2yo & 3 week old - tips for doing bedtime on my own(23 Posts)
As above really, DH starts back at work next Monday and not sure how to do it on my own.
DS2 seems to be cluster feeding from 6pm. DS1 usually has set routine of tea, bath, teeth, stories, milk, bed.
Any helpful advice appreciated
In fact tips on general survival would be great!
Ds was 2.10 when dd (now 6m) was born and we've done a lot of solo bedtimes.
What i do is tea and milk downstairs (important to move milk time IMO, lot less stress and better teeth are clean for bed), upstairs for 5 min play and choose story book while i run the bath, set out bed clothes/grobags/towels, turn groclock on and lights down.
Then teeth for both and clothes off toddler, then strip baby and leave for naked kick on towel, help toddler into bath, baby into bath (or in the early weeks just sit on the loo breastfeeding) for short time. Baby out, massaged and dressed and in bag. Toddler out, pjs on and into bed for story whilst bf baby.
Say night night to toddler, take baby out to finish bf and then put down for the night. Til about 4m baby just came down with me after DS was in bed.
For me it's all about that prep time and keeping it calm and quiet for Ds especially.
It gets easier!
Biggest survival tip I can give (I have an 11 month age gap) - have somewhere in every room, be it swings, bouncers, moses baskets that you can pop the baby down quickly and safely into if you need to stop the toddler trying to kill themselves in that way only toddlers can manage.
I have a 2.1 year old and a 13 week old. I do all bedtimes by myself as DP is useless.
I found it easier to baths during the day as the baby likes to cluster feed all evening, so I like to get bedtime for the toddler sorted as quickly as possible.
Have you got a sling? It's a life saver.
Get a bouncy chair if you haven't already. A vibrating one is good. You can take it with you from room to room and just plonk the baby into it.
If you can, make yourself Some lunch before the DC wake up or the night before so you can just grab it out of the fridge when you're hungry. During the early days I wouldn't get time to make myself food and found this really helpful.
Accepting the fact that you will need to let them cry sometimes. You can't do everything at once. The first couple pf times they were both crying at once was really stressful but you just need to take a deep breath and decide which issue is the priority.
I didn't worry about getting the baby to bed and would bring her back down with me so I didn't have to settle 2 at the same time. You can add getting baby settled to the routine once you've sorted the rest of it.
We would do all tea and drinks downstairs. Then up for bath. Run bath while getting baby undressed and lay baby on mat for a bit of naked time. Meanwhile toddler (2.5yo) was sent to select stories and get his teddies ready for bed etc. Toddler undressed and in bath then baby in bath. Toddler washed baby (he loved doing this, and DD seemed to enjoy it too even when he was a bit too splashy). Baby out after about 5 mins, in towel and then nappy and babygro on. Short feed for baby if a bit grizzly while chatting to splashing toddler. Baby on mat with something black and white to look at (it holds their attention - in our case DD loved staring at our alarm clock!) while I got DS out.
DS dressed. Pick up baby and hold toddlers hand, go through to bed. Stories, with breastfeed if needed though usually the quick one after bath held her off. Lights out. Downstairs. Breathe. Snuggle baby on sofa. Eat chocolate
Congrats on new baby! Don't worry - as a mum to more than one dc, you somehow find ways to deal with the seemingly impossible! My ds1 was 3.10yo when dd2 came along so it was probably a bit easier for me to manage bedtimes, but my principle that I mostly followed was that ds1 would remember this time, whereas dd2 would not. I don't mean that I left her to cry for ages and neglected the poor mite. But I did try to make sure that ds1 felt he got a bit of Mummy time and still had a story read to him and wasn't rushed into bed by a stressed out banshee of a mother. Sometimes that did mean that dd2 cried for a few minutes downstairs in her little chair while I brushed ds1's teeth and got him into bed. I had to control my welling up anxiety and stress levels and remind myself to 'keep smiling, I'll be down to soothe her in a minute'. I didn't always succeed and then felt guilty if I'd been stressed and snappy with him at bedtime. Once back downstairs with dd2 and she was settled, I'd feel able to give myself a mental pat on the back if I'd managed to make ds1's bedtime pleasant.
Do whatever you can in advance, and encourage ds1 to learn to do things for himself, like putting on pyjamas. Make it all as much of a game as possible, like sending him to fetch pyjamas "on a very important mission!" while you are feeding ds2. Or even get him into PJs early, before the evening baby feeding frenzy begins. We would cuddle on the sofa with cbeebies for the bedtime hour, and I'd read ds1 a story while feeding dd2. I would challenge ds1 to race dd2 with drinking his milk - never failed to speed him up!
