2 kind wann

Wann ist der richtige Zeitpunkt für ein zweites Kind da?

Viele Paare haben den Wunsch, Eltern zu werden, d. h. eine eigene Familie zu gründen. Manche wünschen sich nur ein Kind, andere tendieren zu zwei oder mehreren Kindern. Besteht nach der Geburt des ersten Kindes ein weiterer Kinderwunsch, stellen sich Eltern häufig die Frage, wann wohl der beste Zeitpunkt für ein zweites Baby da ist. Denn einerseits sollen ihre Kinder miteinander aufwachsen und zusammen spielen können, andererseits sind zwei kleine Kinder auf einmal oft sehr anstrengend für Eltern. Jeder Altersunterschied bei Geschwistern hat also seine Vor- und Nachteile.

© iStock, PeopleImages

Einen absolut richtigen Altersabstand vom ersten zum zweiten Kind gibt es nicht!

Welches der richtige Zeitpunkt für das zweite Kind bzw. der ideale Altersabstand bei Geschwistern ist, läßt sich nicht konkret sagen und hängt in erster Linie von der Einstellung der Eltern ab. Zudem spielen die Lebensumstände der Familie und vor allem die Gesundheit der Mutter eine wesentliche Rolle bei der Entscheidung, wann ein zweites oder weiteres Kind kommen soll.
Geringe Abstände zwischen den Schwangerschaften sind nämlich durchaus eine starke körperliche Belastung für die Mutter, da sich der Körper noch nicht vollständig von der ersten bzw. vorherigen Schwangerschaft erholt hat. Kurze Abstände zwischen Schwangerschaften können das Risiko einer Frühgeburt erhöhen und das Gewicht des Babys verringern. Daher sollten aus ärztlicher Sicht nach einer Geburt mindestens sechs, besser neun Monate vergehen, bevor eine Frau erneut schwanger wird. Nach einem Kaiserschnitt wird mindestens ein Jahr Wartezeit empfohlen.
Späte Mütter, die sich ein zweites Kind wünschen, möchten allerdings meistens relativ schnell wieder versuchen, schwanger zu werden, da die biologische Uhr tickt!

Vor- und Nachteile bei einem geringen Altersunterschied vom 1. zum 2. Kind

Vorteile:

  • Die anstrengende ersten Lebensjahre der Kinder liegen nah beieinander und gehen somit für die Eltern schneller vorbei.
  • Baby-Erstausstattung, Kinderwagen, Kleidung und Spielzeug kann vererbt werden
  • Babysitter kann für beide Kinder gleichzeitig engagiert werden
  • Kinder mit geringem Altersunterschied sind meist gute Spielkameraden, denn sie haben oft dieselben Interessen. Zudem können sie öfter Termine zusammen wahrnehmen, (z. B. Zahnarzt, Musikschule, Kinderturnen, etc.) wodurch für die Eltern mehr Freiräume entstehen.
  • Kinder können im Normalfall in der gleichen Kita untergebracht werden
  • Gehen zwei Kinder gleichzeitig in die Kita bzw. in den Kindergarten, gibt es einen Geschwisterboni.
  • Die Eltern können früher wieder richtig ins Berufsleben einsteigen
  • Der Zeitabschnitt, bis die Kinder groß sind, verringert sich und je geringer der Altersunterschied der Kinder ist, umso schneller haben die Eltern wieder mehr Zeit für sich.

Nachteile:

  • Auch das erstgeborene Kind ist noch sehr unselbständig und braucht ebenfalls immer noch viel Zuwendung, Liebe und Aufmerksamkeit von Seiten der Eltern.
  • Das ältere Kind könnte besonders in der ersten Zeit eifersüchtig auf das jüngere Geschwisterkind sein, da es jetzt Mama und Papa nicht mehr für sich alleine hat, sondern mit dem kleinen Bruder oder der kleinen Schwester teilen muss.
  • Je kürzer der Altersabstand zwischen den Kindern ist, umso anstrengender wird es für Väter und Mütter in den ersten Jahren. Sie müssen ihre eigenen Bedürfnisse ziemlich zurückschrauben, oftmals auf vieles verzichten und neben der Arbeit die meiste Zeit ihren Kindern widmen.
  • Was die finanzielle Seite betrifft, so müssen für zwei Kinder gleichzeitig Windeln gekauft und evtl. ein Kinderwagen für zwei Kinder angeschafft werden.
  • Erfahrungsgemäß kommt es bei Geschwistern mit geringem Altersabstand während der gesamten Kinder- und Jugendzeit öfter zu Rangeleien und Streit, als bei Kindern mit größerem Altersunterschied.

Vor- und Nachteile bei einem größeren Altersabstand von zwei Geschwistern

Vorteile:

  • Die Eltern können sich jedem einzelnen Kind mehr widmen und beiden Kindern genügend Aufmerksamkeit schenken.
  • Geht das erste Kind bereits in den Kindergarten oder in die Schule, ist es für die Mutter einfacher, denn sie kann sich nach dem Rhythmus ihres Babys richten, ungestört Zeit mit dem neugeborenen Baby verbringen, ohne dass das ältere Kind sich vernachlässigt fühlt oder eifersüchtig reagiert.
  • Das Risiko von Geschwisterstreit, Neid und Rivalität unter den Geschwistern ist geringer, da jedes Kind seine eigenen Interessen, seien eigenen Lebensbereich und Tagesablauf hat.
  • Bei einem größeren Altersunterschied sind die Rollen eher klarer verteilt. Ferner übernimmt das ältere Kind oft auch einen Teil der Verantwortung für sein Geschwisterkind, hilft ihm und unterstützt es, ohne sich dabei von den Eltern in den Hintergrund gedrängt zu fühlen.

