L.S. asks from South Elgin, IL on March 05, 2008
Practical Advice for Toddler & a Newborn
Hi there! I'm expecting baby #2 in the beginning of May. I'm very excited, but nervous about having a newborn and a toddler! So I was wondering if any of you experienced moms could provide some useful advice or tips or some things that I should prepare for. I'm also able to stay home next year (I'm a teacher) so I am beyond thrilled about that. I know it won't be easy, but I am hoping to have a little more "me" time once in a while since I won't be working, but I'm wondering if that is not a reasonable hope! What got me started thinking about this just randomly, was how I was going to give them both baths! Funny how something so insignificant can make you panic! But anything you guys can help me prepare for would be great!
So What Happened?™
Wow! Thanks for all the advice, I knew I can get some honest opinions from moms who've been there. It seems like routine is key, which I already try to stick to with my little guy. I'm feeling better about everything and think after the first couple weeks or month or so of chaos and adjusting, I think we'll work it out! I'm so looking forward to the next stage of our family life, although I so love my little guy and our life right now! Thanks for all the advice!
T.S. answers from Chicago on March 05, 2008
We have two boys 2 1/2 and 6 months. I remember feeling the same way when I was pregnant with our second son. I work full-time and I kept freaking out about how I was going to get two off to daycare in the morning. I couldn't imagine it! Well, I do it every day with little issues. It's amazing how we adapt.
Bath time - When I first started, I would bathe Ryan in an infant tub in the kitchen sink and I would let my older son (Jacob) stand on a chair "help" me. He absolutely loved it. Ryan is pretty big (20 pounds at six months) and outgrew the infant tub pretty quickly. I transitioned him to a bath seat in the tub at about four months and within a week they were bathing together. They LOVE it. Ryan screams in delight at the splashing and playing in the tub. Jacob laughs at his little brother screaming. They enjoy bath time so much we do it every night.
Routine. Routine. Routine. Find one that works and stick with it. My 2 1/2 year old is so much happier with a routine and knowing what to expect. If we have problems with him for a day, it's usually because we skipped a nap or stayed out too late. We try so hard to stick with the same schedule as much as possible. Sometimes that means missing a birthday party that falls in the middle of nap time. Sometimes that means leaving a little bit earlier or arriving a little bit later. But, it works. Trust me on that.
You mentioned that your husband is helpful. Perfect. So is mine. Since I am breastfeeding, I was the one to nurse the baby and put him to bed at night. Hubby played with our older son and then I took over for stories and bed time. The nights were pretty much like that for awhile. Now that the Ryan is older, sitting up and playing more - Dad can do kid duty with both of them while I cook dinner or clean up or vice versa. We really trade off all night long.
It's harder when it's one parent for the night (we try to make a point to get our own time in with our friends). But since we have established a good routine, it's not that bad. I can usually get my older son interested in a book or a game while I nurse/feed the baby and put him to sleep. If it's a rough night, the baby goes in the swing while I tend to the toddler. Or, I'll break my "no TV after 7 rule" and put Blues Clues or Thomas on for Jacob while I put Ryan to bed.
The relationship between our boys is already amazing. Ryan adores his big brother and squeals and kicks in delight at the sight of him. Jacob shares his toys with Ryan (most of the time), loves to make him laugh and LOVES to give kisses and hugs to him. Yea, we change a lot of diapers. Yea, most days I don't even know what day it is. Yea, some days I'm dead tired from either one (or both) having a rough night. But, I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Congrats and enjoy!
1 mom found this helpful
N.L. answers from Chicago on March 05, 2008
Congrats! I have a 2.5 year old daughter and 5 month old son. I will say it is not easy, but you can do it. I also work part-time out of the house, so the balancing act is quite a challenge. I agree with all the advice you have already received. I do make special days for just my daughter and me, because I can get so consumed with the newborn needs. We also put our son to bed at 8pm, and that leaves my husband and I alone time with our daughter for a good hour. We have a big tub, so last night I actually got in the tub and held my newborn while my husband assisted with the bath. My daughter was also in the tub playing and then I bathed her. She thought it was fun to share with her brother. Once my son was born, I had a heart to heart with my husband and told him that in the morning time when I have to get ready for work, my daughter is his responsibility to get dressed and ready (of course, I have to lay out her clothes the night before). I don't know how I could do it without his help. I believe it is a 2 parent job. I also allow my daughter to help with everything, because she is the "big" sister. That sometimes makes things a little longer, but she gets so excited. Best of luck to you!!
