more predictable we would do special mommy time then. Anyway, just enjoy those sweet girls. All will work out. You are an awesome mama! Hoping you have an easy labor and delivery!

  43. Vicky on October 7, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    This may sound silly but I read this tip prior to having #2. You will often have to tell your oldest to hold on a second because you are tending to the baby . So when baby will be crying, say the same thing to the baby so the older one hears it (hold on “baby” I’m helping Liv right now). Of course this is meant to delay by like 2 seconds, not to actually let your baby cry. Mine was only 2 when little one was born so I did say it a few times because he definitely got the short end of the stick initially. Congrats!!!

    • Fitnessista on October 8, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      that is an awesome tip

  44. Michelle Rae on October 8, 2015 at 9:24 am

    I have a 2 year old and 2 week old and here is what has helped me the past couple weeks:
    * for the first week make sure you have a second person 100% of the time so liv never feels left out
    * I never tell my toddler I can’t or night right now because of baby
    * I have lots of little activities for my toddler to keep busy while baby eats
    * I have also found my toddler LOVES helping, stacking diapers, watching/helping with diaper changes,bath time and other household chores make her feel important!

    So far so good with little girls in our house!

  45. Katherine K on October 8, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Enjoy it! I had my kiddos 20 months apart, and we don’t think we’re going to have any more. Even in the midst of trying to juggle two babies’ schedules, I thought it was a lot easier to enjoy the moments with Baby #2 because I knew (well, am pretty sure …) it would be the last time I dealt with them.

    Practical stuff:

    Keep your routine with Livi, as much for you as for her. I’m a creature of habit, and was really knocked for a loop with Baby #1. With Baby #2, it was so comforting to me that even though everything else had changed, we still sat down to dinner at 6 pm, did baths at 7 pm, read books, etc. It felt much easier inserting Baby #2 into the routine we already had, rather than creating one from scratch! Our regular bedtime books were soothing to me as much as my eldest 🙂

    AMEN to the “Sorry baby, I need to help your brother with this.”

    Involve your big kid as much as you can (“Can you hand me that diaper?” “Do you think she wants this shirt, or that shirt? You pick!”)

    Our oldest still talks about the Thomas Train he got from his little brother when he was born.

    Don’t feel guilty about taking time for the baby, like you’re neglecting the eldest. Your eldest already got your undivided attention, and it’s good to learn to wait.

    I saw the comments about putting Livi in the car first – absolutely! I tell my eldest to “touch the car” if you have to put baby in first (and he enjoys making designs in the dust … tells you how much I wash my car.)

    Make Livi her own little photo album with pictures of her family members, including the baby. My eldest really liked having his own set of pictures to share 🙂

    GOOD LUCK! You’ll do great!

  46. Jenna Hatfield on October 8, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Babywearing. I wore our youngest son non-stop so I could still attend to our older son, cook, clean, read, eat. It gave me my two hands and sanity. Plus SNUGGLE TIME. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on October 8, 2015 at 11:02 am

      The best! So excited to babywear again

  47. Sharon on October 8, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    There is so much good advice above! My second is 7 months old and we have a 2 year age gap so my tips probably won’t apply. Having a second baby was so much easier than I anticipated and I forgot all the LOVE you feel. It was such a beautiful time, my heart felt very complete with my little family. I think you appreciate the newborn stage so much more the second time around, it’s not as scary as it was the first time!

  48. Louise on October 8, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    No one mentioned this to me before I had my second…for a week or so my 3 year old drove me insane! He wasn’t doing anything wrong, he just seemed so loud and needy in comparison to the baby. My mum offered to take him when our daughter was a few days old and I said no because I didn’t want him to feel excluded. After a week I changed my mind and we got a few days to bond with the baby and he got time to be himself without anyone losing their tired minds 🙂
    He loves his sister more than anything and is ridiculously good with her. It’s the best. It sounds like Liv will be the same. So excited for you.

  49. K on October 9, 2015 at 1:28 am

    My big girl was 2.5 when my wee dude was born so here are my tips:

    * There will be tantrums, there will be tears and there will be emotional meltdowns (from both of you!) but in my experience the best way to handle them is to scoop Liv up in your arms and provide her with the physical reassurance that you’re still her mum. So often, our first instinct is to employ time out or push a child away but it’s this time, more than ever, that she’ll need to know you’re still there.

    * Get out of the house! Even now, six months later, our days are always better when we have something planned. My husband went back to work at two weeks pp and our local playgroup was our lifesaver on many occasions!

    * I’m not familiar with how you got on bf’ing with your first but I’d strongly encourage you (or anybody who has struggled with nursing) to meet with an IBCLC BEFORE your second arrives. It can be amazingly comforting and confidence-boosting to talk through your first bf’ing journey and work out a plan of attack.

  50. Katherine on October 13, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    #2 is growing big and strong in my belly right now so I don’t have firsthand experience yet, but my mom’s advice always sticks with me.
    She says that in those beginning days and months, when #2 is still so tiny, keep in mind that the BIG kid is the one that will remember what you do. So if there are times when you have to choose who to help/soothe/whatever first choose the big kid first, because they will remember these times while the infant won’t.

    • Fitnessista on October 13, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      that is brilliant. thank you!

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