So Wiggles is 11 months in 3 days. And we are due in 16 days. I'm a little panicked to say the least.
But wanna know the surprising part? Yes, it's terrifying. I have NO idea how I'm going to meet Wiggles growing needs now that she's running, climbing stairs, and intensely interested in opening cupboards, AND meet the needs of a newborn. No idea. I can barely keep up with Wiggles now.
But really? That's the only thing I'm worried about. I'm not worried about if I'm going to horribly scar this one for life. I got through one, I can handle another one. In that way, it's so much easier! With your first baby, you spend so much time worrying about if you're gonna be able to be a parent. I worry about that a lot less with this one. How I'm going to split up my time and not die of exhaustion.. yeah, that worry is there, but if that's all I worry about, that's the least of my problems. :)
I found a lot of lists for how to get prepped for baby number two focused on children aged 2+. Which is hard for me. Because Wiggles is in a lot different place than a two year old is. Wiggles understands some basic commands, and has like... 5 words consistently(Mama, Dada, Bum, Hi, Yeah or Yey.). Trying to explain to her or prep her for the baby in ways that involve her understanding the changes coming is not going to happen.
As for Flash, I never really got to SEE his baby phase. I first met him when he was three. :) Now that he's eight(Nearly), it's a lot easier on him to understand that a baby is coming and what that means.
So here is my list of how I personally prepared for baby number two when baby number one is still very little!
1. Teach your toddler to play on their own a little bit.
I spent a good portion of the last couple months teaching Wiggles to play on her own for at least an hour or two a day. Wiggles is, like a good portion of babies I've seen, is super social and more than happy to spend all her time snuggling or playing peek a boo, or just sopping up the mommy love. Problem is, when we start breast feeding and there's a new baby who needs to be rocked and played with too, then this will get harder. So for a couple hours a day, I would put Wiggles on the floor, give her some toys, and let her go for it. Unless she hurts herself(It's tough learning to walk folks!), I pretty much let her be. Turns out this was a great idea, cause it directly led to point number two!
2. Get that baby walking!
I know SO many who say that life gets harder once baby starts walking. We found the opposite. Wiggles so wanted to be independent and able to go that the second she could start to walk, she did. 8 1/2 months. Running and stair climbing was next. Yes, it meant we had to safety guard all our cupboards, and our stairs... but you know what? I don't have to carry her everywhere, in fact, she gets mad if I do. Not only will this make things easier when the new baby comes, but it makes things easier when my one bathroom is upstairs and I'm the size of a baby orca. >.> Wiggles follows me upstairs and into the bathroom all on her own, I only have to carry her down, which helps my back.
Seriously, if you can, get your first baby walking!
3. Get baby number one on a schedule. A solid one.
This doesn't mean that at 7:45 you get up, 8:00 is breakfast. Nope. Not what I mean. But your baby should have a good structure of things that they do at the same intervals pretty much every day.
For example. Wiggles gets up around one of two times: 5 when dad wakes up so she can say hi to him, or 6:45 if she doesn't hear his alarm go off. She has a bottle and diaper change as soon as she wakes up, along with some cheerios or other cereal. Then she plays for about an hour, usually on her own. An hour and a half after she wakes up, she's ready for a nap, which is usually about an hour long. I right now use this play time and sleep time to get my dishes done, fold laundry, and get caught up on my internet work. Once she wakes up, we skype with Grandma about once every two days, we play some interactive games like peek a boo, or a passing game, if she's interested. She'll want another bottle about an hour or so after she wakes up from her nap, but no solids. By noon we're back on track most days. She comes up to me and rubs her eyes and sometimes says "Nini.". She gets put in her high chair, and she takes a 2.5 hour nap. This is my real power house part of the day. I make my menu, finish up my spot cleaning, make my grocery list, craft(If I have the time), get a good chunk of my to do list done. She wakes up usually about a 1/2 hour before dad gets home at 2:30. She then eats dinner with us, finger foods of whatever we're eating. Then she's up until about 7 if we're at home, about 9 if we're not. She gets a bottle with bed, and usually there's another one of juice or water thrown in throughout the day that she sips as she feels like.
This schedule will help a ridiculous amount in the coming months, as long as we can stick to it. Having something stay the same when everything else changes is important.
4. Get out the baby stuff you just put away.
I know, you just dragged this stuff down into storage and now you're draggin' it back up again. Enjoy it, revel in the memories. :) Get that swing your kid hasn't wanted to be strapped into in months out, get out the swaddling blankets and those itty bitty baby clothes. Cry when you think of your first being that small. Get it all set up. Make these changes in phases so as to not overwhelm your firstborn with a sudden change of decor. Start naming these things "Baby swing." Or in our case "Miah's Swing". Wiggles understands that some things are hers, and some things aren't. This is helpful to her to understand that these things aren't hers.
5. Stock up on those pantry foods!
The last thing you want to worry about after the baby is born is whether or not you have the food you need to feed your family. So stock up before hand. Take $20 out of each of your grocery budgets(I know, it's a lot for me too, but worth it later.) and stock up on things like pasta sauce, pasta, soups, canned beans, dried beans, Kraft dinner, hot dogs... whatever you gotta do to keep your family fed. Plan for lots of 'easy' meals in those first couple weeks after baby is born.
6. Get your hospital bag packed/Set up arrangements for baby #1, and pack their bag.
I struggled with this one. I'm 37 weeks and 4 days.. and still no hospital bag packed. >.> It's kinda like admitting that yes, this is gonna happen, and I'm ready. I'm not ready yet. :P So I'm putting it off. But it's important that you have your bag packed well ahead of time. Make a list of things you'll need in your bag, and then get crackin'! (I'll make a post in the next couple days about what's in my bag).
You also need to set up with someone to take your first when you go into labour, and pack them an overnight bag. Now, there will be some things in each bag you need to pack kinda as you run out the door. :) Make a list of these that is easy for your partner to understand and clothes pin or safety pin it in an easy to see spot on the bag so he can just grab what's needed and then go.
7. Have a you night.
You won't have one for awhile. Remember those first couple months when they feed, poop, and want to snuggle pretty much all the time? There's another one now. :) It's gonna be hard to get time alone. So enlist a baby sitter, or the hubby, and take some you time. Shop(Or window shop), bath, eat a meal you didn't make, snuggle with your husband... whatever you do to have you recharge time.
8. Go on a date with your husband.
Those first couple months are hard. Spend some time showering your man with love. Chances are he's gonna feel a little pushed aside as you struggle with balancing two babies, physically recovering, and exhaustion. Take him out on a date, make his favourite dinner at home, take all the time you can to snuggle with and touch him. Let him know he's your number one, even if you're the size of an orca.
9. Take some time with your first.
Soon there's gonna be two of them to take up your time. Take time to treasure your first. Chances they're gonna be pretty confused and frustrated when the new baby comes. And frankly, they're really little! They need to know that mommy still loves them. Take extra time to really engage with your child. They grow so fast.
10. Enjoy it.
So many people seem to forget this(me included). This is an awesome time in your life! You're having another baby! Yes, it's gonna be hard. But what worth doing isn't? You get two little someones to love on, you get to watch your body change and a miracle happen. Remember to enjoy it, even when you're so tired, sore, and frustrated you could cry. God gives joy even in the hard seasons, and there's lots to thankful for!
Well that's it! That's all I got for now. :) I hope this was helpful!