Transitioning to a bigger family: tips, tricks, words of wisdom — The Bump
April 2018 Moms

Transitioning to a bigger family: tips, tricks, words of wisdom

This started as a Q on the questions thread, but I thought it’s a difficult and important enough topic that it deserves its own thread. Moms who have been there and survived it: how did you make the transition easier for your kid(s) (or, for the transition from just you and DH/SO to a family of 3, for your partner)? 
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kbamomma33hedgepigPuddlewonderfulsapphires-and-diamondslesliegolemirenejean
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Re: Transitioning to a bigger family: tips, tricks, words of wisdom

  • Thanks for starting this thread @lindsye and thanks to everyone who is responding-- this is really helpful! 
    lindsyeg_amoss
  • Any tips on transitioning to baby number one? I think about how life with be different with my SO and I and maybe some tips for this transition. Thanks for starting this thread :smile:
    nessa1632frenchiekinplusonelindsyeirenejean
  • @babyclarke429 if I could go back and prepare myself for the transition for baby 1–I would start by adjusting to an earlier bed time.
    lindsyerach-jDumbgurl04irenejean
  • lindsye said:
    -I mentioned it before but I’m repeating it here: after our babies are more than a couple weeks old, they need dark and quiet to fall asleep. During the day, this meant I needed to leave my older kid(s) for brief periods of time to put the baby to sleep. The best solution I came up with was to limit their iPad/technology time to only when I needed to put the baby to sleep. This meant that I could leave the room for brief periods without the toddler screaming, and I knew they would sit happily (and safely and quietly) with the iPad while I was putting the baby to sleep. Not ideal, but it worked for me. 

    -meal prep on the weekends, if you’re able. It’s the last thing you’ll want to do during your “down time,” but you’ll want to do it even less alone with needy kids by yourself during the week/after coming home from work and having to switch to your second job. In this same vein, for me personally, I would seriously consider being publicly flogged over taking my three kids alone to the grocery store for the big weekly stock up run. I go by myself on the weekends when DH is home and do short runs or online orders during the week for random stuff.

    -I really don’t mean to sound flippant or offensive with this one, but in terms of DH... I have been downright amazed how far sex will go in terms of meeting his relationship needs generally. We will basically be ships passing in the night in the heyday of young baby/young kids and have gone an entire week without having a decent adult conversation, but if we’ve had sex recently, I swear he’s basically happy. (And FWIW, DH is a fairly complicated man, so it never ceases to amaze me that this one physical act can go so far for meeting his needs. But it does.)

    -In terms of older kids getting used to sharing attention with the baby - particularly in the case of 2 and 3 year olds, who may struggle to fully understand but do fully feel the loss - it’s just really tough. They have a legitimate grievance in that they’re losing a share of your attention, and it’s obviously difficult for them emotionally as well. You feel lots of guilt because you feel like you’re short-changing them, but in the long-run you’re really not - they will have their sibling(s) as companion(s) for life. I make the most of any alone time I happen to have with them - even a minute here or there - as a chance to talk to them one on one or even just have a snuggle, and I feel like that goes a long way. And also remember that everyone will adjust to the new normal - by 6ish months I’ve found that everyone is significantly improved. Until then, just get through.
    @lindsye you should totally write a book about "transitioning". I think it's the biggest issue  mothers struggle with. I would buy the book.
    lindsyeg_amossirenejeanpeppersmith22
  • Well thank you, @Mamapema! That is certainly high praise. I have done the transition three times but still feel like I have yet to do it well; hopefully I’ve learned something but I know it will be a huge struggle yet again. This is the last time I’ll do it, though, so there is comfort in that. 
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    g_amoss
  • @ngolimento idk, ive never thought of that! Interesting!
  • Love this thread! Thanks for the great advice!
    lindsye
  • @kmalls thank you for that! We have been discussing a similar routine, though reversed (he’d do late nights and I’d do early mornings due to his work schedule and our individual sleep habits). We are heavily leaning towards FF from the start so I’m glad someone else has experience with that routine. Did you find doing that easier than sleeping in the same bed with H still and having baby in your room?

    Has anyone ever switched off nights completely? DH suggested way back that one of us sleeps in the nursery one night and does all of the wake-ups that night, then the next night we’d switch. It’d mean alternating full-on sleeplessness and full sleep and also not sharing a bed with my H until MOTN stuff stops, which I don’t know if I can do. 
    Me: 31  DH: 32
    Married: 10/3/15 
    TTC: May 2017
    BFP: 7/20/17
    EDD: 3/29/18
  • @kmalls makes total sense. I guess we will just have to see how it goes in the very early days and figure out what is going to work best. We want to get baby in their own room as soon as is reasonable. H has sleep/fatigue issues and I know I won’t sleep well with baby in the room because I’ll be anxious all night so hoping to make that transition within the first 2 months or so, but again will see what happens! 

