First day alone with toddler and newborn(38 Posts)
Tomorrow will be my first full day alone with 3yo and almost 3wo dd's. DD2 is a voracious feeder. I have a sling but I haven't mastered the art of feeding in it yet. Any hints and tips as to how to survive!?
break the day into chunks of time so that you only have to get through breakfast, then until lunchtime, then you only have to get to teatime and then, finally, only so many hours until bedtime. It's easier than thinking, 'Only 9 hours until bedtime!'
freezer meals, ready meals and sandwiches for you and toddler
hot drinks in a flask so at least it'll stay warmer for longer
try to get out if poss so your toddler can have a run around (doesn't have to be anywhere great - a walk around the block might help)
TV/iPad/books/special toys for the toddler when you're feeding the baby - keep him/her occupied as long as possible so he/she's not climbing all over you
try to keep your toddler in their routine as much as you can but don't worry if things go tits up for a few days - a new routine will soon emerge
when both cry at the same time, go go the toddler first because they need to feel wanted and important - at least for the first few weeks anyway
drop your standards re the housework but try, if you can, to tidy up as you go so the house isn't a huge tip by the end of the day
try to get ready before your dh/dp leaves in the morning - that way, you're not still in your PJs by bedtime
keep the changing bags topped up and stocked by the door so that you can just grab it on the way out - makes getting out of the house take a bit less time
good luck - I'm sure you'll be fine. It's tiring but you'll soon settle into a routine and it'll be 2nd nature
Great tips, thanks. Especially like the idea of breaking the day into chunks of time.
Low expectations! Don't panic if you don't manage to wash and dress, a pj day never hurt anyone. If the house is a mess when dh gets home who cares, stuff can get done when toddler goes to bed.
Don't be hard on yourself it takes a while to find a routine that works.
I'd also suggest, if she's game, to get your 3yo helping by passing nappies, cream, wipes etc so that she feels involved rather than pushed out and it might give her something to concentrate on whilst you're focusing on the newborn's needs.
We had a baby doll for ds (he was only 17 months at the time) and he'd pay its back, give it a bottle, wipe its bum etc as I did with my baby.
Let us know how it goes! We're thinking of having another baby in a couple of years with this sort of age gap but I do worry about how challenging it'll be. I like the suggestion of getting toddler to help
Dd1 is loving being a big sister and wants to be very involved. Sometimes she can be a bit too helpful and enthusiastic!
If you haven't already then make sambos for lunch and start thinking about supper if you are in charge of that.
If your 3yo needs help on the loo then pee everytime she does.
This is what I figured out (I had an only-just 2-year-old and a newborn in a totally new area, and it wasn't easy!)
1. Get out every morning that you possibly can. Whether to the park or to a group, or even to the supermarket or wherever (if the latter, have an exit strategy and remember not to care if you have to abandon the trolley and just get out of there). It'll give you something to do and break the day up, but it will also tire out the toddler for the afternoon.
2. If your toddler naps - brilliant, that's the afternoon half taken care of. If not, a DVD is a brilliant thing. If you've had a morning out, you won't feel guilty to let them watch an hour and a half or so of CBeebies while you feed the baby/try to lie down/make a cup of tea.
3. This is slightly a repeat of 2, but DO NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT THE TELEVISION. This is a hard one. I spent ages baking banana bread and doing painting with my two-year-old to try to show her I still loved her. It always ended with one of us crying and it hardly ever worked. We all need down time in the day and that includes your older child, and if she gets some rest at some point she'll be better for the whole day. This is time for you to all recharge your batteries and if it's the TV or the iPad that does that, that is no problem whatsoever.
4. Lower your expectations in all ways - a messy house and a ready meal never killed anybody. It doesn't matter at all. Just focus on feeding the baby and playing with your older child in the odd moment you get when you are both feeling okay about it.
5. Accept help.
6. If you don't already have them, finding friends with two little ones is a must. I stalked the groups in our local area until something worked out. It can sometimes feel like friends with one child understand even less than friends with none. This will totally pass, but in the early days it's amazing to have other friends who'll say 'this is completely crazy'.
