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What to Expect When You Bring Home Baby No. 2

  • If you've ever been pregnant, you know your baby bump seems to be a magnet for commentary from complete strangers. When I was pregnant with my second baby, I received lots of, "You're going to be busy," comments from passersby upon their discovery that I had another child. I figured, "Of course, I'll be busy. I'm busy now. Everyone's busy."

    I had no idea.

    I wasn't prepared for the transition from one child to two to be as much of an adjustment as I found it to be. I figured we were still playing "man-to-man" with just two kids and that crazy must really start when you have to shift to zone defense from two to three.

    Here are some other parents' experiences along with a few tips for keeping sane while balancing competing needs.

  • Striving for Supermom/Superdad is Super-crazy

    "I can only go in one direction, and with two very active children and sometimes competing needs, challenges can exist," says Brandi, mom of two. "My oldest still seems to be my needier child. So, my youngest makes due with whatever her circumstances are most of the time. I let go of everything being immaculate, of the strict bedtime, and I'm a little less "Helicopter Mom" and more hands off now because I have to be. And I've learned that it's okay."

  • Ditch the Rose-Colored Glasses

    "With our firstborn, everything was special and a big deal," says Sarah, mom of three. "There's something romantic about Baby No. 1 that I had to let go to raise Baby No. 2."

  • It Gets Easier

    "Going from two to three kids was a walk in the park," says Stephanie, mom of three. "I think part of it is growing and changing as parents though, too. I'm more laid back with the third child."

  • You Get Better

    "It took awhile to get the balance of having two for me," says Kara, mom of two. "I always centered my attention around my son. He adjusted way better than I thought he would. There were some jealousy issues, and even after seven months, we have some meltdowns when he has to wait for things. I had to find the balance of who needs me more in the moment."

  • Taking Time for Yourself is Crucial

    "I don't recall going from one to two was horrible, but I could have blocked that out," jokes Stephanie, another mom of three. "My best advice to staying sane is to take time for yourself and take time for you and your husband/partner. Date nights are the best—that and wine, lots of wine!"

  • All Children are Different

    Shayla, mom of five, says her first baby was her most challenging transition, which she attributes to each child's temperament. "My first was crazy difficult, and my second was super easy," she says. "I think the best advice is that the difficult parts of life only last a season. The baby won't scream all day, be up all night, or throw tantrums because you didn't give them the right spoon forever. It really goes so quickly."

  • Tell Us

    How are you preparing for Baby No. 2? Parents of more than two children, which transition did you find to be the most challenging?