- You won’t have any more special time to spend with your oldest. This one is huge! As soon as I saw the positive line on the pregnancy test when my baby was only 1 year old- I started to cry for this exact reason! Yes, it might take time for you to come out of the newborn haze and spend some special time with your oldest again. But hey, newborns sleep- A LOT. I’ll often ask my oldest what she wants to play with me once I’ve fed and changed the newborn and she’s nice and settled for a nap. Whether it’s running out for an ice cream, reading a book, playing in her sprinklers, or building some play-doh shapes- we have a little bit of time every day that’s just the two of us still. Don’t worry.
- They will NEVER sleep at the same time. As it is with anything in parenting, things are always shifting and changing. This includes bedtime and nap time schedules. Of course you will have those days where one woke up right when the other went to sleep and one kept you up all night long, but this will not be all the time, and it won’t last forever! I sleep way more now with two than I slept the whole time my oldest was under 10 months. Even if a no-sleep phase is lasting longer than you want it to, it WILL NOT last forever. Don’t worry.
- Will I love my second one the same way I love my first? It’s just so insane we even worry about this but it happens! It’s only because it’s hard to picture feeling the immense love you feel for this new baby you haven’t met when you have been getting to know and fall in love with your toddler since the moment they were born. Here’s the thing- first baby or tenth baby- they are still your baby. The moment you meet them, you’ll know you feel exactly the same. Don’t worry.
- I won’t get the same bonding time this time that I got with my first, because I will be too distracted by my toddler. Of course this is not a distraction you had to worry about last time. Every day with your firstborn was uninterrupted cuddles, bonding and being in your little newborn bubble. Well, your toddler WILL pop your newborn bubble that’s for sure. But just like you will still find balance to have that special time with your older child, you will find the same thing for your newborn. Maybe your toddler spends the afternoon with dad or Grandma, or takes a good, long nap. But at the very least, when your toddler goes to bed at night, you have those middle of the night times together. Yeah, you might be exhausted. But try to take at least one moment every night just to snuggle them close and enjoy that peace and calm where it’s just the two of you. Don’t worry.
- My toddler will hurt the newborn accidentally or on purpose. My babe is not necessarily rough or violent, but every toddler has the capacity for this behavior at any moment. I remember feeling so much anxiety about random things, like my toddler throwing a toy at her little head or running on the couch and stepping on her. Your toddler will quickly learn, this little baby is not to be played rough with. Maybe you have to yell a few times when they are flirting with disaster, but they will learn. And on some very hyper days, you’re just gonna have to play offense all day. 🤷🏻♀️ Don’t worry.
- My toddler will not adjust well to this big change in our family. I was so worried my older daughter would become super jealous of all the attention the new baby would get, and that she would stay super attached to me. She quickly figured out that she just needed to rely more on daddy for every day things and let mommy breastfeed and care for baby sissy at times. Like everything else, this could take time, or they could take right to the big bro/sis role from day one. Either way, DON’T WORRY mama!
Bed time routines add another thing to your already jam packed to-do list as a mom. If you’re like me, by the time the clock strikes bedtime- I AM DONE. I want to be in bed, laying down, with no more toddler climbing on me.
But here’s the thing- it is SOOOO worth it.
If you’re having trouble getting yourself to put in the extra time and effort to create a bedtime routine consistently, think of it this way. Any of the extra effort you put in before bedtime ensures that you put in less work in the middle of the night, and get a fuller, longer, more restful night of sleep. And so does your baby!
If you can’t already tell, bedtime routines are just my favorite thing in the universe. Even on nights where my little one seems wound up and not ready for bed at all right before I start the routine, it has never failed that by the time I set her in her crib she’s 100% ready to drift off.
As soon as I started this routine at around 10 months old, my daughter has slept through the night 10-12 hours. Combined with our gentle sleep-training method (see last post How to get your Co-Sleeping and Codependent Baby to Sleep Through the Night) she even learned how to soothe herself back to sleep if she awoke crying in the night. It’s saved me countless middle-of-the-night visits to her room!
Here is a detailed description of Ellie’s nightly routine.
Step One. Breastfeed.
If breastfeeding, it is vitally important not to breastfeed them to sleep. It creates a dependency on you to fall asleep, and if they awake in a place different from where they fell asleep it will always startle them. I had breastfed her to sleep for her entire first 10 months of life so imagining changing this was just crazy to me. But again, SO WORTH IT.
-If you are not breastfeeding, just make sure they have their bottle, water, or a snack right before you start the routine instead of directly before bedtime.
Step Two. Get their room ready.
I make sure her lovey is in her crib and a pacifier is nearby. Then, I turn on her night light and white noise machine. Now the room is all dimmed and ready for us to come in to get dressed for bed in at the end of the routine.
Step Three. Bath and Brush Teeth.
Ellie’s pediatrician recommended nightly baths for her eczema, to help remove the dirt that collects on her skin every day. Ellie loves bath time and it reminds her that she needs to start getting ready for bed. Also luckily, Ellie loves teeth brushing. (Maybe in part to her cool electric toothbrush with Paw Patrol characters on it!)
-If baths have never been associated with bedtime for you, or you don’t usually bathe every single day- still consider adding this step. Having a solid routine with a few consistent steps to it signals your child that they need to wind down for the day.
Step Four. Lotion, PJS, and a song.
Lastly, I lay Ellie down on a furry rug in her room. While lightly singing a song, I dress her in a night-time diaper, put lotion on her, a little bit of essential oil for sleep on her chest, and one for teething on her jaw-line. Then I wrap up my song, button up her pjs and give her a big hug and kiss before laying her down. She watches me leave the room, and quietly turns on her side and falls soundly asleep.
It may be a lot of work, but it is also some of my sweetest, most cherished time with her. It is nice to relax, wind down and get ready for bed together. And best of all, it is followed by 10 beautiful, glorious hours of uninterrupted SLEEP.