I'm expecting my second son in less than 8 weeks and of course getting nervous because we are hitting a really nice, truly enjoyable stage with my son (DS 2 is due on DS1s birthday 3 years apart). Things are so good and I do not handle the newborn period well. It terrifies me.
I had pretty bad PPD/A with DS1 and the long sunless winters here in NY are rough.
Son 1 will be in daycare/preschool 2-3 days a week. I have a lot of family support and my 3 best friends are due within 2 weeks of me . I have a great husband and a great therapist. And time off from work, so I am very lucky! But I'm so nervous. About depression and worrying constantly that something is wrong with the baby (like I did with #1 but this time I worked in a construction zone from weeks 20-26 of my pregnancy) and not bonding hardly at all and feeling so housebound.
I'm venting. But any advice or what your experience was like would be helpful!
pomegranate / 3895 posts
Oh gosh, I’ve been in your shoes. I distinctly remember thinking one day that things were SO great with my son that if I wasn’t already pregnant that I would not be doing it again. It felt like SUCH a step backwards to be adding another baby to my household.
I won’t sugar coat it and say I didn’t go through PPA again. But, I had a lot deeper support system and my husband understood my needs better. It was addressed much quicker. Mine was also situational and I question whether it would have happened had a certain scenario not occurred early in my daughter’s life.
All this to say, adding our second was easy peasy. I’m a much more confident mother and I’ve learned a lot over the past years.
honeydew / 7235 posts
Oh man, I felt just like you right before I had my second. I was crying off & on because I was so sad for our family dynamic to change and for my older son to deal with the big changes coming ((( Of course, cut to 3 years later and I literally cannot even imagine life without them having each other and him being in our lives, but, that's hard to comprehend when it's not what you know )))
VERY HONEST POST AHEAD:
So first off, I will admit when the second came along (2 weeks before my older son's 3rd birthday), it was a bit of a shock. I was way less stressed about the newborn stuff second time around, but juggling TWO of them, was harder than I had anticipated it would be.
I felt like everyone told me it was going to be EASIER, but me and DH didn't feel that way. Our older son was definitely 'reacting' to this change, he was acting out in daycare, and more needy than before. Basically DH and I tag-teamed them. I was on baby-duty, and he had our older son (mainly because I was nursing and the baby just required more of my time & attention)... My DH was also traveling a lot for work at this time, but he didn't feel like he bonded with the baby for a LONG time since of the natural arrangement of him having our older.
I kept older LO in daycare 5 days a week while I was on on mat leave which was really helpful since I was mainly alone, and I wanted his schedule to feel more normal anyway.
I felt bonded to the baby FAST, and still do almost even more than my first! I think it's that "last baby" thing, but I've felt very very close to him since he was born. What was weird and I didn't expect this, was I felt so protective over him from his older brother, and that caused some tension with me & him - so that took a little while to figure out.
I'm rambling, but I feel like many of us here have gone through a lot of these emotions. It WILL be a transition, and it will take time, but it will be GREAT once you get settled.
I literally cannot even imagine our lives without our second he is SUCH a joy and seeing him and is brother is the greatest.
Congrats and good luck! It sounds like you've done a great job arranging support for yourself ahead of time. It will be OK!
nectarine / 2433 posts
@hellobeeboston: ackk our kiddos will be probably exactly the same age apart, too funny. So much of what you said resonated. I would keep my kid in daycare more but it is currently IMPLODING so he's home with me. And currently I lay down with him to get him to nap... that ain't gonna happen! And nursing. My 3 year old will just.... sit and chill while I figure out the feeding? Woof. Sounds impossible.
@LBee: I'm not sure I'm a more confident mother. I've sort of lost my way these past few years. But at least I know *in general* how babies work (maybe?)
honeydew / 7235 posts
@pachamama: I fully, 100% admit to more iPad time than I would have wanted... BUT, I also wanted to keep my sanity and keep the peace, and if for a few months that is what it takes, then IPAD IT IS. It was truly a life-saver when I was on my own and needed to occupy the older LO.
