Having your first child is life-changing. Just wait and see the surprises that are in store with your second one! From needing a quality baby carrier to games you can play with a toddler while lying on the couch, here are some awesome tips to help you juggle two.
Getting out and About
Getting around with a toddler and a baby is obviously a bit more challenging than getting around with just one. There is more juggling, more nappies, snacks, outfits, toys, and other random debris to fit into the nappy bag. There are now two kids to get in and out of the car, and the joy of negotiating with a toddler while you have the newborn in the pram.
A mother only has two hands, so she needs to multitask it. If you don’t want to deal with a double-pram (and trust me – there are a lot of places these don’t fit!), a handy alternative for little trips can be a quality baby carrier like the Marsupi. You can have your baby close to you and still have your hands free.
Make Housework a Breeze
The amount of mess, laundry and general disarray in your home will increase disproportionately with another child. Consequently, the time you have for doing housework reduces even more, because now you have two kids to look after.
It helps to accept that, at least in the beginning, your housework is going to suffer from a dip in standards. Some ways to help prepare for this include:
- Get help / share the workload – rope in your partner, your mum, friends and if you can, splurge for a cleaner for a few months if your budget allows for it
- Breathe deeply and let the little things go. So maybe no dusting or ironing gets done for a little while – so what!
- Get your toddler to help. They are at that fantastic age when helping Mum is a great game (and they are never too young to help out!). Get help with wiping benches or tables, cleaning windows or mirrors, putting clothes in the drawer or putting toys away.
- Make it fun. Set yourself a time limit of 2-3 of your favourite songs and every day do a solid tidy up to the length of this dance track. Your toddler will love joining in with this as well.
Again, your toddler is never too young to learn to help out in the kitchen. Enlist their help in dinner preparation – they love the activity and just want to be with you, it doesn’t matter what you are doing.
Getting your child involved in cooking is a wonderful way to encourage a healthy relationship with food as well. Children who helped in the preparation of meals are more likely to try new ingredients and eat more of the meal they helped make.
Time for rest and play
A lot of Mums find that when their child is around two or three years old they start to drop their afternoon sleeps. Unfortunately, this is timed perfectly with when you will often have a newborn in the house, who you are up feeding all through the night.
Now, more than ever, you want your toddler to hang onto that afternoon nap, so you might be able to get a tiny rest too.
Be creative with this and do whatever works for you. Don’t stress too much about getting your older child to stay in their bed if it is clearly not going to happen. Perhaps try lying together on your bed or snuggle on the couch with a book.
Try a game that involves Mummy lying down, such as letting your child be the doctor and bandage you from head to toe, or let him run cars over your back and give you an impromptu massage.
Or you could try some quiet time for the toddler in their room, perhaps with an audiobook or some screen time while you also have a rest.
Before your newborn came along, your older child had you entirely to himself. It is completely natural and understandable that he might struggle to share your divided attention with a tiny sibling.
Help him (and you) get ready for this. Some great tips include:
- Schedule in specific time focussed just on your older child (even putting housework on the back burner if need be). Play with him for 10 minutes, 2-3 times a day, with all of your attention on him.
- Appoint him as Mummy’s Special Helper (there could even be a mask and cape involved in this). The importance of this job makes every older sibling feel very special.
- Teach him to care for his own ‘baby’ while you care for yours. Get a tiny high-chair, crib or toy bath and let him look after a special teddy next to you when you are busy with your bub. You can even get him his own mini-Marsupi quality baby carrier for his ‘baby’, so you can all go to the park together!
Going from one child to two can be fun too
Although going from one to two children can be challenging in some ways there are also a lot of rewards.
I have found that the second time around is a lot easier as besides knowing what to expect, you are naturally more relaxed. You have a better idea of what you are doing and are more confident in doing what feels right to you. Also, you have a toddler with you to ‘help’ and to constantly keep you and the baby entertained.
When you are a mum of one you can sometimes feel quite lonely, especially when your baby is very small. When you have two children you never feel lonely again (nor will you ever be alone again!) - you have a young sidekick with you through all your misdemeanours and adventures.
And they say when you go from two to three children you are in trouble because you are outnumbered! We will talk about the joys and challenges of dealing with 3 children another day.