If your big kid wants to help out, a child-friendly step stool brings them up to counter level so they can join in food prep. Little Partners

When I was pregnant with my first child, I prepared very little for her arrival. Having attended a few baby showers, I knew that people would always gift you certain things, whether you registered for them or not. Think baby clothes, touch-and-feel books, and that one toy giraffe, for example.

With our first baby, we decided to just wait and see what we needed. There were a couple of frantic days running to the nearby Target in the very beginning, but by and large, this was fine.

Then we got pregnant with our second. At the risk of underselling the madness of the transition from one to two kids, my strategy did not work out quite as well the second time around. I stand by my decision to wait on certain baby gear, but it was a mistake to largely ignore the future needs of my first child and partner.

If you are bringing home a second baby soon (or did recently—congrats!) you will want to save as much time, money, and energy as you can while you navigate the newborn phase all over again but with added big kid shenanigans.

This tower is great for involving your big kid in food prep. Your child can climb into it themselves and will then be slightly contained while they "help" you in the kitchen. My daughter used to beeline for it at our friend's house, knowing that she would get to touch all sorts of elusive new tools that lived up on the counter. As a bonus, the additional height did wonders for her self-esteem, reigning from on high. You'll still have to do everything with one hand, but at least theirs can be busy stirring. A much safer alternative to a regular chair, the step stool is designed for kids ages 18 months to 6 years old.

In arguably the world's worst-timed but probably most common coincidence, my older child realized that she could get out of her bed at night about two weeks after we brought our new baby home. This kid-friendly clock saved the day by helping us train her to stay in bed until the clock struck green. It took more than a few tries for her to get the hang of it, but once I stopped seeing her snarky, smiling face in between night feedings, morale went way up.

A pretend bathtub with its own doll and some simple accessories helps your big kid practice safe baby bath-time procedure on a doll rather than your baby. Since the whole set can get wet, they can play and learn on the bathroom floor or even in the tub itself. Either way, they'll be alongside you, which means a temporary break from some of the big kid activities you probably want a little less of, like shenanigans and screen time.

My husband constantly reminds me that being tired is not a competition, but if it were, you would win. If you want to hide your "trophies," this is the cream to do it. You'll love how your under-eyes feel and look with a little vitamin C on them.

Using a dry shampoo will save you from the frustration of not being able to shower before you leave the house. This one was named the best overall in our guide to dry shampoos. Pro tip: If you encounter significant hair loss around four months postpartum, consider a volumizing option like R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo.

Due to the unending chaos, I was much less vigilant about people's hand hygiene when my second baby came home. Buying a three-pack of kid-friendly foaming hand sanitizer spared me from carrying that mental load. I kept one by the front door and let the other two float around the house depending on where visitors, and my toddler, were. Be warned: Your toddler may like the foam a little too much.

The only downside to these wipes is that I can't have a pack of them permanently attached to my arm. I was wary of buying a nine-pack at first, but they have certainly not gone to waste. These unscented, non-drippy wipes are safe for faces and tushies alike. I use them on my counters, table, and high chair, too.

I was nervous to upgrade from our small slow cooker to what I now affectionately call "the food spaceship," but my mind was put to ease with one delicious 60-minute brisket. There can still be a decent amount of prep work to do with an Instant Pot, but that's usually balanced out by the advantages of being able to cook quickly from frozen, clear out your leftovers, and maybe even encourage a cooking-averse partner to help with low-key recipes.

The old adage may be to sleep when the baby sleeps, but I would also strongly suggest you apply it to food: Grocery shop while the baby eats! You've probably got one hand free and one eye open, so use them to scroll and fill your cart. Then, let Amazon take care of the rest. See our review of AmazonFresh for all the details.

My husband loves this carafe. It's dishwasher safe, and it means making coffee way less often. Sure, it's a little risky. You have to remember to let it brew overnight. But it certainly beats the alternative of adding ice to that cup you lost track of that was actually just was sitting on the counter all morning.

Guess what: You don't have to leave your house to use a travel mug. With the West Loop, your coffee will stay cold all day, and if hot coffee is more your style, you won't have to stick it in the microwave every two hours. This travel mug, available in multiple sizes and colors, is also leak and spill-proof.

Sara Gillingham, the illustrator of this book and several others like it, has a style that incorporates simple lines and shapes with dynamic patterns and diverse characters. Recommended to me by a mom on the playground when I was seven months pregnant, the book arrived just in time for my 3-year-old to have a visual aid to help her understand the very complicated concept of what it would mean to bring a new baby home. Perfect for little kids, "Snuggle the Baby" has an interactive component that lets your child practice caring for a 2D cutout of a baby by feeding, changing, and, of course, snuggling the baby.

Many stroller companies make attachable boards for their product line. A universal one is more appealing because you will inevitably change strollers as you adjust to the two-kid dynamic. It's a lifesaver when the big kid isn't in the mood to walk, and Lascal also offers a version with a small seat for when they're not even in the mood to stand. It will take time and effort to hook everything up, so learn from my mistake and don't try to throw it all together at the beginning of what could have otherwise been a really lovely family walk.

Here's the truth: You're doing great. You are! You're also very tired and now outnumbered some or all of the time. I appreciated this book because I could read it when I was feeling overwhelmed, and my takeaways usually ran the spectrum from "Yes, that is very good advice I did not consider yet" to "Oh, I actually knew that already, thank you for the reminder." Both are empowering in their own way, and everything in the middle felt encouraging instead of condescending, which can be a big risk with parenting books.

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