I had a baby in January of 2021. He’s been a baby for 18 months today. One and half years of being a baby. As a naive new mom, I asked my birth month mom group, “When are our babies no longer babies?” I don’t remember what most people said, but one mom said “I think two years.” I took that answer as the gospel truth because I couldn’t bear my baby not being a baby.
Fast-forward to his first birthday and people started calling them “toddlers.” No…my baby is not a toddler. The pediatrician called him a toddler. I started to give into the thought considering she is a professional. For the last eight months, I’ve been pregnant with another baby. A stark reality has hit that my Elliot is no longer a baby. Another baby should seal that deal. As I’ve tried to deny he’s no longer the baby, I’m trying my best to prepare for his little brother and the final nail in the coffin of “Elliot is a/the baby.”
Day 1 vs. Today
Many moms have walked this road before, but for those of you in this new season of life with me, I thought I’d share seven ways to prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically for baby number 1 to become a big kid while welcoming a new treasure into your family.
- Spend as much time as possible with baby number 1. I read something once that said your first kid gets the advantage of having undivided attention while the kids that follow get the advantage of having a more experienced mom. I look forward to giving our new little guy the benefits of experience but for Elliot over the next month, we will cuddle, watch Sesame Street, run to Target together, and do any other activity I can muster the energy for, but if all we do is cuddle, I’d be a happy momma.
- Learn from those who’ve gone before you. I love to ask questions. My friends can tell you I’ve not been shy in asking about their experiences and wisdom as I get ready to be a mom of two. These friends are experts. Seek them out and ask hard questions or just general advice. Also, consider joining a birth month group on Facebook if you haven’t already. I love the moms in my first group and am trying to get to know the moms in my new group.
- Spend time with your husband. Now might be a good time for some extra cuddles with your hubs as well. While one kid has been a lot of work, you’ve been able to share the burden with your husband and now two kids will create a divide and conquer team at least for a little bit. We’ve planned out all our summer date nights so we are intentional about some time together!
- Prepare for the new baby, but don’t overdo it. The great thing about having another baby is you don’t need as much new stuff this go around. We’ve committed to being minimalist when it comes to baby things so we are trying our best to reuse as much as possible. Reusing as much as possible helps us save money and in the long run, will save time and emotional energy as we won’t have as much to get rid of.
- Take a day or two for yourself. Soon you will have another person in constant need of you. This is the most mentally and emotionally draining part of parenting babies and toddlers. While you’ve got a little more time with little babe baking, take a day to relax at a spa, go to lunch with friends, sleep in, etc. Whatever you find relaxing and life-giving make it a priority during the last month or so of your pregnancy.
- Prep baby number 1 for baby number 2. This might be the hardest task and in reality, I don’t think I’ll be successful at it. He’s 18 months old…how much can he really take in at this point? But alas we should try. He’s probably understanding more than we know. I’ve taught him “Where’s the baby?” and he points at my belly (well most of the time; sometimes it’s my leg or boobs, ha). Our neighbor had a baby a couple months ago and soon I’ll take him over and let him meet a baby. Most importantly, right now we are working on “be gentle” because the little guy’s biggest threat when he arrives is that big brother is going to bop him upside the head.
- Stay as active as you safely can. The physical part is probably where I’m lacking most. Running after a toddler while pregnant has been exhausting enough, but I try to keep active and remind myself of the importance of being able to chase after these little beauties for years to come. I try to make it to the Y once a week to swim, take Elliot on an outing or two, and when it’s not 9 million degrees, walk around the neighborhood.