I was sat next to a lovely lady the other morning in my local cafe. I watched her coo over her tiny baby with such calm contentment, and of course we got chatting pretty quickly. She was an obstetrician whose job was to deliver babies and this was her second child so we were soon exchanging all sorts of titbits of information over our coffees (me to her: “what’s it like being on the opposite side of the ‘bed’?” Her to me: “do gro clocks actually work?” For the record, we’ve never had one so I have no idea.)
Her second was 6 weeks old so we got talking about the transition from 1 to 2 children. We both remarked how much ‘easier’ it is second time round but that managing your first child is probably where the main challenge lies. I offered her one piece of advice and which I feel served me and both kids really well in those first six months and that was this: make your first, older child your priority. Yes, you read that correctly. Jack, not my tiny baby, was where I focused 90% of my attention in those early days. I made it all about him, and essentially just fed, cuddled and let Sonny sleep. Sonny really had very little clue what was happening at that time; Jack was the one who had far more complex emotional and physical needs going on as this new person had suddenly entered our family. It’s tricky because your maternal instinct will draw you towards wanting to look after your precious tiny new addition, but honestly, when I was offered help with the kids, I’d give them Sonny to wheel around the block so that I could get extra time in with Jack. We never had any jealousy issues, and Sonny grew into a very flexible kid who goes with the flow after being breastfed for his entire baby life on one knee with his brother being read to on the other. It’s now that he’s older that all my juicy, lovely time with him is enjoyed.
Do you have tips for going from one to two kids? What’s the biggest ‘problem’ you’ve encountered?
P.S What it’s really like to go from one child to two