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Poll - Help! What do you do with a baby and a toddler?

(33 Posts)
Beartime Thu 12-Jul-07 21:35:50

OK I'm going spare and at risk of suffering from postnatal depression trying to figure out what to do with my 2 wk old dd and 20mth old ds. Especially when they are both crying at the same time! But then it occurred to me that lots of people do it - so can you tell me your answers to the following to give me some ideas pleeese? Even if you only answer one it will help!

What do you do with your toddler when you are:

bfing your baby
putting baby down for a nap (upstairs)
giving baby a bath

What do you do with your baby when your toddler is:

having a bath
needing help to go potty
eating a meal and needing supervision
being put down for a nap/bed
having some 'mummy time'

What do you do with both when you are:

doing the housework
making dinner/lunch
clearing up after meals
doing deskwork

It just seems like i am constantly putting ds in the playpen while I deal with dd, and he starts crying, or dd in the cot while i deal with ds and she starts crying!

Thank you in advance

mummypigoink Thu 12-Jul-07 21:44:11

bfing your baby ~ hug toddles and read a book
putting baby down for a nap (upstairs) ~ only get baby to sleep in pram or car
giving baby a bath ~ put toddler in too (although 2 weeks is maybe a bit small)

having a bath ~ put baby in bath
needing help to go potty ~ lye baby on change mat on floor/ leave in pull ups for a few more weeks
eating a meal and needing supervision ~ baby swing
being put down for a nap/bed ~ pram car thing again
having some 'mummy time' ~ pray that they stay asleep

What do you do with both when you are:

doing the housework ~ don't bother unless environmental health are threatening to shut you down
making dinner/lunch ~ try to make as much as possible in advance
clearing up after meals ~ it'll still be there when they are both asleep
doing deskwork ~ sorry, no clue

I know that was a bit faecetous (sp), but, firstly, give yourself a break and a pat on the back ~ it's really hard with two such small ones. do what you can, when you can and it will all fall into place!! There's 19 months between my two, and by the time dd2 was about 4 weeks I was coping much better than I did when dd1 was a baby.

Big Hugs

funnypeevesculiar Thu 12-Jul-07 21:45:19

What do you do with your toddler when you are:

bfing your baby
He either sat next to me & read books, or I found a great toy just before he sat down. I also organised it so that I fed both of them at the same time a LOT!
putting baby down for a nap (upstairs)
Um, left him downstairs to play (stairgates in place)
giving baby a bath
He helped - it was an important bonding time for mine - he would hold the sponge & squeeze it over her!

What do you do with your baby when your toddler is:

having a bath
She kicked on towel next to bath, so both could be looked after at once - I fixed hanging toys to bathroom cabinets
needing help to go potty
delayed potty training
eating a meal and needing supervision
Sat baby on my knee/bf baby (see above)
being put down for a nap/bed
Both read books together - ie she came up too
having some 'mummy time'
Humm, this happened when baby was asleep - I made sure that whenever she slept I focused on ds rather than points below...

What do you do with both when you are:

doing the housework
making dinner/lunch
clearing up after meals
doing deskwork

Um, did as little of this as possible - much of it after they both went to sleep. I am NOT houseproud, thank god!

Two things that helped me a lot:
1.get together a box of little, interesting toys for your toddler - when there is an 'emergancy' that needs you to attend to baby urgently, produce exciting new toy. I briefed parents & in laws to look out for stuff - they also wrapped them up so he had multiple little presents.
2. Someone told me to exploit toddlers natural curiosity - they may not LOVE the baby, but they will find it wierd. For eg Ds was amazed my dd's yellow poo - so every nappy change was an exciting event for him - "wow, lets see if theres a BIG yellow poo, ds" - sure it helped things go more smoothly

Good luck - ot DOES get easier


Pannacotta Thu 12-Jul-07 21:50:25

It IS hard but please dont try and do any housework or "deskwork", do the bare miminum you can get away with.
Second the suggestion about baby napping, I only put DS2 to sleep in his pram downstairs.
My DH had two weeks paternity leave so I had help for the fist two weeks. Do you have a DH/DP? If so let him help as much as poss, esp at bath and bed time.
DS2 is now 8 weeks and it is getting easier already. Try to get any help you can from family/friends/neighbours.
I didnt even bath DS2 for 2 weeks (just washed him on his change mat).
Cleaning only gets done once a week when the cleaner comes (apart from washing up and emptying bins). Have had to lower my standards. Suggest you try and do the same if you can or you'll go mad

zookeeper Thu 12-Jul-07 21:51:42

just wnated to say it is very early days and it will get easier. Sleep whenever you can

sweetkitty Thu 12-Jul-07 21:52:37

let me think what I used to do mine are 18 months apart

bfing your baby - book and drink of juice for toddler also cbeebies sorry but it was a godsend
putting baby down for a nap (upstairs) - babyproof entire lounge and leave toddler there for a few minutes
giving baby a bath - bath 2 together, babies don't need bathed every day, won't hurt them to be bathed every other day

What do you do with your baby when your toddler is:

having a bath - again bath together or have baby in swing watching they enjoy it
needing help to go potty - lie baby under playgym
eating a meal and needing supervision - baby swing or playgym
being put down for a nap/bed - again baby swing or play gym
having some 'mummy time' - hopefully sleeping

What do you do with both when you are:

doing the housework - lower standard do it when babies sleeping, toddler has some tv time, only time tv is on gives me half an hour to whizz round
making dinner/lunch - both playing in lounge
clearing up after meals - the same
doing deskwork - wait til their in bed

sounds like baby was in the swing a lot but she wasn't, I had a travel cot in the lounge that I would use to keep the baby safe whilst I did things I needed to do, bouncy chair also good they like to look at big sister playing away

I think it's hard the first 3 months but then it gets a lot easier, you'll be fine.

