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Adjusting to life with two!

This is an interview with Sara Warwick about adjusting to life with two children. Sara has three little children. If you have any further tips, please share them in the comments section! I have another interview on this topic coming up soon. We are doing our best to prepare for the next stage, realising that we will really have two babies! Natey has certainly grown up a lot, but he is still a baby as well. He is very kissable, so I liked this picture from best price art.

Do you think it is possible to prepare an 18 month old for the arrival of a baby brother or sister? Do you think there are any tasks/attitudes the child can be trained in that will assist?
Absolutely!! What we did was to casually talk about the baby being in my tummy and how special a role being a big brother or sister was! We had two cots so we didn't have to 'oust' the first child out of their comfortable cot because the baby needed it. (might not be possible for all people though). You could also get the older one to 'help' you fold nappies or pick an item of clothing for the baby when you are dressing them. I think the best attitude to have was to be relaxed!

What strategies did you put in place for the early days of having a second child at home?
Early days of being at home with two... Well if possible accept ALL offers of help. Don't try to do too much. I am notorious for doing too much after a birth and it catches up to you... unfortunately all the offers have stopped by then! Try to cook and freeze when about 8.5 months pregnant. Buying plastic cutlery so there is no washing up for the first week can help too. Try to make sure any night time waking of your older child is sorted out beforehand. I LOVE routines.... so I always made a toddler routine up with 'still' activities (highchair/playpen play, video time, reading time etc) during the future 'feed times' and made sure the toddlers were established in it beforehand so not much had to change in their daily schedule.

How did you ensure that the older child was content and happy during feeding times for the new baby?
Feeding time can be a breeze if you plan ahead! What we did was train the children to be able to sit in a highchair for 30mins with toys and be able to self entertain. When older, this changed to a playpen. They also had a snack beforehand and a drink, fresh nappy etc so they wouldn't need anything

Do you have any tips for remaining in harmony with your husband and ensuring he remains a number 1 priority?

In our home when always have 'couch time' ten minutes a day roughly where we sit and talk with the kids in the room but otherwise occupied so that the children could SEE that mum and dad love each other. Sorts out a lot of behavioural problems that stem from insecurity in the parent relationship. We learnt the hard way that not having dates is not a good idea. Now we try to do something together each week that is special and just us two, even if that is at home with a special take away dinner or foot rub! 

Also, do something nice for him when you can in your day. Ask if he needs something accomplished or just try to be ready to greet him with a smile when he comes home. Your days will often be stressful and sometimes plain awful, but home is his refuge too and although there is definitely time to tell him what happened, as soon as he steps out of the car is not the right time!

How did you continue to draw strength from God and his word during those busy early days?
I read a chapter of Proverbs each day that relates to the day of the month. That is so helpful for putting off bad attitudes and for gaining wisdom. It is an easy to read book which also helps. I think prayer is so important. God can hear us and will respond to us in ways we can never fully appreciate. Also deliberately putting on an attitude of thankfulness instead of self pity is ultra helpful! The Bible says it is a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. The world can look so bleak when we are sleep deprived, sore, spewed on, have mastitis and weigh more than we did before.... but turning our eyes to the Lord and the MANY blessings he has given to us in Christ can defeat even the most gloomy spirit.

In hindsight after going through the stage of having a toddler and a new baby, is there anything you would do differently or wish you had done?

There are LOTS of things I would do differently but that is the benefit of hindsight isn't it!
  • Mostly RESTING and not trying to be super mum.
  • Allowing my husband Duncan to do more parenting things and not thinking that I knew better because I was home all day with them.
  • I would have started teaching our older ones about the Lord from day 1 instead of waiting until they could understand. Younger siblings do have benefits of parents prior learning!
I think that is it really. Not too many. God has used all of our mistakes to mold us into Christs' likeness, so I wouldn't change anything really. I've had very dark days and then others that make me cry with laughter. Motherhood is hard, busy but eternally minded and rewarding. It is a precious role to God and I accept this awesome responsibility with cheerfulness. God is good!

Anonymous –   – (July 19, 2010 at 12:38 PM)  

I had my second child when my first was 19 months old. Older Brother was jealous when Baby was being breast fed. He would try to get her head off my breast. In the end, I decided to sit him in his cot with a whole lot of toys so that Baby could feed in comfort. Not all Older Brothers are the same, but this helps if they are. Interestingly, he loved his little sister at all other times! Blessings!

Faith  – (July 19, 2010 at 1:33 PM)  

my first child was 5 when my 2nd, and last, was born. both are girls. I included the oldest in just about everything...she would bring the cloth diapers to me when needed, helped bathe her baby sis, and I even got to explain the whole concept of breast feeding! She was in kindergarten (half days where we live) so in the afternoons, during her quiet time of reading, I would nurse. It always worked youngest was not a good nurser, so once she was on the bottle, I let the oldest help by holding the bottle. she would also read to the baby (she was an early reader). they are 17 and 11 now and VERY close....we are blessed by God that they are close sisters...the 5 year gap had some challenges but for the most part it has been wonderful! good article....i really like, and agree, with the part about the date nites with hubby.....we do this too!

Jo McDougall –   – (July 19, 2010 at 1:48 PM)  

John was 13 months old when Nic was born and Nic was also 13 months old when David was born. When Nic was born I ditched the long cherished belief that dummies were taboo. When David came along, I realised I could not cope with three sets of cloth nappies and ditched them in favour of disposables. I guess I learned that some things can be compromised - the children couldn't.

Anonymous –   – (July 22, 2010 at 1:51 AM)  

I am not sure of any "good advice" I could have, but to focus on the Lord and give yourselves time to adjust to having two children. We have two that are almost two years apart. I am very thankful the Lord has given us such blessings. *smile* I have often noted that I am not sure who is teaching whom in our home. God uses our two little ones to teach me things all the time. I know I am teaching them as I see the fruit of my labor. So, trust in God and turn to Him in all things. Sincerely, Mommy of two little blessings & so much more!

Sherrin  – (July 28, 2010 at 2:22 PM)  

Thanks for all the helpful comments!

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