Nachteile:

  • Ist der Altersabstand zwischen dem ersten und zweiten Kind drei Jahre oder mehr, dann müssen Eltern erneut beginnen mit der Babypflege. Zudem müssen sie sich erst wieder daran gewöhnen, nachts aufzustehen, um das Baby zu füttern und zu wickeln.
  • Der Tagesablauf mit dem Baby muss wieder ganz neu organisiert werden
  • Bei einem sehr großen Altersunterschied entsteht für beide Kinder eine Einzelkind-Situation.
  • Eltern müssen sich bei der Urlaubsplanung für den Familienurlaub sehr lange Zeit nach den Schulferien richten
  • Ein Elternteil kann erst später wieder endgültig ins Berufsleben zurückkehren

Ist die familiäre Situation gut und steht weiterem Familienzuwachs nichts im Wege, können Eltern folglich selbst abwägen und entscheiden, wann für sie der geeignete Zeitpunkt für das zweite Kind da ist. Experten halten einen Zeitraum von drei bis vier Jahren als optimalen Abstand zwischen zwei Geschwistern.

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Wann ist der richtige Zeitpunkt für das zweite Baby da?

Aus der Sicht von Mama und Papa

Der „Klassiker“, also der von vielen jungen Eltern geträumte Weg hat meistens folgenden Ablauf: Wenn der erste Sprössling in den Kindergarten geht, kann das zweite Kind kommen. Dann hat Mama etwas mehr Zeit für das neue Baby und kann das erste Jahr ungestörter genießen. Bis dann auch das zweite Kind in den Kindergarten geht, kommt das Erstgeborene auch schon in die Schule und Mama kann endlich wieder arbeiten gehen.

Mamas Karriere

Aus Sicht der Karriere könnte ein kürzerer Abstand der Mutter bessere Wiedereinstiegschancen bieten, da sie nur einmal –eine relativ kurze- Pause machen muss. Der „Klassiker“ könnte aber auch den Wiedereinstieg gefährden, denn bei der heutigen Arbeitsmarktsituation ist es nicht ganz unbedenklich mehrere Jahre von der Arbeit fernzubleiben, wenn man ernsthaft überlegt, später wieder berufstätig zu werden. Sollte eine Mutter nach dem ersten Kind schnell wieder arbeiten wollen, muss sie höchstwahrscheinlich mindestens 1 bis 2 Jahre der Karriere widmen, bevor sie wieder schwanger wird.

Der Altersunterschied zwischen den Geschwistern

Diese Situation führt vermutlich zu einem Altersunterschied der Kinder von mindestens 3-4 Jahren, ein eventueller beruflicher Aufstieg in dieser Zwischenzeit kann aber auch die finanzielle Situation der Familie verbessern. Selbst wenn der Vater beim zweiten Baby weiterhin arbeitet und die Babypause vollständig von der Mutter genommen wird, braucht sie auch Unterstützung vom Partner – der mit einem stressigen Job, oder einem, der viel Reisebereitschaft erfordert, diese Verantwortung nicht unbedingt auf sich nehmen kann. Wie beide Partner mit solchen Situationen umgehen können, sollten sie sich am Besten noch in der Planungsphase überlegen.

Das Finanzielle

Aus finanzieller Sicht gibt es in manchen Bereichen „Ersparnisse“ und in manchen Bereichen kurzfristige „Mehrausgaben“. Ist der Abstand zwischen den Geschwistern gering, kann man Kleidung sowie Baby- und Kleinkind-Spielsachen direkt vererben. Es könnte aber auch beispielsweise dazu kommen, dass man einen neuen Kinderwagen mit zwei Sitzen braucht, und doch noch zwei Autositze gleicher Größe einbauen muss. Je geringer der Altersunterschied ist, desto mehr überlagern sich die Kinderbetreuungsausgaben, wie beispielsweise die Kindergartenkosten. Dafür kriegt man aber hin-und wieder „Rabatte“. Ist der Abstand größer, verlagern sich diese Kosten über einen längeren Zeitraum, dafür gibt aber meistens keine Geschwisterboni.

Mehr Kinder – mehr Stress

Aus Sicht von Stress und Aufwand bedeuten Geschwister mit wenig Altersunterschied für beide Partner eine große Investition. Nach ein bis zwei harten Jahren wird es aber schnell entspannter. Bei größeren Kindern können gemeinsame Freunde und Interessen, oder der gleiche Schulweg ein einfacheres Alltagsleben bedeuten. Ist der Abstand zwischen den Zwergen größer, erlebt man zweimal intensiver das „Babyglück“, und man hat mehr Zeit nach dem ersten Kind physisch und psychisch wieder zu Kräften zu kommen. Auch das „Jobben“ zwischen zwei Babypausen kann einem Selbstwertgefühle und eine „Auszeit von der Windel-Welt“ schenken.

Geschwisterchen ja oder nein?

Zweites Kind – Wann ist eigentlich der richtige Zeitpunkt?