With regard baths, does ds1 have to have a bath every day? Unless that is a part of his routine that he will be upset about not always having, I would reduce how often you give him a bath. Mine bath twice a week - ds1 gets additional baths if very mucky / been swimming - and I put them both in together. I dry dd2 on the bathroom floor first while ds1 is still in the water. You could always do an afternoon bath to make life easier. Whatever makes life easier is worth doing!
All the best - you'll be fine! We all muddle through somehow
Give DS1 tea while the baby feeds or is in pram
Don't give a bath every night - 2 or 3 times a week is fine.
Stories together downstairs (feeding baby or baby lying on mat)
Cross fingers that DS1 stays in bed.
Back to cluster feeding baby.
It does get easier - I didn't ever believe it would, but now DC2 is 10 months, it honestly is (and has been for a while apart from the occasional evening when it all goes tits up).
As your baby is so young, I'd just focus on doing things for your eldest and slotting the baby in.
Agree with above that baths are optional if its too much one night, just skip it.
DS1 has a routine of tea, upstairs playtime, bath, storytime, bed. DS2 is just starting a routine now (at 20 weeks) but it's very flexible (e.g. he doesn't really follow it very well :-)
When I did it with both, we had tea, did upstairs playtime with me with baby (put him on floor or on bouncer while we played or occassionally fed him on floor whilst talking with DS1 as he played) I skipped the bath, then DS1 picked stories, I read stories to DS1 with DS2 in bouncer.
Then had to pick the baby up as he had trapped wind and was upset, so read story with DS2 on my lap (not ideal) but got 2 stories read, kissed DS1 goodnight, then took DS2 downstairs with me and took him to bed with me later (quick top and tail for him later on).
I was scared the first night and had asked my sister to come and help, but she had to drop out last minute. However, it went way smoother than I thought it would and the fear of doing it alone was massively disproportionate to how easy it actually was - you'll be fine :-)
My DD1 was nearly 3 when dD2 arrived. DD2 now 7 months.
First few weeks very tough. First time you attempt bedtime alone is awful. It does get much easier in time (though I still hate the 5-7pm slot with a passion! I don't know many people who don't when they have a 3 year old and a baby).
Early days I would do:
- upstairs at 6, prepare bath (towel, mat, nappy, babygrow etc in bathroom)
- make sure you have one of those plastic bath supports for baby so you have your hands free
- put both kids in bath. Baby will probably cry until 3 months old!
- take baby out of bath get baby dried on matt, get baby ready for bed
- leave baby crying on matt (unfortunately) while I get DD1 out, dressed, teeth cleaned.
- take both into my bedroom, sit on bed and either put DD1 in front of cbeebies or I player while I bf the baby.
I figured it was all about survival especially in those early days so who cared if she watched tv before bed.
Nowadays that Dd2 is a bit older, the bath is more fun, and bedtime routine not quite as fraught. I usually now bottle feed dd2 while reading story to dd1.
Early weeks v tough it does get easier.
Agree with the posters who say don't bother bathing the baby every day- sometimes it's just less hassle not to. That being said I am a big fan of having th bath as part oft eh routine was cute that it's bedtime.
Think Miaowthecat's tip is a. Good one. We did that too.
I did most bedtimes solo for the first four months. I kept up dd1's routine and dd2 just had to fit in. There was crying but I just muddled through really. I bf so bf dd2 whenever appropriate so usually during dinner, after dinner, dd2 would have to wait while I did pj's and teeth (sometimes crying sometimes not) then I would snuggle up and read dd1 a story while bf. Dd1 would get into bed while dd2 would lay on the floor whilst I tucked her in then back to bf dd, putting dd2 down after dd1.
Routine is still the same at 7months though dp changed jobs so we just alternate nights now though I still bf dd2 to sleep. On bath nights I just did the same whilst bfing during bath I would wash hair straight away then dd could wash herself. I agree with miaow I always had somewhere where I could put dd2 down safely if needed.
It's not easy but you'll get through it and it will become easier. I agree that the 5-7 time slot is not my favourite even when DH is at home to help. There have been nights when I've been reduced to tears but there are also nights when I feel really proud of myself for managing it all with relatively few hitches!
DS is 2.9 and Dd nearly 17 weeks. He has food with dd in bouncing chair. DS then watches some telly while I bath dd, feed her and get her into bed. Then bath DS and have a hug with him while reading stories before he goes to sleep. I'm often having up dash back and forth between bedrooms if dd doesn't settle but have found a lovely green turtle thing that shines stars on ceiling and plays music and this seems to keep her occupied if she's not asleep.
I don't think this is the best routine and am trying to tweak it so that DS has less telly time but its working ish at the moment and saving my sanity most nights.
