Dear Whitney, Prepping for baby #2

Hiya pal,
When I was pregnant with baby #2, I managed to get through the first six months in denial that anything was really going to change in my life. I figure it’s sort of (Mother) Nature’s way. Sometime during that icky third trimester, I began to realize that someone new and helpless was going to live in our small house. And I had better get prepared.

As a self-aware control freak, I made a list of all my big and little concerns, assigned them rough priority and due dates, then taped it to the wall above the family computer where I was sure Alec would see it.

Being a laid-back guy, he still required my nagging to help with most of these tasks. Since other third trimester side effects include insomnia and baby-brain, it really helped me write these things down to keep them from floating around my brain at night.

First and foremost, I had a lot of anxiety about the stroller. The notion of strapping both kids down at the same time made me feel safe. I fretted about finding the perfect stroller, having it in my house before the baby was born, and using it ASAP to give me a sense of control over the whole situation.

That (understandable yet) irrational notion aside, the rest of my list of prepping for baby #2 holds up pretty well.

Since a second baby can come anytime — and I had some good friends whose bundles arrived four weeks early — these dates reflect a possible early arrival.

Critical

To keep it manageable, try to limit yourself to five absolutely must-do’s. Obviously, I fudged it for myself.

  • Car seat: cleaned and installed (Due Date – 4 weeks); it was nice to get Holden accustomed to his new spot in the car.
  • Childcare plan: Who was on call before my mom arrived broken down by time of day (DD – 4 weeks); I sent around notes regarding Holden’s care and contact info to all the team members.
  • Bags packed: (DD – 4 weeks) I wanted this done a month in advance so I could be ready at a moment’s notice. But I didn’t finish this until the day before Milo arrived. Oh well. See our sweet packing list.
  • Breast pump: parts and bottles cleaned, pump assembled, tubing replaced (DD – 4 weeks); I’m pretty sure we missed this deadline
  • Baby clothes: cleaned and installed (DD – 4 weeks); I liked knowing that all the mini clothes (hand-me-down and new) were in their proper size designations so I could see if there were any gaps in coverage. Remember that the newborn phase goes extremely quickly.
  • Newborn diapers: (DD – 3 weeks); they will give you some in the hospital, I have extras for you, and I will happily buy some on command; but this was something else that I felt like I really needed in order to be prepared.

Is that more than five? Oops, I lost count.

Can’t believe I thought it was Critical

Stroller for two: purchased and on hand (DD – 2 weeks); I would now hold out as long as is humanly possible. A pregnant woman cannot possibly evaluate a stroller properly, largely because she can’t fold and lift it well. But also because she doesn’t yet know what her children will prefer/tolerate.

Nice to have

  • Moby-like wrap (DD – 2 wks)
  • Nursing pads (DD – 2 wks)
  • Zinc, baby tylenol, gripe water (DD – 2 wks)
  • Pacifiers and Avent nipples (DD + 2 wks)
  • Another amazing miracle swaddling blanket (DD + 2 wks) — never happened, we just wash our one all the darn time.
  • A better diaper bag solution (DD + 2 wks) — never happened, we’re still winging it.
  • Soft and fluffy towel (DD + 2 wks) — never happened, good thing we barely bathe our new baby.
  • Hooter hider (DD + 2 wks) — I managed to borrow one and I’m grateful for it.

I’d also advise you to see what your shower brings, although I’m sure you’re already doing that.

Our wishlist and registry still holds up as a great checklist.

Lots of love,
your older friend Heather

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RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on 510families.com or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.