“My second baby is due soon, and I am so worried about how I’m going to have enough time—and love!—for both of them!”

Of all of the concerns expressed by expectant and new second-time parents, this is the one I’ve heard most frequently in my roles as nurse practitioner, lactation consultant, family educator, and mom of four. Here are a few of the strategies the moms in my “second-time moms” groups have found helpful in easing the transition from family of three to family of four:

  1. When the new baby is born, try to keep your toddler’s routine the same as much as possible. In other words, if your toddler went to daycare/preschool before new baby, continue the same schedule. (This will also give you precious bonding time with the new baby!)
  2. If you know some of your toddler’s routine will change when the baby comes, try to ease into those changes during your pregnancy as far in advance as possible before the new baby’s arrival. Examples are changing morning or evening routines to include more dad time, time with grandparents, and childcare.
  3. With a new baby in the house, your toddler is suddenly hearing “just a minute” more than he is used to. If your toddler is 2 or older, “taking turns” is beginning to become an understandable concept. With your older child in earshot, take every opportunity to “remind the baby” that it is “toddler’s turn to read with Mommy,” so your toddler doesn’t feel like he has to do all the “waiting.”
  4. Have a “busy bag” with special toys and book that is only taken out when Mom is “busy” with baby (for instance, feeding) and put away when it is toddler’s “turn with Mommy.”
  5. Enlist toddler’s “help” with baby by having him “go get the diaper,” “read” to baby during feeding, or sing to baby during diaper changes.
  6. Many toddlers are upset by baby’s crying. Remind your toddler that crying is baby’s way of telling us that (s)he needs something.

The next six-week series “New Parent…Again ?” for second- and third-time parents will be held Thursdays, 10:00 — 11:00 am, Apr. 17 — May 22. We will be discussing developmental milestones for baby and toddler; sibling issues, including cooperation and sharing; day-to-day strategies for managing more than one child; changing family dynamics; making time for yourself; returning to work; and more. You may register here.

Questions? Contact Cherie at 650-688-3053 or [email protected]

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