Doe-eyed and glowing with first time pregnancy radiance, I imagine I might have been humming while birds sang as I packed that brand new hospital bag, straightened the perfectly organized, freshly painted nursery closet and typed up a flawless birth plan after my breastfeeding and prenatal classes.
Preparing for baby number 2 was VERY different. No birds sang and that doe-eyed, innocent pregnancy sparkle was replaced with a glazed, I-can’t-have-enough-caffeine look.
Having a second baby is crazy exciting (we are due this week and can’t WAIT to meet her) but the reality is, bringing home baby number two is going to be a whole different ball game.
Now that we are upon the due date week, here are 5 things I WISH I would have done earlier (UGH). Because having a second baby is way different than the first and I thought it wouldn’t be...
During the second pregnancy, I scoured Pinterest for baby number 2 checklists, but they fell short. Here’s what you need and 5 things you need to do now!
Preparing For Baby Number 2, The Only Checklist You Will Need!
1. Prepare a postpartum care kit (the right way this time!)
Because you KNOW how much that sucked the first time around, ammi right?!
And if you’re like me, you didn’t have mountains of Dermoplast stocked and ready to go the first time around. Well, this time I do BUT they just came in…last night. And I had contractions all day and evening Friday night (3 days ago).
You can guess I was trying not to be that pregnant lady: emotionally insane while having contractions and sweating about not having my postpartum kit ready.
This time around, you probably didn’t organize everything down to the silverware drawer and create the perfect nursery but having a postpartum kit is just one of those must-haves (as you know!) for a speedy and more comforting recovery.
I don’t know what I would have done last time without those Tucks Medical Pads, the Dermoplast and those terrible-but-necessary jumbo pads (all acquired finally the first time around over an exhausted, elevated phone call at drugstore number 3).
You might have seen this checklist in my other posts but readers seem to be flocking here and LOVE it. I do too. I just received everything on it and thank ALL THAT IS GOOD in the world. If baby comes tonight. I am SO ready!
Absolutely necessary items for a speedy and MUCH more comfortable postpartum recovery:
- Remember that sucky cheapo peri bottle the hospital gave you the first time around? Now, there is a MUCH better, brilliant alternative. Fridababy makes a peri-bottle called the Fridget with a nozzle specifically designed to be held upside down, giving you much more control with each use. So throw the one you get from the hospital in the diaper bag and use this one in your main bathroom.
- Absolute Postpartum staple: giant pads. The hospital may give you some but you also (like me) may not have been madly in love with them. Buy one pack of 20 Always Maxi (overnight extra heavy flow with wings). This pad is #1 everywhere for the BEST postpartum pad. Always Maxi Overnights are the BEST heavy pads I used. However, I personally dislike wings and pads that go up my butt. So, when I could, I would cut off the wings. Since then, I’ve found Natracare extra heavy flow pads. They are very similar to the hospital pads I received (it seem hospitals give out various types). With a pack of 10 for around $5, they are worth trying to test your individual preference.
Another alternative to consider based upon your preference (some hospitals seem to give out these as well): Curity Maternity Pad Heavy
- As SOON AS POSSIBLE though, I downgraded my pad to Stayfree Maxi Regular Pads because I not only cut the wings off of the Always Maxi Overnights, I started to cut them in half! It felt almost impossible to find a pad that wasn’t extra long without wings with great absorbency. Plus, I hated picking those extra long pads out of my butt crack. Leggings are FANTASTIC postpartum, especially these puppies (looove them), BUT boy do they help wedge those sticky long plastic mini diapers up your ass. I ended up with four or five different bags of pads before I landed on Stayfree! In the end, I used 4 bags total of the Stayfree Maxi Regular Pads for my postpartum recovery. These were the best overall pads I used.
Another alternative to consider based upon your preference: Always Always Maxi Pads 24ct Regular Non-Wing Unscented
- The postpartum pad finale: a liner that’s not paper thin. Buy one box of Carefree Original pads. I tried out Always Thin Daily Liners but they are paper thin and would seem to be better for incontinence. You may have used this little pink box in your “Hello God, It’s Me Margeret” days but they are still fantastic. Carefree does make a new pad called “Acti-Fresh.” I haven’t tried them personally, but they seem to be a good postpartum pad finale as well. There’s this weird balance with that final liner. A super duper paper thin one would be great, but you’ll need something just thick enough for that final (and unpredictable) spotting.
- Then there’s those amazing disposable underwear the hospital gives you. Or they may give you none. Save yourself the trouble and up your postpartum mesh panty game by buying your own postpartum maternity (post-surgical) disposable underwear. Another plus: the quality is better.
- Our hospital provided Tucks Medicated Healing Pads to place directly on the maxi pad for relief. If you haven’t tried them, you’re missing out on some major pain releif, additional comfort and speedy recovery help. They are little round (3″) pads with witch hazel and I cannot tell you how much they relieved the burning and itching. Ah-mazing. However, after my second pregnancy labor the very SAME hospital did not provide these. So glad I bought them for the postpartum kit for the recovery after the second baby!
