Preparing for a Second Child: Tips for Making the Leap from One Child to Two

By Jennifer Bingham Hull

You know you should prepare for your second baby’s arrival. But how?

The What to Expect books that captivated you before now make your eyes glaze over. You don’t need, or want, much new gear. And the first baby taught you that children sabotage the best-laid plans.

However, preparing for the second child now with a few steps can help ease the transition from one child to two. Get your family ready to welcome your second baby with the following strategies.

*Encourage brotherly love. Talking to siblings about the new baby is important. But some of the big sister and big brother books are negative, preparing firstborns for jealousy, tantrums and strife. Be positive in introducing the new baby. Discuss how you’ll bathe, dress and diaper her together.

*Take a labor and delivery class. You think you remember everything. (How could a woman forget?) But I was amazed at how much new information surfaced in my second childbirth class – and how much I had to brush up on just two years after the birth of my first.

*Negotiate daddy care. Be specific about your husband’s future role; consider what has and hasn’t worked with your first child. Have dad assume more duties with your firstborn now. It will be easier later if he knows the ropes.

*Purchase a double stroller. Your toddler may be big enough to walk, but he’ll stage a sit-down strike when you stroll baby sister. Buy a double stroller if your firstborn is under age 4. The front-to-back ones are easier to maneuver through doors.

*Get organized. One child is a relationship. Two is a small business. Make sure you’ve got a good planner. PDAs like the Palm can program events to repeat each week, which is great for scheduling kids’ activities.

*Consider preschool. School can provide the big brother to a new baby with a welcome world of his own, while offering you time alone with your second child. Start classes before the baby arrives so your older child won’t feel like he’s being shipped out because of his new sibling.

*Upgrade your tote. Forget the sleek designer diaper bag. Function trumps form as the family grows. Get a bag with pockets on the outside so you can grab the rattle and the juice box before the stoplight turns green.

*Request a gift. Not for the baby. For you! First-time moms get big showers. Women expecting the second child often get ignored. Ask for a pretty bathrobe, a bracelet or something else that will fit despite those extra pounds.

*Relax. Newborns sleep a lot and don’t steal siblings’ toys. Chaos doesn’t really set in until the second child becomes mobile. Early on parents often enjoy a honeymoon period. In preparing for a second child, you can expect to savor those baby moments – they’re even sweeter the second time around!

(c) 2010 Jennifer Bingham Hull. Reprint rights granted as long as the article is published in its entirety, including the resource box and its live links.

About the Author

Jennifer Bingham Hull is an award-winning author and mother of two. Her book, Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life, looks at life after the second child. To learn more, visit, where you can contact her to receive this Parenting Tips column and sign up for her free newsletter.

About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to the MidAge Mom Blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

For Advice, insight and news

In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.


The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly,, MS., Parenting, Real Simple,, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.