Supporting the journey of motherhood, in style

Toddler And A Baby In The House? Mums-Of-Two Share Their Best Advice

Going from one to two children can make for a tough year as a parent. But it can also be the most magical. We ask 6 Mums to share their advice on the transition

If you’re facing having a toddler and a baby in the house, you may be excited. Or having a complete, rocking-in-the-corner freak-out.

If it’s the latter, please know you’re not alone – going from one to two can make for a tough year as a parent. But it can also be the most magical. So, if you’re about to welcome a second child, what do you need to know? How can you make the transition easier on you – and on your first child?

Here’s some wisdom from mums-of-two who’ve been there, done that.

 

"Re-frame how you respond to your eldest as it will transform how they feel about their new sibling" Sarah, Little Stories of You

“Firstly, don’t stress. I remember having a toddler and a newborn and thinking ‘How will I do it!?’ But newborns sleep – a lot – and once I realised that, it was all more achievable.

“My main tip is to say ‘yes’ to your first one. About to put the baby done for a nap and your eldest asks to go to the park? Instead of saying, ‘Not right now’, try ‘Yes, I’d love to go to the park with you! And when the baby’s sleep is over, let’s go!’ 

“Or, you’re just about to change a nappy and your eldest says, ‘Can we read a book?’ Say, ‘Oh, I love reading with you! Let’s just change this nappy and then we can read’. When I framed my response this way I noticed a huge difference in my toddler’s willingness to wait, and in how she felt about her little sister. It was great advice. No one wants to hear ‘No’ all the time. 

“I’ve also found giving my eldest jobs – grabbing nappies or wet wipes, choosing clothes, helping get meal-time ready and including them in caring for the baby makes her feel like a contributor. Now age 4, she’s still her little sister’s biggest helper and she’s so proud about it.”

“You can’t imagine having the capacity to love anyone or anything more than your first, but when the second comes and wow, you realise we absolutely can! 

Jesse Arifien of iamibu

“You can’t imagine having the capacity to love anyone more than your first, but then you realise wow, you can” Jesse Arifien, Iamibu

“When I was pregnant with Freja, I remember reading about how some mothers mourn their time with their first child as you go back into the newborn bubble with your second. I felt this profoundly as my time became so limited suddenly with each of them and my first, Leo, was a true mama’s boy!  

“You can’t imagine having the capacity to love anyone or anything more than your first, but when the second comes and wow, you realise we absolutely can! 

“After reading that quote which resonated so deeply with me, I made sure I allocated special time just for Leo and I to connect and be together whilst my husband could be with Freja. We read books, built things, went for walks and just snuggled together.” 

 

"Learn to embrace the mess that’s to come – and invest in a hands-free, portable, double-breast pump!" Jess Rosenberg, Moode

“Bringing #2 into the perfect family bubble you've created with #1 made me feel apologetic. For the time I'd now have to divide. For the love I'd now have to double. For the attention I was going to give someone else other than my little boy. But then my friend shared this with me:

This second babe is a gift to your first. Not an affliction you should apologise for. 
Instead, turn your attention to making babe #1 feel secure. Personalise your time with them, even if it's a small, stolen moment. 

“I would also say, learn to embrace the mess that's about to come. 

“And you should probably invest in a hands-free, portable, double breast pump. You're not an octopus and there are 100 more useful things you could be doing with your hands than holding a pump in each!”

Jess Rosenberg of Moode

Cynthia Voelkers of The Mama Set

"Best advice I got? Everything is temporary. The good, the bad, the sweet, the excruciating – it all passes" Cynthia Völkers, The Mama Set

“I am Australian born, with Italian parents and The Mama Set is a German based company (we ship worldwide). Just to give some context for the advice I was given, which was being told ‘ein kind ist keine kind’ in German (one child is no child). This didn’t make sense to me until I had the second child. Having two was a game changer. Especially with only 22 months between them! 

“With my first child, I was unsure and reading everything on how to do it all – but with the second I followed my intuition, not my fears or others’ advice. Focusing on what my girls and I needed to feel balanced and happy. Fulfilling the basic needs of eating, sleeping and activities. If we were tired we took it easy, if we needed action we planned an afternoon out. If we needed the day to end at 4pm then bath-time came early. 

“I surrounded myself with a community of like-minded mamas and sought advice from those who have been down the path before who shared my values. The best advice I received was: 

Everything. Is. Temporary. The good, the bad, the sweet, the excruciating it all passes. This phase will end. Your child will change. So hold on where you can, let go when you must, inhale the happy, and exhale the hard. -Kelsey Lucas

“With this in mind, you can hold on through the tough times knowing that it will soon pass, and truly enjoy those precious moments with your babies while they last. And although it was some messy times with two under two, the greatest gift I could have ever have given my first born, was her little sister.” 

 

"Your first born may suddenly seem so big and grown up when #2 arrives, but they still need help adjusting" Jenna Nelkovski, Mumma Milla

“My first son George was two years old when our second baby boy Maxi was born.

“Some words of wisdom that really stuck with me was that as soon as the new baby arrived your first child would have an overnight transformation and suddenly seem so big and grown up, and wow, it was so true.

“The second part to that comment was that while your first born may feel so much bigger, capable and independent, it was important to remember that they were still so small and would need help adjusting to the newest addition to the family too. 

“Having a newborn and nursing them around the clock is so incredibly time-consuming, not leaving much time for your toddler who has been so used to having their mum's full attention. I do remember devoting those small spare moments all to George. I would ask him to choose what he wanted to do or play, and later down the track, when Maxi was a little older, we started a Mummy-George ‘date-day’. 

“Connecting one-on-one was pretty special, and our dates still happen today.”

Jenna Nelkovski of Mumma Milla

Genevieve Muir of Connected Parenting

"Your eldest may act out but what they’re really trying to ask you is, 'Do you have enough love for me and the baby?'" Genevieve Muir, Connected Parenting

“When I had my second baby I had read and heard three key things about smoothing the transition for my older son:

  1. Don’t have the baby in your arms when your older child visits in hospital
  2. Get him a present from the baby
  3. Buy a special box of toys to get out and give the older child while you feed.

“It seemed reasonable and that was the full extent of my preparation to becoming a mum of two. If you asked me now, was that enough preparation? I would say no. 

“It’s not that these things are wrong, it’s that I wasn’t aware of how big the transition would be for my child and how to help him. Without this understanding when his behaviour got tricky. I viewed the problem as his behaviour – not the need for connection with me and reassurance of our bond.

“If I could tell parents one thing: Know that what your child REALLY needs to know is ‘do you have enough love for me and the baby?’ They won’t ask you that of course, they might show you by wanting to be picked up more, by struggling with emotions, or pushing boundaries. But if you know what the underlying need is you are able to answer it with your whole heart…. YES, we do have enough love for you and the baby."

“We show this love though connection. Fist pumps, delight, special one on one time. Communicating that love with our actions. You can’t over-do this. 

“Just imagine you are your child… and up until last week you were the cutest person in the room, and now everyone is looking at the baby. You might wonder what this all means for you? But then you catch the eye of one of your parents, their face lights up, they high five you… and in your heart you feel seen, safe and loved.” 

By Rachel Smith

“I surrounded myself with a community of like-minded mamas and sought advice from those who have been down the path before who shared my values."

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