Before my son was born, I made a big giant list of things (25 things, to be exact) to do before he was born. It helped A TON, not just in getting ready for him, but in giving me peace of mind knowing that I was ready for him to come. Before baby girl was born, I had to make a new list of things, because having a second baby, there were new things I needed to do that I didn’t need to do with my first baby. I decided to share this list with you since it was so helpful and really helped me feel prepared for the transition to being a mom of one to a mom of two!
1. Arrange babysitting for your older child.
When the time comes to go to the hospital, you need to have somewhere you can take your older child, whether it be in the middle of the night or during the day. Either have one of your parents come to stay early, or talk to some friends or neighbors you trust who would be willing to watch your little one until you are able to go home. With baby girl we had a list of a few friends we trusted who were willing to watch our son no matter when we had to head to the hospital. After I was admitted to the hospital, we called my mom and had her start the road trip out to stay with us. Either way, you need to make sure your older child will be taken care of!
2. Wash things that have been in storage for a long time.
Our first child was a boy, and our second child was a girl, but there were several things that we were able to use that were gender neutral. White bodysuits, gender neutral-colored bodysuits a few bibs and burp rags, some blankets, and a few of our big items that needed some spot cleaning (the car seat, bouncer, bassinet). You want to make sure that everything is clean and fresh for your new little one!!
3. Get everything you need from storage.
This includes things like the car seat, old clothes, jumpers, and that sort of thing. I’m assuming that since your kids will be at least nine months apart (probably more), you will have put things in storage. So before your second baby is born, get those things out, assembled, and ready to go!
4. Get rid of stained things.
After going through several of the outfits, especially the white bodysuits from newborn days, I realized that a lot of them had stains from blowouts that were not going to come out with simple stain remover. So for the particularly bad ones, I just threw them away. Things that are stained beyond repair should just be thrown away. You don’t want your new, precious baby wearing your older child’s stained things!
5. Clean out the diaper bag.
Having an 18-month-old boy is a little messy. And every time we go somewhere, I have to make sure my diaper bag is packed with snacks. Of course this also means that every time we go somewhere and he has a snack, my bag inevitably gets full of crumbs, wrappers, and other random little pieces of trash. So if you haven’t cleaned out and organized your diaper bag recently, I suggest doing it! This may be a good time to add in a few things that you didn’t have before, like newborn diapers, an extra pacifier, and a nursing cover. Even if you have them in there for a few weeks before your baby is born, at least you will be ready and won’t have to repack it once your baby is born.
6. Register for anything you may need.
Most things we already had, but there were a few things that we needed to get for baby girl that we didn’t have. And if you are planning on having a baby shower (or a diaper shower), or if you just want a way to tell your family what you may need, registering for those things is a good idea. We realized we needed a few more things with a baby girl than if we were just having another boy. Another thing we needed was a new baby book, so that is a good thing you can register for!
7. Pack a bag for your first child.
Depending on if you are going to be taking your first child somewhere when you go to the hospital, it may be a good idea to pack a bag for them because you don’t know how long your labor will last, how long your child will need to be babysat for, or if you will go into labor during the day or night. I packed a little backpack for our son that had a pair of day clothes, a pair of pajamas, diapers, wipes, snacks, and an extra sippy cup. This way, it won’t matter what time of day you go into labor and you won’t have to worry about grabbing everything you might need for your older child when you are worrying about other things. And if your child is old enough, it will probably make them feel pretty special to have their own bag packed when you have a bag and there is also a bag for baby packed.
8. Do something special with your first child.
This could include reading a special book about becoming a big sibling, or in our case, doing something extra fun (like the zoo or waterpark) one last time before things are going to change a lot. Our son was only 18-months-old when our daughter was born, so he didn’t really understand that he was going to be a big brother soon, so it was fun to be able to take him out and do something fun.
9. Make sure things work.
This might result in changing batteries or even throwing things away. We quickly discovered that our baby monitors didn’t work and the batteries in our bouncer and vibrating bassinet had died. So I quickly called the baby monitor company and they were under warranty so we got them replaced (for free!), and replaced the batteries in the bouncer and vibrating bassinet. I also got some extra batteries to have on hand so that I won’t have to run to the store when they go out in a few months. You don’t want to be stuck with a broken baby monitor or baby swing that won’t work and no batteries when you bring your new baby home!
