Prepping for Baby No. 2

Find out how to get your body, social life, home and family ready for your second child.
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profile picture of Elena Donovan Mauer
ByElena Donovan Mauer
September 10, 2018
Pregnant woman standing with her older child peering at her pregnant stomach.
Image: Jamie Grill / Getty Images

We hate to break it to you, but your second pregnancy might not be all “been there done that.” The fact is, you might have to deal with some pregnancy symptoms you didn’t get the first time around. And of course, you’ll have to get baby no. 1 used to the idea of a new sibling and make room at home for a fourth family member. Here’s how to get your body, social life, home and family ready.

Expect Symptoms Sooner—and Stronger

Don’t assume that if you didn’t experience certain symptoms the first time, you’ll be as lucky this time. Some moms swear those early-pregnancy symptoms — fatigue, morning sickness — are stronger the second time around. Some tricks to combat morning sickness? Eat small meals and snacks throughout the day, nibble on ginger, sip peppermint tea, suck on Preggie Pops, and try Sea-Band acupressure wristbands.

You also can expect most things to happen sooner than they did the last time around. Since you already know what it feels like to feel baby move, you’ll probably recognize the subtle sensations earlier. You might also start showing sooner. And labor? Well, it’s likely to go faster (woo hoo!).

Don’t Think You Have Everything You Need**

Contrary to what some people think, it is perfectly okay to have a party for baby no. 2. You do actually need some new stuff (ahem, double stroller). And besides, it’s a good way to see all your loved ones before you’re too busy juggling two tots.

As far as stuff goes… Sure, you can reuse lots of things from baby no. 1, like old clothes, some furniture and gear. But be wary of any safety items you’re considering unearthing from the attic. Car seats are generally only good for about six years, so check the expiration. Also, if you have a drop-side crib, consider upgrading. This style is off the market now for a reason (one of the biggest problems with drop-sides is that they’re not as sound as fixed-side models and age-related wear and tear can weaken them, making them dangerous). So make sure yours is 100-percent sturdy and intact before committing to reusing it.

Get Baby No. 1 on Board**

As your pregnancy progresses, it’s important to be honest with baby no. 1 about how life will change with the new baby around. Make sure he knows ahead of time that you and Dad might not have as much time to spend with him once his little brother or sister arrives. And make sure he understands that he won’t be able to play with the baby for a few months after he’s born.

Some moms like to prep their kid by teaching him to be more independent in certain ways, like cleaning up his toys himself. Consider giving your child a baby doll or stuffed animal to “take care of” while you care for the new baby to make him feel included.

But while you want your big kid to be prepared, you also want things to feel as normal as possible throughout the changes — and that means making sure your kid knows you’ll always still love him and that he’ll always be very special to you. Make it a point to spend one-on-one time with him now and plan to continue to do that once the baby comes, too. Make arrangements with a sitter or family member so he can stay in his own bed when you go into labor. And, when the baby is born, ask friends and family who’ll bring gifts to bring one for baby no. 1, too.

Nurture Your Relationship

Um, did we mention you’re about to be super busy? If you thought you barely had enough time for romance with your partner now, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Hire a sitter and have a few date nights, so you can enjoy some much-needed couple time before baby makes four.

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