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Two children, 21 months apart - tell me I will cope!

(44 Posts)
Natedogg Tue 05-Jan-16 20:33:13

Bit of background, we struggled to have our first and had to have IVF. 'Surprise' 2nd pregnancy, with awful HG. Ever since I found out I've been worried how I'll cope (even though if you'd asked me if I wanted a 2nd child I would have jumped at the chance, but am now thinking that might just have been down to thinking that it would never happen). I love my first DC (15 months now) but it's such hard work sometimes.

He's at nursery, I'm really well supported but yet I still feel a sense of dread about what the future holds. I feel like I was just getting my life back on track, working again, going out now and then etc. I just feel like I'm being so ungrateful!

I keep reading threads about how awful and difficult it is. Please tell me it'll be ok? I want to be able to enjoy my children, and not just 'cope' or get by.

Thank you and please be gentle!

marilynmonroe Tue 05-Jan-16 20:38:04

You will be fine! Imo it's the best way to do it. Mine are 20 months apart and my eldest was so Not bothered when I brought home a baby. We had no jealousy issues. Yes there are times when it's tricky and hard work but you have to keep thinking that the hard part will be done almost in one go.

Mine are 5 and 7 now and reaping the rewards!!

Just be super organised, go to loads of playgroups, make some good local friends who can help out ( my neighbour used to take my eldest for a couple of hours to help me out) and have a routine!!

Good luck you will be great!!

Haahooooo Tue 05-Jan-16 20:38:25

Congratulations thanks

It will be fine! Mine are 20 months apart. The first six months were tough and we did get some help, but it's very manageable now (age approx 3 and 1.5) and they really love playing together.

Top tips: getting help with bath and bedtime in the early months (my DH works long hours so wasn't able to help), and good child proofing so toddler can roam around a bit during feeding times. Also a certain amount of TV watching will help.. smile

sandgrown Tue 05-Jan-16 20:38:26

21 months between my two and as,adults they are so close. The older one was not old enough to be really jealous of the baby. Transport was solved by a great double buggy. It was hard work but they grew up together and were great company for each other.

OublietteBravo Tue 05-Jan-16 20:43:14


Mine are 19 months apart. They are now 11 and 9 and get on brilliantly. The first few months are difficult, but it gets easier. You'll be fine.

Artandco Tue 05-Jan-16 20:43:28

15 month gap here so the age your child is now. It was fine

Almost 5 years on and it's been wonderful. Mine had been best friends since second was born virtually.

grumpysquash2 Tue 05-Jan-16 20:46:54

I have 22 months between my eldest two. As PP have said, eldest didn't bat an eyelid at the arrival of the baby. Also he was still in a cotbed and I also kept his nursery place, since I was going back to work.....having said that, I used it most days as he was very settled and loved it there, plus it gave me some time with just the baby.
It got a bit harder a year later when I had a potty training child and a mobile baby, but it passed soon enough.

OP your life can be 'on track' with 2 DC with only a few more challenges than with one. [I had a 3rd DC, surely 'proof' that it's ok.....]

Congratulations smile

Natedogg Tue 05-Jan-16 20:49:29

Thank you, thank you! You're all so kind. Hearing these stories is making me feel so much more positive. I need to keep this thread on standby for whenever I feel that sense of foreboding!

FilthyRascal Tue 05-Jan-16 20:58:39

I've done 22 months and 2.11 years and they were both difficult in their own way - bottom line is, having an extra child is always going to bring in more challenges and it's unrealistic to imagine it won't. It also brings in lots more joy, even more than your first I think as you get to watch the developing relationship between the siblings too.

I had 3 under 5s for a while but I also wanted to enjoy my children - that was the crux for me or else why bother? For a long time I found 22 months the easier gap, ds still napped during the day and there was no real jealousy issues (still aren't tbh). Until ds was at least a year I found it absolutely fine - I find it slightly trickier now as ds2 is 20 months, so he is tantrummy and clumps his big brother if he feels like it, and ds1 hits back or gets frustrated and hits him! I have two toddlers basically and that is tough because when ds1 was this age dd was coming up 5 and so much more mature when it comes to conflict. BUT I wouldn't change it, the boys are as thick as thieves and ds2 idolises his big brother.

People do like to scaremonger and generally come out with things that are negative what ever you were doing so I wouldn't worry too much. I was terrified too though smile think it's pretty normal!
One piece of advice would be to start getting your ds used to playing by himself sometimes, being used to you being near but not interacting as much etc. and get his nap routine fine tuned as that lunch time nap will stand between you and insanity grin

Clayhead Tue 05-Jan-16 21:02:35

Mine are 20 months apart, 13 and 14 now. It's hard at first but you just learn how to do it all, gets progressively easier. Benefits include being into roughly the same things at the same time so we can do loads together in terms of days out/ films/holidays.

