M.W. asks from Elkridge, MD on February 08, 2011
Juggling a Toddler and a Newborn
So, if I got pregnant right now, my children would be 2 years apart. What are the biggest challenges with this age differences? And have you dealt with them? Keeping toddler quiet while baby sleeps, keeping toddler from getting jealous or throwing tantrum if you can't play or hold her, but instead have to tend to the baby? What if toddler is hungry, tired or cranky but i am breastfeeding the baby? Does a two year old understand??? How do you go out with a two year old and a baby?
Also, will the baby wake up the 2 year old with its crying every 3 hours when it gets hungry??
M.P. answers from Washington DC on February 09, 2011
My son is 2 years and 10 months older than my daughter. The biggest challenge was simply him feeling that his time was being cut into and him looking for trouble at least once a day when I was breastfeeding her. One of his favorite things was to unroll a roll of toilet paper into the toilet then flush it. He knew if I realized he was in the bathroom, I would run to make him stop before he overflowed the toilet. Okay -- ways to balance that -- I read to him while I was feeding her and her naps were his time. Also, she never really got on a schedule like I had with him because we were always going here and there with him. The benefits though are that now (they are 9 and 6) -- they are very close siblings, which often doesn't happen when there is a big age difference.
M.S. answers from San Francisco on February 09, 2011
Wow, I wasn't going to respond but then I read Karin H. comments.... somebody must be having a bad day.
My kids are only 16 months apart, so it isn't quite the same, but I absolutely loved it! We had issues from time to time, but I had at least 7 straight months of people telling me it was going to be awful and miserable and I wouldn't be able to handle it. Then my precious little girl was born and I couldn't believe how wrong they were. My son either loved or completely ignored his little sister - depending on the day. He entertained himself well while I was breastfeeding, and my daughter was also very patient. I also was on my own because my husband was in Iraq for the first 3 months of our daughter's life.
Have some special books or coloring pages ready for you baby, or put on a movie. After the first week or two you will all be adjusted and it won't be an issue. We didn't have the kids in the same room, but right new door, and they very rarely woke each other up. I think my daughter was used to listening to a screaming toddler before she was even born because it never upset her at all. Make it fun, and I think everyone will adjust well.
Good luck and enjoy the many fun years to come!
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C.A. answers from Washington DC on February 09, 2011
OMG...story of my life. Well, I have a 2yo girl and a 12wk old babygirl. We dont go out...especially with this bad winter weather lately. My toddler wakes the baby constantly...and no matter what I try to distract and/or setup for my 2yo to do whileI breastfeed, she quickly learned how to suddenly "need" me when I couldn't get up and subsequently "brings on" her own meltdown and will sometimes tell me she needs a time out...LOL...seriously....she does crack me up sometimes.
If I had it to do again, I would have had the second baby before my first turned two...like when she was 12mo- 18mo, or WAY after....like when the oldest would be 4.
My 2yo wants to be potty trained...but inevitably has to go on the potty when I am feeding baby and I have to rip baby off my boob, to get to the 2yo just in time to have her pee or poop her pants...which of course upsets her, along with a crying baby inthe background so I get to clean floor, pee pee pants and obtain dry clothes for the crying 2yo all while trying not to lose my mind.
I cry a lot. Its hard....Im not gonna lie...and I am a high energy, highly organized person. I would wait a year or so to get pregs if you can...I would have if I knew how hard it would be on my2yo. She often asks me to "put baby back in the crib" and says "Ugh- Mommy! don't feed her...you just fed her!" My 2 yo also gave up naps......so I get this all day with no breaks. She has learned how to manipulate in many new and different ways....and a meltdown is just a minute away at any given moment.
I know they say terrible twos are from lack of ablity to communicate thoughts...well my 2yo daughter can speak like a 4 or 5 yr old and is an INCREDIBLE communicator...so I am not buying that it's just her age. I do, however, LOVE and ADORE both my girls, and I know one day it will get better.
Hope I didnt scare anyone with my honesty.
Good luck and best wishes.
1 mom found this helpful
A.D. answers from Washington DC on February 09, 2011
Oh...relax. Don't over think it and don't let these other posts scare you. Millions of women have done it for years and the 2 year age gap is probably the most common (for lots of reasons). My kids are 2 1/2 years apart. There are challenges and benefits to every age gap...and honestly...these early years are SO SHORT in the long run. So...you have a year or 2 of some challenging times...is it really a big deal? I am doing it with my husband deployed, and when he was home, he was in training most of the time, so I've done most of "life with 2" on my own. It's not bad. Yes there are some tough days. A lot of it just depends on the kids...my son is and always has been a poor sleeper and eater. My DD was and is a great sleeper and sleeps thru his crying and fussing and my pacing the floor with him at all hours. I haven't slept much in the past couple years, but someday I will be able to and I'd never trade my kids for sleep. We still have money, we still have fun, and although I don't get much time for me...that's fine....someday they won't want me around!
