For the past 5.5 weeks since baby Sadie came into the world, I feel like I’ve been living in a new mama vortex. With nursing every 2-3 hours throughout the day and night and chasing after one of the most energetic toddlers in town, every day seems to morph into the next.  Even the second time around, the fourth trimester is such an exhausting blur! Today, I’m excited to share what I’ve learned so far as a mama to two, as well as some of our favorite photos we snapped of our family when we first came home from the hospital.  These photos make me melt and I can’t believe how much bigger Sadie has grown since we took them!

1) Sister Sister

Watching the relationship between Naiya and Sadie grow throughout the past few weeks has been and will continue to be one of the greatest joys of my life. Even though it hasn’t been the easiest transition for Naiya from only child to big sister (more here and here), Naiya has officially fallen head over heels in love with Sadie and I’m living for it! I can’t wait until the two can actually play together and I’m pretty sure Naiya is already counting down the minutes until she can boss her around!

Naiya still has good and bad days when it comes to her new big sister role and whenever she’s not doing well, I do my very best to drop everything to give her extra attention. This is the only way to make her feel special and heard but of course it’s not always easy with a new baby in tow.

I’ve been taking Naiya on special one-on-one dates to ice cream or the farmer’s market since these make her so happy. The health nut in me cringes every time we go on an “ice cream date” but the mama in me loves seeing Naiya’s face light up. She gets so excited and is usually a lot better behaved by the time we get home to baby Sadie so these dates often do the trick.

We have a long way to go to make sure that Naiya is always nice and gentle with Sadie and doesn’t squeeze her too hard but she’s already grown leaps and bounds over the past month.  I can’t wait to see where we’re at a month or even a year from now.

2) No Sleep: Less Of A Problem

This time around, my body seems to remember how to function on no sleep like a boss. With only 1-2 hour sleep stretches at night and then hours where I’m awake with Sadie, I’m constantly surprising myself that I’m able to semi-function! I’m not getting any more sleep than I did when we first brought Naiya home but somehow, I’m able to juggle two crazy kids in the time that I could barely handle one last time around.

I often think about how much easier it was to bring home a baby without having to watch a toddler. Naiya is such a handful right now and she makes taking care of a newborn seem like a piece of cake. Parents with numerous kids: you’re my heroes. For now, juggling just two on my end is crazy town and I’m honestly not sure how you make it to bedtime!

3) Carving out Time For Your Partner

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in bringing Sadie home is how important it is to be a real team player with my hubby.

In the sleep-deprived first weeks of your new baby’s life, it’s so easy to focus solely on your babies, healing, and the fact that you’re completely and utterly exhausted.

But this time around, I’ve made it an extra special point to make also check in on Phil–especially since he wrote this heartfelt post after the birth of Naiya here. It’s important to still have date nights even if those “dates” are really just Netflix and chill on the couch nights at home. It’s about connecting and reconnecting  constantly and seeing how each of us are doing along the way.

Carving out enough time for one another throughout the fourth trimester is one of the hardest things but it’s also one of the most important. I think it strengthens your bond and will help you to balance everything in a much healthier way down the road.

4) Trust Your Gut: Moms (Usually Do) Know Best

For those of you who have been following along with my instagram, we had a scary first few weeks of Sadie’s life after we brought her home. Three weeks in, she came down with a high fever, horrible cough, congestion and projectile vomiting.

Even prior to her getting a fever, I could sense that she was not okay.  I really do believe that it was my mother’s intuition that told me to bring her to the ER late one night rather than waiting to see our pediatrician in the AM. So grateful I listened to my instincts because we soon learned that Sadie had a virus called RSV and she needed an IV immediately. RSV presents itself as a bad cold in adults and older children (Naiya definitely brought it home from preschool and gave it to all of us!) but in infants, it’s extremely dangerous.

Sadie ended up getting admitted to the hospital and remained there for four days on an IV. It was so scary and also so hard to leave Naiya for that many days that Phil and I could divide and conquer  but we made it through.

Sadie is actually still on the mend even over two weeks later. The experience reminded me just how grateful we should all be when we are all healthy–and especially our kids. So many of us take this for granted until something bad happens. Life is just too short to let this happen.

5) The Second Time’s A Charm

Overall, the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far in bringing Sadie home is that nothing is as scary as becoming a parent for the first time. Everything this time around is simply easier because we’ve experienced it before.

From birth in general to nursing and diaper changes to pediatrician appointments, it’s amazing how much you grow and learn when you’re busy faking it ’til you make it with your first baby. 

What Have You Learned As A Parent Of More Than One Kid?

Did you find the transition easy or hard? Dud you have a similar experience to me or was it completely different? Tell me all the things in the comments section below! As always, thanks so much for stopping by!

XO, Arielle

Photography: Forrest Leo