Going from 1 to 2 children, 2 to 3 children, or 3 to more children while recovering from pregnancy, labor, and delivery is not easy! Finding time for self care with even one infant takes some doing – caring for yourself, baby, and other children is definitely a challenge. Fortunately, you have experience from your first child to guide you. For many families, diapers may not be that far in the past and most parents don’t leave the house without bags and kid supplies. So have confidence in yourself, your knowledge, and your ability to pull this off. Likewise, recognize that getting two or more children fed, dressed, and out the door some days deserves a Nobel Prize!
Many parents, especially mothers, worry about how they will be able to give everyone the attention they need. Communicate openly as a family and discuss how care for the new baby will be shared, remembering that everyone in the family will benefit from special time together. If an older child thrives from special routines, such as those related to waking up, eating dinner, or going to bed, seek help with caring for the new baby so you can maintain those routines.
Ask for what you need – someone to hold the baby while you spend time with your other child OR someone to come and take your older child(ren) to the park OR someone to do the dishes! Newborns are particularly time intensive so now is the time to ask for help.
Finding ways to care for and connect with older children can be particularly tricky if you had a c-section or other birth related conditions. Not being able to lift a child or play with an older child as you did before can make the transition more challenging. Again, this is the time to reach out to people who have offered to help. Talk to your partner, family, and others to explore meaningful ways to stay connected to your older child(ren) during the weeks of recovery from surgery.
Most importantly, be patient with yourself. You have a lifetime to parent all of your children. During the 4th Trimester some days you just do your best to keep everyone fed, safe, and warm – that is still a major win!