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Complete guide to preparing for a second baby

Getting ready for your second baby is an exciting time – but it can also feel pretty daunting!

Sibling kisses second baby on the head

Life with a new baby is pretty tiring but add in other kids and you have a lot on your plate!

I had less than two years between my two children so I know all of the apprehension you might be feeling ahead of your second baby being born. 

Let me tell you first of all, that everything is going to be absolutely fine!

Here’s some stuff you might be worried about that you really won’t need to: 

  • Whether you will ever sleep. You will sleep. You might have to start getting earlier nights and be really strict with yourself about napping when the kids are asleep, but you absolutely will manage some rest. 
  • You will feel overwhelmed. Some days you may feel overwhelmed but the important thing to do is take every day one at a time. Some days you will breeze through without a hitch and others might feel like you’re on the verge of a meltdown. Life with kids can be unpredictable, so try to take a deep breath and focus on each day, or even each hour, rather than the weeks stretching in front of you. 
  • Your baby and toddler won’t sleep at the same time. Synching up your baby and toddler’s nap times is totally possible but you may not be able to right away. Don’t panic about getting into a strict routine with naps right away, this will come with time. 
  • The baby’s arrival will mess up your great routine with your older child. By the time my toddler was 18 months we had an amazing routine that was working really well. I felt that adding a baby with very different sleep and feeding needs would really shake this up. In the end it all fell into place after a few weeks. 

Above all these things just remember that you managed with one baby just fine and you will manage with your second just fine too! Better than fine in fact. You’ve got this! 

There are lots of practical ways you can get ready for your second baby so that you feel a little more prepared when the time comes for you to give birth. 

Don’t forget to grab your free Preparing for Baby Number Two Checklist at the end of this post! 

Related post: How to cope with a baby and toddler

Newborn baby and toddler routine

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How to prepare for a second baby 

Mum with second baby and older child

When it comes to getting ready for your second baby you want to focus on two things: 

  • Making sure you have the essentials for a newborn ready. 
  • How to make things easier with your firstborn. 

I’ve got all the tips and hacks you need to get these two things done using my step-by-step checklist. 

By focusing on these two things you will make the final countdown to your due date much less stressful and the early weeks with baby number two way easier. That in turn will make it much easier for your postpartum recovery! 

Although you’ve prepared for one baby before, there may be a few things that you’ve forgotten (I know I did) plus there’s a few extra tricks to use when it’s your second baby to make your life easier. 

Follow these steps to get ready for baby number two! 

Organise your baby essentials checklist 

Figure out exactly what you are going to need for your newborn baby and get a checklist. 

Some of these things will be familiar but there are a few things here that are second baby specific as they make life so much easier when you have two small children! 

They include a travel cot to use as a safe play space for your baby in the living room and a bath seat (if you haven’t already got one) so you can bathe both children at once. 

You will also want a buggy board if you have a toddler (which your toddler can ride on while you’re pushing baby in your stroller) and/or a double stroller that both kids can sit comfortably in. 

There’s a full list later in this article plus I’ve got an entire post about second baby essentials right here. 

Check through your first child’s baby stuff 

A lot of what you need could be tucked away in a drawer or hiding in storage. 

Go through all of the baby stuff that you had with your first child and see what’s OK to be reused. 

Bin anything that’s broken or not fit to be used – there may be a few poop stains on baby clothes that will just never come out! 

Chances are big items such as your first baby’s crib or Moses basket will still be OK to use but the sheets may not be. Give them a wash and see how they look and if not remember to get them on your checklist for stuff to buy.

Baby toys and things like activity play mats and seats can be used again so get them out and remember to check the batteries to get them in working order.

Get the final items on your checklist 

Once you’ve gone through the stuff you already have then you can review what’s missing on your checklist. 

It’s a good idea to try and have everything you need for your newborn by around Week 33 to 36 of pregnancy. This gives you some breathing room just in case some things take a while to be delivered. 

If your friends and family are likely to want to help or throw you a baby shower then be sure to share the leftover items on your list with them.

