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Those with 2 under 2 - I have failed at bath/bed time....

(15 Posts)
Hadeda Fri 07-Aug-09 13:28:08

DD1 is 19 months and DD2 is four weeks so I am still working out the operating manual here... However, bath and bed time is defeating me!

I've read in other threads that some mums put both DCs in the bath and then bath and dress DC2, feed DC2 sitting on the toilet and then deal with DC1. Tried that and it landed with DD1 sitting in a rather cold bath and DD2 screaming her head off because I finally just had to leave her in her cot while I dealt with DD1.

DD2 is tiny and very clingy so I pop her in the sling for most of the day. I can't bath DD1 with the sling on - too much of a risk that DD2 will fall out - but leaving her just results in her screaming. And she likes to cluster feed just over the time that DD1 needs her bath and bed time. (BTW, I don't need to bath DD2 every day but DD1 does need her bath as gets pretty mucky - so even if I skip DD2's bath I will have the problem of what to do with her while I bath DD1.)

Bed time is also difficult as DD1 doesn't like sharing mum's lap for story time (I think she may just have to get over that) and definitely won't go to sleep if I have DD2 with me when I say goodnight. She jumps up and down in bed and keep shouting DD2's name. But same problem as before - if I leave DD2 in her moses basket while I put DD1 down after her story (10/15 mins max) then she screams blue murder.

Any ideas?? Or am I just facing complete chaos until DD2 gets a bit older and more able to handle her own company for bits of time?

fleximum Fri 07-Aug-09 13:33:37

My 2 boys had a similar age gap and all I can say is it does get better. When they are this small you just have to play it by ear. I generally bathed DS2 during the day (when he did those spectacular leaky nappies they all seem to do) while DS1 had his bath in the evening. If DH wasn't around to help or there was a problem, I'd just give him a bath the next day. Once the youngest is a bit bigger, you may well find it gets easier to bath them together. Keep the changing equipment in the bathroom so you can dress one while the other is still supervised in the bath.
Hope things get easier for you soon.

robino Fri 07-Aug-09 13:36:45

I went for the complete chaos option wink and have the same age gap as you.

Any chance DD1 could get a good flannel down before bed and have a bath in the morning just so you're not having to do it when everyone is tired and DD2 needs feeding lots? Just 'til you get over the worst of the cluster feeding?

It's tricky but it does get better, I would say I've just about cracked it now that DD2 is 1 - I'm sure it won't take you long but it's only recently that DD2 has started going down in the evening without a 2 hour (or more) rocking, patting, shhh-ing ordeal that left DD1 jealous and starting to play up at bedtime for the first time in her life.

Not been much help, have I? grin

robino Fri 07-Aug-09 13:38:53

take you that long

Oh, and they had a bath together in the evening from about 4 months I think but as mentioned earlier I had everything in the bathroom to get them changed beforehand.

NorkilyChallenged Fri 07-Aug-09 13:40:05

Well I must write a warning before I offer advice - my DP was away this week and I tried to do bath/bed by myself for the first time EVER. Even though DD1 is now 2.6 and DD2 is nearly 15months, I just couldn't cope and won't be doing it again if I can help it.

So, having established that I am clueless, I would say this. I have a small age gap too. In the early days, I did just skip bath sometimes with DD1. You can do a thorough wash of hands/face, brush teeth and make that do a lot of time if your standards are as low as mine.

Are you by yourself? Is there anyone who can help you (DH, DP, family)? In the early weeks, take any help you can. Someone holding/jiggling the baby while you quickly do bath/bed with your eldest would be ideal. I imagine yiou don't have that option though?

Timing- can you do anything about timing? Remember things change quickly at this stage with a little baby. What is cluster feeding and clinginess might in a week or two be different. So it's just survive however you can.

Could DD1 go to bed earlier/later so that it doesn't coincide exactly with cluster feeding or unsettled crying for DD2?

