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Caring for 2 children under 2

(40 Posts)
user1473193597 Wed 09-Nov-16 22:20:41

I'm expecting my second baby soon and DS will be 20 months when she is born. DS currently goes to nursery 3 mornings a week. Now I'm really worried about how I'm going to cope looking after both of them, especially because I intend to exclusively breastfeed for at least 6 months like I did with DS and I have no clue how I am going to do that while entertaining a toddler. So I suggested to DH that we extend my son's nursery hours to 3 FULL days in order to have more one-on-one time with the baby. My husband is not dead against it but he feels a bit funny about leaving DS in someone else's care for extended hours while I'm at home full time. But I think it will be really challenging to look after them both at the same time. I still remember how hard the first months were with my son and how sleep deprived I was and how much time I spent breastfeeding and holding/carrying him around. And I'm worried about the drop off and pick up with both babies which I have to do by train/pram because we only have one car and DH takes it to work. I find the thought of it really stressful especially if by the time I get home I only have 2 hours until I need to get ready to pick DS up again - thus my suggestion to extend it to full days. Perhaps I should also mention that my husband travels for work a fair amount and that I have little to no help from family. Am I being overly worried/dramatic?? Perhaps I'm a bit "spoilt" because in my home country it's normal for all children to be in full time childcare from 12 months which is paid for by the government, so that's how my siblings and partners are doing it - so if you have a second baby, you not only get decent maternity pay for a year but your older one can stay in full time childcare for free (or almost free). Anyway, I'd be grateful if you could share your experiences of looking after 2 little ones and whether you had any help / childcare.

AmberEars Wed 09-Nov-16 22:24:14

My DS1 was 22 months when DD was born. I was a SAHM and DH worked long hours, and DS1 wasn't in any form of childcare until he was nearly 3. It was fine - you just get on with it to be honest!

I'm not saying you're wrong though, whatever works for you is fine. Three full days seems like a lot though. I'd say your second is much easier than your first as you spend less time worrying!

ghostspirit Wed 09-Nov-16 22:29:41

There are 13 months between my 2 youngest.the youngest is now 6 months. I have bread fed for 6 months. About a week a go I started mix feeding with breast and formula. They are not at nursery though so I have not had to worry. But I have older ones at school. My now 19 month old has always been pretty chilled he's very easy to look after. I guess it depends on the child really. I'm sure you will be fine though op

ghostspirit Wed 09-Nov-16 22:33:41

I meant breast fed not bread fed blush

FusionChefGeoff Wed 09-Nov-16 22:34:34

How about a compromise of 2 full days? I agree a half day is very difficult to work around with 2 especially on public transport. My DS carried on 2 full days in nursery the whole way through my mat leave and personally I felt the balance was just right. You can maybe drop him off a bit later and pick up after tea so it's not such a long day if you'd like some extra time with him.

DS also discovered CBeebies after DD was born! I'd mostly avoided TV but when trying to breastfeed, it's a lifesaver and some of the programmes are pretty educational, honestly! Once you get more established with feeding you can do a lot of playing 1 handed especially sat at the table - play doh, colouring, jigsaws etc

DD was also a very chilled baby as I think she loved watching everything DS was doing so she didn't need as much attention from me. You can also start to encourage the older one to help out - particularly passing things which you forgot to get before you sat down. They understand so much more than we give them credit for and love helping.

And you can always change your mind! Or start at 3 days until 2/3 months then drop to 2 or 1.5 if you miss him!

Shadowridge Wed 09-Nov-16 22:41:18

I comforted myself in the fact that millions of mums have/ are currently caring for 2 or more small children- it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the thought but the reality is it is just life for millions of people. Personally i would put the nursery money to a second car while you are on mat leave so you don't feel isolated - half days with a big journey on public transport is almost more hassle than it is worth imo.

Thundercake Wed 09-Nov-16 22:54:04

I'm currently EBF a 5 month old and have a just gone 2yr old. Full time SAHM with no nursery, childcare or family support. It's totally fine. Second baby is much much easier because you know what you're doing. Second baby just can't get the same undivided input that first baby gets but that's the same the world over. You get good at juggling everyone's needs, you'll be exhausted and your house will be a mess for a while but you'll figure it out.

Not sure how the nursery works but could you pay for 3 full days but collect him whoever you want? That would take away the pressure of getting somewhere on time. Getting anywhere on time is very hard with two little kids.

