Anyone had a toddler and newborn and it not been hell?!

(53 Posts)

Ds is 17 months old and we are debating having a second child. It's more of an 'if' then a 'when' as we are really happy with Ds though he is rather challenging. We are struggling to see how we would cope with a second child. I must have read umpteen posts on mumsnet where posters are seriously not coping due to the stress of having a second child and balancing the needs of a toddler and newborn.

Has anyone had a second baby and it not been a real struggle? I would particularly appreciate any comments from anyone who FF their baby,as for various reasons any second dc would be FF. I say this as a major theme of previous threads seems to be having to sit for hours BFing the baby whilst the toddler screams for attention. So just wondering if FF would be easier?
TIA

foolonthehill Mon 17-Mar-14 22:48:55

I have 4 DC all singletons, all about 18 months apart so 4 all under 5...and i am no earth mother but it was fine. Chaos, mad, tiring but fine.

You do not parent 2 in the same way as one, you do not parent 3 in the same way as 2...you adapt, do things differently or you would go mad..you learn from the first time, make your preparations, make lots more (different) mistakes. And the housework does not get done for a short while!

The newborn weeks are hard work but they do pass quickly...obviously it's a good idea to plan well and accept any and all help that is offered, have a freezer full of food and don;t try to potty train the toddler at the same time as breastfeeding the baby!! (Yup tried that with no3/4, does not go well!)

I think the real question is do you want a larger family or are you happy as you are...if you want another and you are blessed and able to have him/her then you will manage and thrive, if you don;t really but are somehow just feeling guilty that one is enough then don;t because it's not right for you. And there is no harm in waiting and having a bigger age gap either...there is no perfect age gap for siblings, just what is right,aand possible for you.

FF is easier because either parent/any visitor can do it!! and you first born could help too!

Artandco Mon 17-Mar-14 22:51:34

We have a small gap. 15 months between them. It's been fine tbh. Now they are heading into school age it's easier again.

TheScience Mon 17-Mar-14 22:55:15

Maybe consider a bigger age gap? I have a 2 week old and a 3.5 year old and so far it's been much easier than friends/family who've done the 18 month-2 year gap. A family member currently has an 18 month old and a 2 week old and that does look like hard work all round.

houseisfallingdown Mon 17-Mar-14 22:57:19

17 month gap between my 2. I'd say the easiest stage was when DS was newborn and the DD a toddler (although DD didn't walk until a few months after DS was born which probably made life easier...). It was so much easier with a newborn the second time around. Tiring yes, but a different sort of tiredness from the first time as you knew it was going to end eventually (sort ofsmile) and far less terrifying.

AngryFeet Mon 17-Mar-14 22:59:49

It was fine. Hardish for first 6 months but that was mainly my guilt that I wasn't giving enough time to my pfb. More than worth it for the joy they have given each other over the last 7 years. They are best buddies and it made my life a zillion times easier with them being playmates. I am crap at playing grin

AngryFeet Mon 17-Mar-14 23:01:28

I had a 29 month gap. Think over 3.5 years is too much if you want them to play together (from what I have seen with friends dc). Just bite the bullet and do it. You won't regret it smile

nldm1 Mon 17-Mar-14 23:03:38

DS was 18 months old when DD was born. Both were in reusable nappies and I fully BF.
It was tiring, stressful and manic at times, as life is with LO's, but the downs didn't even come close to matching the ups.
Being so close in age has helped in making our kids closer, making them good friends and playmates.
Now that DS has just turned 6 and DD is 4 1/2 (and honestly, for a couple of years or more now), I think it's easier having the two of them than it would be just having one.
Really, how easy or hard you find it depends on how laid back you are. DH is so laid back he's practically horizontal and I'm not too bad either.
If it's something you'd like in your life, then you'll manage.