OH ALSO, I had a high-schooler that lives across the street come over on the nights when I was on my own and DH was traveling just to entertain my older son, help feed him, etc while I got the baby settled... It was just for 1.5-2 hours at night a couple times here & there but it was a big help.
pomelo / 5620 posts
I have a 5.5 year old and an 11 week old.
In some ways adding a second was easier. I already know how to take care of a baby and what to anticipate.
Being able to split my attention between them can be hard especially with all the nursing. DS1 loves his brother but some days he is extra needy. I mean he is used to getting all the attention. I try and spend time doing things with him even if it means chores don't get done.
I think this time around I'm a bit more relaxed too.
Sounds like you have s good support system in place.
pomegranate / 3355 posts
I am in the camp that going from 1-2 was wayyyy harder than 0-1.
I am going to first say that my lo1, DD, is and was the easiest baby and kid everrrrrrrr. She slept well, she was always happy, she was just easy (and still is at 5!!) I dont' know how we got soo lucky to have her, I really say this daily.
Soooo when lo2, DS came along it was a shock to our system. We were in a good groove w DD being 3 y 2 m and as stated above she was easy peasy. DS not so much. He didn't sleep well, he had silent reflux, he cried a LOT more, he was just fussy and not happy all the time like DD. I feel older, more tired and more drained than ever!!
I find having two is a lot harder and a lot more work.
However, the love I see between them is amazing and we love our LO2 to the moon and back and he did truly complete our family.. but I'm not gonna lie it's hard.. and it continues to be hard. He's 21 mos...... I will also say I WOH and DH has a demanding job so that adds to the chaos/difficulties I think.
wonderful kiwi / 23653 posts
I feel like some aspects are definitely harder, because hello, there are now 2 humans! But I think my mindset also made it easier in some ways. I had mine exactly 2 years apart, and DD1 also kept her daycare schedule so it was a huge help to not have her in the house full time also.
Def super challenging at times, esp when I had to be alone with them with no help. But those phases will pass. It def broke my heart when at times I couldn't do what DD1 wanted b/c DD2 was attached to the boob, and I really missed putting DD1 to bed, etc. But I also mastered babywearing, BF relationship with DD2 was/is amazing, in general I was much less anxious and much more relaxed with DD2 re: schedules, etc and I lowered my standards a lot with stuff around the house.
Everytime things changed like when I went back to work, it was def hard to adjust esp for a period when I felt like I barely got time with my kids before they go to bed. But now at 4 and 2 years old I really love the phase we're in now, no one needs to go to bed super early, we all hang out after dinner, I finally am finding some of myself back now that DD2 is almost 2 and things are easier again.
kiwi / 702 posts
I found it pretty easy for the first 4-6 months since DD2 slept so much. I was able to really dedicate a lot of one on one time to DD1 and never worried I was abandoning her (I was SUPER worried about this when I was pregnant). When DD2 went down to 2 naps and was awake a lot more it got challenging but I figured it out and you will too!
My one logistical thing that still irritates me (DD2 is now 16 months) is that DD1 always wants to sit with me when I nurse and so when I can't come up with some excuse why she needs to go read stories with daddy/brush her teeth or whatever she sits with me. I feel like my special alone time nursing that I had a ton of with DD1 just hasn't happened. BUT they love each other so much and that is way more important to me. And they now play with each other so sometimes having 2 is easier than 1!!
