Programs & Support for New Parents
8 min read | 25 July 2021
9 min read | 21 May 2023
Here are some tips to help you get ready:
Take some time to reflect on what happened the first time around, thinking about what worked well and what didn't. What parts of your pregnancy and birth would you like to repeat, if you had the choice? What would you like to do differently? This can help you make more informed decisions about your care and preferences for this pregnancy. Remember that every pregnancy and birth is different, so don't be afraid to ask your healthcare provider for advice and support along the way.
There’s no hard and fast rule about when to share the news of a new baby with your firstborn– it’s ultimately up to you and when you feel ready and will also depend on the age of your child. It can be good to talk about babies in general first, and then about your new baby specifically.
There are different ways to do this – some parents find writing a story or reading books about welcoming a new baby to the family to be helpful, while others prefer to have regular conversations with their little one about what’s to come. One thing to note is that toddlers don’t really understand the concept of time, so try relating the arrival of your new baby to a familiar event, like a birthday or holiday (for example, the new baby will arrive shortly after Christmas).
Talk to your older child about the new baby and involve them in the preparation process as much as you can, making it feel as positive and exciting as possible. This can include things like:
Getting them to help choose baby names
Pick out baby clothes
Decorating the nursery
Touching the baby bump when the new baby is moving and kicking
Showing your little one pictures of themselves when they were young
Spending time talking to them about how wonderful having a sibling will be
If your first child is at the age of toilet training or moving into a big bed, it can be a good idea to try and tackle those big changes well before the new baby is born.
Having a second baby throws up a whole new set of challenges, and often the best people to speak to are those who’ve been through it themselves. Consider reaching out to friends or family members who have had more than one child – they are often a valuable source of advice and support for how to deal with a toddler and a new baby and may even be able to help with your older child while you focus on your newborn. In addition to friends and family, podcasts and books can be great resources and are often full of tips and advice on how to adjust to life with a newborn and a toddler.
Having a baby can be expensive, especially with one parent not working for a period after the birth. It's important to review your finances as early as possible and make sure you're prepared for the extra costs that come with a new baby.
Consider who will care for your first child when you go into labour – it might be a trusted friend or family member or other caregiver. Let your first child know ahead of time who’ll be looking after them while you’re in hospital, and, if they’re not very familiar with that person, try and give them opportunities to get to know them in the leadup to the birth of your second child.
If you work outside the home, it’s also a good idea to start thinking about who will care for your children when you return to work. If you plan to use daycare, start researching options early as some facilities have long waitlists.
You’ll probably find that you’re able to reuse a lot of your first child’s baby equipment and clothing for your second child, however you may still need to purchase things like an extra seat for your pram (or a bigger pram), a second car seat or another cot.
You’ll also need plenty of newborn nappies, wipes, breastfeeding equipment if you’re planning to breastfeed and formula and bottles if you’re planning to bottle feed. And while many of the clothes and accessories you had for your firstborn will be able to be reused, you may find you have to buy a few new things for your new arrival as some may be unsuitable (plus, it’s always nice to have a few new things for your new baby!). Make a list of all the essential baby items you will need for your second baby and stock up in advance.
The decision to have a baby shower for a second baby is a personal one, and there is no hard and fast rule about whether to have one. Some families choose to have a baby shower for each new addition, while others opt to celebrate the arrival of new children in other ways, such as a small gathering with family and friends or a “sprinkle” instead of a full-blown shower.
One reason some families choose not to have a baby shower for a second baby is that they may already have many of the essential items they need. However, some families may still appreciate the opportunity to celebrate and receive gifts for the new addition to the family. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to have a baby shower for their second child.
With a new baby in the house, you and your partner may not have as much time to cook. Consider preparing meals that can be frozen or arranging for meal deliveries to make things easier when you return home with your little one.
Being pregnant and caring for a child or toddler can be very tiring, so make sure you're taking care of yourself by eating well, getting enough rest, and staying active. Consider arranging for postpartum support, such as a postpartum doula or a lactation consultant, and think about ways to prioritise self-care during your pregnancy and once your new baby arrives.
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