The Logistics of Two: How to Have a Toddler and an Infant
So we’re down to six weeks out, give or take a bit. It’s not a due date, right? It’s a “guess” date. They always say that in Blooma yoga classes (haven’t been? Hello?! prenatal support group, work out, and affirmation session!). And I like that. So instead of saying “I’m due April 16.” I say “I’m due sometime in April. My birthday is the 10th, AA’s is the 3rd, my brother’s is the 21st, so she could come and squash any of our birthdays 🙂
But truly, my beloved readers, how do the logistics of two children work? J is good about (and happy to) play by himself often. He thrives in our Montessori-esque set ups, with access to all sorts of exploratory toys, all his senses involved, etc. But what about when all 30 pounds of him needs to be hauled to time-out? What about when he screams “NO!” when I gently but firmly tell him it’s time to change his poopy diaper. (My sister should be laughing here because I’m certain our perfect goddaughter will be potty-trained by 20 months. See her post on Elimination Communication here :). What about when he needs help eating his soup?
Thankfully babies are small, and wearable, and sleepy, and snuggly. Thankfully J is sweet, for the most part, and self-sufficient, as much as he can be at his age (his daddy has this whole teeth-brushing routine down with him that I’ll share later. So cute!). But two children? Any aged children? Both needing me?!
A lot of my friends have their first in daycare so maternity leave with their second is filled with the chaos of only one baby. I will be home with both. I’m a little nervous. Okay, very.
I need practical advice on balancing sleep deprivation, meals for a toddler, diapers for both, nursing time, and an estimation on when I will ever leave the house again after she comes. Share away, people!
At least when they’re little, there’s a lot of naps to go around…between them both…tho probably not at the same time…
You’re inspiring with your crew. I’m just hoping for lots of sleep . . . for all of us!!
I think you will have many sweet moments looking at your two beauties thinking how much God has blessed you and how you will won’t be getting a pedicure until 2015.
HAHAHA!! True. It’s already been a few years since the last one. Sigh. My poor husband.
In my mind, one of the best ways to prepare is to acknowledge and then set aside your expectations. Expect to get alone time those first few weeks? Set that aside. Expect both babies to nap? Set it aside. Expect to recover quickly? Set it aside.
Throwing out your expectations of how things should be opens you up to be able to appreciate the way things ARE – without the disappointment of unfulfilled expectations.
Having 2 babies is wonderful, hard, precious and exhausting. Enjoy it! 🙂
You are so inspirational to me with your sweet bundle of kiddos and wonderful blog. Thank you so much for these comforting thoughts!
I’m working on just embracing what comes!
My daughters are 14 months apart. My Moby was my savior for the first 6 months of my second daughter and now I would be a broken mess without my Ergo. Times are busy, but there is a lot of fun!!! And not much sleep… 🙂
Yes! Love the Moby–though I use a different version of it: Rockin’ Wraps–and Ergo. And I thought I used them lots with baby number 1, but it sounds like they will be my saving grace too with baby number 2!
I wish I didn’t have pregnancy insomnia because I’d love to be banking the sleep hours now!
Embrace a little TV. When I’m having a marathon nursing session with the baby, sesame street keeps the toddler happy and still (and not trying to climb into the fridge or eating crayons…) and it’s just a great show. She’s also very helpful and when I engage her with helping with the baby, she doesn’t feel left out. Fetch diapers or wipes, get mama a bottle of water, pick out the baby’s clothes, etc. mine are 2.5 years and 11 mos now and they’re best friends now, it’s the best thing ever!
Eat crayons. Love it. We had that experience for the first time the other day. Great idea to engage the toddler with helpful chores. I asked our son to get me a diaper yesterday sorta in anticipation of this idea, and the entire drawer of the dresser came out. Good reminder that my house is not really toddler proofed (like, in an I-can’t-watch-you-constantly-because-now-there’s-someone-else way). Awesome ideas and love hearing that they’re best friends. I can’t wait for that part!
Don’t try to stay awake for the 11 pm feeding – go to bed right after the 8 pm feeding. An extra hour or two goes a long way.
If you can, try to get help starting at 4 pm. That’s when you need to get dinner ready, feed the baby, bathe and get bedtime rituals down and it gets crazy.
Pick two rooms to be fully cleaned at night – for me it was my kitchen and living room. That way, you’ll have two areas that are chaos free first thing in the morning.