If you can get DD2 to even have a little nap (even if she's not ready for bed til much later in the evening) in a rocking cradle, bouncy chair, whatever, then you could whizz through bedtime. Bouncy chair in the bathroom and bedroom?

However, ime, it was unavoidable - I had to sometimes let DD2 cry. I couldn't see another way round it. Upsetting but necessary really. I owed it to DD1 (in my mind) to give her 10 mins of bedtime without DD2's constant presence. I would console myself by thinking that DD2 would get all my attention once DD1 was in bed (and all night, but that's another story wink)

Hope you figure something out but importantly, you don't need to feel you have a "routine" all sorted out right now. Just do what it takes to survive and worry about the routine when DD2 is a bit older.

(Or like me, just try to ensure that you NEVER have to do bed/bath by yourself again for at least 15 months wink)

meep Fri 07-Aug-09 13:42:26

Same age gap here and am only just moving to bathing at the same time now that dd2 is 4mo.

I tend to bath them on alternate nights - with a joint bath on a Sunday!

When it is dd2's bath night, dd1 either "helps" in the bathroom or watches cbeebies (I am lucky - have a ground floor bathroom right next to livingroom)

Dd1 gets her bath once dd2 is in bed - very quick bath as it is usually around 6.45pm.

It was tricky when dd2 was only 4wo and I think I made dh comeo home for bathtime every night!

Jojay Fri 07-Aug-09 13:49:08

Ok, this is what I did when Ds2 was tiny - 23 month age gap.

Bring bouncy chair into bathroom and put Ds2 in it. Use vibrate function to keep him happy if necessary.
Strip Ds1 off and put in bath. Quick wash. I left hairwashing till when DH was around to help.
Let Ds1 play with bath toys while stripping off Ds2 and bathing him.
Ds2 out. Wrap in towel and put on change mat. He sometimes moaned a bit but it was only for a moment.
Get DS1 out. Stick one of those over the head towelling robe thingy's on and let him potter about while I get Ds2 dressed.
Put DS2 back in bouncy chair and speedily get Ds1 dressed. Again he would moan sometimes but needs must.

For bedtimes, I bribed Ds1 with a bowl of grapes / dry cereal / crisps to stay on the sofa and watch CBeebies while I put Ds2 down.

Sometimes all this worked, sometimes it didn't, but it does get easier as they get older, I promise grin

NellyTheElephant Fri 07-Aug-09 14:08:53

Here's what I did: I did tea for DD1 at about 5.30pm and sat feeding DD2 while DD1 ate her tea.

Up for bath time at about 6pm.
Both girls in the bath: DD2 in a bath support chair so I had hands free.
DD2 out first and dressed and left on changing mat on the floor, then DD1 out dried and dressed.
Move DD1's bedroom, DD2 in bouncy chair while I read stories to DD1.
After stories I would move DD2 (still in bouncy chair) into her room and leave her there for a couple of mins and kiss DD1 goodnight and sing one lullaby and settle DD1 (usually around 7pm).
I'd then feed DD2 again before settling her in moses basket.

I found the key was to feed DD2 just before her bath so she didn't get too desperate after her bath while I was putting DD1 to bed.

sarah293 Fri 07-Aug-09 14:09:09

Message withdrawn

Hadeda Sat 08-Aug-09 17:34:38

Thank you everyone - some really good tips here. I'll try putting DD2 in her bouncy chair and feeding her before bathtime to see if that can buy us some time. Unfortunately DH can't be home before 8/9pm so I have to find a way of manging this myself.