Bild:© molka – istockphoto.com
Zweites Kind

Nach dem ersten Wunschkind stellt sich für viele die Frage, wann kommt ein zweites Kind in die Familie? Viele frischgebackene Eltern wünschen sich für ihren kleinen Spatz schon bald ein Geschwisterchen, mit dem Rumtoben und die Welt entdecken gleich doppelt so viel Spaß macht. Nur dann stellt sich die Frage, was ist das richtige Timing für Babymania, Klappe die Zweite. Einige Eltern kommen sicherlich auch zu dem Schluss, dass sie bereits zu dritt glücklich sind. Immerhin wächst jedes vierte Kind in Deutschland ohne Geschwister auf. Statistisch gesehen gibt es in deutschen Familien 1,4 Kinder pro Familie. Ist ein zweites Kind also doch nicht zweites Glück?
Wer selbst mit Bruder oder Schwester aufgewachsen ist, weiß was für eine wundervolle Bindung zwischen Geschwistern besteht. Gemeinsam geteilte Erinnerungen und Momente bilden den Grundstein dieser Beziehung. Wenn der Altersunterschied nur wenige Jahre beträgt, dann ist das Geschwisterchen gleichzeitig größter Rivale und bester Freund. Liegen ein paar mehr Jahre zwischen Geschwistern, dann ist der Beschützerinstinkt beim großen Bruder oder der großen Schwester besonders ausgeprägt; als jüngeres Geschwisterchen weiß man, dass man sich immer auf die großen Geschwister verlassen kann. Viele Eltern mit einem Kind fühlen sich erst so richtig als Familie, wenn ein zweites Kind begrüßt wird. Tatsächlich konnte das Staatsinstitut für Familienforschung auch zeigen, dass sich Familien mit zwei Kindern als glücklicher einschätzen als Familien mit nur einem Kind.
Doppelte Verantwortung
Ein zweites Kind heißt aber auch doppelt so viel Verantwortung. Mit dem zweiten „Positiv“ im Schwangerschaftstest wird sich das Familienleben auf einen Schlag ändern. Als du mit deinem ersten Spatz schwanger warst, hast du die Schwangerschaft in vollen Zügen genossen und auf deinen Körper gehört. Beim zweiten Mal läuft alles fast wie nebenbei. Achte trotzdem darauf, dass du noch genug Raum für dich und dein zweites Baby einräumst. Wenn das Kleine dann erst einmal da ist, heißt es Multitasking und Jonglieren lernen. Aber echte Powermütter haben schnell den Dreh raus, wie sie gleichzeitig Schürfwunden vom Großen verarzten und die Windeln vom Kleinen wechseln. Mit zwei Spätzen ändert sich auch der Tagesablauf. Das Baby macht die Nacht zum Tag und der kleine Große fordert tagsüber deine volle Aufmerksamkeit ein. Ein einzelnes Kind lässt sich noch leicht bei Oma und Opa zur Betreuung abgeben. Für den Doppelpack müssen die Großeltern fit genug sein, um den beiden Wirbelwinden auch wirklich Stand halten zu können.
Wann das 2. Kind planen und welcher Abstand zum ersten ist am besten? Beim ersten Kind ist es vielleicht einfach so passiert – ein glücklicher Zufall. Der Zeitpunkt für das zweite Kind lässt sich hingegen viel leichter planen. Schwangerschaften sind echte Arbeit. Der weibliche Körper stellt seinen kompletten Hormonhaushalt um; die Geburt ist mindestens genauso anstrengend wie einen Marathon zu laufen. Deshalb braucht dein Körper auch eine Weile bis er bereit für eine erneute Schwangerschaft ist. Die Ärzte empfehlen, dass Frau mit dem erneuten Schwangerwerden anderthalb bis drei Jahre wartet, nachdem das erste auf die Welt gekommen ist. Wird die Frau schon nach einem halben Jahr oder gar noch früher wieder schwanger, dann ist das Risiko einer Frühgeburt stark erhöht. Auch Untergewicht kommt bei diesen Kindern häufig vor. Zu lange darf übrigens auch nicht gewartet werden. Liegen zehn und mehr Jahre zwischen den Geschwisterchen, dann kommt das zweite häufig mit Untergewicht zur Welt.
Nicht unter Druck setzen!
Was auch immer passiert in Sachen Familienplanung, es macht keinen Sinn sich bei der Frage, zweites Kind oder nicht, von sozialem Druck leiten zu lassen. Wie stehst du ganz ehrlich und aufrichtig zu der Frage? Wie sieht es der Partner? Sieht finanziell alles nach den persönlichen Vorstellungen aus? Und wie weit ist dein erstes Kind? Ein zweites Kind bringt auch viel Stress und durchwachte Nächte mit sich; kannst du das gerade meistern?

Congratulations, you’re expecting baby number 2! Or maybe you’re just thinking about taking the plunge.

Now that you’ve done some time in the trenches of parenthood, you’re a hardened vet. After all, you’ve figured out how to feed a baby, get him dressed, soothe him to sleep (at least some of the time…), take care of him when he’s sick, and take him out into the world. We know these are no small feats!

But…when it comes to having a second baby, you may have a few new concerns. It’s okay – you’re not alone.

The classic fear that often besieges parents when they find out they’re expecting a second child is this: how can I possibly love another child as much as I love this one?

Most parents fret over this at some point during the pregnancy – even if they don’t admit it out loud. Although it feels absolutely impossible to ever love another human as much as you love your first, just like all parents of multiple kids will tell you, the truth is that with each child, your heart will continue to expand.

To borrow a sentiment from our twins editor, Marissa, “I know now that I have an endless supply of forever, unabashed, unconditional love to give each child…”.

At first, you may not feel as connected to your second baby as you do with your first. This is totally normal! After all, you’ve had a lot more time to bond with your first and these things take time.

You can and will love each child for the unique, wonderful little people they are—and while it’s natural to expect your second (or more) child to be a smaller copy of your first, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how different your new baby is from your first. What’s more, you’ll come to cherish the relationship they develop with each other. Watching the love and affection grow between your children is a whole new kind of happy which will totally overwhelm you in all the good ways.

Will my first child resent the baby for taking attention away from him/her?

The short answer is yes (let’s be real…). It’s to be expected that your first child (no matter what the age difference) will sometimes feel jealous of the attention the new baby is receiving. Other times, firstborns might ignore the new baby altogether, or see him more as an object of curiosity rather than a true rival.

The staredown….

It largely depends on the age and personality of your first (and the time of day, what your older child has eaten, how much sleep she’s gotten, whether it’s a full moon….just kidding!…sort of).