Just thought I'd share all angles. Every family is different but either way I'm sure you'll do great and your kids will be fine! Good luck!
grapefruit / 4455 posts
@pachamama: we had the same spacing, I had issues with PPD/A after lo1, was worried too.. but 1-2 was way easier. And now that lo2 is 3, it is so much better that they have each other to play with! Yes it's more hectic, but I didn't focus so much on the typical newborn stuff the second time around, and also don't feel like you have to get to their crying RIGHT NOW. Waiting a few minutes so you can deal with the other child won't be the end of the world even if they don't like it. And I got dh involved with night feedings and all that pretty much from the beginning, so that helped and I recommend it if possible. (For medical reasons I didn't bf except colostrum so that made it easier for me although just that first week already gave us thrush, lol.) It was just easier for us and we were better prepared and our second was an easier baby too.. Wishing you the best!
persimmon / 1111 posts
So handling the newborn was super easy. Everything was night and day easier with the little one. I knew what I was doing and was way more confident in my abilities.
My older kid was extremely jealous of the baby. We had to do a lot of separation and tag teaming. It got way better when I kept him home from school and helped him realize this is his new normal. He loves the baby now.
I've kept J's routine as similar as possible. If R is up at nap time then I have him play on the floor or in the bed while I lay down with J. I bathe both together and feed both together. Making R tag along to J's schedule really seems to work well.
The hardest part is I'm stretched so thin trying to be super mom. I have no time to myself. There's always a mountain of laundry, a ton of dishes to do,and toys everywhere. I wasn't expecting it to take this much energy
pomegranate / 3230 posts
I have a 4.5yo and 4mo twins.
Twins have been SO much easier than the new parent learning curve was for me! I know how temporary the hard stuff is, so it is much easier to tolerate. I also know how fleeting the cute stuff is, so I appreciate it more.
Also, I had a high risk pregnancy followed by a very smooth L&D. The relief over having such a great L&D got me through a lot postpartum. My mantra was that it's ok if I'm really tired because my twins made it to 37w and we all came home together from the hospital.
Things that have helped me: (1) being possessive of my postpartum time, staying focused on my nuclear family and carving out the space to build a nursing relationship with my girls (2) leaving the house every day! (3) finding opportunities to take an hour off every few days.
Also, I will breastfeed anywhere and everywhere. I do not care who sees what. I have stuff to do, and I breastfeed along the way. Half my town has seen my nipples at the park by now, and my dad and SFIL have seen them in my living room too. It's the only way I can feed and bond with my babies while still being productive with my older one.
I also did a lot of work to manage my son's transition to big brotherhood. I knew he would have to deal with certain changes (e.g., a new bedroom and no more cosleeping with me). I tackled those way in advance of the babies' arrival so he would not associate/blame them. I also tried to identify and enforce points of continuity for him. For instance, he and I always have breakfast together, and I really try to stay focused on him at that time. And we talked a lot about the great and challenging things about having babies. He was really excited to be a big brother and has been amazing with his sisters. (His reaction to me being back at work, however, has been challenging!)
persimmon / 1023 posts
DS1 is 4 years old and DS2 is 2 months old. Going from 0-1 was infinitely harder in an overwhelming way, and even I as the non birth parent suffered from PPA. I saw a therapist all last year to prepare for our second and so far, the transition from 1-2 has been a lot easier. BUT it is waaaay harder just in terms of constant go go go, no rest time whatsoever. It is completely exhausting and relentless. I am thankful for our gap as DS1 is so easy to deal with minus tantrums and defiance due to age. He has been great with all the transitions.
pear / 1521 posts
Our two are three years + 4 days apart - I felt like the transition was much easier this time because I was used to having to dedicate almost all my waking time at home to another little being, but I totally understand feeling like you are really about to rock the boat! I felt that way starting about age 2, like things had really gotten pretty easy parenting-wise, I think a lot due to the fact that my DH could just do so much more with our DD and it wasn't practically all me all the time.
Like @hellobeeboston: I was surprised at how protective I have felt towards the baby and needing to defend her at time from her aggressively loving older sister! Right now we are often coexisting like two separate little teams, me and the baby (8 months) and my DH and DD1. But it's working ok and I know it is just a stage.
I found that this age spread was awesome for needing to attend to/nurse baby bc I felt like I could leave my older LO unattended at times, when I was on mat leave I often left her downstairs playing while I put down the baby. What helped a lot was playing stories on Spotify, we have a playlist and that really kept my older daughter out of trouble. We also have a small house so I could generally hear her downstairs.
