I remember it vividly.
Shortly after we arrived home from the hospital with baby #2, I was lying in bed cuddling her while my eldest was maniacally jumping on the bed as three year olds do. I had been in hospital for two days and he missed us and was over the moon about his baby sister. He was alternating between the jumping and smothering her with kisses.
The house was in a state from having transferred to hospital. Various pieces of furniture from the lounge were still in different parts of the house and the birth pool and assorted kit were still in in the front room. I don't do well with mess and clutter at the best of times.
My partner and I looked at each other and said 'what the hell have we just done?!?!'.
I texted my best friend who already had two kids and asked her if we'd survive this.
I burst into tears.
Thankfully my other half quickly took control of the situation, got the house in a semi-functional state, ordered a giant pizza and the four of us snuggled up on the sofa with pizza and a movie. I don't remember what movie we watched but I do remember looking at my little family and being so incredibly happy. And the pizza tasted like the best I'd ever had.
We've had our share of good days and bad days since then but just like my best friend said we would, we did survive. So here are a few of my tips for getting through those early days and weeks with two.
- Put together a busy bag for your older one to entertain them while you’re feeding. I filled ours with things like books, crayons and colouring sheets, small games and puzzles - all things he could do while sitting next to me on the sofa or we could do together while I was feeding his little sister.
- Feeding yourself after having a baby is hard enough, never mind feeding other small humans who need more than milk to survive. Batch cook and stock the freezer full of meals so all you have to do is reheat it and enjoy. Also stock up on your child's favourite meals so you have quick and easy things to make for them too. It's totally fine if these things are mostly beige and mostly frozen.
- Get a sling. It makes it a lot easier to keep your baby close and be able to tend to your big kid.
- Offers to help may include looking after your older child but it can also be helpful for them to look after the baby so you can have some one on one time with your older child. Even if it's just holding the baby while you read a book or play a game with them, this focused attention can make a massive difference.
- Going from one to two is a big change for you and your older child and you won't know how they, or you, will react to it all until you're in the thick of it, sleep deprived and hormonal. Be kind to yourself.
Looking back all of these things made a difference to going from one kids to two but one of the biggest things that helped was pulling up the drawbridge to the outside world so to speak. It wasn't just about me resting and recovering after giving birth, it was also about all of us settling into and finding our way as a family of four.
If you're going from one to two and worried about how you're going to cope, these are some of the things I'm going to be covering in my Mothermoon Workshop for mums-to-be on the 28th of January at Space@61 and at my talk Happy Mummy, Happy Family on the 5th of December in Greenwich.