Even if the reaction is negative, you can remind yourself that in the end, you’ve given your older kiddo a true gift. It’s good for your child to have a sibling: someone to share life experiences with, to team up with against mom and dad (ha!), a built-in friend to play with; someone to remain with on this earth long after you and your partner are gone (cue the tears…).

Keep in mind that every child is unique and will experience becoming an older sibling very differently. While some on our team said their children had a relatively easy time with the transition, Meg, for example, said it was really tough for her oldest: “Lucie punished me for weeks and I felt like I was truly going crazy. She acted out and was extremely difficult when Alice was born, though that behavior faded after a few months.”

The age difference between your kiddos might give you some idea of what you can expect from your older child. Kids under the age of two may experience more intense jealousy as they adjust to the existence of their new little brother or sister (“why is my mom holding another baby?!). Labor and delivery nurses will tell you that big siblings react with jealousy the vast majority of the time (even teenagers!); it’s human nature to do so. Think about it: now your older child has to compete over resources, time, attention, affection, etc.

Siblings who are at least three years older than the baby may better understand (and accept) their new role as a big brother or sister. They may even feel a greater sense of importance in the family and enjoy getting to be mom and dad’s special new “helper.”

You should also remind yourself that the goal in child rearing is not to protect your child from any negativity, adversity or struggle. While this may be your knee-jerk reaction, remember that struggle is how children learn and grow; without any challenges in life, children become emotionally fragile and have difficulty adapting in the real world.

Will I ever have free time again?

Not really.

I kid!…kind of.

When your kids are very young, it may feel like you’ll never have time to yourself again. This depends largely on your parenting style: if you’re someone who is good about asking for help (or hiring babysitters) to watch your kids so you can get out, you’ll probably fare a lot better in this regard. If you have a harder time widening your network of trust — or leaving a newborn with anyone but yourself (this was 100% Alicia’s experience) — this feeling of losing yourself to your kids’ needs can be a lot more intense.

For those of you going back to work, the second time around should be a little easier, though perhaps a bit more logistically complicated (taking one child to school and the baby to daycare, for example – or as we call it, the dreaded “multiple drop off”). For those staying at home, getting some help at home with housework or with the kids (or both!) will go a long way in helping you get some much needed time for you – even if it’s just once or twice a week.

In general, there’s simply no getting around the fact that two kids is more than one…and that it’s now a lot more to ask someone (grandma, for example) to watch them both so you can go get a haircut. Or go to the store. Or to the gym. Or to one of the million places where you really don’t want to drag a toddler and a baby. You’ll get there, I promise… but it can take a while. For now, start asking around for babysitter recommendations.

If your older child is in daycare or preschool, continuing them in the program will get you some invaluable bonding time with your newborn (and your older kid will benefit from socializing with friends). Try not to feel guilty about sending one child off to school while the other stays home, if you can (this is tough…). Remember that you had time alone with your firstborn, and it’s only fair that you can do the same with your second.

Young Toddlers

Will your kids be roughly two years apart? In our experience with this age gap, the baby really isn’t the hard part when you become a parent of two. You will find that the baby’s a piece of cake — it’s the toddler who’s hard! If your kids are two-ish years apart, your second will be born right as your first kid becomes a “terrific two” (ahem) – and the birth of their younger sib may contribute to their increasingly challenging behavior.

Figuring out how to handle your toddler’s myriad new emotions, defiance, and meltdowns is where many parents lose their minds. It’s hard enough as it is to handle a two-year-old (see also: our Behavior Series)— but then you also have a baby to care for on top of it.

Don’t despair: there are some really great things about this age gap—the older child seems to accept the younger pretty quickly, for one, and before you know it they’ll actually enjoy playing together. For now, show yourself some grace for being in the trenches and remember it’s a short-term problem. The truth is: the first year of your second child’s life is the hardest year for many.

Preparing your Older Child

In our experience, talking with your first child about becoming a big sib is vital to preparing him for the big change that’s coming down the pike (or canal, as it were—ahem). As soon as you feel comfortable, you can begin talking to your little one about younger siblings and introducing the idea that soon there will be a new baby in your family.

Some parents caution against doing this too early on in your pregnancy (young kids may become confused if you tell them they’re becoming a big brother or sister and then 8 months go by before they actually see a baby!), or too often. Let the focus stay on them, like it has, rather than talking about a new baby all the time. The last thing you want to do is make your older child feel as though he’s been upstaged before the baby is even born.

If you can, keep the conversation light and bring up the idea of a new baby when you feel your older child is developmentally ready to understand what’s going on (probably around 18 months and older). He will notice mom’s growing belly at some point, and that can be a good time to begin to talk about how there’s a baby in there who can’t wait to come out soon and meet his or her awesome big sibling.

Kids’ books can be a great help in preparing a soon-to-be older sib for his or her new role. We particularly liked reading I Am A Big Brother (its companion book for girls is I Am A Big Sister) with our son, as well as Big Brothers Are The Best (also: Big Sisters Are The Best) and You Were The First (this one will make you cry— but you can blame the hormones!).

If your kid loves Daniel Tiger, Daniel gets a little sister (oh boy!) in The Baby Is Here!; for Berenstain Bears fans, there’s The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby; and if you’re expecting twins, our resident twins expert Marissa recommends I’m Having Twins! Older kids who love Arthur will enjoy Arthur and the Baby. Last but not least, if you’re adopting your second child, this one is just beautiful: Just Right Family: An Adoption Story. That one gets me every time!

Another way to introduce the idea of a baby is to get your older child a doll (if she doesn’t already have one). You can practice feeding, clothing, babywearing, and diapering the “baby” for fun. This can be a great way to show your firstborn what having a new sibling will be like (and how she can help take care of the baby).