We also kept DD1 in preschool three days a week for 3 months and then 2 for the summer and that was a lifesaver for sure! My DH dropped her off in the mornings too for a while which also helped a lot.
Good luck! You got this!
pear / 1737 posts
You sound like you have really set yourself up fabulously for life with another baby. I think it’s going to be helpful for both you and your older child to have that stable outside the house school routine.
My kids are 22 months apart and I have found it pretty good on the whole. I struggled a little bit when I had them by myself for the first full days when my husband went back to work and I tried to leave the house with them. Having two kids screaming in your face for lunch was challenging. And I’m currently finding it difficult because they’re fighting over toys now that my baby is 15 months old (sob). I went through some depression with both pp at around the same point, 6 months ish. It was for some reason much worse this time around. I don’t know why. I also felt much more connected to my second much faster so that was a nice perk. I tried to just give a lot of attention to my oldest, which was quite easy for the first six months with a baby who was a short nurser and quite easygoing. We spent everyday at the park in the morning. Because of that, my first kid basically had zero issues initially because we just followed or normal schedule and everything revolved around that and not the baby.
I hope you are pleasantly surprised! Some days are hard and some are easy or inbetween. And seeing your kids together when they love each other will help with the hard bits.
nectarine / 2433 posts
@Mrs. Goose: fabulous and postpartum have never been used in the same sent3nxe with me but thanks. My OB knows about my issues so she wants me to come in two weeks after for a little check in too. I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised I went to some wellness training this summer and the instructor said on the "life continuum" of 1-10, some days are a 2 and some days are 8 and that's just how things are. I liked that.
@petitenoisette: interesting about being protective... I hardly felt protective of my first (yeah... Bad...) So maybe I'll experience that this time around. My first son can be a real bully that's for sure
pear / 1737 posts
@pachamama: :). Got to come at it positively, right?! I think when you have done it all before, even if it was awful, it usually can’t be as awful as it was before because before you knew nothing and now you know at least something. When I was pregnant the second time I felt like I had forgotten about everything baby, how to hold, how to feed, etc. And it all came back very quickly. I have a few friends who have had ppd/ppa to a higher degree than me and in subsequent pregnancies and births it has thankfully been identified and dealt with quite quickly because everyone is aware of the situation and what to look out for.
wonderful cherry / 21504 posts
Going from 1-2 was really hard for me. You sound much better prepared than i was though. I didn’t have any PPD with my first, so I wasn’t really prepared for it with my second. I think if I’d had systems in place like you do, it would have helped so much.
Like others have said, the new baby wasn’t so much the hard part. New babies are tough but you’ve done it before and are more confident and it comes back to you, plus I personally felt less like I was going to break the baby or permanently damage her by not coming the first second that she cried or whatever. But learning to constantly divide your attention is the hard part. And my older one has been a challenging kid from the start. So it wasn’t easy. It took me a while to bond with the second. But I learned to feed her anywhere- perched on a stool at the counter while i fed the toddler, in the carrier at the playground, reading bed time stories... she learned to nap in the go, which helped a ton. And my older daughter watched way too much tv and you tube. But that was temporary and I whole heartedly believe that extra screen time is way better than your mom completely breaking down.
And now they love each other So Freaking Much. My younger one basically worships her big sister. It fills my heart with so much joy seeing how much they love each other. So, it’s worth it.
Good luck. Everyone struggles with it and you’re not alone.
clementine / 849 posts
I’m only 5 weeks in, but it’s been wonderful to hear these responses. So much resonates.
For me, my PPA was much better (so far, it’s still early)... knowing the feelings are normal, will pass, but if they don’t that getting help is more than OK has definitely helped. Also, knowing the hard early days are fleeting and there is so much FUN to look forward to in the first year and beyond has helped when we have a “2” day.
