I’ve never been very good at taking advice. But over the past 5 years, starting when Alex and I got engaged, I’ve learned that I have so much to learn.
So before tying the knot, I took every opportunity I could to ask people for their best marriage advice. The wisdom I gleaned from that simple question has carried me through nearly five years of marriage, and hopefully will continue to encourage me for the next 65. (at first I wrote 75, but honestly, 104?? No thanks.)
One of those memorable pieces of marriage advice was from the seamstress who made my wedding dress. She said, “If you’re unhappy, do something to make him happy, because at least one of you should be.” I’m still working on that one.
While pregnant with Cohen, I posed another question, asking parents for their best advice about preparing for your first child. Again, so much of the insight I received during that time has positively impacted my parenting. Words like, “you don’t have to be an expert on all babies, but you will be the expert on your baby”, have empowered and fueled me through many difficult moments.
Now, as we eagerly await the arrival of our little girl, I’ve been asking for wisdom once again. And the advice I’ve been given has been both practical, and over-arching. As I was compiling these insights, I thought of all of you other moms, waiting on baby #2 and hoped you might also be blessed and encouraged by it. So here it is:
How to Prepare for Baby #2
1. “Tell the older child that the new baby is ‘their baby’… THEIR baby sister/brother… kids are really possessive and protective of whats theirs.. it really worked for my daughters. but now they fight because they are sisters.” -Barb
2. “Sustainable parenting. Only do what you can sustain doing for the foreseeable future with both kids.” -Hayley
3. “If there are some changes that need to be made to sleeping arrangements or other things, do them early enough so that it feels like normal life for your first child before the second one comes.” -Jeanette
4. “When the older child meets the baby for the first time, make sure you are not holding baby so that your arms/lap can greet your older child as they may be missing you. I thought this made good sense though I’m not sure I would have thought of it on my own.” -Stephanie
5. “We made a huge deal out our first becoming a big brother. We would talk to my belly all the time. We also had him give give the new baby a lovie. But really in the end it didn’t matter, he didn’t blink an eye!!” -Tiffany
“Lane gave Elias a really awesome gift and vice versa, they had a special exchange and to this day still treasure their gift from the other person.” -Anna
6. “In the car – the oldest is the first in & the last out. And it’s okay if the baby cries while you give the oldest attention.” -Lindsy
7. “One thing I did was read books with the older one when nursing and had her help out as much as possible with the baby and around the house. Our girls felt significant by having these responsibilities, however small they were. I also tried to let the older one hold the baby when she’d ask, if possible. And it’s okay if your house is untidy while you figure out life with two. It’s a joy and a blessing.” -Terra Lee
8. “My mom got Ethan some new, special toys that we only got out when it was nursing time. This made a big difference in the early months. So he still felt special while Austin was getting lots of attention.” -Sarah
9. “Be prepared for God to bless you with a whole new set of things to learn. I thought I had parenting nailed, thought I had an amazing kid cuz I did something right, but God always sends a child that is completely different from the day they are born. We always say He has more to teach us. Its a great, though slightly startling adventure!” -CD
10. “It’s busier and having a new baby is always exhausting whether it’s the first or second, but it is truly amazing! And when I feel guilty for not spending time with one of my children because I’m busy with the other one I have to remind myself that giving my boys a sibling was one of the greatest gifts, even if it means they each get less of me.” -Jeanette
Thanks again to all of you for such amazing feedback! I’d really love to hear more of your advice, wisdom and practical tips, so feel free to leave them in the comments below. I have to say I’m looking forward to our second now more than ever, though I’m glad there’s still three months to go!