Second (or more) Time Moms

My DH and I have been tossing around the ideas of TTC. We will probably do it this summer/fall. I’d like to add a new addition when my son is 2-3 years old. Id like them to be close in age, and also get the diapers and baby stage out of the way.

Anyways, my question…

[name_m]How[/name_m] do you handle the households sleep? I feel completely ready for pregnancy (minus morning sickness), birth, and having two kids during the day.

What I am petrified of is night time. I had PPA with #1 and I would cry ever single night for weeks as soon as the sun went down. I knew no one would sleep, I knew he would wake every 3 hours and scream for an hour. And then around 2 months old he had awful colic before bed. He now goes down easy but sleeps in our bed and wakes lots to nurse.

I’m guessing once we start to wean in a few months he will have to learn to not eat at night anyways, and then we will get him STTN and in his own bed all night. All that should be done before #2 is here. I hope.

But how do you keep the newborn from waking up the older child at night? [name_f]Do[/name_f] you bed share with a newborn and toddler or are they both in their own rooms and beds? Basically, what are the sleeping arrangements and how do you maximize everyone’s sleep- including moms?!

[name_f]Do[/name_f] you get child care help during the day for the older child? Can you coordinate naps so you get to sleep for a little bit too? [name_m]How[/name_m] do you survive?? Also is the weepiness and being anxious of night time get better or worse with #2?

It’s all pretty challenging. But it’s doable if you get somebody to help you. Hire as much help as you can possibly afford, and then some. [name_m]Don[/name_m]'t try to be “brave” and do it all by yourself; I can tell you from personal experience it’s a vastly different (BETTER) experience when everyone feels supported and well cared for. Can’t emphasize this enough.

I have to agree with what mil1020 says, don’t try and do everything yourself. Sometimes when you look around it seems to be working perfectly with everyone except you. But the reality is it’s hard for everyone. [name_m]Don[/name_m]'t be afraid to admit you’re having difficulties or need help.

That being said… [name_m]How[/name_m] to handle nights and sleeping is something that depends on your own life as a family and your children. There’s no way of telling how your second child will be.
With our oldest everything went pretty smooth. He woke up frequently at night until he was about 6 months old, after that he only woke up once and I fed him. When our second son was born it all became so much harder. I was struggling with anxiety and depression myself, our youngest son cried all the time and our oldest became very difficult. This all settled down after a year.
I did coordinate our naps during the day, so I could get some sleep myself. This became a lot easier when [name_m]Meir[/name_m] went to school and it was just me and Sagi.
My sons sleep in their own beds in their own room. Our third son will be born in [name_u]January[/name_u], and we plan on giving him Sagi’s room, and Sagi and [name_m]Meir[/name_m] will be sharing a room.

Sorry my tone was kind of harsh as I look back at what I posted. It’s just that it brings back tough memories and strong feelings! It was a dark time when [name_m]Will[/name_m] was a baby, especially when he was about 3-4 months old. And I absolutely hate that those are my memories of his infancy and [name_u]James[/name_u]’ toddlerhood; it didn’t have to be that way and it certainly wasn’t very good for them. We should have worked harder to hire somebody to help us (we were really far from family and didn’t know many people yet) but I remember feeling guilty and paralyzed and worthless at the thought of being a “stay at home mom with a nanny”. A ridiculous, self-loathing line of thinking! The bottom line is, take care of yourself and get everybody what he/she needs, and have the good sense to enjoy the times that can be wonderful if you have enough rest and help.

Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it!

@mill- it didn’t sound harsh at all!

I am curious as to how much help you suggest and when do you think you need it most? Living on one income for 3 (will be 4 with next baby) humans is tight. Not saying we are poor. We have money for everything we need and most of what we want. But we [name_f]DO[/name_f] budget. And I don’t think there would be much space in the budget to be paying a nanny much. Maybe twice a week for a few hours. My [name_f]MIL[/name_f] drives a school bus so she could probably take [name_u]Jem[/name_u] the 3 hours or so that she is off mid day. DH is usually home in time for dinner around 5:30 at the latest, except the rare night he works. [name_f]Do[/name_f] you think more help is needed? During the day? At night? We don’t have the best support system (as in, my close friends, my mom and my family aren’t close) but DHs parents are here and the ladies at church are helpful. They organized 2 weeks of meals when [name_u]Jem[/name_u] was born, and someone would come for a few hours on [name_f]Tuesday[/name_f] nights to help out when my husband used to work those nights.

I think I need to stop overthinking it. People all over the world add children to the family every day and they all live and thrive. And I need to stop comparing other families to ours. I hear horror stories and also fantastic stories about having a second baby. I’m sure it’s similar to pregnancy, birth, and having a baby in general-a different experience for everyone and every family. I’m sure we will all live :slight_smile:

Many second time moms hire a mother’s helper. This is usually a young teenager, too young too babysit alone, but able to pitch in with household tasks and extra childcare. This is a less expensive way to go than an actual babysitter or nanny.

A friend of mine who has a two year old and is pregnant with surprise twins has a mother’s helper now, during the pregnany. She is just too tired with the pregnancy to keep up with a two year old all day.

