Many times, women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy already have children of their own. In knowing the time, effort and money raising a child requires, they may not have planned to add another member to their family as this point in their lives. If you find yourself expecting an unexpected second or third child, you may wonder how preparing for baby number 2 or 3 will be different from preparing for a baby the first time around.

In many ways, getting ready for baby 2 or getting ready for baby 3 will be very similar to preparing for your first baby. Many of the same steps apply, but they will include additional considerations because of your current family situation. For example, if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may find yourself preparing for baby number 2 with a toddler already demanding much of your time and energy.

It may be a good idea to speak to other parents of multiple children to learn more about getting ready for a second baby or a third baby. With proper preparation, you can still be a successful parent to multiple children, even if this was not your original plan at this time in your life.

Below, find some important steps to follow as you’re preparing for your second child:

1. Make a list of essentials you already have.

One of the best parts of preparing for baby 2 or 3 is that you have been through this journey before. You may even still have many of the essentials you need for a newborn, especially if your pregnancy is unplanned soon after the birth of your first child. On the other hand, if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy with no prior intention of having a second child, you may no longer have the items you need to care for a newborn.

Regardless, look into your storage to see what items you already have, in order to aid in your planning for your second child to come. Inventory what you have and identify what you may need to successfully raise another infant.

2. Think about your budget and recognize the realities of your financial situation.

Adding another member to your family will also add financial responsibilities. Remember how expensive it was to raise your first child in their first year of life? You’ll need to pay those expenses again, as well as continue to provide for your older children and their needs as they grow up.

Revisit your parenting budget and allocate for those new expenses you can expect from a newborn. Talk with your partner (if you have one) to determine how those extra costs will be paid for, considering any maternal leave that must be taken and additional childcare that must be hired. Planning for a second baby should always include this important financial conversation.

If, while planning for baby 2, you realize you cannot afford the costs of another child, remember that you always have options. You may consider making the brave choice to place your child for adoption, a process through which you will financial assistance for your pregnancy and medical expenses.

3. Make a list of things you will need to purchase.

One of the things to do before you have your second baby is gathering all of the supplies you need to raise a newborn and any older children you may have. While preparing for baby 2 or 3, you should have already identified the supplies you have from your previous pregnancies. From this list, you can decide what you still need to purchase to prepare for your new arrival.

This is a crucial part of how to get ready for a second baby. When you have all your supplies ready, your process will be a lot easier. However, if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may not have as much time to gather these supplies. In that case, consider leaning on friends and family to see what items they can provide you when your time and budget is low.

4. Consider what your first child will require as you care for the new baby.

Learning how to manage two or more children can be complicated. Newborn babies require a lot of time and attention — but so will your older children as they adjust to their new sibling and the new dynamics in their family. As you are getting ready for a second baby, don’t forget about your first.

During your pregnancy, your older children will likely need babysitting and care as you attend your appointments. When it comes time for you to give birth, your children will also need someone caring for them while you are at the hospital. Don’t focus solely on the practical, either; remember that it will be a big emotional adjustment for your older children to have a baby around the house. Think about how you will continue to give them the emotional support and attention they need without sacrificing your newborn’s needs.

Again, it’s a good idea to speak to other parents who have been in this position to know what to expect with a second baby and older children.

5. Be prepared for the unexpected.

Finally, while you are getting ready for baby 2 or 3, remember that there is only so much planning that can be done. As many tips for baby number 2 that you receive and as much scheduling and organization you do prior to the baby’s birth, having more than one child is a journey in which parents learn new things every step of the way. Knowing what to expect with your second child is only part of successfully raising another child; being flexible once your new addition is here is equally as important.

Remember, if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and already have children, you are the only one who can decide what is right for you. As you are preparing for baby number 2 or 3, it’s important that you seriously consider all of your unplanned pregnancy options to choose the path that is best for you and your family. In fact, this decision should be the first step in getting ready for a second baby — to make sure this choice is the best one for all involved.

You always have options other than parenting, should you need them. To learn more about placing a second child for adoption, click here. To learn more about abortion, click here.