Second doc was a bit of a surprise to me too but so glad it happened that way now, wouldn't have it any other way smile

backinaminute Tue 05-Jan-16 21:04:28

I've got a 20 month gap. They are 3 and 4 now and it's awesome. They are great friends and whilst they may bicker sometimes they are a proper little team and lost without each other.

The early days are tricky but there are loads of positives of a small gap. Two in nappies is much easier than one potty training and a newborn. They both go in a double buggy and on days when they were unsettled I used to strap them in and just walk and all seemed ok.

Routine helped and my toddler went to bed at 7. Which meant I could sit and feed the baby in the evenings. I bathed them together (still do), they went to bed at the same time as soon as the little one was old enough.

I think within about 2 minutes my toddler had forgotten about never having had a brother. He was completely disinterested in the baby and not jealous at all.

It's scary but it's brilliant. Holidays and days are great now, they both love the same stuff - we can go to things like CBeebiesland and they are both blown away.

You might have to lessen your standards. I let loads slide that I didn't first time round but realise that it doesn't matter if they watch too much tv or iPad on a day when everyone is fractious if it makes everyone happy and life easier.

Also - a sling will be your friend, ds2 lived in his for about the first 6 months. I found that teaming up with other people with more than one child also massively reassuring.

MaisieDotes Tue 05-Jan-16 21:08:19

Lurking on this thread as DS is 16mo and I'm 37 weeks pregnant!

feeona123 Tue 05-Jan-16 21:29:06

Hey I'm 3 weeks in to a 20 month gap!

Baby is easy compared to first time around. He doesn't sleep much st night though which is hard!

Toddler has found the change quite hard but she's getting on a bit better now. She wouldn't come near me at first but is getting better now.

I'm keeping her in nursery which is great for me so I can get some rest with the baby!

I was dreading my first day looking after the 2 of them myself last week but it turned out to be fine and we had a great day


Natedogg Tue 05-Jan-16 21:36:17

Wow, this is so great. I can't tell you all what a boost it is to hear such positive stories!

I definitely need to let my 15 month old get used to playing on her own. DC1 tends to be quite clingy and cries / whines when i'm trying to get stuff done like make food etc. Any advice for dealing with that FilthyRascal? Would you just let them whine/cry (within reason?) I try and give toys that would entertain but she just grabs my leg and shouts 'UP' until I give in.

mrsmeerkat Tue 05-Jan-16 21:36:22

14 month gap here. I did struggle but I think it is better in the long run. I just cared for two babies really.

One nappy, two nappies - not much extra work

This is me finished now though. I would struggle greatly with three with the two being so small.

I returned to work full time when they were both 5 and a half months. Super organised. I cook several meals on a Sunday. Online shopped initially but go to aldi now to save money. We have a babysitter for the odd cinema trip.

DramaAlpaca Tue 05-Jan-16 21:39:39

I had a surprise 16 month gap and it turned out to be fine. It can't have been too bad as I went on to have DC3 a couple of years later. It helped that DC2 was a relatively easy baby. They grew up very close & are still good friends now as young adults.

PicnicPie Tue 05-Jan-16 21:47:47

19mo gap here. First year was very hard. Girls are now 1.5 and 3 and honestly it is so lovely now. Still have hard days but they follow the same routine so days out and naps and feeding are much easier.

You will find your own way.
Good luck and congratulations flowers

KatharinaRosalie Tue 05-Jan-16 21:50:29

2 years and a day - it's been way easier than I feared. Sure, toddler is challenging but they would be challenging whether you have a baby or not. Wrap/sling was a lifesaver so little one is happy while you run after the big one.

FilthyRascal Tue 05-Jan-16 21:59:10

Hmm.. Well none of my children have been great at it at all really, that's why I told you it was worth working on grin

I had some success with DS1 by doing a gradual retreat! So if he's whining I always acquiesce as otherwise he just gets worked up and he's clearly not in a place to be playing quietly anyway. I usually start by saying - right DS shall we play x or y? Once he's chosen i help him set it up and play for a bit with quite a bit of interaction and then I gradually start sitting back until I'm just in the same room. Then sometimes I can leave quietly and do something else, but even then I have to come in and out a few times under the pretence of fetching something without speaking to him so he knows I'm still there. It's a fine art grin I think it just gradually improved over time and he's much better now at getting on with it.
You could invest in some second hand bits and pieces that he likes too. I got some trains for his track and things and brought them out when I needed some peace as I knew he'd play for a while! My DS was (and still is!) a bit of a whirlwind though, anything he'd play that wasn't running around the garden I seized on with the kind of desperation only seen in someone who hasn't slept in 3 days!

