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Tips for a small age gap

(19 Posts)
ellasmum Wed 20-Aug-03 11:54:55


Havn't posted for ages due to pregnancy and birth, but am now looking for words of wisdom.

I now have DD who is 16 months and DS at 6 weeks old - and I am really struggling.

Particularly bad times are DD's tea time (when DS cries constantly) and DS's bedtime when DD wants my attention but I obviously need to feed DS and put him to bed - something which can take up to an hour. I have got toys for DD to play with in DS's room but this only holds attention for a certain length of time.

Any tips on how to manage such a small age gap would be greatly received.

jennifersofia Wed 20-Aug-03 20:51:35

Firstly, congratulations on your (relatively) new baby! I am afraid I can't offer much practical advice but I can tell you that it does get easier! My two are 19 mths apart and dinner / bath / bed time was always the really hard bit of the day for us too. I used to get completely set up for dinner with everything on the table and then b/feed the baby while sitting at the table with my toddler who was eating her dinner (definitely not my ideal, but seemed the best way). In the very early days I would also bath the toddler in the evening (baby on the floor in bathroom) and bath the baby in the morning while my older girl was occupied with toys. We now (baby is 10 mths) do baths together then b/feed baby while reading night time story to older. I am sorry if this isn't very helpful - it just takes a while to work out your 'routine' and for all of you to adjust to it. It will change and get easier. Good luck.

tinyfeet Wed 20-Aug-03 21:05:24

ellasmum, have you got a DP or DH to help out in the evenings? If so, can't he assist with your DD while you are feeding DS? If not, my friends have also recommended that you sit together with your DD while you feed your DS. If you can give her a toy or a book and sit in front of the television, all the better. HTH. I don't even have two yet, but have been asking for similar advice in preparation - due in December.

neen99 Wed 20-Aug-03 21:33:27

Hi Ellas mum, can't offer any advice but I'll be listening with interest as I have a 17 month old ds and a baby that was due on Monday!

Good luck, and watch out for my desperate posts along a similar topic in the coming months!

ellasmum Thu 21-Aug-03 18:50:41

Thanks for messages - DP is currently able to get home quite early (6.00ish) so takes DD out to the park while I bath and put DS to bed - however this will all be changing soon!!!

Worst time is definitely between 5 and 6 as DS is tired and whingey and DD takes the opportunity to refuse to sit in highchair etc... Does anyone else's little babies cry constantly between 5.00 and bedtime???

I think I will have to change DD's routine as she currently has bath just after 7.00pm, then books with bedtime at about 7.30-7.45pm. Once I can bath together I will bath her earlier and then let her play while putting DS to bed - this is the theory anyway.

Neen99 - I will look out for your messages. Good luck with the birth

codswallop Thu 21-Aug-03 19:11:39

I dont have a small age gap - 2 years was my smaller - but I always bath them together. Have you made your eldest wipes monitor? Theylove trotting off to do that. Has she a dolly like the baby so she can do all the stuff too. Dont worry about he crying btw - you just forget how much they do do it and it will only wind you up - not your daughter.

Videos - will she watch tubbies?

Mog Thu 21-Aug-03 20:00:14

I can really empathise. I have a 19 month gap and that early evening time is a killer. I'm also breastfeeding and it can be a real challenge to get everything in.
I give dd a bath at night with baby on the floor and let dd play for ages in the bath. She loves it and it gives me a bit of breathing space and I can sit on the toilet and breastfeed! At teatime she goes in the highchair and I spin out dinner by giving her some finger food like raisins or dry cereal after her meal and she will play there for a while. Could also try colouring in the highchair as at least the toddler is in one place. I move the highchair to the living room so I can have a comfortable seat while breastfeeding.

