Real Advice From Moms For Moms Having A Second Child

There’s no denying that first pregnancy and childbirth completely turn the world upside down. From sleepless nights to learning the ropes of feeding and changing, parents quickly learn to set their own desires aside, and instead focus on the constant needs of that tightly swaddled bundle of perfection. Life itself becomes wrapped around this little human, so much so that bringing another child in feels eerily similar to the first time your life was turned on its head.

But you know the drill this time. You’ve gone through the trials of labor; you understand the brevity of the newborn days; And with a little preparation and a lot of grace, you’ll add that second baby to the family as though she was meant to be here all along.


So, get that diaper bag packed and the nursery ready, and read along for some of the best advice from moms for moms adding a new sibling to their home.

RELATED: 5 Ways Life Changes With A Second Baby

Preparation Is Key

It’s understandable that after so many months of focusing only on one child, there’s some apprehension about adding on another. Moms often feel guilty about revoking that only child title and forcing their child to share parental attention, but by having an open communication line with the oldest child and preparing each member of the family for the impending changes, moms can work to avoid much of the emotional meltdown.

Allow your child to journey through the pregnancy with you. Reach for books that provide simple explanations of pregnancy and family growth; keep a chart of the size of the growing sibling; let her help pick out clothes, furniture, and accessories, and discuss ways that she plans to help once the baby arrives. Let her take some ownership over this new brother or sister!

Single mom and parenting expert, Anita Clare encourages parents to utilize story time as an opportunity to introduce new ideas and prompt conversations about feelings and upcoming changes. Whether you are announcing to your toddler there is a baby on the way or have already welcomed the new bundle of joy, these book recommendations will guide the topic and help young children cope with the arrival of a sibling.

  • You Were the First (Patricia MacLachlan, Stephanie Graegin)
  • What’s in Your Tummy Mummy? (Sam Lloyd)
  • The New Small Person (Lauren Child)
  • We’re Having a Baby (Campbell Books)
  • I’m a Big Sister / I’m a Big Brother (Joanna Cole)

Get Them Involved

Brother playing with baby in walker

From pregnancy to the first day home, make an effort to have the older child involved as much as possible. They can hold the door while you carry them in the car seat, run and fetch a diaper or wipes, or they may enjoy role-playing by changing a diaper on their favorite animal or doll, at the same time as you change the baby.

Megan Nelson, mom of two, recommends involving older siblings during feeding time by preparing books or games nearby. Instead of feeding becoming focused on the baby, it can become a special time of bonding and play:

“I kept a basket of toys and books near each place I typically breastfed. Whenever I sat down to feed the baby, I would clear out a space for my toddler right next to me and have games and puzzles that we could do together. Now. when I sit down to breastfeed, she usually comes right up next to me on the couch ready to play. It has become a special time for me to bond with each of my kids, instead of just the baby.”

Be sure to provide encouragement to the child by reassuring them that the baby appreciates their help, even though it’s not verbalized. Let big brother or sister know that the baby feels better now from that new diaper, or she’s much cozier thanks to that swaddle blanket he fetched for her.

By sending appreciative messages to the older child, you’ll not only make them feel valued, but also plant seeds of connection between the new siblings.

Resist Sibling ResentmentMom comforting toddler and holding baby

When bringing a new child into the home, parents often tend to focus on how their lives change, forgetting that adding a baby is also a massive life change for the older sibling. The first child suddenly has less access to mom and dad, can’t take as many fun trips out of the house, and the family routine becomes totally centered around the new family member.

By Prioritizing one-on-one time with the oldest child, and refraining from blaming the baby for changes in plans, parents can fight back bitterness and keep sibling resentment at bay.

Social worker, Ruth Wyatt, explains the necessity of prioritizing alone time with the oldest child, saying:

“Spending baby-free time with your child can go a long way toward reassuring your child that your feelings have not changed and that you still value the intimacy of your relationship. Even if you can’t spend much time alone, set whatever time you do have aside as “special” time where you do something one-on-one, preferably on a regular, routine basis. This way, you and your child can anticipate your date in advance, which might help your child when they are feeling neglected .”

Expectations Vs. Reality

When adding a sibling, parents often envision peaceful playing and lifelong friendship; but remember sibling relationships take time to build. Keep your expectations of both your oldest child and yourself low, and be willing to offer a lot of grace.

Mom of two girls, Brittany Dixon, encourages moms bringing home a second baby to remember that those first few weeks are really just survival mode:

“Whatever you do during this period of time is OK. Really. I worried that whatever I did those first few weeks would become Hailey’s new normal. I was wrong.

Snacking all day instead of making her meals? Letting her eat on the couch? Letting her wear her pajamas for a quick target run? All a-ok; it’s all about survival.”

So don’t hesitate to hand over the iPad when you’re exhausted or call up grandma to hold the baby. Your family unit has grown, and while that’s a beautiful, magical thing, it’s also difficult. Rest your body, focus on loving that older child, and allow yourself time to adjust to this new normal. You’ve got a world full of moms who have survived the second-child journey and are cheering you on through the process.

Sources: NCT, Antia Cleare, Good Therapy, Latched Mama, Healthy Slice of Life,

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