    @kbamomma33 thanks for that! Glad you guys found something that works for you as well (ambient pass-out sounds amazing lol). Pretty amazing you were able to make the transition to crib after 2 weeks! 

    I love hearing how everyone shares night-time stuff with their SO, it’s one of my biggest anxieties about figuring this whole life-change out :)
    Me: 31  DH: 32
    Married: 10/3/15 
    TTC: May 2017
    BFP: 7/20/17
    EDD: 3/29/18
    kbamomma33g_amosspeppersmith22ftm_ohio
  • @kmalls I hate room sharing too! At 6 weeks DS was in his room right across from us. He was sleeping better and we were too. When he had growth spurt/crazy night I would take the RNP in the guest bedroom with me but not in our room. Even today when he’s sick and needs to sleep with one of us it’s never in our bed!
    kmallsg_amossstalkinghorse
  • I echo so much of what has been said, but things I think that resonate with me:

    1. @lindsye said about focusing on your relationship with your partner. That connection will be super important. 

    2. Life isn’t about what is equal, it is about what is needed to get through. 

    3. our time aside for the other kids in the house so they get their one on one time. I also am a big fan of having the other kids help it so they feel involved. 

    I have heard going from 2 to 3 is hard. So I am a bit nervous for the transition, but hoping we get through!
    lindsyeg_amossnessa1632peppersmith22
  • We also slept so much better once DS was in his own room at 5 weeks old. Our rooms are right next to each other. At first DH got up with me, but then we found the shift work schedule worked well for us too. DH was much better taking the first shift from like 9-2 and I did better from 2-7 so that's what worked for us.
    Me (28) + DH (28) = August 2016
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    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    angiek1
  • I am a ftm and loving these ideas my husband loves to stay up late and I had never thought of doing shifts because of bf (hopefully) but I was talking to my mom about that who always bf but pumped once a day so my dad could do a feeding. helps him get special time with baby. 
    so now we have a plan he will take first shift and I will have pumped and prepared to sleep and I will take the second shift. 
    peppersmith22lindsyeg_amossDumbgurl04
  • @sunshine27shy it was a life saver! you learn a lot about each other when you're both sleep deprived and once we started the shift thing I felt so much more capable
    Me (28) + DH (28) = August 2016
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    sunshine27shyg_amoss
  • I've loved following this discussion. This is our third baby but our first two are 11 years apart. We made sure to keep our big kids routine the same as much
    as we could. And made sure to spend a lot of one on one time w him when the baby slept. 

    I am getting worried about juggling it all with a not quite two-year-old and an infant


    Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

  • One of my bigger worries at this point is if DS will want a little brother by the time he comes. Yesterday I think we got him to understand that there is a baby coming but he still just wants a kitten. We tried reading books about being a brother and he's not having it. Anyone else's kids not wanting a sibling? DS turned two at the end of November. 
    Me (28) + DH (28) = August 2016
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  • @peppersmith22 it’s ok, he probably won’t want a sibling when the baby comes! For each of mine, bringing home a new baby has rocked their world and been a very difficult adjustment (and they were each close to 2 at the time). Sharing is hard, and learning to share mommy is the hardest. Once the baby gets old enough to really interact with your DS, he’ll start to get a taste of the fact that this really is a little human who will one day become his play mate, but until then, the older kids just feel kind of screwed over by the whole thing in my experience.
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    ftm_ohiog_amossrmmorris
  • @lindsye That is my fear! I see a lot of tears for both him and me during the adjustment period. In the end I really believe he'll be happy to have a little brother but in the meantime I think it's going to be tough.
    Me (28) + DH (28) = August 2016
    Pregnancy Ticker
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    lindsyeg_amoss
  • @peppersmith22 that is my biggest concern too. Less how a second baby will impact DH and I, more how my little one will adjust to being a big sister.  She will be barely 2 when DD2 arrives and I think it will rock her world. I hang on to the hope that soon they will be close friends. :(
    g_amosspeppersmith22rmmorris
  • I've been wondering a lot about feeding time with baby #2-- With DD, I remember her being on my boob almost constantly in the beginning. I'm worried about how going through that again with the new baby will affect DD. Any tips on making child #1 feel included in feeding time or activities that they can do independently while I'm feeding? STMs (both FF and BF moms) anything specific that you did to make feeding time with baby #2 go smoother? 
    ekendall09rmmorris
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