Going From One Child to Two: A Handy Survival Guide


It can seem a daunting thing, going from one to two kids.

You’ve just settled into some kind of normalcy with your first rascal – perhaps they’re wonderful sleepers, maybe they’re toilet trained and can communicate well – you feel like it’s all about to be blown out of the water with baby number two.

I’ll admit, it is a surprise. Going back to sleep deprivation, demand feeding and not showering for days can take some getting used to. And being at the beck and call of more than one kid can add another layer of tiredness. It also seems like a universal truth that the first kid loses the plot just as the second is about to arrive. You’re left wondering how on earth you’re going to manage two when you can’t even handle the one you already have.

But, it’s not all bad. Actually, it can be quite wonderful! Kid Number One sorts themselves out, Baby Number Two smashes into your life like a love-tsunami, and in the midst of the chaos, you can’t fathom life any other way.

Here’s a guide on how to navigate this big change and welcome baby number two to the family.

1. Know it will be an adjustment

It is hard getting the hang of multiple children. You’re recovering from birth and trying to keep two small humans happy – it’s certainly a handful. Getting out of the house takes on a whole new dimension of complication. You may even have The Wiggles on repeat for a few weeks/ months/ years to keep your first occupied while you sort out the other. The good news is that it most certainly won’t be as difficult as you imagine. Though it takes some getting used to, you will manage – and then some. Going from one child to two will be better than you think, and life will assume a happy harmony in no time.

2. Accept help from family and friends

People are wonderful. Ask friends / parents / neighbours to entertain your first babe or snuggle your new one so you can catch up on precious sleep. Have people bring meals, clean your bathroom, talk you through moments of intense crazy. You’re not proving anything trying to do it alone. Embrace the village around you and get all the help you can.

3. Be kind to yourself

It won’t be perfect, this adjustment to two kids. Don’t try to do Pinterest-worthy parenting in the first little while, just go with whatever routine comes your way. Wear pyjamas all day if you have to, live on cereal for the first few years weeks. Learn the new rhythms of your family and let yourself off the hook if you’re not doing all the things you want to at first. You’ll smash this parenting multiple kids things in no time, just have grace for yourself in the process.

4. Have faith that the chaos will subside

And it will! It may feel like the chaos of juggling more than one baby is never-ending, especially if your tots are close in age, but you’ll hit your stride sooner than you think. One minute you won’t be able to fathom how you’ll get out of the house in under three hours, and the next you will be feeding/ dressing/ raising your kids with your eyes closed (but don’t actually close them – that’s irresponsible). Before you know it, you’ll be sleeping through the night again, leaving the house with brushed hair, and drinking your coffee before it goes cold. Hold onto the hope of those days – they’re coming!

In the meantime, take comfort that a million women before you have done this going from one child to two caper – and you can too! Follow the tips, trust yourself and know you’ve got a shed load of love to give. You’ve got this, mum!

Avatar of Hannah Macauley-Giehart

Hannah Macauley-Gierhart is a mother, writer, teacher, editor, and fiction reader. The joyous bedlam of raising young kids sees her writing at strange hours, drinking lots of tea, and loving the chaos that fuels good prose.

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