Having a second baby has a lot of logistics and planning on it. How do you truly prepare your home, your family and life for the new challenges of another little person?
You thought having your first baby was hard? Bringing your second child home (or 3, 4 or 12) home has a whole new list to bring along with it. New things you’ll need, things you’ll need to prep for. Here’s a new baby checklist, to use as you approach D-day. Let’s not waste time, you’re a busy mom. 🙂
Btw, just because it’s baby #2 doesn’t mean you couldn’t use a little childbirth prep. No matter if you were so out of it you don’t remember much of your delivery the first time, or it wasn’t the experience you wanted — or even if you just have some nervous butterflies thinking about it — let’s worth through them together.
I love that this class allows busy moms to do it on their own timeline!
Second Baby Checklist Table of contents
Second Baby Logistics Checklist
Mull over who can/will help you with your kids
I am a BIG believer in getting all the help you can with #1 — basically, any warm body will do. But, when bringing #2 baby home you need to think about who your other child/children are comfortable with and the different things they might need. While a warm body will do in an emergency, the plan needs to have them with people that love and care about them and the transition they’re making.
Grandmas are great at this. They love them just about as much as you do, but if not them — find some substitutes, like close family members. My mom was never in town on any of my deliveries, we somehow found great people to watch our kids.
If you don’t know (and are religious) I would really pray about it. I cry every time I leave my kids to have a baby (and I am not a crier). I just have a hard time going, knowing their whole life is changing (and it’s my fault). Knowing that they are in a loving environment gave me peace of mind and always made that transition easier.
Don’t forget to pack your bag (this post tells you what to pack in your hospital bag). With having to haul that child to a friend’s house, being prepared is extra important!
I also have a whole post on what to do before you have your baby!
Don’t forget insurance on your second baby (check to see how to add #2)
You are likely to be SO busy after the baby you might make the mistake to not add the new babe to your insurance. Call to check NOW on how you do that. Maybe print the paperwork and have it somewhere to remind you to do it, so when baby comes it only takes a little bit of time. Most of the time you have 30 days to add the new baby.
Think about arrangements for other children when you come home
Are there people who can help with playdates with your other kids? Will someone be coming to stay with you (and is your first child comfortable with that person)?
Will your partner be able to take time off of work to help out? I always found that a couple of weeks was helpful, much beyond that we started stepping on each other’s toes, but I appreciated some flexibility in his schedule. Another thing you might want to do is start stocking up on playdates now, so your friends are likely to return the favor when the wee one comes.
Sleeping arrangements for the second baby
Where will the baby sleep? Will your husband stay in your room with the baby or go elsewhere? Do you have older siblings in your bed still? Are you going to have to kick an older kid out of your crib — might as well start that earlier rather than later. We have a big kid bed we love!
Preparing Other Children for a New Baby
I think we often think what strollers, baby carrier, or bed situation we will need with an extra mouth to feed at home, but there are a lot more things to think about.
Talk about the new baby
One of my favorite parenting books, Siblings Without Rivalry (which I totally recommend, buy it now that way you are ready to use it when the time comes), talks about your husband bringing home a new wife.
Everyone just adores this new wife and brings her presents, says how cute and pretty she is. He spends all his time with her and tells you that you should love her. How do you feel?
Do you want to beat her into a bloody heap? I know I did. Well, nothing’s different for your other child (especially if it’s your 2nd).
Sure, love multiplies, but time doesn’t. Be real with them that you might be feeding the baby a lot but they are still SO special to you. That you will surely have some special time together.
Really THINK about how that child is feeling. It is a BIG change in their world.
Take the other child to the hospital or a sibling class
As a nurse, I really try to stay cognizant of how hard the mom leaving is on the whole family. Those kids miss her and she is the heart of the home. A lot of kids have a REALLY hard time with it. If you have any notion of that, you might want to take them to a siblings class. A lot of hospitals offer one. It’s a great way to introduce the fact of where she’s going and what she’ll do. Ours even took us on a hospital tour to show where your mom would be and how safe she is. It was really nice. Check to see if your hospital offers one.
If not, maybe drive by the hospital and show them where you’ll be. Talk about how it’s just for moms to have babies. Some kids have some pretty negative experiences with hospitals, but the land of labor and delivery is a whole other place in the hospital! I am proud to work in the happiest place in the hospital (frankly, there’s not a lot of competition, but I digress….)
BTW, you might want to take a hospital class as well. 🙂 Might ease a bit of your fears as well. 🙂
Having a Second Baby With a Toddler
Love those other kids, they have memory and feelings
My pediatrician came in the room when I had my 2nd child and told me some gold advice.
The baby doesn’t have discernible feelings, but your other child does, pay attention to them. The baby can wait a few minutes — they won’t get their feelings hurt, but your other child will.
And it really is the best advice I can give you. I am NOT saying that the baby needs to bow to the older sibling’s wishes all the time, but I am saying that I wish I could remember this advice better. Quality time is important for your older children.