Another bonus: there’s enough alcohol content in these bad boys to prevent freezing, which means you can pop some in a freezer bag and add them to your freezer. YUSSS.
- When you want to graduate into actual underwear (and ditch the diaper feel) I would advise having a pack of ridiculously comfortable underwear on hand like these boy short boxer brief panties. Postpartum, I was thanking God that I had bought these. I LOVED them! I ended up ordering an additional set. A heads up: alternative prints ended up at my door, some which were not as cute but most of them were perfect. These are the most comfortable underwear I’ve owned, so they are WELL worth an alternate print.
- Now, I know those DIY “padsicles” are like all the rage but I’ve been there, done that and they were TERRIBLE (in my personal experience). If I wanted to freezer burn my painfully injured vagina then padsicles would definitely be the way to go. On the other hand, when I wanted actual pain relief and comfort, these medicated cooling pads (like they have at the hospital) were MUCH better!
- When you leave the hospital, chances are you will receive Dermoplast Pain Relieving Spray. The nurse told me: “Never forget to use this each and every time you go to the bathroom.” The problem is, that’s a lot of spraying so we had to go out and find two additional cans. If you tried it with your first baby, you know how awesome this stuff is! Another similar spray gaining momentum is Earth Mama Herbal Perineal Spray.
Edit: I purchased one of each (Dermoplast & Earth Mama) for postpartum after the second pregnancy. I liked how I wasn’t worried about my toddler getting into the postpartum basket with Earth Mama (the Dermoplast children warning is a little concerning). And the Earth Mama spray smells AMAZING and natural. BUT, the Dermoplast spray does have a cooling feel that is lifesaving. Try buying one of each and see what you like best because you’ll likely end up using up everything.
- Prepare to have sitz baths. They are SUPER healing and fantastic for postpartum recovery. Buy a simple plastic cover that sits neatly over your toilet like this top Amazon sitz bath by Yunga Tart and use a high-quality Epsom salt made specifically for these types of baths like Epsoak Epsom Salt (which is Amazon’s #1 choice). I linked the large bag because sitz baths are usually recommended 2-3 times a day! That’s a lot of Epsom salt.
2. SERIOUSLY consider a refresher prenatal class
So, let’s talk about a prenatal refresher class. It’s been a while and that newborn stage is short but feels like an eternity. Plus last time you were probably so sleep deprived and in pain that it was all a blur anyway. Take a refresher course.
You’ll walk into that hospital feeling 100% certain you’ve got this, remembering all the pros and cons of your birth plan decisions, how many pee diapers are needed that first week and what bad and good poop looks like etc.
Skip registering for a course in person, the traffic, the hours, potentially taking work off, having a bad teacher (ours skipped most of the videos!) etc. and take Hilary Erickson’s online prenatal course (there’s also a FREE version here). You can take the class at your own pace, and you’ll receive a fantastic prenatal education from a passionate, experienced and wonderful mommy and nurse. She’s been a labor and delivery nurse for over 16 years and has taught prenatal classes regularly (without skipping all the videos…).
And then, dust off that birth plan momma, because it’s that time!
I had prepared a 1″ 3-ring binder for our first and then used that for all her pediatrician visits. I would highly recommend this! Add some clear sleeves in there and you can store all your little one’s history, notes etc. Anyway, I found our old birth plan and there were copies! Easy-peasy. Write out your birth plan again, throw it in a 3-ring binder with a pen plus some blank notebook pages and then you can add the birth certificate and all that paperwork in that they give you at the hospital.
Take out that hospital bag checklist again (I just downloaded my own again – haha) and pack a SMALLER bag this time, right? Maybe swap out that pretty weekender bag (that digs into your shoulders when you carry it) for a small under-the-seat airplane luggage bag with wheels! This time, you know the kitchen sink doesn’t need to be included.
3. Stock up on essentials & meal prep!
Sitting on the toilet right after coming home with a newborn, bleary-eyed and in postpartum pain, the very LAST thing you want to realize: there is no toilet paper in the house. Stocking up on TP isn’t sexy…or fun and you may realllyyyy want to skip this part and just do the bare bones stuff BUT you know you need to (Alice)! (Telling myself this as baby is due this weekend!)
Do this the lazy way (or the I-have-a-toddler-already-and-I-don’t-have-time-for-sh*&% way), glace over this Preparing For Baby, Stockpile post, walk through your house quick, see what you don’t have and throw it on Amazon. That two-day delivery is super nice (if you have prime).
4. Buy baby number 2 things EARLIER
We waited till mid-third trimester to go through all our old stored away baby things. I thought, “Oh, that won’t take too long. I’ll do it during naptime.”
We were putting our little one to bed by the time I finished. Who knew it would take so long to go through all those boxes?! And write out what needed to be replaced. Plus, this time we are having a winter baby instead of a summer baby. So even though we’ll have two girls, we had ZERO newborn and 0-3 winter things.
