I found myself wondering “how do I know when I’m ready to have a baby?”
And I think that wondering in itself is an indicator that you are getting close to feeling ready.
When I was 6-months postpartum, people were already asking me when Baby #2 was coming along and I couldn’t even fathom adding another baby because I still didn’t feel adjusted to having one baby. We were nursing all the time! I would just mentally shut down the idea of adding another child as I politely blew past the question.
At the suggestion of my midwife, I had promised myself to not even consider having another baby until we approached our first’s 2nd birthday.
Did you know? — It takes the female body 2 years to fully recover from birth!
So, with a promise of a full recovery to myself, we put the idea on the shelf until then.
And time flew! I feel like I blinked and my first baby is 2 years old. Sure enough, it was at her 22-month mark when I felt like I needed to truly start talking about having another child.
We had a positive pregnancy test in-hand by the time Kensington blew out her 2nd birthday candles.
Our reasons for feeling ready for Baby #1 were much different than what they are for this second time around, so I’m sharing for other moms who are curious about making the leap from 1 to 2 babies:
I knew my body had physically recovered from the previous birth.
This confidence was huge. My midwife had told me this. My new midwives (since we moved out of state) confirmed this. My health team confirmed this. My home birth taught me that my body had everything it needed to grow and birth a baby the first time, and I knew that when I was “back in position” I could and would do it again.
I felt like I had a handle on our sleeping arrangement.
We bedshare and at the time of writing this (Kensie’s 2 years and 1 month), she still does not “sleep through the night” consistently (and that’s biologically normal!).
So I wanted to make sure I at least had the rhythm of bedtime in a good place and I wanted to make sure I was getting solid stretches of sleep, even with Kensie’s continued night wakings.
Our bedtime routine wasn’t perfect — but workable — and something I felt like I could still have in a good place 40-weeks from now. Kensie nursed down to sleep, depending on her needs would wake in the middle of the night for a snuggle or nursing, then would nurse upon waking in the morning. I felt like I was getting enough decent sleep to sustain a healthy pregnancy if I coupled this sleep routine with napping with Kensie during the day — a happy bonus for a stay-at-home mom of 1!
Kensie asked for a lot more interactive play.
Early babyhood was a lot of exploring and independent learning for Kensie, but as she got into toddlerhood, the excitement of any experience — old or new — was amplified when she shared it with someone. I found myself having these mini moments of “aww, she needs a friend”.
She was often asking to call her grandparents on the phone, or to go visit my aunt and her dog. We would meet new friends at playgroup and she’d ask about playing with them again soon. She would always ask “play me!” to me and my husband even after a full day of being with us. Her craving for engagement was huge!
We had successfully carved out a pocket of time just for us as a couple and individually.
Admittedly, I didn’t hold to this as much as I probably should have — my “me time” is always the first to go when our schedule needs to be changed — but I know that with a commitment, I can always tuck away for some quiet time everyday.
Right now, this looks like Kevin and Kensie putting dinner together while I go meditate and journal during the week. On the weekends, they go grocery shopping on Saturday and have an outside daddy-daughter date on Sundays before nap time and I get a longer batch of time to myself then.
When Kensie naps on the weekends and on Kev’s weekday work from home days, we have a little intimate lunch date to reconnect as husband-and-wife. Kev gets up early before all of us and walks the dogs + goes on a run or meditates before getting ready for work. He keeps that set appointment with himself everyday religiously.
So, us adults were getting our independent + marriage needs met. When practicing a more attachment-style parenting, having a healthy marriage can be so challenging. Keeping this schedule means little time for other social events, but our young family thrives on this consistency right now (and most toddlers do, too!).
We felt financially literate — again.
Since having Kensie, we had the added expense of her growing needs (diapers, clothes, toys, etc.) but we also had moved from Kansas to Boston + made some career changes.
To account for this, we budgeted our new household finances for a few months, which gave us a baseline of our recurring expenses and helped us ensure they were always less than our income.
