You’ve likely been fielding the question about your second baby since the moment baby #1 popped out. And while you probably brushed it off, telling others to let you enjoy your current child, you’re now starting to feel like you may be ready to expand your family again. The decision to have your first child is important and exciting, but having your second can be an even bigger decision to make. Many people will agree that life from no baby to one is tough, but what’s even tougher is adding a second child to your family. So just how do you know if you are ready for child #2? And if you are ready, how to plan for your second baby? We’ll break it down a bit for you.
When and How to Plan for Your Second Baby
What Science Says
Many studies show that women who have a second baby less than 18 months after having their first will experience a higher risk for an underweight or pre-term baby. Those who had a c-section are at a higher risk of developing issues such as placenta previa. Many doctors feel that a woman needs at least 18-24 months to recover from one pregnancy before beginning another pregnancy. But, research also shows that mothers who wait five years or more for their second child will experience similar risks and conditions when they try for baby #2.
While science says to wait 18 months, many mothers try for their second child long before the 18-month mark and go on to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.
How to Decide If You Are Ready for a Second Baby
The most important thing to do is listen to yourself—if you feel ready, then it’s likely you are ready. But there are a lot of things to consider before foregoing the birth control and ordering those ovulation sticks. Sit down with your spouse or partner to determine your finances. How will they change once a second child is in the picture? Will you be able to afford two kids in daycare, if necessary? You also want to look at things like your home and car—do you have the room for two kids?—as well as your current lifestyle. Having a second kid means needing two of everything, which can include anything from two more plane tickets for travelers, another car seat in the car and another child for family to watch.
Another big thing to look at is your own age and health. Unfortunately, women need to focus on their age when it comes to expanding their family. If you are in your late thirties and hoping for a large family, it probably isn’t in your best interest to wait much longer. Many women say that getting pregnant the second time around was much more difficult than the first, so if you want three, four or more kids, time may not be on your side. If you are younger and have the luxury of not worrying about age just yet, consider your current health and lifestyle situation. Can you handle a newborn and another child? Is your body and mind prepared to go through pregnancy again? Consider all of these things before making your final decision.
How to Start Trying for Your Second Baby
The first thing to do once you’ve made your decision to try for baby #2 is to see your doctor. While you may have determined that your mind is ready, they can help determine how ready your body is to take on another pregnancy. You can discuss getting off your birth control and getting back on a prenatal to jumpstart your health for your second pregnancy.
Once you and your doctor decide it is a good time to start trying, be prepared for anything. No two pregnancies are the same, even for the same woman, so don’t expect things to go as smoothly—or even as problematic—as they were the first time around. Some women who got pregnant right away with their first, may find that it’s not so easy this time around. Learn how to use ovulation sticks and talk to your doctor about your cycle and how regular your periods are. You also want to prepare for an entirely different type of pregnancy. No morning sickness for baby #1? Don’t expect the same this time around! While you may get lucky and avoid it again, it’s best to be prepared for anything that may come your way.
How to Prepare Baby #1
No matter their age, your first child is likely to experience some sort of emotional response to the news of having a sibling. If you decide to try for a baby when your first is still very young, it may be hard to get the point across, so try to ease them into the idea. Get them involved in your pregnancy by having them bond with your belly and consider buying them a baby doll to get used to the idea of having another baby around. If your child is older and can understand the concept of having a brother or sister, make sure you get them used to the idea before the baby is born. Work with them so they understand how their life will change (for the better!) and get them excited to have a permanent playmate for the rest of their lives.
Having a second baby is an exciting time, but there are many things to consider before making that final decision! Whenever you choose to start trying, be prepared and be ready for your life to change in the best way once again.