Remember: boys and girls alike can enjoy playing with dolls, so if your little boy doesn’t have one yet, take this as an opportunity to let him get in touch with his delightful nurturing side!

Another great tip we learned is to make super sure your first child is totally done with his toys, clothes, and crib before they get passed down. The last thing you want to do is make your firstborn feel like the baby is taking all his things (especially if he’s a young toddler!). For example, if your kiddo is ready for a toddler bed (2.5-3 years +), make this transition a few months before the baby is due.

If your older one is nearing the age of potty training, experts recommend potty training either a few months before the baby is born or waiting until after your older child has adjusted to the new baby’s presence. It can be hard on a child to be mid-potty training, then have a new sibling come into the picture (that’s two big changes at once!).

You’re a “big kid” now!

Our pediatrician gave us a great piece of advice: try not to refer to your older child as a “big boy” or “big girl” when dealing with challenging toddler/preschooler behavior after a new baby has entered the family (e.g. “you can go to bed on your own, you’re a big girl!”). With all the attention the baby is getting, your firstborn may not want to be a “big kid” right now. In fact, she may enjoy “playing baby”… and it’s probably wise to indulge her a bit for the time being. Remember: your older child is your first baby…and she wants to make sure you still remember that!

We totally get that bringing home baby number two feels like a daunting challenge (it does for everyone!), but just remember that humans have been having multiple children since the dawn of time and everyone seems to figure it out. And for those of you stressing about how your toddler will deal with the arrival of the new baby, keep in mind that kiddos who are three (and under) probably won’t even remember it in the long term, like, at all!

There’s more in our “Baby #2” series, including Gearing up for Baby #2, the logistics of labor and delivery, and life with two. Stayed tuned for that!

Oh – and congratulations from all of us here at Lucie’s List! The good news: everything is SO much easier (with the BABY) the second time around.

Sincerely,

~ Alicia, Meg, Brit, Marissa, Melissa and Heather ❤️

Preparing For Baby Number 2, 5 Things I WISH I Would Have Done

Doe-eyed and glowing with first time pregnancy radiance, I imagine I might have been humming while birds sang as I packed that brand new hospital bag, straightened the perfectly organized, freshly painted nursery closet and typed up a flawless birth plan after my breastfeeding and prenatal classes.

Preparing for baby number 2 was VERY different. No birds sang and that doe-eyed, innocent pregnancy sparkle was replaced with a glazed, I-can’t-have-enough-caffeine look.

Having a second baby is crazy exciting (we are due this week and can’t WAIT to meet her) but the reality is, bringing home baby number two is going to be a whole different ball game.

Now that we are upon the due date week, here are 5 things I WISH I would have done earlier (UGH). Because having a second baby is way different than the first and I thought it wouldn’t be…

During the second pregnancy, I scoured Pinterest for baby number 2 checklists, but they fell short. Here’s what you need and 5 things you need to do now!

Preparing For Baby Number 2, The Only Checklist You Will Need!

Because you KNOW how much that sucked the first time around, ammi right?!

And if you’re like me, you didn’t have mountains of Dermoplast stocked and ready to go the first time around. Well, this time I do BUT they just came in…last night. And I had contractions all day and evening Friday night (3 days ago).

You can guess I was trying not to be that pregnant lady: emotionally insane while having contractions and sweating about not having my postpartum kit ready.

This time around, you probably didn’t organize everything down to the silverware drawer and create the perfect nursery but having a postpartum kit is just one of those must-haves (as you know!) for a speedy and more comforting recovery.

I don’t know what I would have done last time without those Tucks Medical Pads, the Dermoplast and those terrible-but-necessary jumbo pads (all acquired finally the first time around over an exhausted, elevated phone call at drugstore number 3).

You might have seen this checklist in my other posts but readers seem to be flocking here and LOVE it. I do too. I just received everything on it and thank ALL THAT IS GOOD in the world. If baby comes tonight. I am SO ready!

Absolutely necessary items for a speedy and MUCH more comfortable postpartum recovery:

