Becoming a parent for the first time definitely has its challenges. It can take some getting used to. You now have a tiny human being that’s 100% dependent on you. You answer their every beck and call, but eventually, you get into the swing of things. The transition from one baby to two under the age of two, however, that’s a whole different story.
For me, going from one baby to two was such a huge and difficult transition. Instead of taking only a few weeks of getting used to my daughter and getting her on a, somewhat, daily routine, it took me a couple months to get back into the swing of things.
My mom always told me that one baby was a piece of cake, it’s the transition from one to two that’s the hard part. And each baby after that just gets easier… not sure how that works, but I’ll take her word for it for now, haha!
When I found out I was pregnant again after my daughter was nine months old, it definitely had me a bit worried. How could I possibly love another baby as much as I love my daughter? Will I be able to handle two babies that want/need my full attention 24/7 as a stay-at-home mom? What if I can’t do this? How would this affect my sanity?!
These thoughts are all perfectly normal, which is always refreshing to hear. However, the further along into the pregnancy that I got, the more anxious I became.
- How would she handle such a big change?
- What can I do to help make the transition easier for her?
- Will she be jealous?
- How should I expect her to behave?
- In what ways can I include her so she doesn’t feel left out?
Enjoying the last bit of one-on-one time
As excited as I was to have another baby, I knew I would miss the one-on-one time I had for the last seventeen months with my daughter. We did everything together, every day. Soon everything was going to change.
We decided to take a family trip up north to Eagle River, Wisconsin, while I was thirty-three weeks pregnant. For a week we camped up in a nice cabin on a lake with my in-laws. Each day we would schedule something to do that we could enjoy together.
Just a few miles away from the cabin was a street filled with little tourist shops, and the best little fudge place I have ever been! It was amazing. We spent a day walking the stores and enjoying the warm weather while snacking on fudge and ice cream.
On another day we made a plan to go to the Wildwood Wildlife Zoo in Minocqua, Wisconsin. It was a bit of a drive, but it was so much fun. Our daughter had a blast seeing all the different animals. She was even brave enough to pet some of the animals that are allowed to wander around the grounds!
In between all the trips and fun plans we also walked down to the lake and enjoyed the nice cool water. Early one morning we actually went down to the dock and were able to watch otters swimming around. A few were even curious enough to come close to us and splash around.
Being able to make those plans for one-on-one time with her before the big day was definitely something we greatly appreciated. It gave us an opportunity to enjoy a little more time with just our daughter before everything changed.
The day of the big transition
As soon as I had my son I was so excited for her to meet him. I can still remember exactly how it went. She came into the room and my husband kneeled down with our son. She walked right up to him, touched his nose and said “boop!” It was the funniest thing ever.
She even began talking to him and saying things like “aww baby, so cute!” and kissing him while saying “love youuuu.”
At that moment I thought that maybe she would accept the change much easier than I initially thought… boy was I wrong!!! While at the hospital she was perfectly fine, but as soon as we got home it was like a switch had flipped.
Bring on the Jealousy!!
As soon as we got home the jealousy began. She realized little man was here to stay, and she did not like it one bit. Our daughter began to realize that the attention wasn’t all hers anymore. She had to learn to share.
Soon she began acting out. Our once sweet and silly little girl began throwing tantrums. She wanted all the attention, and when she didn’t get it, she would scream.
Not only did this make it so much harder to get into the swing of things, but it threw off the entire routine we had with her before our son was born. She refused nap time. Then she began to refuse to eat unless we sat with her while she ate. It was sooo exhausting…
Whining to the max
I know that going from all the attention on her to having to share it was a big change, but oh. my. goodness. I never knew a child could whine so much without tiring herself out!!!
She wanted cuddles, but wouldn’t come near me if her brother was close by. Then she began to refuse nap time if he was in the same room as her. She even started waking up at night wanting my attention. Not only was this causing her brother to wake up, but she would not go back to sleep unless I rocked her or sang to her.
Once the whining started to slow down a bit I thought she was finally coping with the change…. But again, I was wrong.
Soon she began to not even listen to me when I said something. If I was feeding her brother while I talked to her, she completely ignored me. She knew there wasn’t much I could do about it until I was done feeding him.
Not only was she not listening, but she also began to “talk back” to me… as much as an eighteen-month-old could talk back anyway. Then all of a sudden one day she would start giving me dirty looks if I had asked her to do something for me.