I also quite regularly have family to stay. Although you have to look after them I find the benefits are I get a bit of a break as they play with children and I seem to be a more cheerful mum.!
Hope this doesn;t sound like I've cracked it because I haven't and that early evening slot is when I'm most likely to lose my temper with dd and then feel hugely guilty afterwards

ellasmum Fri 22-Aug-03 11:06:40

Mog - know what you mean about losing your temper - I feel like Jekyll and Hyde, shouting one minute then feeling guilty and being loving the next. DD must be so confused.

ellasmum Fri 22-Aug-03 11:06:41

Mog - know what you mean about losing your temper - I feel like Jekyll and Hyde, shouting one minute then feeling guilty and being loving the next. DD must be so confused.

honeybunny Fri 22-Aug-03 21:16:12

Hi Ellasmum-know just how you feel. I posted around the same time with a 17.5mo age gap looking for advise on the supper/bathtime/bedtime routine. I used to wish I was an octopus to cope with all the demands as dh was never home in time to help. Supper for ds1 was 5pm. Used to bf ds2 while spoonfeeding ds1. Would head up to bathtime at about 6pm (persuading ds2 to stay awake by stripping him off to kick about on a mat) Would bath both together. Whilst ds1 played in the water I would dress ds2 and start final bf. At end of boob 1 I would get ds1 out and dress (altho he'd often just run about starkers-hence an early intro to the potty....) before starting boob 2 making sure I had a story or two available to read to ds1. ds2 would often be asleep by 6.45pm/7pm so got tossed into his cot (Dreamscape on if still a little wakeful... a godsend if you dont already have one) to then run back up to ds1's room to read a few more stories and bed by 7.30pm. Sounds easy eh? Didnt always work like this, and I can look back now and realise I was a nightmare to be with as far as dh was concerned cos I would have a go at him as soon as he walked through the door "Why are you never here???"
Good luck!
ds1 is now 2.10 and ds2 is 16mo and YES it does get a lot better. (About when ds2 was 9mo...sorry, not helpful)

judetheobscure Fri 22-Aug-03 22:19:40

I had a 17 month gap between my first two. My best way round this situation (tea time & bed time are *always* the worst) was to be really organised about tea - I planned what each tea would be in advance and prepared as much of it as I could beforehand so when it came to 5 or 6pm there was only a small amount to do. Then I would feed baby while toddler had tea. Hopefully baby would then be reasonably happy to give enough time to do bedtime routine and "quality time" for toddler and into bed around 7pm. Then I would be free to sort out crochety baby who would tend to go down around an hour or so later.

Just a thought - Is your dd going to bed a bit later than she used to becasue of trying to sort the baby out first. If your dd is crochety maybe start the tea time and bedtime routine a bit earlier.

Melly Sat 23-Aug-03 17:00:57

Hi ellasmum, just wanted to say that it definitely does get easier. I don't have quite such a small age gap, there's just over 20 months between dd and ds. Ds is now nearing 5 months and I said to dh only today that I feel as though I have turned a corner. I know your ds is only 6 weeks but the time will go so fast. I really do sympathise because I have posted on Mumsnet several times since ds was born asking for advice on the tea/bathtime situation. My ds also used to cry between 5 - 6 pm and it really used to get me down. You will soon get into routine and sort out the best way to keep them both happy, but it's not easy. As Jude says, try to be as organised as possible which helps when teatime comes around. I also found that getting all the stuff ready you need for bath time, towels, nappies, vests, babygrows etc, at lunchtime when hopefully both children are having a nap, is useful. I nicked this idea out of Gina Ford's book!
I think most would agree that when you have two children close together you have a period at the beginning when it is extremely hard, but quite soon things slot into place and things certainly get much, much easier. I find now that dd will amuse ds when he is sitting in his pushchair which is very handy when you need to get bits and pieces done.
Good luck and I hope things get easier for you very soon

