Preparing for a second baby
Having one child is a momentous time in any parent’s life, but preparing for a second baby also comes with its own unique challenges. And while there is much to celebrate when introducing your firstborn to a sibling, having a second baby creates a new dynamic (and new things to consider) in any family. So, if you’re planning to grow your family, our guide on how to prepare for a second baby will hopefully give you some invaluable insights.
How to budget for a second baby
Bringing up your first child will have given you an insight into the cost of raising a family, but even so, the cost of having a second baby can still catch parents by surprise. We thought we’d start by sharing some budgeting tips for planning baby number two, of course this isn't a complete list, but a good starter:
- How to budget. Start by working out your household income and your essential outgoings, and what you have left over is your 'disposable income'.
- Benefits if you have children. From Child Benefit to childcare support, make sure you know when you qualify for state assistance and how to claim. Find out more link. Speak to an expert if you need more information.
- Keep hold of baby items. While many parents accumulate more clutter than they know what to do with, you don’t want to be buying items all over again when a second child comes around. Keeping hold of those classic hand-me-downs – from storybooks and baby shoes to toys and clothes – means you won’t be forking out a second time for the same items.
- Rent (rather than buy) new items. Kids grow up faster than the speed of light, but one way to avoid the continual expense of new items is to investigate various subscription services. For example, you can now rent kids’ bicycles and clothes and upgrade them as your children experience their growth spurt, rather than buying each item brand new.
- Buy second hand. If you find there are items that you need to buy it's always worth browsing the second hand market where you'll pick up essential items at bargain prices.
It can be difficult for any child to adjust to their new status as a big brother or sister. While much depends on the age gap between your eldest child and the new arrival, there are ways you can build excitement (and reduce any apprehension) before that memorable first encounter.
- Give them plenty of one-to-one time. Understandably, when the little one arrives, it may be difficult to dedicate your full attention to your eldest child. But to prevent them feeling ‘left out’, it’s a good idea to make sure they get plenty of special time, perhaps with friends or family getting involved in playtime, or reading books or going on a day trip.
- Involve them in the process. A nice way of preparing your eldest for a second baby is to slowly introduce them to the changes afoot. For example, you could show them where the baby will sleep, and depending on their age, see if they’d like to choose a toy or special item to gift the new baby.
- Explain what’s happening. Breaking the news ‘gently’ that a new sibling is on the way could help make the adjustment easier. For a younger infant, this could be as simple as showing them mummy’s growing stomach, but for older children, talking through the implications of having a second baby in a language they understand – and perhaps showing them baby pictures from when they themselves were younger – can make them feel part of a growing family.
Adding a second child to Child Benefit
Child Benefit is a monthly payment that can support parents with some of the financial costs associated with raising children. If you already claim Child Benefit for your first child and you wish to add a second child to an existing claim, you can do this from the moment the birth has been registered or when they come to live with you. Find out more.
After having a second baby
While there are lots of plans you can make while preparing for a second baby, it’s worth remembering that you’ll continually make changes to your lifestyle after you’ve brought home the new arrival. No two human beings are the same, so whether it’s managing bedtimes or working out their likes and dislikes, it’s fair to say there’s no textbook answer in terms of how to prepare for a second baby.
And of course, the reality of a growing family is that your financial responsibilities will only increase. If you have Life Insurance with Legal & General, you may be able to increase your cover on certain specified events, including the birth of a child. This could help you financially protect them if you were to sadly pass away while covered by the policy, by taking in to account the rising costs associated with a growing family, like childcare fees or everyday expenses. Your policy document will explain whether this is an option for you.
*The above applies to increasing cover after the birth of a child. Other terms and conditions apply.
You could also consider putting your life insurance in trust and include information about your chosen beneficiaries, and indeed consider writing a will so that your loved ones are protected according to your wishes when you pass away.
For more information on protecting your loved ones financially, read our guide to life insurance for families.