Tips for Transitioning to Baby #2

Lindsay Watkins, RD, IBCLC

As a mom of three, there have been a lot of transitions over the last eight years. I have to say, adding a new member to our family was always easier than I anticipated! For us, the buildup was worse than the actual event. Regardless, there were some challenges along the way. Here are some strategies we used as a family and advice I’ve gotten over the years to help ease the transition from one to two kids.

Meet and Greet

One of the best tips I’ve heard from other moms is to put baby in a neutral spot when introducing the older child. For example, when big brother or sis arrives at the hospital, have baby laying in the bassinet rather than in mom’s arms. Older children often feel possessive over their moms and this can help alleviate this. I also tried to set baby down or hand off baby before spending a little bit of quality time with the big kid.

Don’t Blame the Baby

To help reduce resentment and jealousy towards the new baby, try rephrasing how you say certain things to avoid blaming the baby. For example, instead of saying, “Be quiet, baby is sleeping!” try, “It’s quiet time right now, let’s read some books.” When you’re feeding or changing the baby, instead of saying “I can’t play with you, I’m changing the baby.,” try, “I can play with you in five minutes, I can’t wait. Go pick out what toy you want us to play with together.” This subtle change can make a big difference for a toddler.

Quality Time

Aim to have special one-on-one time with your older child for at least 10-15 minutes each day. This will help jealousy and help your toddler feel more connected to their mommy, who seemingly is giving all their attention to the new baby. Let the child direct what you do and follow their lead. In our house, we called it special mommy time and my older children loved it! Even if you can’t do it each day, keep it as a tool you can use when you feel your older child is having a hard time.

Give Your Toddler a Job

Include your child in the new routines with baby. Have them grab a book you can read them each time during a feeding. Let them pull two wipes out and hand them to you during each diaper change. Task them with helping wash baby during bath time – toes are safe! This will make your toddler feel important and useful.

Have Realistic Expectations

Try to remember that you’re only human! Having a toddler and a new baby is hard. If your toddler is watching more Daniel Tiger than normal or you get takeout three nights in a row, it’s okay. This is temporary and not every day will be easy but know that it does get more manageable. Take shortcuts when you can. Get help with your toddler if you’re able to.

I highly recommend prepping some breakfast or lunch items before baby arrives. These meals are always the hardest for me! These breakfast burritos are great for breakfast or lunch and these lactation bites are mama and toddler approved!

Busy Toddler has hundreds of toddler-approved activities that are quick to set up. Something as simple as a “paint bath” or “toy washing station” have kept my kids busy for up to an hour or more!

Here are some sweet children’s books to read to your child before baby arrives.