Expecting baby number 2 with a toddler in the background can feel…well, unknown! You didn’t know what to expect of your first labor and delivery, so that was scary and now you remember how it was bringing home a tiny human with no one else to entertain except yourself and your husband. But now, now it is different. You now have another tiny human you need to entertain. Sure, you know what to expect from labor and delivery, but what the heck do you do when you come home with a newborn and have a sweet toddler waiting to show you what they have been up to for the last few days?
Hire help! Get yourself a postpartum doula! They can help with other children, household chores, meals, and holding baby so you can take a shower. I offer 2 postpartum visits with my birth clients, but am available for an additional fee for more visits. Some postpartum doulas even offer OVERNIGHT visits! You could even consider childcare at this point for your older child. It could be a few hours a day, or the whole day. They will enjoy some time with new friends. If you aren’t interested in that, checkout Care.com and interview a nanny who can come to your home a few hours or days a week!
Hire a cleaning lady! That's right I said it, hire a cleaning lady. You may consider having them do a deep clean before the baby's due date, so you don't have to worry about scrubbing baseboards and cleaning the microwave. You could get on a biweekly schedule or even just once a month. This can be helpful in this time of need. You could also consider a postpartum doula who will come in and do small tasks like laundry and dishes for you.
Call in reinforcements What do you want from your family and friends? Tell them! Get a schedule started, get activities planned for your older child that others can take them to. Can your in-laws, grandparents, your parents, friends, or other family come stay with you or drop in once a week? Alternate the schedule to provide some relief. Breastfeeding one baby and trying to entertain another can be a difficult task, we can’t clone ourselves but this is the next best thing!
Grocery Delivery This is a must with just one toddler in my opinion, but checkout grocery delivery options! I’m obviously a huge fan of Shipt, but there are lots of options available to you! Shipt has a yearly subscription, and if you are interested you can get it for half off, click here. I've also been turned on to Imperfect Food, which delivers weekly to your home. The company is all about cutting food waste, and it's been phenomnal.
Household Help Ask your friends and family for help doing your chores. Also, it’s super important to have the conversation with your partner about who does what. To do this, create a chore list and determine who currently does what and then discuss any imbalances or trades you can make to the list. You can’t run yourself ragged and still show up as the mom and wife you want to be. Something else to be cognizant about, if your sink is full and the floors are dirty WHO CARES! Someone want to stop by and see the baby? PUT THEM TO WORK! Everyone wants to help whatever way they can.
Make your other child(ren) feel loved We will find ourselves constantly telling our older children to wait a minute or more while we tend to the newest addition to the family, but reverse this when your older child asks for help. There will be times when you can tell your new baby to wait, it may only be fifteen seconds but the verbal encounter will show your older child that you are also meeting their needs and having the new baby wait.
Listen up! The resounding thing I find when speaking with new families and seasoned families is that they don’t feel supported in their postpartum journey. First, ASK FOR THE HELP YOU NEED! Second, if you don’t have enough help HIRE THE HELP YOU NEED!