DaleyBump Mon 17-Mar-14 23:05:57

Following smile

NoSquirrels Mon 17-Mar-14 23:17:16

Don't believe the hype! My DC2 was a "surprise" and I have a 21-month age gap. Honestly, it was OK. Some days were rubbish, it was very tiring, I didn't have family help close by, day to day (although my family are wonderful and did everything they could when they could) and I've worked throughout, less 9-10 months maternity leave both times. I remember crap days. But I appreciate so many great times I've had. And now they are best buddies (except when they hate each other, of course!)

What you see on MN sometimes are the posts when people are struggling. They've had a really shit day. They need some support. And they get it. It's bloody brilliant. But less people post to say how wonderful that moment is when the toddler made the baby laugh, and then you all laughed and for 2 minutes it was more pure joy than you'd experienced for years. And that even when the next 2 minutes went horribly wrong, it didn't take away from that joy.

I was terrified about 2 under 2, honestly. And I'm quite calm about stuff, generally. But I thought it would be terrible. And it wasn't. And it gets better and better. Don't have another child if you really think it would not be best for your family but don't NOT do it out of fear. You'll be great.

Littleoaktree Mon 17-Mar-14 23:24:29

Almost exactly 3 years between mine and that worked fine. I did keep ds1 in his nursery for short days for the first couple of months and then cut his days down to a couple a week. That really helped as it kept to his routine and meant that I had some time just with ds2 and to crash when ds2 was sleeping.

I bf ds2 as well but wasn't really a problem, the crunch time for conflict between the needs of the two of them was bath time/bedtime when both were tired, ds2 was hungry and he would just scream if I put him down. I carried him in a sling a LOT in the early days.

I would say though that I think it would have been so much harder if ds1 had been just turned 2 rather than just turned 3 when ds2 was born. Ds2 is now nearly 2 and v v demanding and I would def struggle with a newborn, he's also v jealous of me holding any friends babies whereas ds1 by 3 had got over some of those issues and understood about a baby arriving and was v excited to have a little brother. I think ds1's attitude has helped a lot tbh as if he had been jealous/not accepting of ds2 it would have been so much harder.

Bedsheets4knickers Tue 18-Mar-14 07:22:06

26 month age gap here, certainly wasn't hell. I found the newborn stage easier to deal with 2nd time round . They are now 3.5 and 17 months and they love each other . Their will be rough days but it's really ok x

MiaowTheCat Tue 18-Mar-14 07:54:27

11 months between my pair - generally it's been fine. It's much better as an age gap for us than my personal idea of a hellish combination of the elder child being at the Lego age and a crawling baby wanting to put everything in their mouth! Both bottle fed for various circumstances I won't bother justifying right now.

Think the key thing is making sure you have somewhere you can pop the baby safely in all rooms you're likely to be using - so bouncy chairs, swings, playpens and the like in case you suddenly need to go remove a toddler from mountaineering up the curtains (or is that just my DD1?!)

lifesobeautiful Tue 18-Mar-14 08:27:58

There are 2.5 years between mine, and I've found the second a doddle (well, obviously there was tiredness - but nothing like what I was expecting and emotionally I felt fine too). My DS (3.5 now) was old enough to know not to hurt and to be able to play by himself. And they LOVE each other so much. I feel like my DD has completed our family perfectly. It's been really lovely. I formula fed from birth - which made life terribly easy. And I made sure I was super organised when she was born, so I could just get on with everything. Lovely lovely all round (and was expecting it to be a nightmare!) I think smaller age gaps are harder at first, from what I can see from friends and family. But perhaps the smaller age gap means even more fun later.

lifesobeautiful Tue 18-Mar-14 08:48:35

Oh and about the FF - in my opinion and experience (just an opinion please don't get angry anyone!) it is so much easier. My BF buddies take ages feeding their little one while the older one vies for their attention - and nobody else can do it for you. So you're basically stuck on the sofa/chair etc until the little one has finished. And with BF they can be on and off the boob all day. You get cluster feeding etc. Whereas with the bottle it's just done and then you've got three hours or so till the next one. Plus your DH, mum etc can do it for you - meaning you can spend lots of time with your first, thereby reducing jealousy.

