Becoming a mother is hard. There’s no question about that. Raising one baby is a difficult job, but what happens when you add a second baby to the equation? Parents, especially moms, like to believe they can handle anything. From the outside looking in, the transition from one little bundle of joy to two doesn’t seem particularly significant. We convince ourselves that we simply have to keep doing what we’re already doing, but are surprised to learn just how significant of a reality shift it really is. The truth is, we underestimate what a monumental task it could be for moms, dads, and babies. Everyone has to shift. Anyone who has done it can tell you the ups and downs of adding another person to the family.

Here are some helpful tips to get you through the most difficult parts of the process:

1. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Perfection shouldn’t be what you’re striving for because let’s be honest, nothing is going to be more perfect than your children. Beyond them, pace yourself. Pride yourself on everything you have accomplished. Think about the things you can now do that you never did years ago. You know how to change a diaper, feed a baby, soothe a crying infant. Those are great accomplishments. Those gentle reminders will help you as you adjust to a new dynamic because now you’ll be doing some of those things times two. Don’t worry; you’ll get through it.

2. Ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with calling in reinforcements.
Be realistic about what you can and can’t do. You’ve just given birth. Take some time to heal. There’s no need to do it all by yourself when, in all likelihood, you have plenty of people in your circle who want to chip in.

3. Don’t forget those who were there before in the new baby.
First and foremost, take care of yourself. You’re allowed to take a break. In fact, you must rest! If you’re not functioning properly, no one else will either.

Make time for your partner. They need to know they still matter. A little reassurance can go a long way.

And for the love of all things baby, don’t forget your firstborn. A new baby is a huge change for them too.

4. Let everyone in on the excitement.
Let your older child in on the adventure. Have them help you decorate for the baby, talk about how great it will be for them to be the oldest, encourage them to voice their concerns. Anything you can do to make them feel like their opinions and feelings matter will ease tensions and create a healthy environment for everyone. Kiddos love nothing more than to be praised, heard, and loved. A few ‘I’m a big brother, ’ or ‘big sister’ t-shirts won’t hurt either. Let your imagination run wild with this. Your bigger child will thank you, and you’ll feel so much better about the transition once you know that your older child is secure, happy, and excited about the new baby.