A second baby is a challenge and a blessing. Whenever possible during your pregnancy, sleep while your toddler naps. Once your new baby is born, you may not be so lucky. It would be lovely if your children got on a similar schedule, but don't count on it. Newborns need to be cared for on cue, and that often does not coincide with any regular pattern for the first few months. You might find as time goes by your baby may be willing to nurse and rest while your toddler naps, allowing you a bit of time to relax.
Many families choose to have a postpartum doula assist them in the first few weeks to help ease the transition of adding a new baby to the family. A doula can help establish good sleeping patterns. She can also help with newborn questions, provide breastfeeding or infant feeding information, help with bath time, do light household organization, and ease the transition of integrating the new baby into the family with older children.
Another good resource into understanding your newborn's zones (including her sleep zones) is hugyourbaby.com. It provides information to help you understand how to help your baby sleep effectively so that you can get more rest as well.
Debbie Young, CD (DONA), PCD (DONA), LCCE is the president of DONA International and a childbirth educator at Genesis Medical Center in Davenport, IA. Young is also the owner of BabyMatters, a women's resource center for pregnant, birthing and postpartum families and has been a doula for over 20 years and a childbirth educator for over 21 years.