This is why I still spend time chatting with my clients about the new family dynamics. Even experienced parents need support! Yes, a more experienced parent may have worked out some of the initial concerns (“How do I change a nappy? How often do they need a bath? What should they wear in this weather?). The next time around there’s more focus on addressing things that didn’t go to plan last time or, more often, anticipating less support.
"In the first 2 weeks of having my second baby at home, my husband had that time off work. But in the back of my head I was constantly thinking about how on earth I was going to leave the house by myself with 2 children. So when I finally mustered up the courage for a short trip down the road I was pleasantly surprised how well it all went. Ok, so it was only a 10min tester but it worked. It was nothing like I had imagined in my head. I just made sure we were never in a hurry to go anywhere so we all remained calm. My youngest is now 4 months old and it's hard to understand why I was so worried" ~ Philippa, 2015
- Think about starting a new rhythm for your toddler that will take into account a slower lifestyle during the newborn stage. If you start during pregnancy, even better! You may find that laying down together to rest (or read books) each day is a wonderful practice for when laying down feeding baby.
- With a newborn, you may not be able to get out of the house everyday. Make some preparations for easy to “set up and tidy up” activities to keep your toddler entertained on your quiet days. Having a box of toys that only comes out at feeding time can be really helpful while you’re still sorting out the breastfeeding thing in those first few weeks.
- Start reading books about the new baby during the last few month or two of pregnancy. There’s some lovely books out there. Some of my favourite are:
- The Biggest Bed in the World by Lindsay Camp
- Hello Baby by Jenni Overend. This is a brilliant book to prepare older siblings who will be there during the birth too!
- Happy Birth Day by Robie H Harris. This is another great book to prepare siblings for birth too, as well as give them an idea of what newborns really look like.
- Have a think about how to best utilise the offers of help and the visitors while they are around. Many will offer to take the toddler out for a play. Instead, how about suggest they keep an ear out for baby while you play outside with your toddler. Or perhaps they could wear your baby, while you all go for a walk and you can interact more freely with your toddler.
- Better yet, make a list of all the essential chores in a day and stick the list on your fridge. When someone visits and makes an offer of help, all you need to do is say "There's a few things I haven't had a chance to get to today, the list is on my fridge. Feel free to choose one."
- Try and set aside at least some consistent, one-on-one time with your toddler each day. It may be after the evening routine and baby is all full, dry and clean that you hand her over to your partner to rock, while you put your toddler to bed. Spending 20 minutes snuggling and reading books can make all the difference to your toddler.
- Babywearing, babywearing, babywearing! I cannot express enough how much this helps the transition. Most newborns like to snuggle when you find the right wrap/carrier/sling. It makes life so much easier, when baby is content and you have hands free to chase after the toddler. Make sure you chat to our local babywearing consultant at Nurtured Fitness, to find out what will be best for you and your baby. There is also a local Babywearing group too!
- Of course, think about hiring a postnatal doula. Even a few hours a few times a week can make all the difference with the transition. If you'd like to find out more, feel free to Contact Us.
There are many ideas which can be helpful. Why not comment below and share with all the other parents:
- What did you find helped with your transition with a newborn and toddler?