If you feel ready for another...go for it! You can do it. And you'd be giving your kiddo the gift of a sibling (nice when they're close in age as they can play and be interested in similar things).
1 mom found this helpful
L.L. answers from New York on February 08, 2011
my children are 2.5 years apart, I won't scare you to death with the details but my son didn't handle the birth of our daughter well. If you read a previous post of mine, it will give you a recap of last years events!
But I just wanted to say go for it...no matter the age difference, it's still challenging, yet so rewarding. Good luck.
1 mom found this helpful
J.H. answers from Boston on February 08, 2011
I have three children, 4, 2, and 8 weeks. So I have dealt with a two year old and a nursing newborn twice. I will be honest. It is not easy in the beginning. I have found that both of my older two had a hard time adjusting and made the first few months difficult. I never had a problem with the baby waking the older ones. They sleep right through any screaming, and the baby will be used to their noise as well during the day!
It is definitely hard to nurse with a two year old because nursing a newborn is time consuming and a full time job. Two year olds are still so needy and they don't want to share you, and while they can understand a little, it is still very confusing for them. My kids were both fairly mild mannered and started to act out quite a bit when the baby came.
Now all that being said, I did it twice, so it couldn't have been all bad! It does get better and now that my older two are 4 and 2, they love to play together and they are so cute together. They also fight and drive each other crazy, but they are best friends and now I like them being close in age, and hopefully as they get older, that will continue!
I don't know if there is a perfect age difference. I am sure there are pros and cons to everything and you just have to do what feels right for your family!!
Best of luck!
1 mom found this helpful
B.C. answers from Phoenix on February 08, 2011
It was hard in the beginning. Mine are 17 months apart. I remember nursing the baby with my toddler sitting at my feet crying for attention. Once the baby started playing with toys, the toddler had a fit which lasted for months. Although, my toddler never woke up in the middle of the night from the baby crying.
Fast forward 5 years and they are the best of friend and at times at each others throats. I think it is really great now, because they always have someone to play with. On the other hand, they also have someone to always cause trouble with :0.
You'll get use to the crazy schedule and learn to go with the flow. Youll have challenges no matter what the age gap. For me, I wanted to have them close and most says I am glad I did.
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A.E. answers from Nashville on February 08, 2011
My two sons are 22 months apart (they are now 2 years old and 10 months old). It's tough at first, but it's getting much, much easier now that my youngest is old enough to start playing with my older one. I didn't have too much in teh way of jelousey. I think a lot has to do with your child's temperment. My older one has always been a nurturer -- would kiss and hug his friends if they got hurt, would get them ice, etc -- so it was natural I think for him to have a baby around. I did talk to him a lot about the baby while I was pg, and after the baby was born I always tried to take care of him whenever he needed the extra attention. He was very understanding about feeding the baby. I pumped my milk since my youngest didn't take to the breast, and my older one took my pumping bottles and tried to pump too via his belly button. It was hillarious. So we'd "pump" together. All in all, I just tried (and still do) to make my oldest feel secure. We do things together, just him and me, and he loves that, even if it's just going to the supermarket. Now that my younger one is getting older I do the same with him so each gets mommy alone time and daddy alone time. So far it's working.
Sometimes the little one does wake up my older one, and those nights are rough, but it's happening less and less often. I found that letting my older one sleep with us when it happens is what works best for us.
All in all, it's a lot of work, but wonderful work. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
C.M. answers from Washington DC on February 09, 2011
I play with my toddler downstairs while the baby sleeps upstairs, but I try not to tiptoe around her, because we don't want her to be a light sleeper. We also use a noise machine outside their bedrooms, that that keeps her from waking him when she cries at night, too. I've gotten good and getting up and walking over to help my son with something while nursing the baby. I might put her up on my shoulder and burp her while helping him for a minute. The toddler will eventually understand that you're busy nursing the baby and he has to wait if it's not important. But before I sit down to nurse her, I get his snacks and entertainment ready - usually a couple toys, picture book, and food that's not too messy. When we go out, I either use the double stroller or let him walk and hold my hand while I carry her in the wrap or Bjorn. He's getting big enough to climb up into his car seat on his own while I put her in, then I go back and buckle him in.