You can do a few simple things to make life easier in the first few months, shower at night so you don't have that added stress in the morning, lay out the breakfast stuff (sounds minor but helped me), I'm quite strict about telly but I've relaxed on that because it keeps DS still while I'm putting DD down for a nap,

Good luck and congrats! You'll be great smile

ODog Thu 10-Nov-16 07:06:34

I have a 23m gap and an ebf my 6mo with no child care at all for my toddler. People keep asking me why I don't put him in pre-school or nursery but honestly I like having him at home, we do lots of stuff so I don't feel he needs it yet and the thought of having to get up and out to do school runs in the cold and dark does not appeal.

My first was a very high needs baby so I was a little worried but it all works itself out. Do what works for you but if you don't want your toddler in nursery a lot you will cope.

NickyEds Thu 10-Nov-16 08:25:59

How far on are you? Do you think increasing to full days close to the birth might make your son feel a bit pushed out? If you have time and nursery are agreeable can you increase to one full day+ 2 half days then to two full days and leave it at that? How far/difficult is the journey?

Ds was 19 months when dd was born and I'm a SAHM so ds wasn't in child care at all for the first 6 months (when he started 3 hours a week pre school)and whilst it was tough it wasn't nearly as hard as I'd imagined it would be. I had an easy birth though which really helped- my friend had a section with her second struggled more.

Something the bear in mind is how you might miss ds1. I didn't even consider it really but, after doing everything for and with ds for 19 months I missed him when dp was on paternity leave!

I don't drive either and I think half days couod be tricky depending on the journey but we also found keeping everything as normal as possible for ds really helped too.

Scotinoz Thu 10-Nov-16 09:08:54

I had 17mths between mine, breastfed the youngest, neither of them slept well, had no childcare, lived overseas with no family, had a husband who was put the house 12hrs a day etc. Hand on heart, it's fine. You'll cope, after about 6 weeks you'll wonder what you worried about, you'll find time to do all the stuff that needs done etc.

Yes, you'll likely be tired, drink a lot of coffee, mainline choccy biscuits and feel a totally liability some days, but be totally fine 😊

Scotinoz Thu 10-Nov-16 09:11:15

Forgot to say. Be organised, have a routine, don't stress about carting the baby to all the toddler stuff, be okay with lowering your standards a bit (TV, beige dinners, slack housework)'s what helped me anyway.

Afreshstartplease Thu 10-Nov-16 09:14:00

With two under two your new mantra just needs to be

Everyone fed, no one dead

Artandco Thu 10-Nov-16 09:17:20

15 month gap here. I found it easier with no nursery TBH as then if we had a late night we didn't have to rush to be up and out in the morning and kids could sleep or breakfast in pjs. After lunch they napped until 4 years so afternoon nursery a waste. Also if I wanted I had no restrictions and could just pile kids on train, in car or on plane and we were free to travel like where and when we liked before restricted by school.
Both started nursery at 3 1/2-4 years and those few months before school with just 3 hrs at nursery were a pain in the arse. Rushing about early, rushing back to collect.

KondosSecretJunkRoom Thu 10-Nov-16 09:20:46

Is your ds1 staying at a nursery to hold the place while you are on maternity leave or are you able to consider using different childcare arrangements?

VanellopeVonSchweetz99 Thu 10-Nov-16 09:22:15

24 months gap here. I struggled. More childcare for the older one (he had already started nursery at 1) was our solution, and DH went down to working 80%. Oh, and we started living on tesco ready meals. Cooking really had to go.
You'll be fine though. Congratulations!

golfmonkey Thu 10-Nov-16 12:47:00

I have a 16 month gap, youngest 7 months now. I have no idea how I'd cope without 3 full childcare days, it's probably because my dc2 is a terrible (and I mean, REALLY terrible) sleeper, but I say if you can afford it, do it. Dc1 will have all the fun and stimulation you can't give them (and you still have them 4 days a week), and dc2 can have a bit of attention. Guess it depends how easy you find it to look after a toddler, but I think it's really hard!! I have a lot of admiration for SAHMs. ....Honestly think it's the most difficult job in the world.

greenlizard Thu 10-Nov-16 17:30:42

I have a 19 month old and a 3 week old. I am.keeping my toddler in nursery full time for 6 weeks whilst the little one gets into a feeding/sleeping routine then will take him.down to 3 days a week. I can't imagine looking after both full time on little sleep!

user1473193597 Thu 10-Nov-16 19:07:11

Thanks for all the comments and encouragement. That's really helpful!

