Mummy Diaries: Introducing Baby Number 2 into the Family
Wedding Planner Natalie Hewitt recently welcomed beautiful baby Harry and shares her sweet family session with us today, captured by the fabulous Hannah Duffy Photography. She talks about Motherhood and introducing a second baby to the family with her adorable daughter Annabelle! You mustn’t miss her follow up feature where we see Harry’s lovely Nursery too! Now we’ll hand you over to Natalie;
“When my husband and I made the decision to start a family we thought we were ready to become parents. Actually, even if you are ready to have a baby, nothing really can prepare you for the upheaval a little human brings. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Annabelle and I loved being a mum from the outset but her arrival was a huge shock to the system and it took quite a while to adjust to my new life. With a new baby comes sleepless nights, a drastically reduced bank balance and a considerable change in your social life.
So, I spent two years with this little lady and we really became like two peas in a pod. Up until now, she’d been an only child. She was used to having me all to herself. We’d built a great relationship and on the whole, she was a delightful little girl.
When we decided to try for baby number two (because we were ready for it, right?) we didn’t think much could go wrong!We’d already done the baby thing and our lives had already changed so we felt like this wouldn’t be much more work by adding another one into the mix. Wrong!!! Oh yes, we knew what we were doing with a baby but oh my goodness, we’d completely overlooked the fact that we were still raising a toddler and that was uncharted territory!
I thought I was sort of winning at motherhood but as soon as baby number two came along, our toddler became incredibly hard work. She was as good as gold when she was getting undivided attention but having a brother to contend with really interfered with her normal routine and mummy time. I was exhausted talking to the toddler in a constant effort to stop her smothering the baby. But we thought we had done as much as we could to prepare her for the new arrival.
As soon as we announced we were expecting again, we started talking to our daughter about the baby in mummy’s tummy. We wanted to give her plenty of time to adjust to the idea that a new addition to the family was coming. We constantly told her that her baby brother loved her and was so excited to meet her. We really started emphasising the “big girl” tactic and asked her if she was going to help mummy and daddy look after the baby by singing him lullabies and cuddling him. She really liked the thought of being responsible.
She had just turned two and was at an ideal age to move into a bed so five months before our second baby was due, we changed her cot into a cot bed and waited a few months to get her used to it. When we were happy she wasn’t going to fall out of a big bed, we asked Annabelle if she was going to be the best big sister ever and let her baby brother have her old boring baby bed and she could have a brand new big girl bed, which she lapped up – these kids believe (almost) anything you tell them! We set it up one day when she was at nursery and tied a few balloons to it so when she came home I told her I had a surprise for her. She loved it and that was one thing on the list we had managed to successfully tick off.
She was also conveniently at the age where she wanted to walk everywhere and stopped using the pram, so we could use that for the new baby. Again, telling Annabelle she didn’t need it anymore as she was a big girl. That didn’t stop her climbing into it a few times and pretending she “needed it”. We’d bought her a few bed-time books about becoming a big sister, which she loved. She always wanted to read it and would tell us that she was going to help change the babies nappy and sing to him.
In my hospital bag, we took a present for Annabelle from her new baby brother. I think that’s something many people do; tricking toddlers about the upheaval that is about to descend on them by giving them things they want! My friend also bought her a “Big Sister” badge and quite a few people bought her a card to congratulate her on her new role, which she loved.
At first Annabelle was so sweet with him – a little too heavy handed but full of cuddles and kisses. At about week three though, she’d had enough. She would become a bit of a terror if I was with Harry and she wasn’t getting attention. She was absolutely acting out and I don’t blame her as she was now having to share her mummy and daddy. We went through this for quite a few weeks but it did ease off. Once I had Harry settled, I was able to get him to sleep in his Moses basket and I could sit with Annabelle to read a book or mess around with playdough. This sudden devilish behaviour is quite a common condition from which older siblings suffer. She still has her moments but now Harry is 14 weeks she’s accepted him as part of the family. Thank goodness, because imagine if she didn’t want him to stay – we’d have to send him back (according to Annabelle).
She’s realised that Harry is here to stay and now it’s as if we’ve always had him. She still has her naughty days but she’s more often than not asking is she can hold him, or she’ll pop his dummy in if he’s crying. She say’s “it’s OK Harry, I’m here now!” which just melts my heart. I still have to tell her to be careful around him but I’ve tried not to fuss too much over Harry so Annabelle doesn’t become resentful of him and I don’t stop her from going to him – I just have to keep a close eye on her.
Baby number one will always be the hardest child as they are the first to go through everything and you learn to parent as you go along. Baby number two always seems easier by comparison. It’s the toddler that becomes hard work but I feel so content being a mummy of two. I can’t imagine my life without them and can’t remember what it was like before them. Yes, I have hard days but more often than not I have wonderful days – knowing that they will have each other as they grow up and will always have a best friend looking out for them fills me with joy!
We had the incredibly talented Hannah Duffy come to our house when Harry was just a week old. She is trained in photographing new born babies and as we’d missed out on having a new born shoot with Annabelle, I had wanted to capture this special age with Harry. I won’t lie, I got covered in wee during the photoshoot but a boy is new territory for me! I am so pleased we included some family shots too and my favourite photographs from the album are those of Annabelle holding Harry. It won’t be long before Harry is bigger and he is holding his older sister but what magical and precious moments to capture which are now filling my walls at home!”