10. Check your insurance.
Just because you had coverage or know what benefits you had with your first child, doesn’t mean things are the same with your second baby. It is a good idea to make sure you know what will be covered and what you may end up paying for. Preparation is always key!
11. Make a schedule of your child’s day.
Obviously everything is not going to be able to be followed when you take them to a sitter or have someone come watch them, but it is nice for whoever is watching your child to know what a typical day looks like for your child. This can include things like when your child wakes up, eats, takes naps, and goes to bed. You should also realize that there is a high possibility that this schedule will not be followed perfectly, and that is okay! I knew that when I dropped off my son with our friends that his schedule there would be different than his schedule at home, but at least they had an idea of what he was used to, especially in regards to naps and going to bed. It gave me a little peace of mind knowing that at least our friends had an idea of what he was used to.
12. Write down anything else helpful for your sitter.
I included extra information on the schedule I made for my son, like allergies, when he takes milk in a sippy, when he takes a pacifier, what some of the words are that he says that we know but other people probably wouldn’t figure out. I also included both my phone number and my husband’s phone number because when I wrote it, I didn’t know who would be watching our son and I didn’t know if they would have both of our numbers. Again, it gave me peace of mind knowing that they knew how to get in touch with us should anything go wrong. And having all of this written down before you go into labor makes it easier for you to just drop your child off and go instead of having to try and remember anything important that your sitter may need to know. Because if that is what you try to do, I guarantee you will forget something!
13. Research double strollers.
If you are having your kids close enough together that you will need to get a double stroller, it is a good idea to research what double stroller is best and which one you might want to buy. We had some friends who had their second baby six months before us, and I fell in love with her stroller when we would walk together in the summer. She gave me all the details on it, and then I looked it up, along with other double strollers, on Amazon. The thing I love about using Amazon is that you can read so many reviews by people who have those things. I know there are reviews on other websites like Target or Walmart, but Amazon has way more and I use them regularly before I buy things! So research double strollers before you just randomly pick one that is cheapest. You also may be able to find an amazing deal on your stroller if you wait a few weeks and keep checking prices. I got the one we bought for $60 less than what Walmart was selling it for! Woo!
14. Check the expiration on your car seat.
If you aren’t aware, car seats expire. And if you are planning on using your first child’s infant car seat for your second child, you will definitely want to look and see when it expires. It usually says on the side or the back of the car seat when it expires, so you want to check that. Most car seats expire after 6 years, but you will want to check your particular car seat. Our kids are only 18-months apart, so we will definitely be able to use our infant car seat for the whole time our baby girl will fit (and longer!).
15. Have a diaper shower.
I was lucky enough to be able to get a lot of donated baby girl clothes from friends, I made all the burp rags I needed, and then I made a quilt and we had a few girl blankets already from family and friends. Everything else baby-related that we needed we decided we could just use what we had from our son. Pretty much the only thing we needed were diapers, so my good friends decided to throw me a diaper shower! It was super helpful and I was able to get diapers that I would have had to buy for our baby anyway. A diaper shower is just a great idea if you already have most of what you need, especially if your second child is going to be the same gender as your first!
16. Stock up on essentials.
I mean things like toilet paper, shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, detergent, the big things that you use every day. Pretty much household or personal items. Three weeks before my due date I went to Costco and Walmart and bought a lot of those things so that once our little girl was born, I wouldn’t have to run to the store when we ran out of things. Obviously you can’t do this on food or perishable items, but stocking up on household and personal items can help make your trips to the grocery store shorter. Because you might not be brave enough to head to the store with a newborn and a toddler for quite a while!
17. Sanitize pacifiers and bottles.
Somehow I only managed to lose one pacifier the entire time our son has been alive, so this means that we have a bunch of pacifiers and lots of bottles that we can use for our baby girl. Just boil them in water and let them air dry and you are done! Easy peasy, and you don’t have to buy more! Unless of course you want a few more because you have ones that look like baseballs and you are having a girl…But that may just be me!
I hope that list helps you get ready for your second baby! It can be scary going from one child to two, but you will adjust quickly and find that you love your second baby just as much as your first. Good luck!!
Now tell us:
What is your tip to preparing for a second child?
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