We made plans for paying off my last student loan. We made financial decisions ahead of them “coming up” for us, like what we’d do to maximize our current small house when adding another baby instead of figuring it out after the fact.
We set career goals + created space for opportunity — like a time when me or Kevin could look into new jobs without disrupting our financial footprint. This way, as opportunities came up, we had a game plan for saving, spending + unexpected change.
We also amped up contributions to our Health Savings Account to ensure we’d all have what we’d need through pregnancy + postpartum — extra chiropractor visits, paying for the home birth out-of-pocket, an emergency reserve for unexpected circumstances, etc. This is one less thing to have to do (or stress about) during pregnancy.
Kensie’s interest in “going potty” peaked.
She was interested in watching how us adults went to the bathroom. She happily ordered a frog potty off Amazon and happily sat on it for 4 seconds at a time before saying she just wanted to play with it instead. But there was an interest and also an avoidance of people whenever she started soiling diapers and she could feel it.
I will say — people who have cloth diapered their children have had this happen at like 18-months or even earlier, but for disposable diaper kids, this happens later because there’s more absorbency and cushioning. When kids don’t feel the discomfort of wetness or stickiness, they’re not likely to want to change.
Kensie would hide in another room to squeeze out a poop or you’d see her facial expression change when she realized she did a pee in her diaper.
We knew from these cues that she’d be ready to try going to the potty on her own. And a few months later, just letting her natural curiosity take the lead, she “potty trained” herself in 2 days! We were FLOORED! I’ll write more about that in another post.
Reducing the cost of having one baby in diapers for a few months during pregnancy was nice before we picked that back up again. Although this time around, I’m definitely considering cloth… Stay tuned.
We felt like we had a solid support system — independent of family.
When we were first pregnant with Kensie, we lived in Kansas where the rest of our family was living in Boston and New York. We actually weren’t in connection with most of one side of the family for that time. When we moved back to Boston, we reconnected with one side and had some blips in the relationship with the other side of the family before all returned to normal — eventually.
All that to say, that even what appears to be the strongest familial relationships and friendships can and do have times of weakness. Change happens. Learning this the hard way and missing the support that we had always assumed we’d have in starting a family, we prioritized building a support team that wouldn’t waiver the second time around.
We picked out our midwives in-advance. We found therapists who could coach us through unbiased decision-making. We found our chiropractor and acupuncturist and laundry delivery service. We outsourced what we didn’t have to do, so that we could find more time to do what we did have to do if we were gonna have to fly solo.
Any help we got from friends and family would be a bonus, not something we relied on to function. We set our family life up like a business + built a team around us that we could depend on outside of family (arguably more so) because we were paid and contracted to each other. It’s an invaluable insurance policy, and, again, one less thing to worry about during pregnancy.
Lastly, but most importantly, we had a gut feeling that our family would have more than 1 child.
I loved being pregnant the first time around. I felt incredible, my pregnancy was easy, and me + baby were so healthy. My husband stepped up incredibly to make my life easier while I had the hard job of growing a baby. It was an experience that I’d honestly do a thousand times over if I had the bandwidth to truly support that many children!
I also grew up with 2 siblings, and Kevin is 1 of 10 kids, so we’ve both enjoyed having and being siblings. After getting to know Kensie’s personality, and feeling like we were at least playing man-to-man by going from 1 to 2 children (and each of us could “take one” if we needed to divide and conquer at an event), we felt like we could handle the responsibility and enjoy it.
But above all, we just had an internal instinct that this is what we were supposed to do for our family. We couldn’t stop shaking the idea and feeling genuinely excited about it (even with our pockets of wondering how we could love anyone as much as we love Kensie — we knew that’d work itself out in due time).
Baby #2 couldn’t be more welcome + prepared for. ♥️
Are you considering a second child? Have you already done it? What are your thoughts on going from 1 to 2? Any tips to share with my growing family!?
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!