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We’re starting to get down to the wire now on baby #2, so my husband and I are doing a lot to prepare. We’re sure that it’ll be harder the second time around, so we want to make sure we’re as ready as possible. When it comes to preparing for your second baby, a lot of it is similar to preparing for your first. But there are definitely some differences. So, if you’re looking to get ready, here’s how to prepare for your second baby.
Look through what you have
This is a big one. You have to go through whatever items you have saved and see what’s reusable. If you’ve got clothes, you’ll probably be able to reuse at least some of them, depending on the season. My two sons are going to be completely opposite seasons, with the first being a summer baby and the second being a winter baby. So, we’ll need to buy some clothes, but not everything. Among other things you’ll probably be able to reuse are your bouncer, swing, and bobby. I also highly recommend a baby carrier because you’ll be wearing your second baby a lot. So, check if you need a new one.
Depending on the age of your first child, you might still have your baby bathtub, changing table, and glider. When it comes to your crib, if it’s still in good condition and less than ten years old, you should be able to reuse it. With car seats, check the manufacturer’s date. Usually, you can reuse a car seat if it’s less than five years old and has never been in an accident.
Some things you’ll definitely want to buy new (regardless of your first child’s age) are pacifiers, nipples, and bottles. These wear down over time, so it’s just better to buy new ones.
Put together a registry
Once you know what items you need, it’s time to put together a registry. Even if you don’t give it out, it’s great to have a list of the exact items you need/want to buy to prepare for your second baby. A registry allows you to know how much you need to save up to buy everything and just lets you keep track of all the items. Personally, I recommend Amazon!
Odds are, you’ll need to buy quite a bit. If you want, you can always throw a sprinkle, AKA mini baby shower, to get some of those items as well! Not all family members and friends are open to attending a sprinkle. But if your second baby is a different gender than your first, you didn’t get a shower the first time around because of Covid, or you keep it really small, a sprinkle could be fine. You’ll at least have a registry to hand out to any relatives and friends who ask for it.
You can check out my blog post about our second baby registry if you’re curious about what’s on ours!
We’ve already mentioned it, but let’s really talk about it. The biggest way to prepare for your second baby is to save up as much money as you possibly can. However, having a target number is really helpful. Your target number for savings includes medical costs, maternity leave costs, and baby items.
This means checking what your insurance covers and what you’ll need to cover. It also means checking with your employer so you know what type of maternity leave you get and if you’ll need to make up any difference in your paycheck for those weeks. Finally, you should add up the items on your registry so you have a general idea of how much everything is going to cost if you do need to cover it.
All of that is going to give you your target savings number. You have around nine months to start saving, so calculate how much you’ll need monthly to hit your target number and make sure you’re putting that away into a dedicated fund every month or paycheck.
Declutter and set everything up
One of the biggest ways you can prepare for your second baby is to get your home ready for them. Figure out where they’re eventually going to sleep, declutter as much as possible, and set everything up. You’ll probably have those new baby items coming in, so you’ll need to figure out where everything is going and make sure there’s space for it.
Figure out what makes the most sense for your home, but there are definitely some things to keep in mind. Are there safe spaces for your first child to be when you feed or change your second child? Do you have a place for your second baby to sleep once they’ve transitioned out of your room? Are you baby-proofed or child-proofed enough? Is there a way to configure your living spaces to make everything easier? For example, can you set up a second changing area in the living room or reconfigure any rooms to create more space?
For our second baby, my husband and I are mainly prepping our living room and the kid’s bedroom. The kitchen already has an entire cabinet dedicated to baby/toddler stuff, so I’m not worried about that. However, we are intensively decluttering and babyproofing the living room and creating space within the bedroom our two children will share.
For the living room, we wanted to create a space where our first son can run around safely while we’re feeding or changing our second son. We also set up a changing table and diaper genie in the living room, so I don’t need to go upstairs with both kids every time I need to change one. (Yes, I will have two kids in diapers.) Finally, in general, we’re just getting rid of as much as we can.
Prepare your first child
One of the most important things you’ll need to do to prepare for your second baby is to prepare your first child. How you do this entirely depends on their age. For an older child, you can have actual conversations, read books, and even have them help you prepare for your second baby. They can help you put together the nursery by picking the wall colors, making the final decision on furniture, or helping you figure out where everything goes. As long as you give them set options (do you like this color or this color?), this can be a great way of involving them.
For toddlers, it’s a little trickier. You can definitely still read books, which can be helpful. You can mention things like a baby is coming and have mini conversations. But toddlers are probably going to struggle more with understanding exactly what’s happening.
My first son is too young even for that. He’s 16 months now, and so there’s no real way to explain to him what’s happening. So, we opted to buy a baby doll, and we’re slowly introducing it. The main goals are to teach him to be gentle with the baby, not steal the baby’s pacifier, and just introduce the idea of a baby being around. It’s been definitely helpful so far, so if your first child is really young, I recommend that.
Put together easy freezer meals
This is something I never got around to for my first son, and I’m absolutely making it a priority with my second. When you have a newborn, it’s so difficult to get food on the table. Now, it’s going to be even harder because we’ll need to feed a toddler on top of ourselves. So, I’m prepping easy freezer meals, so we’re guaranteed to have dinners in those first few weeks.
One meal I prepped was this beans and rice dish by Cafe Delites. It makes a huge batch, so I was able to freeze multiple meals out of it. The only thing I recommend with that recipe is cooking the rice for 30 minutes rather than 20 and not opening it at all while it’s cooking.
As far as other recipes go, I’m prepping shepherd’s pie, my own recipe for chicken fried rice, and a steak and peppers stir fry. I’m also preparing some shredded chicken and sliced steak that I’m freezing on its own. This way, we can just defrost and make some easy quesadillas.
For my son, I’m also prepping a bunch of sauces that I can freeze that make for easy pasta dishes, and I’m also going to make some muffins to freeze because he loves his muffins. Yummy Toddler Food has been amazing for this whole endeavor.
Book a photographer
The final thing we did to prepare for our second baby was book a photographer, and I highly recommend you do the same if you can. We booked our maternity session and our newborn session at the same time, which made everything easier. Trust me when I say that it’s so important to get photos of this amazing time, and it’s a great chance to get beautiful photos of your two children together when they’re the littlest they’ll ever be.
I’m so grateful for my maternity session photos because I was able to include my son and husband. Now, I have gorgeous family photos and photos of just me and my son. I can’t recommend this enough. If you’re able to hire a photographer, book them early. Plus, check out my tips for a great newborn session!
When it comes to how to prepare for your second baby, it’s all about planning as much as you possibly can. I haven’t had my second kid yet (I’ll update this blog once I do!), but I imagine it will be difficult in ways that I can’t imagine. So, I’m doing everything I can to make life easier for when baby #2 does get here. My goal is to make life as simple as I possibly can. I recommend doing the same as best you can.
Erin Lafond is a writer, website creator, and mom. She survived new motherhood by Googling things a lot, calling her mother, and embracing trial and error. Now, she shares her knowledge with all new moms. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and son (soon to be two sons!).
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