Big brother has been doing great overall, with some expected regressions (behavior and potty) but I think he is growing and learning more because we’ve had to face those issues head on.
Like others have said, it sounds like you’ve set yourself up for a supported post partum experience, which is huge! Life will get crazier but also more wonderful
grapefruit / 4361 posts
You've gotten great advice above but here are some short tips:
1) Teach your child how to wait by counting slowly to ten, or down from ten. Teach them to wait with their hands folded or hands up or whatever - like a very specific practice.
2) Model and explicitly teach alternate behaviors, rather than just stopping negative ones. I think you're a teacher, so hopefully you get what I am saying.
Examples: "You can rub the baby's head or tummy, or tickle her toes, or kiss her fingers."
Non-examples: "STOP poking your sister's eyes and slapping her belly or head and STOP biting her and STOP hitting her."
Teach the desired behaviors in really explicit, small steps. It kind of reminds me of this: http://boystowntraining.org/teaching-replacement-behaviors.html
Also have your OB's nurse line / therapist on speed dial and don't hesitate to call and ask for help even if it's late at night and you have to leave a voicemail.
I have found that getting out of the house EVERY morning with 2 kids was a sanity-saver for me on maternity leave. Library, groceries, playdates, indoor kids places, etc. Being cooped up made LO1 crazy and misbehaving all the time, which then made me crazy.
I met up with my SAHM friends at least once a week, it was a standing playdate at a park. I know it's too cold for that where you are, but I'd try to figure out something.
grapefruit / 4361 posts
- PPA was so much better this time around, and I asked for help and got medicated which I never did with LO1.
- Caring for a newborn was so much easier this time around.
- Worrying about all the little newborn things (poop color and amount, nursing frequency, etc) didn't seem as big of a deal
- Going from 1 to 2 was fine EXCEPT I didn't anticipate how violent / aggressive / big my LO1 would seem. It is SO much better now.
persimmon / 1129 posts
@pachamama: I have 3 kiddos, 2.5 years apart and 1.5 years apart so I have BEEN THERE. If it helps with perspective, now that my oldest are 2.5 and 5, they play together constantly and share a room by choice. They call each other their best friends.
Here are some logistical things that helped:
-a solly wrap - I wore baby a lot and that was my favorite in tiny baby stage.
- a good swing- sometimes wearing the baby felt claustrophobic to me so a few comfy places for baby to hang out when I was in that mood was good!
- some new movies to watch with the 3 year old when you are tired or cluster feeding but still sort of want to feel like you’re bonding- I would get out cozy blankets and pop popcorn which made it feel more special than just turning on a show for her
- a box of toys that only came out while I was nursing
- Read Along Storybooks and CDs with a CD player for my oldest. These things are perfect for this time of life. The Cd plays an audiobook of the book and chimes when it’s time to turn the page. My daughter liked to listen to them with me and by herself during her quiet time. She got to hear books but I could just sit there and do nothing.
grapefruit / 4800 posts
I think having the older child it’s hard to stay housebound. Little harder in the winter to get out for walks and playground but we still did it. She got bundled up and my husband trudged up and down a sledding hill with her tucked in an ergo.
My oldest def had regression, which was a bit tricky but also helped that we knew it was normal. I think we should have outsourced a little more (order groceries online and more shopping online in general). And we should have joined a gym sooner that had childcare.
Some things were easier and some things were harder than I imagined. But now that they’re older they’re BFFs so that parts good.
pomegranate / 3127 posts
It was hard. I mean, my recovery was much better and nursing was a piece of cake, but the sibling jealousy didn't take long to show up... ugh. And I wasn't in the best place mentally, but I think the situation that caused that was pretty ridiculous and unlikely to happen to you.
nectarine / 2461 posts
New baby at large: so much easier and less stressful this time than as a FTM (she's not without her problems, btw--I just knew what to do and was not as anxious).
