This can be such a whirlwind. When you have a toddler to care for, it can be very hard to focus on another baby that is not physically in your arms. Even though it can be a challenge to prepare for baby #2 with a curious toddler, it's possible and is absolutely necessary if you want to have a better bonding experience with your baby. Here are a few things that I did to help me prepare:
1. Organized Baby Nursery Early: I would highly suggest preparing the nursery during the second trimester of your pregnancy. This is usually the 'energetic' part of your pregnancy. I can't speak for everyone, but usually, this is the case for a lot of pregnant women. Not to say that you don't feel discomfort during this phase as well, but it is definitely easier to do something during this phase of your pregnancy because your nausea should have subsided and you will not be at your heaviest like you will be during your third trimester. I started to get all the furniture in order during the beginning of my second trimester and then I organized all of the baby clothes by size and by category so I can have easy access and won't feel frustrated when I actually have the baby to take care of. Usually by the end of this trimester most people have their baby shower so this is also a good time to organize all of the items you've received as well. I went ahead and set up the co-sleeper and made sure that our room was stocked up with the items that we would typically need for a few nights. I have a specific basket that I placed beside our comfy recliner for when I have to get up to change and feed the baby. I did this with Mila and it made a world of a difference. Trust me, when you're running on little to no sleep, the last thing you need to do is to walk all the way down to the nursery and look for whatever it is that you may need. I usually set aside a pack of wipes, a couple of diapers, onesies and swaddling cloths. All I have to do is reach over the side of the recliner and I have everything in my hand. During the day I make sure to check the basket before we go to bed so that I am stocked up on everything that I may need for that night.
2. Hospital Bag Prep: Usually this is also a good time to start setting aside some items for your hospital bag. When you organize all of the baby clothes this is a good time to set aside some premie or newborn clothing just so that you can take them with you to the hospital. Even though this is something that you would want to check up on during the last weeks of your pregnancy as well to make sure that you have everything including clothes that will fit you, it never hurts to start prepping it early on in your second trimester.
3. Stock The Fridge & Freezer: I started food prepping around 37 weeks. Usually around this time it's safe for the baby to come any time. Baby #2 can come sooner than your first one so it's always better to be prepared in advance. I prepped vegan biscuits, some veggie rolls, Mila's frozen smoothie packs, as well as some dough for whatever it is that I may need to prep for my family quickly. Usually most of these items are good for about 1 to 2 months if they are frozen of course. This will definitely be of great help for those first few weeks while you go through this transition and figure your newborn out while running on little to no sleep. (Who knows, God may bless us with an infant that sleeps for longer periods of time.)
4. Last Minute Things: I am a list person. Trust me when you have a toddler and a family to take care of it's easy to forget things and then remember about them when it's too late. Not to mention another thought you have to carry around in your head. I keep a magnetic pad on my fridge and I jot things down when I think of something that I need to pick up or do. This way it serves as a great reminder and I can just tear that sheet of paper off the fridge and go get whatever it is that I need to get without coming back home and saying, 'oh no I forgot this.' I know most people nowadays use a phone app, but at times I don't have my phone on me or around me especially when I am in the kitchen prepping something, so a physical notepad helps me quite a bit. This is also good to do when you have baby #2 and will need someone to go to the store for you. This way you don't leave something out while you're thinking about it.
5. Rest As Much As Possible: This is a hard one for me because I am such a person on the go. I always find stuff to do but now that I am in the very home stretch of my pregnancy, I get tired pretty quickly. My nights are not as restful because of all the bathroom runs or just finding a comfy spot to rest for at least a good hour before I have to switch positions which is quite difficult with a big belly. Not to mention your toddler waking up at night for whatever reason. Every child is different and every age has a certain stage that they usually will go through so you have to roll with the punches. For example, Mila is in the 'play with me' stage. She gets bored playing with her toys by herself. She loves it when you're around to either play with her or at least sit and watch her while she looks through her toys and shows you how they work. One of the things that I've learned to do is to grab one of her toy pillows and lay on my side in her room while she plays with her toys. Even if it's for a good 20 minutes, my body thanks me for it. I even sneak in a small nap at times even though I don't get into the deep sleep. At least it's something. Now that the majority of my prep work is done, I can be a little bit more laid back on the housework and maybe throw in a load of laundry and clean up just a little bit before I sit back down on the couch or in a chair while I watch Mila play. You have to find ways to find those moments of rest even if that means asking your spouse or your family members for some help.
I am nervous to step into this season just because I am thinking of all the things that I will have to keep up with especially in the first few months of this transition. I am also concerned about Mila and how she will respond to having a sibling. I know that she is not really a jealous type of a toddler. In fact, she does really well with sharing her toys with other kids and usually does not cry when another kid takes a toy from her, but that doesn't mean that she will be the same with this baby just because this will be a permanent change. I think this is one of the reasons it's important to get prepared as much as possible so that you can focus on both of your children and make them feel loved uniquely.
Hopefully this helps some of you in the long run to get some of these things out of the way so that you can enjoy the time with your kids and don't feel as frustrated. (I am pretty sure your spouse will appreciate it as well.) If you're one of those Mamas that has gone through this transition already, comment below and let me know what you found to be helpful.
Create Coleture, Be You