They would much rather get you something that’s really useful plus this saves you some expense.

Organise where the baby will sleep

Think about where the new baby will sleep once they are old enough to not be in your room (they should sleep in the same room as you for the first six months according to the NHS).

It’s a good idea to get the arrangements for their room ready ahead of them being born.

This way you are phasing in changes to the house and your older child’s routine rather than everything changing all at once when the baby arrives.

If your older child will be moving rooms then make a big fuss out of them and help them to choose new bedding and decorations for their big kid room.

With shared rooms then get your older child involved in picking out bedding for the new baby. Ask them to help you organise the room so they have a say in what happens.

Choose an easy-to-remove car seat

Many modern car seats are super easy to get in and out of the car with just a quick press of a button or lift or a lever. 

Try to get a car seat that is easy to carry and quick to remove from the car. This normally involves getting a car seat that features a base that fits to the car and the actual seat detaches from it when you’re ready to remove the baby from the car. 

They make it particularly easy to pop the baby into the car as often you just need to put the car seat on the base in the right place so it clicks and that’s it. No need to fiddle around with a seatbelt! 

Once you have two kids who you need to get in and out of the car having a system that makes it easier to do this is essential. 

Fill your freezer

You probably did it with your first child and it’s time to do it again now! 

Having meals that are ready to simply heat up and then serve will make your life so much easier! 

Meals such as lasagne, spaghetti bolognaise, chicken casserole and fish pie will freeze well and provide you with nutritious meals.

Get lots of freezer meal inspiration on this post.

Consider getting a slow cooker 

One-pot meals can help to save you a ton of time and produce meals that are full of flavour. 

Many slow cooker recipes involve simply dicing up some vegetables and meat then putting them into the slow cooker along with stock or flavouring first thing in the morning.

Then everything is ready to eat by the late afternoon.

This can be particularly useful if your baby ends up being prone to being very fussy late in the day, which can make cooking a challenge.

Write your birth plan 

If you had a birth plan that worked with your first baby then aim to follow a similar version of that.

Do remember that no two births are the same though, so things may not go exactly the way they did the first time around.

If you don’t want to write a birth plan, that’s OK. Lots of women keep it vague. You may want to just write down a few key pointers such as your preferred method of pain relief.

Stock up on essentials 

You don’t want to be dashing out to the shops to pick up toilet roll after the baby comes! 

Be sure you are well stocked up on all of the essentials such as household cleaning products, 

On a similar vein it’s also a good idea to check your car or cars both have a full tank of petrol when you get close to your due date.

Pack your hospital bag

Get your hospital bag ready at the start of your third trimester.

As this is your second time around then you’ll probably remember what really helped and what you didn’t need the first time.

The essentials to remember are:

  • PJs to give birth in.
  • PJs for after birth.
  • Clothes for baby.
  • Nappies.
  • Muslins.
  • Maternity pads.
  • Nursing bra.
  • Blankets.
  • Spare change.
  • Snacks.
  • Camera.

Organise ways to easily entertain your eldest

When the baby arrives you may often find yourself pinned underneath a feeding baby and unable to actively entertain your eldest child as easily.

Plan ahead by gathering some simply things that will entertain your eldest child.

Different craft kits, sticker books, new toys and anything they can play with easily independently will work well.

Stash them away where your eldest cannot see them and pull them out one at a time in the event of an emergency.

Spend quality time with your older child

It’s important for both of you to make the most of your time as a family of three before the baby arrives.

Think of special days out you could enjoy that won’t be too difficult for you when heavily pregnant.

After the baby arrives there may be a few weeks where you’re not venturing too far, so make the most of this time where you have a little more freedom.

Take your firstborn to a theme park or the beach, or ask them what they would really love to do.

Get Disney+

The streaming service could save your sanity!

Disney movies are way more fun for adults to watch than endless episodes of Paw Patrol.

Having a Disney movie marathon together is a great way to spend the day when you’re stuck on the sofa breastfeeding and your eldest child is bored.