NickyEds, I'm almost 37 weeks. Funny enough, I just had a chat with the nursery today and we agreed to increase to 1 full day and 2 half days starting next week, just to see how DS does. He seems to really enjoy nursery and I feel like they stimulate him so much more than I ever could at home. I think we'll just have to play it by ear a bit depending on how he reacts to all the changes. The journey takes about 30-35 min door to door, but the more annoying thing is that the train only runs 3 times an hour..

Afreshstart, LOL! I already feel like that's my mantra now being so far along in pregnancy and feeling shitty and tired all the time.

Kondos, we had a nanny in the past to look after little one, while I was working part time but then switched him to nursery because I wanted him to be with other children more. And he took to it really well. Also, I work from home (self employed) so prefer to have childcare outside of the home.. Anyways, I might consider a nanny again for the baby, once I feel ready to work again. Would probably prefer a nanny for the baby rather than nursery, but can't afford nanny AND nursery for DS, so will have to make a decision.

I think the bottom line is that I'll have to play it by ear a bit when the baby arrives, depending on what kind of baby she is and how DS reacts, as well as how I feel physically and emotionally. It's never easy, is it.. :-)

Chattycat78 Thu 10-Nov-16 19:10:36

17 month gap here. My youngest is 5 months now. Ds1 is in nursery 2 days a week and it's been an invaluable break. I can't imagine having them both full time to be honest- it's so so full on on the days I have them both. I'm also breastfeeding and tbh a lot of peppa pig is being watched- whatever it takes to get through! Standards have defenitely dropped. Get a cleaner too if you can. And a sling. I barely used one last time but it's been a godsend. Baby comes to all the toddler groups in the sling.

chloechloe Thu 10-Nov-16 19:40:15

Similar situation here - will have 21m gap when DD2 arrives next month. DD1 is already at nursery 5 days from 8-4 as I work part-time but every day. I haven't given notice to change her hours so far, thinking I'll probably drop her off half an hour later and collect her a bit earlier. I'll likely be having a CS so think it will help if I can concentrate on the baby. DD1 was a terrible napper and had 5 x 30min naps a day. Having to do the same with a toddler would be a nightmare! And DD1 loves nursery and has settled in well so I think she'll get more enjoyment there than being at home feeling put out of place by a new sister.

With the travelling time you have I would definitely think about changing to full days as otherwise it might be more stress than it's worth!

MyBreadIsEggy Thu 10-Nov-16 19:52:45

I have a 17 month gap.
DD has just turned 18 months and DS will be 4 weeks old on Tuesday. I won't lie....its bloody hard. Especially with trying to get breastfeeding established and keep DD entertained, but as others have said up thread, CBeebies had become one of my greatest allies in recent weeks blush It keeps DD's attention for a while. The biggest struggle I've found so far is getting myself and both babies washed and dressed in the mornings!! It's a nightmare because DS is not a fan of being put down in a crib so I can get DD sorted, and DD is not a fan of being told she can't pick her brother up when I'm trying to get dressed hmm results in a turbo tantrum every time!

blinkineckmum Thu 10-Nov-16 20:30:48

I had 2 under 2. To be honest, a big reason I wanted them close together was to spend time with them while they were little so I didn't consider childcare for the older one while on mat leave. I loved having them both at home. However, after 7 months the older one started asking to go to nursery so we tried it out for a bit. It was lovely to get the little one to myself 2 mornings a week. Whatever works for you is right, but 2 under 2 was not as hard as I thought it would be.

blinkineckmum Thu 10-Nov-16 20:33:41

I used to put the little one in the bathroom with me while showering and get the bigger one to play in another room. Also, I hated that mantra 'everyone fed, no-one dead' as my bigger one was a rubbish eater so if he refused a meal then I'd feel awful.

Chattycat78 Thu 10-Nov-16 21:00:01

My tip for the morning would be to try to be showered and up before dh goes to work so you do not have to try to get ready whilst looking after them both alone!

MyBreadIsEggy Fri 11-Nov-16 08:54:22

Chattycat that's my aim for when DH goes back to work on Monday!!

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