There are so many friends who are preggy with their second little one (or 1st :)), I thought I'd share some things that have been great for us and our fam of four, soon to be fam of five!!
In no particular order...
With the advice (and observation) of a bunch of long time friends, we got the babies on a schedule in the hospital/right when they came home, and it was and is wonderful. There are many philosophies on a schedule or routine but from our experience the babies do great with it and it is wonderful from the parents' point of view as well. We did Baby Wise (you have to take Baby Wise with a grain of salt) and ended up combining with Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby too. We always call our schedule a "flexible schedule" because you always have to flexible. But the faster you can get them on a schedule, when you have to be more flexible, it's easier to get them back on. BabyBoy* was sleeping 12 hours through the night 3 1/2 months old and Little was sleeping 12 hours at 3 months old. ETA: Both babies were sleeping "through the night" (6 hrs) at an early age. And those of you that know our littles, they are happy, feel loved, are joyful...:-) At first, it helps them establish days from nights, teaches them to fall asleep unassisted (with some cuddling of course! :) and naptime/bedtime routine), and if they wake up when they should be sleeping, you teach them to fall back asleep by themselves. It's great for everybody. Littles love routine, and consistency, it helps them feel secure; if they know what's going on and you know what's going on timing wise each day, it helps everyone stay (more) sane. :)
*BabyBoy was a NICU baby, he had surgery the morning after he was born, and had reflux.
2. Same page with Hubby
It is just good for the entire family when Mommy and Daddy are on the same page. No matter what age the littles are - babies, toddlers, etc., or how much Daddy is home. Talk about all the details. If the littles are older, same page as far as discipline, how you discipline, what you discipline for, what behavior or activities are or aren't appropriate, and everything involved. If they're teeny, share details about everything, routine, tummy time, feeding, how you bathe them, philosophies about all aspects of being hands on with your little. That way, no matter who is alone with them, everything and everybody is comfortable and familiar. It's great for the littles to have consistency and know that you are a united front.
3. Date nights
Seriously, it is so important for Mommy and Daddy to have time alone together, to talk, connect or reconnect, have uninterrupted one on one time together. It is very easy to focus on the littles and not on the spouse. That makes it easy to forget too. Don't forget. Put it in the budget, it doesn't have to be expensive, you could even make a picnic and play some games together, or have a date night at home, turn the tv off, cook together or have a fun dinner and then play games or one of you choose an activity one week and the other choose next time! :)
4. Solid discipline with #1
When #2 comes along, if #1 understands the boundaries and has a good foundation of discipline, it not only makes time you're bound to the couch nursing, or changing a diaper, or or or, easier, but it also helps when it's time to begin disciplining #2 because they will learn so much from #1. We got some amazing advice from some great friends (hi LL ;)) on when and how to begin disciplining our littles and have read some good recommended books as well. If you know our boys, they have sweet hearts, are loving, energetic, strong willed :), but well behaved/obedient (overall ;)). Right, friends who have spent time with them?? Annnd this helps with them being good little helpers when #2 comes too :)
For wisdom, patience, joy, and thanking God for all of the good things He is doing, little and big. It doesn't hurt to pray for these things every single day. We normally do, when we say our night night prayers with them, and we pray for them, to become men of God, for us to have wisdom in raising them, for God to guide them in their lives and decisions, relationships... and it helps the littles get used to praying, thanking, and staying near God too. :)
6. Get Involved
In different activities for you and the babies... A weekly morning Bible Study, where your littles can play in a class and socialize with other littles while you get to study the word and fellowship with other ladies; Story time at a local bookstore or library, Borders or B&N and libraries do storytime once or twice a week and some you can choose by age group too; Playgroups; MOPS (Mothers of preschoolers), if your church doesn't have one, other local churches might, it is a great time for your littles to go and play in their classrooms while you fellowship and learn with other mommies. If you can only go to these things sometimes, it's ok, go when you can! :)
7. Seek advice from wise counsel
We have gotten incredible advice from friends and older couples who had babies before us. And from some family members as well :). We talk at GNOs, e-mail or call to talk about new scenarios that come up. We have found a couple mentor couples that have families that we would love for ours to look like; well behaved, sweet, full of joy littles, with strong morals and love of family (and friends). Find those Godly families and ask if you can ask them questions when you have them!
Don't get me wrong, there are still tough days where patience can be low, or your tired, or you feel insecure about one thing or another, or your littles are going through new phases that you have adjust or spend more time on certain things, or you're housebound for a while because someone(s) is sick, but these things definitely help me/us :)
Oh and remember, your love and cuddles, is the most important thing for your littles. If you start to get overwhelmed, remember that if you are loving on your little(s), you're doing a great job!
Is there anything I forgot to add? And any additional advice for three? :)
*And if you missed Baby Bump: 30 Weeks!! click here :)