  • Remember that sucky cheapo peri bottle the hospital gave you the first time around? Now, there is a MUCH better, brilliant alternative. Fridababy makes a peri-bottle called the Fridget with a nozzle specifically designed to be held upside down, giving you much more control with each use. So throw the one you get from the hospital in the diaper bag and use this one in your main bathroom.
  • Absolute Postpartum staple: giant pads. The hospital may give you some but you also (like me) may not have been madly in love with them. Buy one pack of 20 Always Maxi (overnight extra heavy flow with wings). This pad is #1 everywhere for the BEST postpartum pad. Always Maxi Overnights are the BEST heavy pads I used. However, I personally dislike wings and pads that go up my butt. So, when I could, I would cut off the wings. Since then, I’ve found Natracare extra heavy flow pads. They are very similar to the hospital pads I received (it seem hospitals give out various types). With a pack of 10 for around $5, they are worth trying to test your individual preference.
    Another alternative to consider based upon your preference (some hospitals seem to give out these as well): Curity Maternity Pad Heavy
  • As SOON AS POSSIBLE though, I downgraded my pad to Stayfree Maxi Regular Pads because I not only cut the wings off of the Always Maxi Overnights, I started to cut them in half! It felt almost impossible to find a pad that wasn’t extra long without wings with great absorbency. Plus, I hated picking those extra long pads out of my butt crack. Leggings are FANTASTIC postpartum, especially these puppies (looove them), BUT boy do they help wedge those sticky long plastic mini diapers up your ass. I ended up with four or five different bags of pads before I landed on Stayfree! In the end, I used 4 bags total of the Stayfree Maxi Regular Pads for my postpartum recovery. These were the best overall pads I used.
    Another alternative to consider based upon your preference: Always Always Maxi Pads 24ct Regular Non-Wing Unscented
  • The postpartum pad finale: a liner that’s not paper thin. Buy one box of Carefree Original pads. I tried out Always Thin Daily Liners but they are paper thin and would seem to be better for incontinence. You may have used this little pink box in your “Hello God, It’s Me Margeret” days but they are still fantastic. Carefree does make a new pad called “Acti-Fresh.” I haven’t tried them personally, but they seem to be a good postpartum pad finale as well. There’s this weird balance with that final liner. A super duper paper thin one would be great, but you’ll need something just thick enough for that final (and unpredictable) spotting.
  • Then there’s those amazing disposable underwear the hospital gives you. Or they may give you none. Save yourself the trouble and up your postpartum mesh panty game by buying your own postpartum maternity (post-surgical) disposable underwear. Another plus: the quality is better.
  • Our hospital provided Tucks Medicated Healing Pads to place directly on the maxi pad for relief. If you haven’t tried them, you’re missing out on some major pain releif, additional comfort and speedy recovery help. They are little round (3″) pads with witch hazel and I cannot tell you how much they relieved the burning and itching. Ah-mazing. However, after my second pregnancy labor the very SAME hospital did not provide these. So glad I bought them for the postpartum kit for the recovery after the second baby!
    Another bonus: there’s enough alcohol content in these bad boys to prevent freezing, which means you can pop some in a freezer bag and add them to your freezer. YUSSS.
  • When you want to graduate into actual underwear (and ditch the diaper feel) I would advise having a pack of ridiculously comfortable underwear on hand like these boy short boxer brief panties. Postpartum, I was thanking God that I had bought these. I LOVED them! I ended up ordering an additional set. A heads up: alternative prints ended up at my door, some which were not as cute but most of them were perfect. These are the most comfortable underwear I’ve owned, so they are WELL worth an alternate print.
  • Now, I know those DIY “padsicles” are like all the rage but I’ve been there, done that and they were TERRIBLE (in my personal experience). If I wanted to freezer burn my painfully injured vagina then padsicles would definitely be the way to go. On the other hand, when I wanted actual pain relief and comfort, these medicated cooling pads (like they have at the hospital) were MUCH better!
  • When you leave the hospital, chances are you will receive Dermoplast Pain Relieving Spray. The nurse told me: “Never forget to use this each and every time you go to the bathroom.” The problem is, that’s a lot of spraying so we had to go out and find two additional cans. If you tried it with your first baby, you know how awesome this stuff is! Another similar spray gaining momentum is Earth Mama Herbal Perineal Spray.
    Edit: I purchased one of each (Dermoplast & Earth Mama) for postpartum after the second pregnancy. I liked how I wasn’t worried about my toddler getting into the postpartum basket with Earth Mama (the Dermoplast children warning is a little concerning). And the Earth Mama spray smells AMAZING and natural. BUT, the Dermoplast spray does have a cooling feel that is lifesaving. Try buying one of each and see what you like best because you’ll likely end up using up everything.
  • Prepare to have sitz baths. They are SUPER healing and fantastic for postpartum recovery. Buy a simple plastic cover that sits neatly over your toilet like this top Amazon sitz bath by Yunga Tart and use a high-quality Epsom salt made specifically for these types of baths like Epsoak Epsom Salt (which is Amazon’s #1 choice). I linked the large bag because sitz baths are usually recommended 2-3 times a day! That’s a lot of Epsom salt.

Check out “The Ultimate Postpartum Recovery List” on Amazon here

So, let’s talk about a prenatal refresher class. It’s been a while and that newborn stage is short but feels like an eternity. Plus last time you were probably so sleep deprived and in pain that it was all a blur anyway. Take a refresher course.

You’ll walk into that hospital feeling 100% certain you’ve got this, remembering all the pros and cons of your birth plan decisions, how many pee diapers are needed that first week and what bad and good poop looks like etc.

Skip registering for a course in person, the traffic, the hours, potentially taking work off, having a bad teacher (ours skipped most of the videos!) etc. and take Hilary Erickson’s online prenatal course (there’s also a FREE version here). You can take the class at your own pace, and you’ll receive a fantastic prenatal education from a passionate, experienced and wonderful mommy and nurse. She’s been a labor and delivery nurse for over 16 years and has taught prenatal classes regularly (without skipping all the videos…).

And then, dust off that birth plan momma, because it’s that time!

I had prepared a 1″ 3-ring binder for our first and then used that for all her pediatrician visits. I would highly recommend this! Add some clear sleeves in there and you can store all your little one’s history, notes etc. Anyway, I found our old birth plan and there were copies! Easy-peasy. Write out your birth plan again, throw it in a 3-ring binder with a pen plus some blank notebook pages and then you can add the birth certificate and all that paperwork in that they give you at the hospital.

Take out that hospital bag checklist again (I just downloaded my own again – haha) and pack a SMALLER bag this time, right? Maybe swap out that pretty weekender bag (that digs into your shoulders when you carry it) for a small under-the-seat airplane luggage bag with wheels! This time, you know the kitchen sink doesn’t need to be included.

RELATED: Hospital Bag Checklist, For Mom To Be

3. Stock up on essentials & meal prep!

Sitting on the toilet right after coming home with a newborn, bleary-eyed and in postpartum pain, the very LAST thing you want to realize: there is no toilet paper in the house. Stocking up on TP isn’t sexy…or fun and you may realllyyyy want to skip this part and just do the bare bones stuff BUT you know you need to (Alice)! (Telling myself this as baby is due this weekend!)

4. Buy baby number 2 things EARLIER

We waited till mid-third trimester to go through all our old stored away baby things. I thought, “Oh, that won’t take too long. I’ll do it during naptime.”

