So, I’m going to be real with you, I have baby on the brain. During the long, late nights with a crying newborn, there aren’t many moms and dads who think, “I can’t wait for another baby!” I know I didn’t! In fact, adding to your brood in those moments seems impossible or even crazy.
Over the months, however, sleep improves, diaper changes become less frequent, and your tiny baby is actually a real little person. With opinions. Lots of them. All of a sudden, you may feel a tug at your heart and mind that says, “I miss when my child couldn’t talk back to me. I might be ready to add to our family.”
There is much to consider when talking to you partner about adding to your family, like finances, division of responsibilities, work situations and more. However, if you wait for the perfect time to have another baby, you’ll be waiting forever. Sometimes you’ve just got to be open to the possibilities.
Most Americans think two kids is the perfect family size. You may or may not agree. So here is how to tell if you’re ready for baby No. 2.
You Swoon at the Sight of Newborns
For a while after baby No. 1, you were happy for your friends with newborns, but you mostly commiserated about blowout diapers and awful sleep schedules. It certainly didn’t help that you’d spend your late nights nursing surfing Pinterest on your phone – which only perpetuated the non-sleep cycle thanks to that pesky blue light our mobile devices emit. Most moms don’t miss those bleary eyed newborn days until they are well in the rearview mirror.
Now, does a friend’s newborn send you into oohs and aahs of delight? Do you spend a lot of time cuddling, offer to change diapers and shoo your friend off to take a nap while you sneak in extra snuggles? If so, you might be ready for baby No. 2.
You Can Think Long Term
The short game with two kids is brutal. Think less sleep, more time in the bathroom between potty-training and diaper changes, and pure exhaustion. There’s no smooth sailing in the immediate future.
If you are able to think about the long term, giving your child a sibling is an amazing gift. Think about the older sibling teaching the younger one to color or play checkers. Think about Thanksgiving with an extra seat at the table. Will you ever be sad there is one more person to bake Christmas cookies with? So if you these long-term benefits outweigh the short term, you’re probably ready for baby No. 2.
Your Own Mental and Physical Health Is Solid
Moms are notoriously bad at taking care of their own health. Lots of moms experience physical health issues during pregnancy and birth.
We know that postpartum depression (PPD) is underreported because moms feel shame or fear in admitting they suffer, but reported averages are as high as 20 percent. That’s one out of every five women, probably more, who experience debilitating anxiety, guilt and a feeling of being overwhelmed. There is help for women who suffer from PPD, so be sure to talk with your OB-GYN about resources available. If your OB-GYN doesn’t take your symptoms seriously, say “Bye, Felicia” and get another doctor!
As you think about baby No. 2, take stock of your own health and wellness, since that’s truly the best thing you can do for baby.
You Know Where You Stand at Work
More than 70 percent of women with kids under age 18 work outside of the home, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. It’s just a reality that maternity leave, paid time off and health benefits factor into the decision to have children in America.
So revisit the current leave policies, as they may have changed since your first baby. Look at your health benefits, your partner’s leave policies and the pricing for day care. These factors are as emotional as going through the newborn baby clothes you saved, but they are more important, since surprises will lead to serious stress.
You Can Answer This One Question
Lots of people say they have friends and family who regret not having more kids, while you don’t hear people say “I really wish I hadn’t had that last one!”
In the end, all that matters is if you and your hubby can answer this question, “Do you want another baby,” with a yes. Sure, the yes may be whispered. Your yes may be uttered with hesitation or with anxiety, but in the end, only you and your partner know the answer to this question.
Having baby No. 2 is daunting, exciting and thrilling. Your subconscious may be sending you signs you are ready based on how you react to other newborns and how you think long term about future siblings.
Are there other signs that showed you that you were, or were not, ready for baby No. 2? If so, leave them in the comments!