7. ENJOY! This might sound like it's going to be totally negative. It isn't at all - sibling love is the most beautiful thing to watch, and having two children has been the most amazing joy to us. But the early days were hard until I lowered my expectations, relaxed about the telly, and realised that there'd be time for arts and crafts and creative activities and all that later on. The key to the early days is survival - look after yourself as much as you can.
Have some idea about what you're going to do with DD1 if DD2 starts on a monster cluster feed. Like a little bag of books, toys, whatever that is the special 'feeding bag'. All things DD1 can do pretty much on her own while you don't have many hands free.
Hint: NOT jigsaw. Here's my experience: 'No, sweetie, it's that piece. No, the blue one. No, no - that one - that's right - no no no, back a bit. Near your left foot. Other left. Foot, not hand. OK now it IS by your hand. Other hand. Got it! Excellent! Right, now try that - turn it, turn it, turn it....No, OK, right I can see that...OK maybe it's not that bit...Peppa Pig darling? Shall we watch Peppa Pig?'
CBeebies is your friend - have absolutely no guilt about the tv until your youngest is more manageable (eg. good napping routine/ will sit in a bouncy chair)
Agree with splitting the day into chunks so that you can reward yourself with cake when you get to lunchtime!
Have some small snacks for your old child so that they have something to do while you are feeding the baby (e.g pack of raisins/ breadsticks/ mini cheddars - something that takes time to eat but that is not too messy and they can manage themselves)
Try to get out & about a bit - seems daunting at first but even a simple walk to the swings will help. Baby in the buggy can (hopefully) nap and your toddler gets some fresh air.
Good luck! It really gets easier as you go on & soon you'll find it a doddle!!
Hope it's going OK, OP!
I survived an 18m old and a newborn with no family to help - looking back I'm not sure how but one way or another you will get through it!
Good advice given above. I found that a walk to the park after feeding the baby meant that baby would sleep in the pram by the time we got there allowing me to play with DS1 for a bit in the sunshine!
As long as everyone is fed and watered, the rest is a bonus. DS1 ate more than his fair share of beans on toast and watched more TV than I would have liked for the first few months but he survived...and so did I!
I had a fifteen month gap between my first two - so as thejoysofboys says, I can't really remember how it worked - but it must have done because we have four of the little
buggers cherubs now!
I would second lowering standards, and just doing what you can to get through....I used to have a bag of 'special' toys which only came out when I was feeding so that DS had his 'new' toys when the baby was feeding. And I think he watched FAR too much CBeebies - but as he passed his 11+ with flying colours this year, I don't think it did him too much harm .
Hope it's going ok - you're already half way through the day!!
Ah yes, the feeding bag of tricks! I totally and utterly agree with the person who said NOT jigsaw puzzles! I had sticker books, one of those Melissa and Doug magnetic mazes (no pieces to get lost), a Melissa and Doug fishing rod thing she could do by herself, etc.
The thing I found most difficult about having two was the fact that I'd never really let my first cry. With two that is impossible. Sometimes you will have to pick one you are going to help and the other one will have to be ignored for the minute (it will feel like hours!) it takes to sort the first one out. I found that hugely stressful. The baby often needed me the most but the toddler knew I hadn't chosen her and had needs in other ways. It was such a short stage it actually didn't matter at all in the long run, and I needn't have worried.
But my advice on that score is that your three-year-old is capable of more emotional maturity than you thought possible. He/she will do ridiculous things all the time - RIDICULOUS things that will make you tear your hair out. But my DD1 just turned four, and because we tasked her with helping to cheer the baby up by singing to her or sharing her toys, and so on, and because we taught her that sometimes the baby/now almost-two-year-old will throw her food or temper tantrum or snatch toys but it's only because she doesn't know (and that it's the bigger one's job to show her what to do), she has been so understanding it's not true. i also found it important to let her be the baby sometimes. Sometimes it's great to be the big girl helping the little one grow up. Other times you just want your mum to cuddle you and only you, and that's okay xxx
I had a 15 month gap too , two boys. now 5 and 6. I can't remember either, like Panicmode1, except that it was the hardest and worst period ever, I lived in a foreign country wth no help, no rellies, small2 bed flat arghhhh....