For me, Moby wraps work best for newborns and we graduate up to the Ergo carrier after about 5 months. I just wear the Moby wrap all day whether the baby is in it or not.
April is a perfect time to have a baby! Go for as many walks as you can, open windows and shades, the fresh air will do you good!
Know there are going to be days where no one gets out of their pajama’s and everyone eats cereal for every meal.
Every once in awhile, I’d throw on Curious George for the older kids and lie on the couch and doze – almost a daydream it was such a light sleep. If you can dream- just for a second, you’ll feel like a whole new person.
Co sleep if you can and it works for you. For me, I sleep better if my babies are in their own room and I actually have to get up to nurse.
Be ready for some scary regression and odd behavior from your son. I called my pediatrician sobbing because my three year old was now biting, acting up, wetting his pants again, and being really mean to our cats. They assured me it was normal and to handle every thing with total moderation and consistency. It wasn’t easy, but we changed our behavior and his behavior followed in about two weeks.
Be very clear to whomever watches your son while you’re in the hospital that they HAVE to keep his schedule and be consistent with your rules. Kids thrive on schedules and consistency. His (and your) transition into becoming a family of 4 will go much more smoothly if he knows what to expect from his caregivers and if his naps and bedtime stay the same. If this doesn’t happen, you’ll be deprogramming an overtired toddler while trying to handle a new baby – not easy.
Good luck! We have 3 with one on the way (and if you hear people say that once you have two, three is easy, they lie – they just want everyone to experience the craziness for themselves)!
Wonderful and specific advice!! Thank you so so so much. It helps to know when I’ll need the most help (check: 4pmish), and to just keep two rooms clean at a time (check:kitchen and J’s room), and that my wraps of choice worked for you too. We coslept with J and anticipate the same with our little girl.
Really good to know about the regression! I’m nervous about that. And we’re fortunate that my mom will be at our house with J and he spends tons of time around her, so she and he know each other well, and the routine is still here.
Way to go with number 4! Thoughts & prayers for your safe & happy delivery! If you’d like to share your birth stories of the others with us, just email me and you could contribute to our Birth & Parenting Series!
I totally agree you should set expectations aside. When the second comes you’ll feel more confident in your parenting and things will fall into place. When I am nursing Juliette (7weeks now) Hannah (27m) brings me her books and we read, read, read, read, read…seriously it is her FAVORITE thing to do right now. Hannah is fascinated with her little sister who is very mild mannered. She talks to her, sings to her, dances for her and attempts to give her high fives. =) She also reads to her on a daily basis (so cute to watch and very photographed).
You will be fabulous with 2 children as you are with 1 child. Watching them interact will make you forget how sleep deprived you are and make you soooo grateful to have 2 precious blessings in your life. Those first few weeks, when Eric came home I would hand him the baby and run to my room, for some shut eye. Take advantage of all the help you can get. =)
I love that Hannah is so involved with Juliette and wants to share with her!! That is encouraging to hear that she loves to read and that has remained a constant even with the excitement of her little sister. J also loves reading so I’m counting on that being our saving grace.
Will maximize the help and sleep availability!!
Good timing on this post! I’m having #2 in May. I’ve been super overwhelmed lately with just one, plus the exhaustion and emotion of pregnancy, plus having a husband in school full time and both of us working part-time jobs. I’m learning to simplify and let things go, but it doesn’t come easily! I’ll be checking back on these comments for more advice on being a mother of two!
Hang in there, Joanna! Your pregnancy posts on your blog have been inspirational to me (um, let’s just say my son gets all the good food and I am mawing down cereal and granola bars, hoping they stay down). The best part is that truly, life will be easier to have two than to be terribly verribly pregnant with one and chasing the other. Even if you “do” less, you’re no failure! Just being pregnant is a job, on top of all your other commitments. You can do it!!
In the early weeks, my only goal was to figure out one new “trick” each day to make my life a little easier. Examples: learning how to nurse while walking around the kitchen and feeding the toddler lunch, learning to make lunch while I made breakfast, learning to cut up fruit/veggies/cheese/etc for snack and storing them in containers in the fridge that my son could help me reach. Low expectations certainly helps, as does catching every opportunity for napping that arises. But I needed to feel like I was making a little, teeny bit of progress every day, so trying to identify one trick I learned every day helped my mental state so much! Best of luck to you – two littles are wild and exhausting but also joyful and fun.
So helpful to hear! Teaching self-reliance for our son sounds like a good idea (to the extent feasible, obviously). Thanks for the support!!