WhispersOfWickedness Tue 05-Jan-16 22:07:24

20 months here too. I'm not going to lie, the first year was horrendous, but that was largely because DC2 was a serious Velcro baby, if she wasn't attached to me for the first 9 months, she was screaming, and DC1 was, er, 'busy' grin
However, they are 6 and 4 now and since the first year, the benefits have far outweighed the negatives.
These include:
Nappies done and dusted within 3.5 years
Dc1 was still having naps when I was in late pregnancy, so I got some lovely naps in too
Dc1 not at school/preschool, so no school runs with a newborn
Got all sleepless nights out of the way together, rather than getting used to having sleep and going back to sleepless nights again!
They have always played with the same age toys, so I've never had that stress of having to keep toys with smaller/unsuitable parts away from a little one. Have also needed less toys overall as we can get rid of them when outgrown by both, rather than having to store them for the next sibling.
DC1 barely noticed when DC2 was born and completely took it in his stride, he has no memory of her not being here.
They are incredibly close and miss each other a lot when they are apart. They get on very well with minimal bickering, despite being very different personalities
They are in consecutive years at school, which was very reassuring for me as DC2 is an August baby, and due to the small village school they attend, they are in the same class this year, so I knew her older brother was there to look after her blushsmile

Congratulations, it's going to be amazing grinthankscakechocolate

helloelo Tue 05-Jan-16 22:26:12

14wks into a future 17months gap (surprise after fertility issues).
Watching with interest.

OP, for the kitchen issue, look into a Montessori observation tower that would allow your toddler to see what you're cooking and participate.

Good luck!

Natedogg Wed 06-Jan-16 09:19:34

You ladies are the best. Thank you for the advice and good vibes!

DontBuyANewMumCashmere Wed 06-Jan-16 14:15:58

Gosh you are all awesome! I have a 13mo DD who is basically a dream baby, we've had our issues with sleep but she's a happy little soul so I can not complain. Keep thinking about when to try for no 2 (if we're lucky enough to get a no 2, I know you can't take it for granted) and I just cannot imagine doing everything I do now Whilst PREGNANT! shock shock

So I'm putting off thinking about it. Reading this thread is eye opening as a lot of you will have struggled with your first born whilst pregnant and then managed two tiny things. Hats off. <terrified emoticon>

MrsMarigold Wed 06-Jan-16 14:30:47

Mine are 15 months apart and now they are 3 and 4 it is brilliant - they are super close, but miss each other when not together. They play together make dens etc and support each other. I heard DS telling DD the other day: "On the first day of nursery you'll feel very unsure of it all, but I'm sure you will love it."

Pregnancy was fine and so was birth, afterwards it was tough but you are so busy you just get on with it.

NickyEds Wed 06-Jan-16 14:33:49

I have a 19 month gap between ds (just turned 2) and dd (almost 6 months)and it's actually quite nice well good days and bad days!. You get these ridiculous shock faces when you tell them the age gap but there really isn't a perfect gap. As pp have said ds has no jealousy issues at all. If anything he loves his baby sister too much! We went for a long walk today and he kept having to stop "helping" me push to kiss her-it was just about the sweetest thing I've ever seen!!

Logistics can be tricky. Stuff like going to the loo and changing them whilst out and about, bf etc but I remember it being like that when I had ds, everything felt hard until I got used to it.

My top tips;
- If you have nursery/family help, keep it. Ds hasn't been in nursery and we don't really have much family help(none during the day)- it would have been nice to have a bit of time with just dd. Ds starts a much needed-morning a week at pre school this week.
-Use the end of your pregnancy to get your dd's routine sorted. Ds will go to bed for naps and bedtime with just a quick kiss (naps) and story(bedtime) and this has been a godsend. If you can get her used to playing on her own then do.
-make friends at a toddler group. I went to one every week for nearly a year before dd was born and it's so helpful to have a few mums who will watch one whilst you change the other. It makes for an "easy" activity.
-Start buying cheap little charity shop/table top toys and books. I had a bag with loads of little things that I doled out to keep ds occupied whilst I fed dd and on long days in when I couldn't be bothered to do much.
-My Caboo sling and Phil and Teds buggy have been fantastic.
-Start recording Bing and Hey Dougee 's!!

Congratulations. you'll be fine.

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