#46 Getting Ready for Your Second Baby

One danger to your new baby is your first child’s perception of being replaced. It really doesn’t matter whether it’s the second, third, fourth, or fifth, the youngest child is being replaced.

One of my highest priorities as a physician was to build families. What I wanted for my own three children was love and respect between them. I never missed an opportunity to let the child being displaced assist with the care of the one doing the displacing. I didn’t use the older child to fetch things, but to actually assist with feeding, changing, and dressing.

For my patient’s prenatal visits, I always invited dads and children. This gave me an opportunity to watch and monitor the family dynamics. The existing children can then listen and feel a part of the process. It also gave me a chance to observe whether the mother or the father was the better caretaker. At times, if a woman was really having trouble bonding with her children, I encouraged the mother to work outside the home and have the father take care of the children. This was in a time long before being a house husband was fashionable.

The hallmark of a good pregnancy, labor, and delivery is the ability to adjust. In other words, to recognize and embrace the fact that kids change things and that life will never be the same. If neither parent can come to grips with this notion on some level, I would suggest they employ a good nanny. Men and women have many reasons for deciding not to have children, but one consideration in making that decision should definitely be how flexible they may be to letting go of the need to control everything.