Obviously I know BF is supposed to be better etc, and some babies may just click and be fast, efficient feeders, but in terms of pure ease, I would say FF made my life so much easier and less stressful than my BF friends. And it also made life much less stressful for my first. He's a very boisterous, active boy (not a sitter down quietly and drawer! which I suppose would be easier with BF) So I was able to spend far more time playing with him and having fun. And far more time playing with the newbie too all together. So he thinks his sister is great fun.

pommedeterre Tue 18-Mar-14 08:52:53

Dd2 had silent reflux and didn't sleep through until 10 months (or even for a 4 hour stretch) so was hard work. Even so the issue wasn't having two, and I am now pg with no 3.

I will do bf this time round but only for 6 weeks or so. Mainly because I have to go back to work quickly this time but also because it made things with dd2 even harder. I think the ff will definitely help you.

Orangeisthenewbanana Tue 18-Mar-14 08:59:53

Watching with interest smile

Seeline Tue 18-Mar-14 09:15:43

I had 2.8 yrs between mine. EBF no. 2. No.2 also slept well, whereas DS never did - it would have been harder the other way round I think. Really didn't find the two particularly difficult. DD just had to fit in with routine of DS. He started pre-school 2 mornings a week when DD was about 7 weeks old, and the rest of the time I kept up with all the toddler activities I had established with DS. If DD was still in her sleep suit so what?!

pommedeterre Tue 18-Mar-14 09:24:46

I had 23 months between mine btw

NCISaddict Tue 18-Mar-14 10:01:36

I had a 20 month gap between the first 2 and breastfed. Personally I found it easier as I could feed one handed. Didn't need the complicated array of pillows etc that I had done with the first. I remember lifting DD out of her highchair whilst keeping 3 day old DS latched on with the other.
It was hard work and my housework standards slipped but it wasn't too bad.
I did have to accept that the baby had to be left to cry sometimes whilst I sorted out the toddler but it doesn't seem to have done him any harm.

Artandco Tue 18-Mar-14 11:00:01

Having a really small gap meant ds1 has never known life without ds2. So no jealousy etc and has learnt to wait if needed. I bf and found it easier as could pop ds2 in sling and feed on and off as needed whilst following ds1 around, pushing him on swings etc

upjacobscreekwithoutapaddle Tue 18-Mar-14 11:11:45

Echoing what others have said.

2.5 years between mine. Ds2 was a doddle. I wasn't 'shell shocked' like I had been after ds1. Ds1 was great with him and they are such good pals now (with the odd bad day thrown in) it's really heartwarming to see. The hardest bit for me has been the 'terrible twos' with ds2 as he has, admittedly, been a handful but that has nothing to do with the sibling thing and he would have been hard work as an only child!

There is a 22 months gap between our two. They are now 11 and a half and 9 and a half, so the first few years seem so far away.

Yes, it was hard work, but I now remember those early yrs fondly.

What made things easier? DD, our second was an extremely easy going baby, I had a good friend with children of similar age and we spent lots of time together, I ruthlessly made use of a great nursery nearby grin

findingherfeet Wed 19-Mar-14 18:07:22

I'm only 2 weeks in (!) but have been delighted by how my 2yr 4 month old has accepted her brother, she's affectionate towards and interested in him and in helping me, not seemingly jealous and carries on as per usual. (By which means sometimes a pickle as usual!)

I'm so much more relaxed second time round (helped by better birth and recovery) it's easier to just enjoy my baby...would like to be sleeping better soon but I guess sleepless nights is part of the newborn package.

Go for it grin

I have a 21 month gap with mine and its really been fine overall. Yes there are some days In the beginning where you think wtf have we done? But the pros far outweigh the cons.
Just earlier, we were out with the dog and I turned around to tell the DC to hurry up and caught them having a hug whilst DS told DD ''you are my best friend'' had a wee lump in my throat and i thought that having them so close together was the best thing I'd ever done.

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