That’s a good idea! Maybe as an after school thing? The problem is that I don’t know any young teenagers around that age! :confused:

I guess my experience is different. We didn’t hire any outside help when we had our second. Mine are around two years apart and while I think outside help sounds wonderful it’s not something we could really afford or it would at the very least be pulling money out of our savings. Have you considered looking into preschools? I would assume it’s cheaper then a nanny (although I have no idea what nannies cost) and would give you a break in the morning. My son started preschool when my daughter was nine months old and it was so much easier getting time with just one child each week.
Nighttime sleep for us meant separate rooms. I would recommend trying to get your older child sleeping through the night before getting pregnant or very soon afterwards since pregnancy is exhausting. Obviously every child is different but I weaned and got my son sleeping through the night the week we found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I was glad we did it then because soon afterwards I was so tired all the time even with a full night’s sleep. My son started sleeping in his own room around three months so he was already used to that part of it. When my daughter was born she slept in our room for the first month then we moved her out because she was a noisy sleeper but a pretty great sleeper. We never coslept with her but did with our son. She preferred to sleep in her own space. I know in some cases the baby wakes up older siblings but I think we had it happen maybe once. However my daughter wasn’t a fussy baby and she very quickly got to the point that she was only waking up once a night to eat.
In order to get some sleep during the day after putting my son down for his nap I would feed my daughter then put her into her swing, which almost always put her to sleep. Then I could get some rest. However I will be honest that I was exhausted for the first couple months and it was tough to keep up with a toddler while being up at night with a baby and my daughter was an easy baby. Also if the baby is asleep and you’re worn out there is nothing wrong in my opinion with putting on a show for your toddler so you can lay down on the couch and doze while they watch it. Also I recommend making meals ahead of time and freezing them. Cooking was one of the things I found the hardest after having a second child. I also fell in love with my crock pot, which I had used previously but started using exclusively since without fail both kids would be in melt down mode around dinner time.
I didn’t have an postpartum depression or anxiety following either birth so I can’t offer advice with those issues.


You mentioned some church ladies helping you out. Maybe ask them if they know some industrious teenagers? If you are in a church with any kind of youth group, that would be a good place to ask as well.

babylove, yes, it’s terribly expensive and we definitely weren’t wealthy, either. I’ve got to tell you, even if you have to take on some debt, you should do it because you can’t get those years of their lives back for a re-do once they are over.

For us, with baby #3, it was a few times a week for a few hours per session with a postpartum doula–many of them have websites. The postpartum doula role is pretty different from that of a nanny but the one we had was fortunately willing to hang out with my infant and toddlers and let me nap sometimes. And then with #4, we’d known somebody who was more of a nanny, but we had her come over 5 mornings/week for a few hours each morning; I’d sleep in with baby, and she would help my big kids get ready for school and drive them there. She’d come back and clean, and I felt like a million bucks when I would come downstairs after a decent block of sleep and she’d coo over the baby with me.

This is a whole 'nother story, but I also felt much better this time around since I didn’t breastfeed as long. Breastfeeding is WONDERFUL and all, but realistically, when you’ve had depression in the past, as I have, you’ve got to choose your battles very, very wisely. Self care is extremely hard while breastfeeding a second or subsequent child, in my experience. Not to discourage you from breastfeeding in any way; this was just my experience.

Good luck. If you’d like to talk about it more, you can PM me.

As a mother of twins, nighttime was the time I absolutely dreaded. At the time, my husband had picked up a second job and was working night shifts, so I had to do it all myself. Which led to a lot of tears, frustration, and meltdowns–and ultimately calling my mother. We had to separate them when putting them to sleep for the first three months or so. After that, they slept more soundly through the night and we were able to put them back in the room together. All I can say is don’t try and be the brave mom and do it all on your own.
If you’re lucky, your son will take interest in “helping” with the new baby. Getting diapers, wipes, blankets, etc. or helping put the baby to sleep by being quiet.

I am so lucky. When DH and went from 1 kid to 2 we had both of our mothers to help at one point or another. I got really sick a few weeks after [name_f]Eloise[/name_f] was born and while I was in the hospital recuperating it was nice to know that my little penguin was being cared for by 2 women who combined had 9 children.

If my mother and my mil wetent around I don’t know how we would have gotten through. All I had to do was swallow my pride and ask for help. [name_m]Don[/name_m]'t be ashamed.

I never hired outside help, but I could understand if you needed it. When I was a preteen I assisted a mom expecting her fourth and that was a great experience. I also assisted my own mother when my younger siblings were born. Made me a lot less nervous about having kids of my own.
I would however caution you about getting into debt unless absolutely necessary
Mill1020, you seemed to have limited options and I have also never dealt with depression so I am not saying your debt was unnecessary.
What I mean is if you have cheaper options try exhausting those first. You mentioned your church community and perhaps family. Those are great places to start.
For me I didn’t need daily help. Some people may and that’s fine. I believe the main thing is to do what you can and not be ashamed to ask for help if you need it. My church brought me food the first few weeks (huge help)then family would babysit for the occasional date night and sometimes take the older one for an entire weekend.
We put the baby in a co-sleeper for the first few months which makes breastfeeding easier since I don’t have to get out of bed to nurse. Then we moved him to a crib in our room. Finally we moved his crib into another room at around 10-12 months. That worked for both boys.
Also I started potty training early (around a year) so when the new one came my oldest was on his way out of diapers and less diaper changing is always a plus. But that approach isn’t for everyone.
The first few months are usually the hardest,just allow yourself some slack and take help when you need it and you will be fine.