What you need for a second baby 

There are a few baby essentials that will help you so much in the first year as a mama-of-two. 

I recommend trying to get all the stuff ready at the start of your third trimester.

This is because with an older child you may find that the final weeks fly by in a bit of a blur.

Extra changing stations

Putting a changing mat, bag of wipes and spare nappies under your sofa in your living room (or the room where your older child usually plays) means you can change your baby’s nappy when needed without leaving your other child unattended. 

Second car mirror

If both kids are in rear-facing seats this means you can keep an eye on them both.

Bouncy chair

Having a place where you can sit your baby while your toddler plays will be so useful! Newborn bouncy chairs aren’t particularly expensive, but you may find it distracts your baby enough so you can spend some time not holding them and focus on your toddler instead. 

Double breast pump

If you have relied on a lot of expressed breast milk with your first baby or want to express more milk with this baby, then a double breast pump halves the amount of time you need to spend pumping milk. 

Changing bag backpack

There are a lot of really stylish changing bags out there but for the purposes of two kids, when you need your hands free a lot of the time, a backpack is way easier. You can put it on your back and forget about it, unlike a shopper-style bag that will slip off one shoulder and get on your last nerve.

Door silencer

Ever put a child to bed then winced as the door you tried to shut quietly ended up making a really loud bang? This product can help! 

It fits over the area of the door handle so that it closes silently.

When you have two children who may, at first at least, have very different sleep patterns then doing anything you can to not wake them when they are asleep will be a godsend. 

This is especially true if your eldest child may be getting in and out of bed at night and isn’t great and being quiet with opening and closing their door. 

How to prepare your child for a new baby 

Pregnant mum with a child preparing for second baby

Your eldest child will probably be so excited at the prospect of having a newborn baby sibling to play with! 

But they may also feel a little hesitant at the idea of someone new coming into the house. 

Here are a few ways you can prepare your firstborn child for baby number two

Get them books about being a big bro or sis

There are lots of amazing books all about being a big brother or sister that will help you talk through the situation with your child.

The books can help you bring out any concerns your eldest child might be having. They can also help to prepare them for what to expect practically when it happens.

Some great books to try with your first child are:

Get them a baby doll 

Giving your baby a doll to play with might make help to get them excited about the new baby.

It may also help you to show them how to be gentle with the new baby ahead of them arriving.

Teach them how to hold a baby using the doll and talk to them about their baby doll’s routine.

Be really positive about the new baby 

Speak to your child frequently about the new baby and be really positive about the change.

Tell them it’s going to mean they will be the big kid in the house, and emphasise how special that makes them.

Plan ways they can help 

Get your child involved in the new baby ahead of time by planning with them ways that they can help out.

This might include fetching clean nappies or picking out the baby’s outfit for the day.

Get them a gift from the baby 

Buy this before the baby is born and have it wrapped ready for after the baby is born. 

Then give it to your older child as a present from their new brother or sister. 

This will help to make the experience a positive one for them! 

What to do with your child when you’re giving birth 

One bit of organisation to get out of the way as early as you can is to figure out childcare for your older child while you are giving birth. 

Speak to relatives or friends who live nearby and will be able to come to your home at short notice to collect or sit with your eldest child. 

Make a plan with them about how it will work. If it’s someone who doesn’t watch your child regularly then arrange a few trial runs so that they can spend some one-on-one time with your eldest. 

This means it won’t feel too strange to your eldest child when you are away giving birth for a day or more. 

Making this plan by the end of second trimester will take a big weight off of your mind.  

Remember to leave out all of the stuff the person caring for your child will need – such as spare school uniforms and essential phone numbers to help them out.

Your preparing for second baby checklist 

Preparing for a second baby checklist

That’s everything you need to know about getting ready for a second baby!

I’ve got this free printable checklist for your to download and keep to give you a helping hand.

Jot down any extra things you need to do on the back. Download the checklist in PDF format here:

Best of luck mama! x

How to prepare for a second baby

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