Thanks everyone you have made it seem very doable. I do quite like DS1 rountine at the mo so I think DS2 will just have to fit in and I'll feed as we go. DS1 has said he would like showers so maybe he could have a shower with me in the morning instead of bath in the evening.
I'm nervous about DH going back to work mainly because of the sleep deprivation - DS2 was awake every 1.5hrs last night. DH is dealing with DS1 today but I don't how I'll keep up the pace next week!
Also another quick question - when do you shower? Sounds daft but I have short hair that needs to be washed and dried every morning - is this possible with two?
The adjustment to 2 dc when you feel like you've just gotten the hang of one is hard going isn't it?!
If I'm honest there have been many days where dry shampoo is my friend! But the best days have always been the ones where I've managed to get myself showered before DH goes to work. I think it just makes me feel better about myself and more positive at the start of the day. It's not easy making myself get out of bed before little ones would be making me though. That's a little easier now that dd is nearly 17 weeks. I'm planning to make 6-7 my hour from next week- in that I'll be attempting to get up to exercise/ read/ sit and watch news and shower with the aim being that DH is in charge of little ones if they wake before 7. I'm going to have to get to bed earlier to cope with it I think bit I think, for me, it'll be worth it.
Maybe in the early weeks you can just shower whenever's there's a slight lull in the day or night. Baby can go in bouncing chair in bathroom and maybe dc1 can bring some toys in to play with? Not as relaxing as a shower in peace but maybe doable?
Weekends aside, I've always done the DC's bedtime on my own as DH is never home before they're in bed. And I hated it in the early weeks.
A PP gave the most important bit of advice...to have somewhere in every room to put baby down safely when you need to. Chances are he scream at you for it, but so long as he's safe that's all you need to worry about.
My bathtime/bedtime routine involved, giving DD a half feed before bath while running the bath. I'd then get DS in (who was 3.5 at the time) and pop DD down on the floor while I helped DS wash himself. Once I'd finshed washing him then I'd put DD in with him and he would just play while DD had a swish around. She didn't need much more than that. Bath time for my DD really calmed her down and chilled her out so while I agree with PP that you don't need to bath every night, I did because it helped chill her out. I would get DD out first and dry and dress her and then get DS out and dressed.
In those early weeks I could never get DD down first so I learnt to do DS's bedtime routine (milk, story, into bed) with DD on the boob . It was the only way I could read DS a story without DD screaming all the way through it! I'd also have to do it in quite a dim room so that DD was calmer (she did tend to scream a lot in the eveninngs!) Then DS was very good about just going to sleep after.
And then DD would cluster feed and eventually conk out at about 10ish. Miss those days. Not.
You really feel like you've turned a corner when you can get the baby down first...that's when some semblance of normality returns. It will get better.
I always dreaded DH going back to work after paternity leave too - but again it's never as bad as you think :-)
Re: showers, my DH goes to work at 8am, so I used to (still do) go for a shower at 7:30am so he was there to get DS2 if he went off (although this didn't happen). If I didn't manage to get a shower before he went to work (e.g. if I was feeding DS2) I would wait until DS2 went for a nap and have a shower then. Or, if I knew DS2 was pretty happy and could do without me for 5 minutes, I'd have a quick shower while he was in his cot babbling away (could never do this with DS1 as he was a needier baby, but DS2 is pretty content most of the time).
Oddly enough I found I showered much more regularly after having DS2 than I did immediately after having DS1 when I found things much more difficult to get done even though I only had one to look after then.
Unfortunately my DH usually leaves for work at 6.50 and my DS1 gets up at 6am. I just can't face getting up at Pre 6am for a wash, but maybe I'll have to!
Looks like family time in the bathroom while you're showering might be the way forward! Is 2 yr old happy to play on own in room while you shower? Or does 3 wk old nap happily in cot after feeding in morning?
depends on your baby - I did all bedtimes on my own as dh works late. I would feed baby, put somewhere safe, bath toddler, pick baby up again and read story whilst cluster feeding toddler.
we got into a fairly smooth routine, but baby was complient!
Also bear in mind however hard and chaotic it feels to you - the rest of the world is there thinking you're superwoman when you manage to get out of the house with two littlies and a small age gap!
Showers - I spent a lot of time working on getting mine to overlap naps as much as possible so I get a spot of time middle of the day where they're both asleep to do things like that, or dh brings the kids down on a morning and does nappies and dressing them while I jump in quickly. Granted I then have to re-dress them for back to front clothes that it looks like they've been wrestled into but still!
Righto bring on Monday (although the clocks going back may mean a 5am start - eeekk). I'll report back - thanks everyone x
ALWAYS stagger the clock changes roweeena, 15 mins a day from tomorrow am. Shift meal times and nap times too.
Trying to do the whole hour at once will knock you out for a week! Or maybe that's just what happens here.
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