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Parenting Advice: Thoughts on a Second Child

I’m feeling surprisingly anxious about the arrival of child number two. For the past three years my son has been the primary focus of my life and I’m not sure how best to balance the wants and needs of two children.

I’d love to hear any parenting advice from those of you who have two or more. Do you have advice on carving out time for the older child when you are feeling exhausted from staying up nursing/feeding the first? Do you have advice on handling sibling rivalry? What about the basics? What worked for you in the first few days, weeks and months?

I’m not sure what to expect and I’d love to hear any words of wisdom from those of you have already lived through it. If you have any advice feel free to leave a comment below. Oh and if you have any ideas for baby names make sure to let me know that too!

Sheri

Saturday 26th of September 2015

...and I have LOTS of recipes for freezer and crock pot!

Sheri

Saturday 26th of September 2015

I stumbled upon your blog while browsing through information on vacation/rental homes and continued to read through multiple topics like I'm discovering some new junk food!! I'm a mom of four (grown), work as an RN, and am starting on that 'next chapter' of empty nesting. Although we are years apart in age, your topics are fun and relevant to me nonetheless! I wanted to comment on multpile posts, but this one caught my eye. All I can say is: enjoy! Everyone has a different expereince with multiple children. Doubts and worries abound which are fueled by the accessability of every 'opinion' piece ever written, which coincidentally, almost always perfectly illustrate your own personal fears. My best advice is to throw out the advice books, avoid online parenting pieces, and carve your own way. Younger children always fit in seemlessly and older sibs always adjust. Instead of focusing on all the myriad ways to assist with their adjustment, my personal 'winning' advice is to make sure you DON'T foster a rivalry. Always celebrate differences, but don't "label" your children. Avoid saying "this is my active child" or "this is my musician" etc. I've seen limits created by what seems a harmless descriptor. All any social introductory situation calls for is "this is my son, he's 4" or something similar. Another thing to avoid is the ultimate negative of "who can be first...?" Nothing gets disgruntled, bored, or mischeivous little ones moving faster than Mommy or Daddy shouting out "who can do (fill in the blank) first or fastest," unfortunately this also creates an atmosphere of competition for attention, affection and/or praise. Kids constantly pitted against each other in the same home doing the same things is never a good thing. Someone always "loses" and nine times out of ten it's the younger child. They may then take that loser feeling and "bully" their way thru interactions with school peers in an effort to "win." Life shouldn't be one big competition. It's really hard enough as it is! Last but not least, my pet peeve, is food ownership. Please please please do NOT let small children own stock piles of foods, sweets or treats. Food in the home is a commodity to be shared and when it is gone your children should be content in the knowledge that it will be replaced. I have grown friends who have full fledged food anxieties borne of families that had food ownership. I remember one friend whose Dad would leave everyone's favorite soda in the fridge for weeks on end. No one could have any upon threat of death, yet he would not drink any himself. Strange power play that unsettled me at a young age. In a home where food is plentiful there should not be competition created by artificial limits between family members. I don't mean let them eat an entire cake (LOL!), but realistically make good foods available to all. Don't start with "this is Johnny's box of cereal" or "Susie picked out that yogurt so nobody touches it!" Afrer reading your posts I believe you to be a lady of some education and common sense so I say just enjoy your children and they will flourish!! :)

Lauren

Tuesday 17th of February 2015

My girls are just under two years apart, and I think I blocked out most of the newborn periods from my memory! I know it isn't possible for everyone, but my husband took 8 weeks off work after our second was born, and it was so helpful having him around. I would try to make some freezer meals now if you can, and if any friends or family offer to bring dinner once the baby comes, say yes!

I was 3.5 years old when my sister was born, and my mom says I was a great helper. I would think involving your older son as much as possible would help, so he doesn't become resentful of the baby. My older daughter was really too young to understand all about a new baby, but she would be a great help now as a 4 year old.

For baby names, our unused names were Catherine and Thomas for our older daughter and Paige and Phoebe for the younger.

One Frugal Girl

Tuesday 17th of February 2015

Thanks for your advice. I am also three years younger than my brother and my mom said the same about him. We are trying to prepare my son by letting him know he can be a great helper without trying to put pressure on him to help. He's actually very helpful in other ways, (cooking dinner, putting together furniture, fixing things), so I hope this translates to the little one.

My husband is self employed and definitely cannot take off 8 weeks, but I am thinking of asking my mom to come after the baby is a few weeks old. I also love the idea of asking for meals. Even if it's just someone to pick up and deliver take-out. Thinking about dinner is exhausting without a baby let alone with one!

Do you have any great freeze-ahead recipes you might recommend?

Oh and I have two of the four names you listed on my baby list! I actually love the name Paige, but our last name is only one syllable so I think the first name should have two or more :(

One Frugal Girl

Monday 16th of February 2015

Thanks for the comment. I'm glad to hear things are going so well for you with two at home. My son will be almost three and a half when the baby arrives and he has become so much more independent and helpful. I hope that translates to being a good brother too. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

Heather

Sunday 15th of February 2015

I'm still in the trenches and trying to figure this out. A is 8 months old and E is 5 years old. I was very anxious about life with two and how E would do as a big brother. All I can say is it has gone way better than I could ever imagine and E is an excellent, caring big brother. I tried to use A's nap times as one on one time with E. But recently A has been resisting naps. To encourage independence for E, we bought snacks that he could grab and open/take care of himself. This included juice boxes which I NEVER buy. Everything is going to turn out great. Looking forward to the arrival of your little one.