I wanted to slap people who said, “Oh you’re having another girl! At least you don’t have to buy anything!”
Have someone watch little-human-you-produced-number-1 and block out some time to go through all those old things. Grab a mommy friend or make a date of it with your spouse. Get all nesty. Turn on your favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls, drink some mocktails and make it fun because if you don’t…well, it will probably suck.
Okay, so here is the bread and butter: what DO you need for baby number 2?
- Clothes. Things that need to be replaced or different seasonal gear. For example, like us, I needed to buy some fleece onesies for winter, new thicker socks, hats and a thicker winter baby blanket.
- Bibs. You probably have found the kind of bib you hate and the one you know works for you. Buy more of the ones you like. We threw away all those velcro bibs that tore up our laundry and stopped sticking, replacing them with Aden + Anais bibs because they are amazing quality, look pretty and SNAP…in three different places. I super-love the crap out of those bibs.
- Burp rags. These Gerber prefolds (do not use them as cloth diapers ever – just burp rags) are like THE staple in our house. I use them for everything and there’s always a few stashed in the diaper bag. Our dining room table has drawers and every single one of those drawers is stuffed with these things because…toddler.
- Postpartum Kit. Already mentioned above, so you get the picture. Those nine things listed: I ordered last week and they’re all ready in our bathroom for baby #2. If you’re too lazy to scroll up (because I am) here is that Postpartum Amazon List again. I made it so you can just add it to your cart or baby number 2 registry or whatever works for you.
- Baby monitor number 2. I had thought about getting just another camera and I Googled what other moms did but I didn’t like the idea of having to switch the screen. I wanted two screens and I don’t want to use my phone. The Infant Optics Video Baby Monitor on Amazon has the MOST reviews I’ve ever seen (over 25,000) and almost five solid stars. It’s great. I bought another one of those.
- Free breast pump. If your insurance does this (many do), call in and get that free breast pump because I bet your other one has seen better days. That is, if you decide to do breast milk. Either way. Oh, and while we’re on this subject, don’t forget to order (or add to your baby number 2 registry/list) a GIANT pack or 2 of breastmilk storage bags. Because if you pumped, you know how many of those you went through!
- Owlet smart sock. We didn’t do a heart-rate monitor of any sort the first time around and for the sake of my poor husband’s heart health, I ordered an Owlet Smart Sock. Our little fresh squishy would cough in the middle of the night and he’d jump out of bed to see if she was okay in total fight-or-flight-daddy-protector mode. She did get sick right away, had some spit-up issues and other things. I feel like it’s worth the money for our sanity (at least his for sure!).
- New pacifiers. Do you think you’ll be able to find all of them? I sure couldn’t! Our little one was obsessed with the NUK brand. I’ve heard other people try all different kinds of pacifiers but these worked really great for us. I ordered a few more of these.
- Waterproof changing pad liners. If you didn’t have these for baby number 1, well you are in for a treat. Munchkin Changing Pad Liners are the bomb dot com. I put one of these down with a burp cloth over it and just changed out those instead of our pretty changing pad. It worked like a dream. I bought 6 more this time around because well…after 2 years they’re gonners.
5. Clean up the old stuff AND make sure things work
While you’re going through all those boxes with your Netflix pal and mocktail, take out those other old baby things. Make sure you have all the cords, replace the batteries and remove the stains.
Here’s a basic list of things we found/updated that might be helpful:
- Baby car seat. Remove stains, find all the pieces and install. Make sure the model number is still up to code.
- Diaper bag. Clean out or buy a new one if your first is on the edge of no return.
- Old clothes, rags, bibs etc. stain removal. Go through all washable things and remove stains.
- Swing batteries and parts. Our Graco Glider (the Abbington one) was a LIFESAVOR. We lost the cord and the engine was a little iffy, so I called Graco and they replaced it all for free!
- Bottles. Sterilize those puppies again!
- Baby Shusher. If you don’t have a Baby Shusher in your life, buy one. They are a miracle and a half. Our newborn photographer used one to keep our first asleep throughout the entire morning session. I was so shocked, I had one ordered on my Amazon account before we even left the photoshoot.
- Highchair. Your old highchair is probably a new level of gross. Sorry, girlfriend. Cleaning it may be icky but it’s worth it!
You may not be that doe-eyed, innocent first time mom skipping over green hills of pre-baby bliss but now you are even better: you are an experienced, conquering warrior mamma who knows her *#@%$. This time you may not be mixing paint colors at 13 weeks but you know that being prepared is the best way to go.
Once you have that postpartum kit, stocked up on some of the essentials, prepared what you don’t have and prepared your first child, you are all set to dive into that newborn-sleep-deprived–chaos state once again. Most importantly, you know that mommy time, not sweating the small stuff and having confidence in your mommy-sense is SO critical to your sanity this time around.
Preparing for baby number two may be way different but you’ve got this, momma!