Becoming a family of four.

Happy Friday!! Today marks exactly 2 weeks since our little guy has entered the world. Theres been tons of ups and downs but overall I think we have all adjusted pretty well to the new addition to our family. Originally I was going to write this post after just one week, but Im really glad I waited the extra week because I think that a lot of the positive changes have happened after the first week.

A couple of things I’ll mention about how we prepared Harper for her little brother; we talked about him a TON– prepping her for what to expect… things like how little he will be, that he will cry a lot, that she will have to be “nice and gentle” but also how much he is going to LOVE her, what a great big sister she’s going to be etc. We also bought a big sister book and read it to her every night- it quickly became her favorite! Harper is really such a care-giver at heart so I wasn’t too concerned about her being sweet with him.

In the hospital, after Hayes was born- my mom brought Harper to see us for the first time. One thing I made sure to do was to have Stephen holding the baby so that when she came in the room she could have my full attention. I also had little gifts for her to give her new brother, and for him to “give” to her. She was honestly so drawn to him immediately- she wanted to hold him RIGHT away and couldn’t stop talking about how cute he was. It was the sweetest thing. I was a little concerned about how she would be leaving the hospital without me going with her, but she did great! Stephen ended up staying home with her that first night, taking her to swim lessons the next day and brought her back after her nap for dinner. Every time she came back she wanted to hold him, help change his diapers, and kiss his “little nose.” The next day (Sunday) the doctors said that I could go home early if I wanted to– so I chose to do that and get home and try and settle in for a full day with Harper and Hayes and let her adjust to us being home for a full day before she went to school for the week.

** I will note that although she did incredibly well during my time in the hospital– she didn’t eat very much. My mom, stephen and my sister all mentioned to me that she wasnt eating her normal amount of food.. and was more snacking on things instead of eating her meals… It was a little concerning but I think thats just how she expressed the stress of me being away. The first day we were back home she pounded a HUGE plate of spaghetti**

The first week was kind of a blur of little sleep, but lots of adrenaline. Thank goodness Stephen was able to stay home the first week because he was a HUGE help. We decided to keep Harper in school that week to keep her in her normal routine (also because she LOVES school and the stimulation she gets from being there is so good for her.) I also decided that I should continue to do drop off/pick ups for her since that is what she is used to, so we ALL went to school in the mornings/afternoons to try and keep things as normal as possible for her. (I also told her that her little brother had to go to “baby school” so that she didnt think we were choosing him over her during the day and she honestly loved the idea of that.) Luckily she had no tears or hesitation at drop offs in the morning since he’s been home!

The one thing that was hard for her (and especially for me) was that every time Hayes needed to eat, the second I would pick him up Harper would freak out. She would throw herself on the ground, intentionally hitting head on the floor crying that she wanted me to hold her and not the baby. This was tough because 1) Hayes was nursing close to every hour, hour and a half and 2) it broke my heart seeing her so upset that I wasn’t able to be with her. This happened for probably days 3-10 of us being home. Finally, once hayes was a LITTLE more predictable in when he would need to eat, I would tell Harper in advance that he was going to need to eat soon, and I would hold her- read her a book, play with a toy.. basically just spend some 1:1 time with her before I needed to pick him up. This worked really well and she hasn’t gotten upset about it since then- she actually tells me to feed him haha!

Things that I’ve found to be helpful; NOT telling Harper to be quiet because the baby is sleeping. Newborns can literally sleep through anything- and I never want Harper to get resentful towards him so I just let her yell/play/squeal as she normally does.

Involving her in whatever she WANTS to help with. I want her to feel involved and she LOVES being my “big helper.” She has a special stool to help me change his diapers, she gets me wipes, and she even wants to clip my nursing tanks for me! I dont force it though– if she doesn’t want to help with something then thats OK. She’s only 2.5 years old and shouldn’t HAVE to help if she doesnt want to… it’s her choice!

Letting things unfold as they happen. Not trying to force anything on anyone.. for example the first 4 or 5 days, she would come into my bedroom at like 1 am because she “wanted her mommy.” Instead of sending her back to her room, I just let her climb into bed and finish sleeping next to me. Sure, it was frustrating and lead to even less sleep for me but again– I didnt want her to feel like I was CHOOSING him over her. This eventually stopped after a couple of days.

If I can– succumbing to Harper’s requests. Sometimes she wants me to hold both of them at the same time– so most times i’ll hold Hayes in my left arm like a football, and squat down to pick up Harper- she loves it and thinks its so fun that I can do it. Or sometimes she wants me to sit at her little mini table/chairs to have breakfast with her (the chairs are SUPER small and hurt my back/butt) but 9x/10 I end up sitting there with her while nursing/holding Hayes just to make her feel special.

Things that have been hard for me: Not being able to be as hands-on with Harper. I’m used to being 100% involved in EVERYTHING with her- always playing, laughing, taking her to places, going swimming etc.. so it’s been a little tough emotionally having to relinquish some of that stuff to Stephen. Its hard to be restricted to the couch nursing a cluster-feeding newborn WATCHING Stephen and Harper have tons of fun playing in the pool or running around the house when I’m so used to playing with them.

Let me just say this though– Stephen has been a total ROCKSTAR throughout all of this. He has totally been my rock since day one and has done anything and everything i’ve needed- even if I didnt even ask. Laundry, grocery shopping, dishes, cleaning, meal prepping, playing with Harper- putting her to bed, getting her ready for school in the morning… you name it and he does it. Its so helpful and appreciated. However– this is (embarrassingly) another thing that I have a hard time with.. only because I’m so used to being ABLE to do those things, so sometimes its hard for me to let him help.

The past two weeks have been full of firsts, and I’m sure things are going to always be changing/evolving as we grow as a family of four- so Im sure that an updated post will be on the horizon but for now these are things that have worked for us. I hope that this helps some of you who may be either expecting your second child, or already have welcomed a new baby! If you have any suggestions or tips for us as we continue to navigate this crazy journey PLEASEEE leave me a comment below!!

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