ames Sat 23-Aug-03 23:44:16

Hi ellasmum can only echo melly's post. Ds is 4 months and dd is 19 months and I feel that we have turned the corner too. Ds had quite a few feeding problems at first but is now sleeping through and is a very happy and contented baby although very, very sicky. I found it very hard at first and didn't feel that I could be a good mum to either of them! It has definatly got easier over the last few weeks.
I've also learnt my own ways of coping with the tricky times such as tea time. I always give dd a hot meal at lunch time as it's works better for me to get her something more snacky at tea time.
I've also just recently started to bath them at the same time, ds then dd.
We did have a lot of problems with dd waking in the night but they seems to have stopped now.
DD's communication skills have come on a lot so it's easier for me to understand what she wants and she has also adapted to him being around, he smiles at her when she talks to him (she used to try to smack him a lot when he was first born!)
Remember it's all trial and error as to what suits you all. I have found that ds is very different to dd and has a completley different routine to the one she did. Perhaps you could try to make the baby's routine fit in a bit better with dd's even if it meant him going to bed a bit later, but you will find that dd will grow up very quickly and become more able to amuse herself when your busy with ds. Hope this helps, sorry its long

rainbow Sun 24-Aug-03 23:49:53

Ds1 was 6 when ds2 was born but ds2 was only 20 months when ds3 was born. I found Dad was very useful at keeping DS1 & DS2 occupied while I sorted DS3. I agree with Jennifersofia, it will get easier especially when the insecurity and uncertainity has worn off and DD knows where she stands again. Until then use as many distraction toys and try to establish a bedtime routine. Good Luckand keep
Neen99 I be looking out for the posting and good luck with new DD/DS

kaz33 Tue 26-Aug-03 15:15:28

Ellasmum - I have a 2 year old and a 12 week old - I totally sympathise and I have hardly mastered the art of leaving the house let alone bedtime/bathtime.

Personally, I find it best to be flexible on bedtimes and baths - they don't both have to have a bath everynight.

Cheered to read that it does become easier - VERY SOON.

ellasmum Tue 26-Aug-03 18:51:47

Have managed to grab a joyous 10 minutes when DS is asleep and DD still out with DP.

Am cheered up by both posts that said it gets easier about 4/5 months - I had been expecting things to be bad for a year!!!

Even since I wrote my initial post a week ago things are getting easier. DS has really settled down between 5-6pm and seems to be crying less, although I did resort to Baby Mozart today which seemed to work a treat. He is also going down much quicker as his last feed is taking much less time.

Thanks for all the encouraging words - it is nice to know that there are many other frazzled Mums out there struggling through the last few hours of the day.

morsey Tue 26-Aug-03 19:06:45

Well, I've got a 19month age gap, and unlike everyone else, I have to say that both my babies were angels. Unfortunately, it did therefore NOT get better over time, but worse when DS (# 2) started walking! To start with DH and I did one each - bath and bed, but I got a sit-up bath chair as soon as he was sort-of sitting so they could play together. Now we take turns at doing both of them together. 5 - 7pm slot is the most nightmarish of the day as both try to argue the toss about bath / bed-time, and play us up something chronic, but they also usually enjoy playing in the bath and having story together. I think you just have to accept that that time of day can test your patience to the full!

runragged Tue 26-Aug-03 20:24:53

Hi everyone, I had an 18 month gap and whilst it was hard work (no denying it I suppose) it is a lovely age gap, now that they are 2 and 3.5 they play together and get up to all sorts (I wont even begin to tell you about the two of them a kitchen table and a tub of marg...!)

Firstly I didn't bath them every night, only when dh was around, secondly in the beginning I tried to give my attention to dd so she didn't feel left out, if she really needed me I left ds to cry, it doesn't do them any harm and I think it's important not to let the older one feel alone. When I was feeding I would try to get dd to sit with me a nd read a book, got her to help me change nappies etc.

It's true the first 4 months are the hardest, but once the youngest reaches a year you will reap[ the benefits!

jac34 Tue 26-Aug-03 20:37:38

I agree about the bathing,
I have twins now nearly 5, but if I had my time over again, I would not bath them as often as I did, your just making work for youself and geting more stressed.

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