pregnant woman in bed with small childpregnant woman in bed with small child

Going From One to Two Kids: How To Manage the Transition

By Babe

There’s something special about families of every size – whether that be a couple and their dog or two parents and half a dozen kids. But each time you grow your family, it means taking on an additional level of responsibility and transitioning into a new way to parent. 

If you’re thinking about (or actively) growing your family by one, first of all, congratulations! Having another child is a cause for celebration (after the planning panic, sometimes). As for all the questions you may have about managing this transition, you’ve come to the right place. 

We’ve gathered up everything you need to know about going from one to two kids right here: 

Your Sleep Schedule With Two

We’ll be honest: the part of your life that’s likely going to take the hardest hit when you add to the fam is your sleep schedule. When you have one child, all of your attention goes to them — when they’re up, you’re up. When they’re asleep? Well, you may not always be asleep, but at least you know you have time to snooze. 

With two children, your window for catching shuteye narrows, especially if those kids have a big age gap. Let’s say your firstborn is a toddler at this point. They’ll be developing curiosity about the world, wanting to see everything (and put everything into their mouth) right as you also have a brand new baby needing to be fed every one to three hours.

Conclusion? Get used to being pretty tired, mama. 

If we’re keeping it real, though, you already know what it means to be tired — having even just one child is exhausting, especially if you’re juggling a job on top of raising your kid. Adding another baby to your family might put your endurance to the test, but it isn’t anything you can’t handle. Plus, there are some things you can do to help manage your schedule and get some much-needed ZZZs every once in a while. 

How To Maximize Your Sleep Schedule

First and foremost, don’t be afraid to call in backup. Whether it’s asking your partner to take on more of the work, calling in a favor from your bestie, or even finding a reliable sitter. Don’t be afraid to step away from the job of being a mom (even if it’s only for an hour!) to get some rest. 
Plus, carving out time for yourself, whether it’s to catch up on sleep, practice self-care with a relaxing bubble bath, or have a date night with your partner, is ultimately going to make you a better partner, parent, and person. Asking for help doesn’t make you any less of a supermom, we promise. You can’t pour from an empty cup!

Your Time Will Slip Away

Picture the amount of time and attention you devote to your current child already. Now multiply that by two.

It seems like impossible math, but when you add another kid to the family, you’re doubling the amount of energy and attention needed for the kid section of your life. A big part of that means your free time, well, it may kind of slip down the drain. 

Adjusting to having less time is just part of being a parent of two (or more). And, in truth, you’ll adjust to your new reality quicker than you realize. 

How To Maximize Your Free Time

The secret to having limited time and energy is figuring out your priorities.

What are your must-haves? It might be your morning workout, a monthly massage appointment, or even five minutes of meditation in the evening. Figure out what helps you keep hold of your sanity, and make a plan to protect that time even with another little one to care for. 

Then you have to ask yourself, what are you willing to sacrifice? It might be your dignity in the grocery store or on an airplane, desperately trying to entertain your toddler so they don’t start screaming in a public place. Whatever the answer is, spend some time figuring it out and getting comfortable with the sacrifices you’ll have to make now that you’re a mama to more than one. 

Once you’ve done this, take a deep breath and remember… it isn’t going to be chaos forever. Eventually, you’re going to get better at multitasking, you’re going to slip into a routine, and your kids are going to grow up.

Who knows? You might find yourself missing this crazy and magical time of your life. Do what you can to embrace those days when wild days of finger paint on walls or grocery shopping in your pajamas. So, call the sticky fingerprints on the wall “modern art” and wear pajamas that look like clothes — no one will ever be the wiser. 

A New Child – With a Whole New Personality

One of the most special parts of growing your family is getting to meet another child with their own unique and fascinating personality. Of course, you’ll have to wait until they’ve grown out of the baby stage to really meet the newest little human in your family. But once they do, it can be a wild ride. 

Learning to parent another child with a completely different personality from your firstborn can also be difficult, though maybe not in the way you’d expect. There’s a certain sense of “I’ve done this before,” but if we sink into that a little too deeply, we might find ourselves pigeonholing our youngest into the footsteps of their older sibling.

Remember that even if we know what it means to be a mom, that doesn’t mean we know how to be a mom to THIS child (yet). Get to know your newest kid in all of their weird quirks and individual glory, and the rest will fall into place.

The Importance of Self Care

We’ve talked about how transitioning from one child to two can really eat away any free time and energy we may have had. Despite this, it’s more important than ever to carve out the time to take care of ourselves.

Research shows us that self-care is critically important to reducing stress and keeping us as physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy as possible. 

So whatever self-care looks like for you, make sure that you find a strategy to practice it. It might be asking your partner to make breakfast for the kids in the morning so that you can have an extra five minutes to write in your gratitude journal.

Or maybe it’s building a dedicated skincare routine immediately after you put the kids to bed and sticking to it religiously. 

The key here isn’t only making time for yourself; it’s making a commitment to yourself and sticking to it, despite the craziness that is your life now. Finding the time for self-care might seem next to impossible right now, but trust us, it’s more important than ever. 

Introducing the New Baby to Siblings

A lot of elements of being a mommy to two may surprise you, starting from the day you bring your newborn home from the hospital. No matter if your firstborn is only a year older than your baby, they will look SO big compared to your newborn.

When introducing your newest one to their older sibling, a few techniques can be helpful — these are mainly focused on ensuring the older child doesn’t feel like they are being replaced.

It can help to:

  • Avoid language like “You’re the big kid now” or “Mommy has a new baby.”
  • When returning home from the hospital, greet your older child and inquire about their past few days before bringing up/introducing the baby.
  • Bring back a gift “from the baby” for the sibling.
  • Place the baby in a carrier or bassinet or on a blanket. Sometimes if children meet a baby held by the parent, they could feel physically replaced.

Baby Two: Electric Boogaloo

Despite the general chaos of having more than one child, you might find yourself to be less panicked this time around. After all, you sort of know what to expect now. You know not to freak out the first time your baby gets a cold or spends seemingly an entire night screaming. 

You have all the baby gear you need already (bonus point, your second baby is less expensive than the first for this same reason!). Even though you might be a lot shorter on time and energy with two, you have double the wisdom. 

Whatever the case, please remember that your feelings are okay – and that, like all of us, you’re doing the best you can. Take a deep breath – you’ve got this, mama, and we’ve got your back every step of the way!