We were putting our little one to bed by the time I finished. Who knew it would take so long to go through all those boxes?! And write out what needed to be replaced. Plus, this time we are having a winter baby instead of a summer baby. So even though we’ll have two girls, we had ZERO newborn and 0-3 winter things.

I wanted to slap people who said, “Oh you’re having another girl! At least you don’t have to buy anything!”

Have someone watch little-human-you-produced-number-1 and block out some time to go through all those old things. Grab a mommy friend or make a date of it with your spouse. Get all nesty. Turn on your favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls, drink some mocktails and make it fun because if you don’t…well, it will probably suck.

Okay, so here is the bread and butter: what DO you need for baby number 2?

    1. Clothes. Things that need to be replaced or different seasonal gear. For example, like us, I needed to buy some fleece onesies for winter, new thicker socks, hats and a thicker winter baby blanket.
    2. Bibs. You probably have found the kind of bib you hate and the one you know works for you. Buy more of the ones you like. We threw away all those velcro bibs that tore up our laundry and stopped sticking, replacing them with Aden + Anais bibs because they are amazing quality, look pretty and SNAP…in three different places. I super-love the crap out of those bibs.
    3. Burp rags. These Gerber prefolds (do not use them as cloth diapers ever – just burp rags) are like THE staple in our house. I use them for everything and there’s always a few stashed in the diaper bag. Our dining room table has drawers and every single one of those drawers is stuffed with these things because…toddler.
    4. Postpartum Kit. Already mentioned above, so you get the picture. Those nine things listed: I ordered last week and they’re all ready in our bathroom for baby #2. If you’re too lazy to scroll up (because I am) here is that Postpartum Amazon List again. I made it so you can just add it to your cart or baby number 2 registry or whatever works for you.
    5. Baby monitor number 2. I had thought about getting just another camera and I Googled what other moms did but I didn’t like the idea of having to switch the screen. I wanted two screens and I don’t want to use my phone. The Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor on Amazon has the MOST reviews I’ve ever seen (over 25,000) and almost five solid stars. It’s great. I bought another one of those.
    6. Free breast pump. If your insurance does this (many do), call in and get that free breast pump because I bet your other one has seen better days. That is, if you decide to do breast milk. Either way. Oh, and while we’re on this subject, don’t forget to order (or add to your baby number 2 registry/list) a GIANT pack or 2 of breastmilk storage bags. Because if you pumped, you know how many of those you went through!
    7. Owlet smart sock. We didn’t do a heart-rate monitor of any sort the first time around and for the sake of my poor husband’s heart health, I ordered an Owlet Smart Sock. Our little fresh squishy would cough in the middle of the night and he’d jump out of bed to see if she was okay in total fight-or-flight-daddy-protector mode. She did get sick right away, had some spit-up issues and other things. I feel like it’s worth the money for our sanity (at least his for sure!).
    8. New pacifiers. Do you think you’ll be able to find all of them? I sure couldn’t! Our little one was obsessed with the NUK brand. I’ve heard other people try all different kinds of pacifiers but these worked really great for us. I ordered a few more of these.
    9. Waterproof changing pad liners. If you didn’t have these for baby number 1, well you are in for a treat. Munchkin Changing Pad Liners are the bomb dot com. I put one of these down with a burp cloth over it and just changed out those instead of our pretty changing pad. It worked like a dream. I bought 6 more this time around because well…after 2 years they’re gonners.

5. Clean up the old stuff AND make sure things work

While you’re going through all those boxes with your Netflix pal and mocktail, take out those other old baby things. Make sure you have all the cords, replace the batteries and remove the stains.

Here’s a basic list of things we found/updated that might be helpful:

  • Baby car seat. Remove stains, find all the pieces and install. Make sure the model number is still up to code.
  • Diaper bag. Clean out or buy a new one if your first is on the edge of no return.
  • Old clothes, rags, bibs etc. stain removal. Go through all washable things and remove stains.
  • Swing batteries and parts. Our Graco Glider (the Abbington one) was a LIFESAVOR. We lost the cord and the engine was a little iffy, so I called Graco and they replaced it all for free!
  • Bottles. Sterilize those puppies again!
  • Baby Shusher. If you don’t have a Baby Shusher in your life, buy one. They are a miracle and a half. Our newborn photographer used one to keep our first asleep throughout the entire morning session. I was so shocked, I had one ordered on my Amazon account before we even left the photoshoot.
  • Highchair. Your old highchair is probably a new level of gross. Sorry, girlfriend. Cleaning it may be icky but it’s worth it!

Conclusion

You may not be that doe-eyed, innocent first time mom skipping over green hills of pre-baby bliss but now you are even better: you are an experienced, conquering warrior mamma who knows her *#@%$. This time you may not be mixing paint colors at 13 weeks but you know that being prepared is the best way to go.

Once you have that postpartum kit, stocked up on some of the essentials, prepared what you don’t have and prepared your first child, you are all set to dive into that newborn-sleep-deprived–chaos state once again. Most importantly, you know that mommy time, not sweating the small stuff and having confidence in your mommy-sense is SO critical to your sanity this time around.

Preparing for baby number two may be way different but you’ve got this, momma!

Many studies examine the effect of children on parents’ happiness over a lifetime, and some look at the impact of one child, two children or more than two children. As a parent of four kids, I’m often asked a more specific question: Which was a harder transition, having your first or second child?

I almost never give advice on whether people should have children, but when it comes to saying having which was more difficult for me, I don’t hesitate. Having my second child was a lot more overwhelming, because suddenly I had no downtime and not enough hands. When my second child napped, my first was awake. When my older son who was learning to ride a tricycle took off toward the street, I had to decide whether to chase after him with a baby in my arms or leave my baby alone in the yard. And so I wondered, which kid is harder on parents’ immediate happiness? Is there data that could help answer the question?