N.S. answers from Chicago on March 06, 2008
good luck with the notion of extra time! If anything, I think you have way less me time once you're a SAHM cause you can't get out to work for adult interaction and the like. However, I will tell you having 2 is really not hard, esp. when you have the 2nd in the warm weather. Don't stress too much. It'll be fine. Just treasure these last few months being a mom to your 1st. It's a very special time. I miss it at times. But you'll see how rich your life becomes!!! Good luck with the birth and hang in there - feel well.
J.P. answers from Chicago on March 05, 2008
I don't have two yet, expecting in August, but have a few ideas. For the bathing issue something that may work is having your toddler bathe with you. I have been having my son bathe with me for a few months now and it works great. It also saves some water. I finish getting ready in the bathroom while he continues to play in the tub. You could do all of this while your newborn sleeps. Just an idea. Also it seems like a lot of moms use bjorns/slings etc with the newborn so they can continue to do activities with their toddler such as Gymboree, library, or play at the park. Good luck!!
T.P. answers from Chicago on March 05, 2008
Congrats to you on expecting your second child. It was not long ago that I was wondering the same things you are! I am a mom to two beautiful boys, 3 yrs old and a 4 mo old.
I have found that things are busier but not unmanageable. In fact, I am absolutely loving having 2 children! Bedtime and bathtime are probably the hardest parts of the day. When my hubby is home, we each spend individual time with one of the kids. Because I am nursing, I always put the baby to bed but I try to join my husband and son in his room for bedtime stories afterward. When I'm alone, my 3 yr old usually plays quietly with some toys/books or watches a fave DVD while I am upstairs going through the bedtime routine with the baby. It's a bit more stressful but as time has gone on, it's getting easier and easier!
Best wishes to you and your family!
T.G. answers from Chicago on March 05, 2008
Hi L.! My first two are 18 months apart and my second and third are 2 years apart. It is not nearly as bad as you may start thinking it will be. I remember starting to stress as my due date approached. If you have someone who can come and play with your two year old it will help. My mom stayed with me for almost three weeks after #2 & #3 were born. It really helped the older kids adjust and it gave me a chance to bond with the new baby. When the baby is sleeping spend time with your older child. Have the older child help you get spit up rags and diapers when you change the baby. Let him feel he is helping mommy. I showered with my first daughter when my second was a newborn and then once she was around six months I would put the baby bath in the tub and my older daughter in the tub at the same time- it was a little crowded but it worked. Good luck and enjoy the sleepless nights!
E.C. answers from Chicago on March 05, 2008
Congratulations L. I'm a mother of three under three
I would just like to reassure you your children will be the best of friends
Being able to stay at home is a joy, not all days are easy but
because you are a teacher I'm sure you'll be able to make the
most of it and your children will surely benefit
As far as "me time" that comes few and far between
Once the newborn can sit up bath time will be fun
Lunch time, dinner, anytime is camera worthy so keep one on hand
A.G. answers from Nashville on March 05, 2008
Congrats to you! I have two kids (now 4 and 2) who are 25 months apart. The first 6 months or so is a bit tough (the lack of sleep thing is hard when you have to get up and play with a 2 year old!), but it will get easier and more fun every day. Now my kids play together and I think my life is easier than if I just had 1 child!
Some practical advice:
- If you can financially do it, get a sitter once in a while (once you are comfortable leaving her with the baby) and take your toddler out just one on one. It made such a difference for me. My 2 year old was just starving for some of that one-on-one time back, so it was fun to be with just her sometimes.
- One thing that was very hard for me was putting both kids to sleep if my husband wasn't there. What eventually worked was to have my 2 year old look at books or play with quiet toys while I fed the baby and put the baby down. Then I would get to spend one-on-one book time with my 2 yr old. It took a while for her to be mature enough for that, but I just kept at it! Most of the time one of them was crying, but I had to remember that I was doing the best I could. It wasn't like I was letting them cry while eating bon-bons! :)
- If you know of a gym that has quality child care, that may be an option to get some time for yourself. Once my kids were able to go to the Y and enjoy it, it gave me some much needed time for myself (& my pre-pregnancy body back, which was a bonus!). It took a while, though, for my kids to enjoy it there (but every kid is different).
It sounds like you have a supportive husband which will help tremendously!