New baby + toddler with husband home: easy
New baby + toddler in good mood without husband: hard but manageable
New baby + toddler in bad mood/tired/hungry/hangry/temper-tantrumy/etc, at bedtime when baby needs to be put down, baby trying to nurse and keeps crying because the toddler is screaming about how I cut his pears wrong, without husband: this is my hell.
Sounds like you have done everything that can be done to set yourself up for success though. You will get through it!
pear / 1767 posts
I haven't battled postpartum anxiety or depression but I did struggle a lot with adjusting from no babies to 1 baby. My second baby arrived when my first had turned 4 and it was seriously so much easier than I expected. I do think the age difference of the kids plays a huge role (my 4 year old could go potty on his own, grab himself snacks, etc. all while I breastfed) but I also think the lifestyle change from zero to one is just really hard. When you already have one, you have already adjusted to not being able to run out and do whatever you want whenever you want.
ETA: My older also went to school from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day and that definitely helped my sanity while I was on leave. It sounds like you have thought through lots of mechanisms to help you.
nectarine / 2951 posts
Anticipating change is always so hard. I was in your shoes as well.
My advice: if you can afford it, try to put your older son in daycare as much as possible. My DS1 only went 3 days a week and maternity leave was hard and stressful managing two little guys. It was NOtHING like your maternity leave with your first. My DH stepped up and did fun activities with him, but when he was home he wanted me and all of my attention.
2.5 years later, my boys both are needy for mama, and it’s a balancing act. They are best friends and the sibling bond is amazing, but DS1 still gets jealous of my younger son and of my attention.
Good luck. The baby stage flies by even more quickly the second time.
persimmon / 1023 posts
@Alba4: 1000% agree with this. Luckily our older is in school 915-345 but he has had a couple days off sick this year where he’s home with baby and DW and it’s very hard to juggle them all when you’re exhausted from the night before and in a constant cycle of feeding and putting to sleep. She is solo for an hour or two most nights until I get home from work and just that small amount of time is still difficult. I don’t know how people have both at home in the early days without losing it because as soon as you get the baby down, the older wants to play or needs something...no rest time or moment to yourself which is crucial.
@pachamama One other thing that’s worked for us really well is that we had DS2 doing one bottle feed a day from like 3 days old. So I do his night routine to give DW a break and so she can be with our older. I’m also lucky to not work Fridays so DW can do what she likes without being tied to nursing all day when I’m home. Of course depends on your baby, thoughts on feeding, etc. But it helps me feel bonded too and like I can share the load and that we don’t have to split totally 50-50 between the two kids. It seems to have helped keep jealousy down too...fingers crossed!
Invest in a good carrier too if you don’t have one already!
nectarine / 2433 posts
@ElbieKay: I'm so glad you got to 37 weeks. And hell year to BFing everywhere. Lots have said it's harder to stay housebound when you have a toddler, so I am sure I will have to nurse that baby in public!
@muffinsmuffins: good suggestion about getting on the bottle. Once we did that with my husband with #1 I got a long stretch of sleep at night which was life changing. and Yes I have 2 good carriers!!
@Alba4: many friends have suggested daycare often! I think this might be an option and hopefully my mom can take him more at least in those early weeks. And yes I look back onto my life with one baby and mat leave and I'm like DREAM WORLD, so much easier!!
@LCTBQE: another way I'm spoiled is my husband is going to take 4 weeks off (here in NY they have made some legislative changes that >gasp< actually support families and he wants to be a pioneer of his company and take lots of leave (aka a f*ck you to the man) and stay home for a while
nectarine / 2433 posts
@Shantuck: I had a terrible time adjusting to being a mom so at least in that sense I know what I'm in for.
@My Only Sunshine: these are great suggestions. I like the read along CD. and the TV will be on quite a bit more often. I've held off all these years with limited screen time and keep saying "you just wait til your brother comes, you'll be able to watch Moana again"
@DesertDreams88: great suggestions. I absolutely need to get out every morning or I go nuts.