Since 1972, the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago has been conducting the General Social Survey, whose aim is to “gather data on contemporary American society.” The nationally representative longitudinal survey asks many of the same questions each year. One question attempts to measure people’s happiness: “Taken all together, how would you say things are these days, would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?” The survey includes similar questions on how satisfied the respondent is with his or her marriage or cohabiting relationship, and financial situation.

Exploring this data, I tried to measure how people’s happiness changes in the year or two after they have their first or second child. To be clear, I’m not saying these numbers can prove the causal effects on happiness of having a first or second child, but they can add insight and lend themselves to deeper exploration.

To get closer to finding the short-term effects of having a first or second child, I used the available longitudinal data from the 2008, 2010 and 2012 surveys to model the relationship of the birth of a child to the parent’s change in happiness. I modeled the likelihood of whether a person would become more or less happy and compared these likelihoods for parents who transitioned from zero to one child, as well as parents who transitioned from one to two children during the time period of the surveys. I also controlled for the respondent’s age, gender and level of income in an attempt to tease out the effects of the birth of the child rather than the effects of aging or socioeconomic influences.1

Here’s what I found: When it comes to overall happiness, the short-term impact of the first child is about the same for men and women. Sixty percent of parents experience a significant change in happiness in the year or two after their first child is born.2 Of the 60 percent, half are likely to be happier, and other half are likely to be less happy.

When it comes to the second child, however, men and women appear to have different experiences. Again, looking at the subset of parents who experience a change in happiness, 40 percent of men but 65 percent of women are likely to be less happy in the first year or two after the birth of their second child. This is a significant difference. It means that women are much more likely than men to experience a drop in happiness with the birth of their second child. For women, the short-term impact of the second kid is harder than the short-term impact of the first. (I checked to see whether postpartum depression is more common with second births than first births, and there does not seem to be evidence to support a relationship between postpartum depression and birth order.)

How do first and second children affect men’s and women’s satisfaction with their marital or cohabiting relationship? Sixty-two percent of men and 56 percent of women experience significant changes in their relationship satisfaction after the birth of a first child. Of those experiencing a change, 90 percent of men and women are less satisfied in their relationships. It’s important to remember that these lowered levels of satisfaction are for the first year or two after the child’s birth.

The birth of the second child, however, is more likely to be harder on the father than the mother, when it comes to their feelings about their marital or cohabiting relationship. Sixty-three percent of men and 69 percent of women experience a significant change in relationship satisfaction. Of that subset, 85 percent of men and 51 percent of women are less satisfied with their relationship after the birth of their second child. Some of the decrease in relationship satisfaction could be attributed to time in the relationship; in other words, they may be less satisfied in their relationship in Year 4 as opposed to Year 2, regardless of whether they had a kid.3

Let’s turn to men’s and women’s view of their financial situation. As estimated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a middle-income family in the U.S. can expect to spend $241,080 to raise a child born in 2012. (That figure only includes costs up to the child’s 17th birthday and doesn’t include college expenses.) For children born into high-income households, the estimated cost was $399,780. It’s much harder to estimate the costs of a first vs. a second child, as well as the relative effects of each. The USDA estimates that a two-parent household with one kid spends about 27 percent of its income on that child, and a two-parent household with two kids spends 41 percent of its income on the children.

It makes intuitive sense why a family would spend more on the first child. Families have to buy baby supplies for the first time and change the way they earn income, such as taking parental leave or switching to part-time work or self-employment, and possibly paying for day care. For a second child, much of the baby equipment can be reused. Day care is sometimes offered at a reduced rate for a second child, and the cost of a hotel room for two adults and two kids during family vacations is usually the same as a hotel room for two adults and one kid. FiveThirtyEight contributor Emily Oster has done some calculations on the impact of spacing a family’s first and second child and finds that in certain situations, it may be economically preferable to have two children closer in age.

However the dollar and cents of childrearing play out, the majority of parents — 67 percent of men and 52 percent of women — experience a significant shift in satisfaction with their financial situation after the birth of a child. Of that subset, 55 percent of men and 65 percent of women are less satisfied with their financial situation after the birth of their first child. The birth of a second child appears to have less of an impact on men’s and women’s levels of financial satisfaction. But of those parents who experience a change, only 18 percent of men and 53 percent of women are less satisfied financially. In other words, women are much more likely to become dissatisfied with their financial situation.

I’ve focused on short-term effects of children on parental happiness, but there is a lot of good research examining the long-term effects. Take this longitudinal study out of Britain, which finds that when you control for socio-demographics of households, children seem to make married people happier over time, and moms even happier than dads. This study finds single people’s level of happiness is not significantly affected by whether or not they have children.

In a technique that produces similar levels of robustness to a longitudinal study, researchers used a twins data set from Denmark, comparing twins who as adults had varying number of children. Twins allow researchers to compare what happens to two very similar people in the presence or absence of varying life events. The researchers found that first children appear to have a positive effect on the life satisfaction of mothers and that additional children have a negative effect. As for fathers, the first-born child appears to have a positive effect and additional children have no real effect.

But we should be careful when comparing international results. The impact of children on happiness and satisfaction varies across countries. For example, researchers in Italy find that within Europe, the happiness of parents, compared with non-parents, can be greatly affected by the political environment in which they reside.

Just because my analysis shows that a second child negatively impacts women’s short-term happiness — and my personal experience attests to that — I am in no way arguing that you should only have one kid. I chose to have a third, and fourth, so clearly the transition wasn’t enough to make me not want to have more children. All I have to do is sit with one of my friends and their babies, and it’s easy to see why we would want to live with one — or two — of these amazing little creatures.

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