Basically before no.2 popped out I sent the 15 month old to fulltime nursery ( private) and it saved my sanity. I also returned to work after 4 months materinity and sent the new baby to Nursery too.
I hated staying at home with them, that small, and you just have to do whats right for you.
Now its a breeze they are fun to be with and I look back and laugh !!!
I remember this phase well, I have an 18 month gap between my two. Remember the baby phase with the first did not last forever, although whilst it was happening it felt like it would? This one too will pass so savour the best bits, for there are many, and weather the most trying bits like a storm.
I found keeping the mood light for DC1 by singing nursery rhymes helped both me and her. Don't stress about a messy house, don't let anyone come round who you feel you have to tidy up for. Spend time outside of the house. Accept help. Accept only the advice that feels right for you.
Having been there I can offer the following ray of hope. Having 2 children at similar ages makes it so much easier, as they play well together. When we go on holiday or out to a park, or even just in the back garden or living room, they are best friends with similar interests and ages, and now I am really glad I had them close together.
Thanks for the advice all. Ita really helpful. It's all going ok so far. Everyone is clean, fed and watered. We've played, read and been out for a walk/scoot. The living room looks like an explosion in a toy factory but hey ho. Dd1 now watching a bit of cbeebies while I feed dd2. She's watched a lot of TV recently after I had a hideous pregnancy and went 11days over but she doesn't nap anymore so we both need some quiet time!
Swancourt I agree re the crying, I find it stressful too. Dd1 was hardly ever left to cry but sometimes dd2 has had too and I hate it. I am trying to attend to dd1 first where I can and using the sling more today has helped with managing two.
Reading with interest as I'm due mid September when DD will be 3.9.
She'll be term time morning nursery most days though so I'm hoping this will give me some breathing space.
Tip (1) - have very low expectations
Tip (2) - see if you can get out of the house even if just to walk round the block for 15 mins
Tip (3) - TV is fine. My dd watched a lot while my ds was very little. It doesn't hurt and it won't be like that forever and it won't set a pattern you can never break out of ever.
Try to do whatever makes it easier and most relaxed. The more stressed you are the more wound up the kids will be - they are emotions-sponges!
Remember it won't be like it is now forever. In a few short weeks your little one will probably settle into a bit of a morning nap - afternoon nap routine and you'll get a bit more sense of order to the chaos.
While the chaos reigns, just roll with it.
Can you set things up to help DC1 be independent? Cups, plates etc in easy reach? DD was 2.7 and, if she wanted a drink, I could send her into the kitchen to get a beaker and the carton of milk and bring them to me so I could pour the milk. She was fully toilet trained but we got the potty out again and had it in the sitting room so she could go there is need be.
If your DC is getting a bit lively but you can't go out, get her to do circuits... hop ten times by the TV, ten star jumps by the window etc. If you pretend to time all of this, you can then get them to do it again & see if they can beat their time.
Final one - your eldest may not hate your little one, so don't assume that! Mine certainly didn't - she was very fond of him and would never have hit him or anything. The kind gentle way she was with him brings tears to my eyes when I look back at videos
now that these days they are roundabout the same size as he is such a giant, and they are often wrestling each other!
My two are a little pair who love each other so much - don't worry too much about your eldest - its a gift for her as well as something she will have to adapt to.
Glad to hear it's going OK!
My top tips would be shower before your partner leaves for work. And if the toddler still naps, take the baby to bed with you at the same time every day. After a while the baby will take the hint and hey presto you have coordinated nap time
Oh and if the toddler is eating and you think the baby might even vaguely be hungry then consider offering the baby a feed too.
It all gets easier once you get your head around the fact that the baby will have to cry for a few minutes sometimes.
Clean, fed, not dead was my mantra
This will be me next Monday so I am going to print this thread and keep it on the fridge!
Hope your first day is going well op.
and a hot for you
Just on the "which child to attend to first?" point ... I did the opposite of what I think many people do and attended to the baby first, unless my eldest's needs were very very urgent.
It felt like the right thing to do for me - I think my eldest understood that baby DS was very tiny and needed someone to help him quickly and that she was a bit older and she could wait a bit. She was quite maternal towards him herself though. Not sure if I would have taken the same approach otherwise.
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