A baby screaming just seems to always take precedence over “something cool” my 3-year-old had to show me. It doesn’t need to. I try to remember the cool new wife I talked about in the beginning.
Get some presents for your kids on your second baby
Think your kid won’t get envious of all the “boring” baby products pouring in for this new one? You’re wrong. Baby toys can look like a good time for big brother or sister.
I had often sent sibling presents to friends who’d had babies (my mom always did that, because she is a genius). I never knew what a blessing it was when someone thought about my other child. I remember a good friend at church brought an outfit for Mr Middle and a bubble gun for my oldest child. It was probably like 3 bucks, but he was SO thrilled. I also got smart and had a few presents hidden for envious moments. Just a few Matchbox cars are a great option, nothing fancy.
They mostly just want to know they’re remembered.
Must-Have Items for Baby Number Two
Get a great stroller for your second baby
Needing a great stroller is multiplied with subsequent kids. You might need a double stroller. If your kids are still small, I love the Maclarens, they’re easy to maneuver (but if you’d prefer not side-by-side, I like this one too) But, if you have one who MIGHT need a ride every now and then, I’d recommend something like this one. My kids were never close enough to stroller together (although, in a few emergencies I wore the baby while Mr Middle stroller’d at Disneyland), so I just bought a really nice stroller.
You’re going more places, you need more free hands. A good stroller just makes all of that easier. And while, this article of mine, does link to a lot of really expensive ones, there are probably good ones in your price range — check them out a local baby store or something. BUT as with most things, I do think you get what you pay for (to a point) with strollers. The more expensive ones are really easier to handle, easier to fold, etc.
What to buy new on the second baby
Honestly, if you take care to shop around carefully you can find a lot of great products and baby essentials with TONS of life left in them on baby #2.
Here is a checklist of things to consider though:
- Is your infant car seat expired? (yup, carseats have expiration dates. If it’s expired, you’ll need a new car seat.)
- Get plenty of diapers, since you really will NOT want to head to the store with two (or more) in tow. If you are using cloth diapers make sure you have a plan for that also.
- Make sure sheets still fit the crib mattress well and have no holes. As they wear with an older child you’re not as concerned about SIDS precautions, but with a new baby it’s awfully important.
Get a great carrier for your second baby!
Similar to a stroller, I never knew how important it was to have a great carrier until #2 came along (and then SO important with #3 as I was at soccer, school pickup, etc — almost constantly) but it is definitely one of my must haves. I recommend the Baby Bjorn (check consignment stores, they’re often available at a lower price there)until about 3 months and then I LOVE the Ergo carrier. I just gave mine to a friend and I adored it! I know it’s expensive but it is SO worth it and you can use it for a LONG time! I know there are a lot of new-fangled ones with long strips of fabric that you can use with the tiny ones too (those just always seemed so complicated when I had 3 little sets of eyeballs fixed on Makeme as I fiddle with the straps). I am, cough, cough, not so coordinated. 🙂
I get emotional writing this. I know having a new baby is SO hard on everyone in a household. I remember my 2nd one BEGGING me to stop pumping when I had my 3rd (“mamma, you need to take back that pumpkin”).
Anyway, lots to think about. What important items did I miss? I know I missed something. I have 3 kids, I miss things all the time. 😉
Don’t forget to grab my free hospital packing list:
This post was originally written in 2016 — has since been updated.
Katie Clark says
Great post! Jack did so well with Oliver coming home – that was quite the blessing.
The older ERGO carriers have a newborn insert so you can use them when your baby is tiny up til like 14 lbs. they are like $20. I just got an ERGO (which, like you said, is totally amazing), and I definitely will get the insert next time. I do like moby wraps for when they are smaller though.
I haven’t heard the greatest stuff about the ergo even with the newborn insert. Maybe they’ve made it better, but I do LOVE my bjorn with a newborn and i lack coordination to do anything with long straps. 🙁
Sarah Mueller says
Oh, this is such good advice! I totally winged it with my 2nd (and 3rd and 4th), but you hit on some things I never thought of. Like how the baby doesn’t have discernable feelings (other than “feed me” and “I’m wet.” Great post!
Thanks Sarah! You know a good post, so that means a lot. 😉
Hillary, did you mean to have a graphic that says “So your husband brings home a second wife…”? If not, I thought I’d just let you know…
Did you read the article? It’s a great metaphor for parents.
I get the metaphor, but I’d be so relieved if my husband brought home a second wife. Someone to take the time to validate him, give him all the loving he needs, someone to help me with the housework, someone to look good (makeup & dressed in something other then yoga pants and a large t-shirt) and laugh at his stupid jokes. At the end of working an 8 hour day, cooking dinner, cleaning up after dinner, spending time with my first (toddler) and putting her to bed, I’m exhausted, Pregnant with #2 and I sometimes secretly wish we had another person in the house helping out..
Hilary Erickson says
Hahahha! I love this! I sometimes think those ladies had a smart idea. 🙂 However, when you watch shows about it on TV I often re-think that stance.