Photo: Pixaby

You’d think finding out you’re pregnant for a second time would be less of a shock than it was the first time. However, seeing the double lines on the test—then having the doctor confirm it to me later—made me feel just as weak in the knees as it did the first time around.

After that, though, I thought it’d be smooth sailing. I’d already readied myself for one baby. How could it be any different for the second little bundle of joy? But I quickly realized any baby requires preparation, so I got started on all of the things I had to do. If you’ve got a second baby on the way or you’re wondering what it’s like to have more than one munchkin in your brood, here’s what I did to prepare and how you can, too.

#1. Tell Your First Baby Things Are Going to Change

My daughter was so blissfully unaware of the fact that Mommy might have another baby. It almost hurt me to tell her what was about to happen. But holding honest conversations with my first-born was one of the most important things I did before bringing home baby number two. She needed to know life really would change once she had a new brother or sister.

I started reading my daughter books about life with a younger sibling. So many great books hammer this point home. I also tried to make her feel a bit more independent—for instance, she started to clean up her own toys after playtime. That way, she could handle extra-small chores once the baby came into the family. I also made potty-training a priority—because, two babies in diapers at once? I wasn’t strong enough for that.

Of course, I didn’t focus too much on the fact that our lives were about to change forever. I wanted to enjoy my last few months with just my first baby. But preparing for the coming change was a favor to us both. And, as luck would have it, she became instantly obsessed with her little sister as soon as she saw her.

#2. Protect Your Family’s Future

While that might sound dramatic, investing in life insurance truly is a protection for my family’s future. Unfortunately, I don’t know what life will hand me or my husband. With another baby on the way, I made sure we had enough life insurance to cover us in case of the worst.

Figuring out how much insurance you need can be simple—I used an online calculator. It led me through questions about our family size, debts, income and other specifics. Then, it paired us with a policy that would keep us comfortable financially if we were to experience a devastating loss.

I hate thinking about these kinds of things. Everyone does. But, with two little ones under my roof, I had to face my fears head-on and upgrade our life insurance package.

#3. Check Your Baby Supply List

Just because you’ve had one baby doesn’t mean you have everything you need for your second. When someone reminded me of that, I thought they were crazy at first. Then, I started going through my supplies. I had lost so many pacifiers and tossed so many stained onesies. I needed to bulk up my supplies before bringing home another little one.

Maybe your friends and family want to sprinkle your second baby—you know, the mini version of a baby shower with light gifts. If not, not to worry. Your second baby’s supply list will be much shorter than your first. Just go through a thorough newborn checklist and mark off everything you already own. Pick up what you don’t have, as well as any other newfangled baby gear that could help make this process simpler. Then, you’re ready to go.

#4. Date Your Partner

Life changed dramatically with baby #1, and it was about to happen again. So, I made quality time a priority pre-baby #2.

As I spent time preparing my daughter for her new sibling, I also made a point to date my husband as much as possible throughout my pregnancy. Even with my bulging belly, we went out or made a point to cuddle up post-bedtime and watch Netflix. No matter what, we snuck in as much quality time together as we could. Our relationship is what started it all, so why not take time to cherish it?

As things have become more chaotic with baby number two, I look back on those date nights and smile, waiting for the next time we can date each other again. And as any mom can tell you, no amount of preparation will ever truly prepare you for a new baby. This rings true for baby #2. Everything changed, and it changed for the better. I think I felt so much better about it all because I took the time to prepare for her arrival.