She would do the whole “I’m closing my eyes because if I can’t see you then you can’t see me” thing along with the dreaded eye rolls…. How the heck can an eighteen-month-old learn to be so naughty in such a short time?? And where did she learn it?!
Helping her cope
It was so hard to understand her. She was so well-behaved! It didn’t make sense. I mean, I knew having another baby was going to be a big change, but I never expected for her to change so much that I had no clue how to handle her.
After my son was a little over a month old and I had a rough routine set for nap times I started focusing more on my daughter. I wanted her to see that she wasn’t alone. She needed to know that she still had my attention, she just needed to learn to share.
My husband and I then began doing more one-on-one time with her again while little man slept or while grandma babysat. We would take her shopping with us, I’d have her help me make supper, or would read her a few books.
My husband even began spoiling her with four wheeler rides through the yard and woods along with snowmobile rides once the snow came. This turned her into a complete daddy’s girl, but it really made a world of difference.
Slowly, but surely, she began seeing that she still had our attention. It finally clicked in her mind that we weren’t “replacing” her, she just had to learn to share better.
Soon she began kissing him, talking to him when he was upset and started to really be my big helper. Not only does she love to help me when I need her to grab me an extra diaper, or the wipes box, but she began taking the diaper for me and throwing it away without me even asking!
As much as I hate to admit it, I wasn’t being a great mom when we first brought my son home. When my daughter changed so drastically I couldn’t handle it. I was exhausted, sore, and just not in the mood to constantly be dealing with whining and sassiness on top of everything else.
Now that I look back, I wish I would have taken more time to try and help my daughter deal with the change right away rather than hope she would do it on her own. I wish I would have done the one-on-one time much sooner. It would have benefitted both of us.
She was only acting out because she craved our attention, and missed what we used to have. At times, I still miss it too. But trust me, the transition does get easier.
It does get easier
Going from one to two is so challenging, but it really does get easier with each day. Now that we are five months in I’ve realized a few things that have helped me immensely.
- Seriously, this was one thing I really had to work on, and I mean reeeally work on it. With the lack of sleep between both babies waking up I really had a short fuse.
- When you don’t stay calm it just makes everything so much harder to handle.
- Take a few deep breaths and count to ten. Do what you have to do to stay calm, but try not to snap.
- It took me a little while to accept this, but you’re older child doesn’t understand how to deal with such a drastic change. They act out as a way to try and deal with it. When they do, talk to them calmly rather than scolding them, they respond so much better that way.
- This is literally the key to what helped our daughter cope with the big change.
- By having one-on-one time with your older child you are showing them they are still a priority. You are showing them they are still important to you.
- One-on-one time can really be anything
- Help cook dinner
- Reading books
- Going on walks
- Coloring together
- Watch one of their favorite movies
- Just cuddle up and enjoy their attention!
- Not only should you have one-on-one time with your child, but with your spouse as well! They need to know that they are still just as important, even with the new hectic schedule of dealing with two babies.
- By listening to your child you are showing them they still have your attention. You are showing them you care about their feelings.
- If they are acting out, sit them down and just talk with them, even if they can’t fully talk back to you.
- I often took my daughter when she was upset and would rock with her and ask her why she was crying. I would also reassure her that it was okay to feel that way. After doing so she would always feel so much better.
- I know staying calm and being patient may seem like the same thing, but it’s all about being patient with the process of the transition.
- It takes time, but it eventually starts to fall into place. You need to allow the transition to take as much time as you and your babies need. Rushing the process never leads to anything good.
For me, going from one baby to two has really taught me a lot of things about myself and helped me change things for the better. All the sleepless nights, all the days that never seemed to end, it has opened my eyes to a whole new world of learning to deal with certain situations in the best way possible.
I’m not saying I’m perfect because I am far from it, but I have learned through A LOT of trial and error. I have found what works best for my babies and what works best for me. And after five months I can proudly say that everything is going so much more smoothly than it was four months ago.
My daughter completely adores her little brother, she has begun to behave much better… except for the occasional dirty look and eye rolls, but that I can easily live with, haha!
I know every situation is different in its own way, but it is still definitely a huge change for anyone to get used to. As hard as it may be at times, it’s completely worth it. It really does get easier. You just need to learn to take the good with the bad and enjoy the process. 🙂