Now if anyone can tell me how to get DD1 to go to bed..... I think it's just her adapting to DD2 but since about 5 days after she was born, DD1 just won't go to bed at night and it's really beginning to wear me down. Last night we had absolutely hysterical screaming from 7pm to 9pm and I was either holding her or sitting next to her bed all the time!! Luckily it was the weekend so DH was here to look after DD2 but the week nights are just turning into a nightmare blush

littleducks Sat 08-Aug-09 17:42:12

I think the screaming may be a bit of settling into new siblings

When ds was that little i didnt bath him at night as he hated baths and screamed so it was all too stressfull. I used to let dd have a good long play in the bath to soak some dirt off then stick ds in a bouncy chair/ on mat on floor/in cot under fancy mobile while i gave dd a quick once over

We would all pile into dds bed, i would bf ds and read stories to dd, then ds would either be put on the floor to wriggle any wind out next to dds bed of if winded put in his cot while dd had a special cuddle and chat

I would then wind ds/feed him more (dd thought it was in bed for night) It took a good while but ds started sleeping at 7 far easier than dd as he was used to it being bedtime

BiscuitStuffer Sat 08-Aug-09 22:04:20

We have the same age gap and DC2 wouldn't feed unless in the bedroom - nightmare!

So - stick DC2 on bathroom floor on towels etc / in a bouncy chair (screaming if needs be) while you put DC1 in the bath and wash thoroughly. Let DC1 play while you swish DC2 in the bath, take out, dry and dress. Let DC1 play for a bit unless DC2 screaming blue murder and you're stressed.

If this is the case, pull DC1 out of the bath and dry and dress in to PJs etc in the bathroom with DC2 still on the floor. Get DC1 to walk to YOUR bedroom while you scoop up DC2. I say your room because this is now a new routine that involves the exciting big bed and you can all get on it at once. DC1 will be fine with a new routine .

Get to bedroom - have pile of 4-5 books on the bed and get DC1 to get in or on the bed as they prefer and explain that they now get to look at some books while you feed DC2 and put her in her cot (even if she doesn't stay there - just to make you hands free!) and that you will then read a story afterwards OR you can all snuggle up together and read stories while DC2 has her milk. If DC1 can't communicate what she would like to do - pick one of those options and tell her what's going to happen - she will understand at that age. Body language is a wonderful thing!

I ended up sitting on the bed facing DC1 while I fed DC2 and then I snuggled up next to DC1, read the stories and then carried her in to her own bed and kisses and chats etc and then got DC2. If DC2 was screaming, I would just keep popping back and forth if I needed to be hands free for DC1 or just carried DC2 while dealing with DC1 if I didn't need to be. It did work.

You'll finally get it all sussed and then it will all change again anyway!

BiscuitStuffer Sat 08-Aug-09 22:08:42

Ah - DD1 and bed - I would honestly just tell her what's happening in a non-negotiable kind of way - be very firm, tell her how much you love her but that it is bed time and that is the end of it kind of thing. Don't engage any more than that once you have had the stories. She will 'get' it. Also make a point of saying several million times that DD2 will cry in the night and that everything is absolutely fine, it's just that she needs some milk because she is so small and she also gets very tired which makes her cry. It's nothing to worry about and that all babies do this and that you and daddy are looking after both of them all night etc. The crying really threw my DD and she seemed reassured knowing that nothing was 'wrong'.

thisisyesterday Sat 08-Aug-09 22:10:11

ds2 is 20 months and ds3 is 8 weeks so i know a bit what you're going through!

i would just wsear her in the sling tbh, she won't fall out! if there is a risk that she could fall out then she isn't in it properly.

otherwise, could you bath dd1 earlier? either in the morning, or perhaps straight after teatime or something? before the cluster feeding starts?

i am sure that even if dd1 is a bit mucky you could still get away with bathing every other day or something and just making sure she gets face/hands done before bed

BiscuitStuffer Sat 08-Aug-09 22:11:21

Don't what ever you do stay in there with her!! She may need to have a really good yell and get in a state and you leave her to get on with it and then you going back in will help to break the cycle. If you never leave, the cycle can be nearly impossible to break I find (with DD anyway). I almost have to let it get worse before I have any hope of sorting her out. DD went through a phase of being much worse if someone was in with her.

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