Pannacotta Thu 12-Jul-07 21:52:40

QUite right, sleep much more important for mental health/sanity than a clean house!!!

TheWiltedRose Thu 12-Jul-07 21:54:41

when im bathing my baby i either put my toddler in his room with a snack and drink or let him help me bath the baby "honey. can u pass mummy the shampoo?"

i put my baby in his walker/chair whilst im bathin my toddler or if he is on potty/eating/going to sleep and having some mummy time

and when i want to do something i put babby in playpen/walker/chair with a bottle and put toddler in highchair/playpen/room and then get them both out when im done!

Hope this helps as i have a 2.5 yr old ad a 10 month old and have been there!

sweetkitty Thu 12-Jul-07 21:58:59

I know it's not easy in this weather but I found last year getting DD1 outside as much as possible was great and putting DD2 in the pram watching her antics. She would often fall asleep too.

Couldn't have been too bad I'm having another one

divastrop Thu 12-Jul-07 22:09:32

in answer to the op-baby in bouncy chair,toddler in playpen/cot,learn to ignore crying and whinging

when im doing the housework i put music on,the lo's love it.and dd2 gets to watch her big sister's futurama dvds when the baby is being fed.she thinks its great

dd2 is 19 months and has her meals in her highchair,i just let her get on with it.

it gets easier,honestly.there was 11 months between my first 2,and theres 15 months between my last 2,and i did feel like i was going insane for the first 6 weeks but its all fine now dd2 has got used to her little sister.

SpawnChorus Thu 12-Jul-07 22:10:45

bfing your baby - read to toddler / turn telly on / have a 'goody bag' of little wrapped up things (cheap plastic tat, ballons, choc buttons etc) and let toddler unwrap one

putting baby down for a nap (upstairs) - turn telly on

giving baby a bath - bathe toddler at same time

What do you do with your baby when your toddler is:

having a bath - bathe baby at same time

needing help to go potty - have baby in a sling/baby carrier

eating a meal and needing supervision - hold baby on lap / leave baby in moses basket nearby

being put down for a nap/bed - Now THAT is the tricky one in our house!! I've managed it with baby in a sling when younger.

having some 'mummy time' - baby is sleeping

What do you do with both when you are:

doing the housework - farking nightmare. Leave til baby is sleeping at try to get toddler to 'help' (this is in my dreams....). Nowadays DH and I have a rota. One of us does half an hour of cleaning first thing in the morning (before breakfast) while the other looks after the children (who are sometimes still sleeping).

making dinner/lunch - meals are restricted to those that can be made in 30 mins. With a toddler and a baby attached to each ankle.

clearing up after meals - baby and toddler both left in highchairs for the majority of cleaning up.

doing deskwork - do you mean paperwork? Gets done at random times when both baby and toddler are napping and I'm Feeling Strong.

bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 12-Jul-07 22:22:02

I feel for you beartime as last year i was in same position with same age gap btwn children.

As far as bf'ing (and dd nearly constantly bf'd ) I entertained ds with a book or cbeebies

I never bothered putting dd for a nap upstairs as we co-slept anyway I either had her in sling or moses basket or bouncy chair (do not leave toddler alone with baby in bouncy chair though even for second...) or in the buggy - lots of long walsks with double buggy helped.

didn't bath dd every day and tended to wait till after ds was in bed (strict bedtime for ds also a life saver).

ds was bathed by dh alot to begin with then as soon as dd was more robust and close to sitting unaided we bathed them together - which they enjoy still.

potty training i left till this year but ds is there now and I was pretty relaxed about it anyway.

ds was in a routine of napping in buggy after morning walk - dd fell into that routine as well and so a one point they were both sleeping together in double buggy (often outside as it was summer) for up to 2 hours which was blissful

mealtimes at bit chaotic but strapped dd to me in sling and let ds get on with it - he could fed himself ok and I did a lot of batch cooking.

Got mum in to help as well talking ds out for walks or dd or both so I could get things done.

Housework - I needed mums help there but I am rubbish and not organised and probl'y never will be.

With cooking I was ususally able to do it while ds pottered around and dd was in bouncer - but some days were nightmareish I admit.

Mainly you get by on a each day at a time basis - get out of the house as much as poss. Get help from friends/ family if possible. Remember that they aren't this needy forever and you will get through and even enjoy alot of it....

It is hard in these first few weeks so don't expect too much of yourself. Good luck

funnypeevesculiar Thu 12-Jul-07 22:22:32

Do you have any local help you can call in? I accepted ALL offers of help (& indeed, some that weren't offers as such)
I also told people exactly what I wanted rather than waiting for them to offer the 'right' thing- eg got PIL to look after baby whilst I took ds to park alone etc; gave my mum big pile of ironing etc etc

funnypeevesculiar Thu 12-Jul-07 22:23:26

And sling was a godsend - I could chuck dd in there and take ds to the park - dd would sleep & be ignored

maisym Thu 12-Jul-07 22:24:58

I just bf and carried ds in my arms whilst I dealt with all the other jobs & kids.

Best wishes xxx

BracingAir Thu 12-Jul-07 22:25:42

hi Beartime, i really feel for you as it is a hard time. But it does pass. Soon your dd will be bigger and playing with her big brother, and you will really enjoy it.

I didn't find it easy to follow all the tips mentioned, I am not good at doing two things at once!

If you can, i would priortise cleaning help as much as you can. So that you know at least at one point in the week the house is sane. I actually had more than once a week!

One tip is if they are both crying, see to the older one first as he will remember, but your dd wont!

Kathyis6incheshigh Thu 12-Jul-07 22:41:45

What do you do with your toddler when you are:

bfing your baby - read to toddler (polishes halo)

putting baby down for a nap (upstairs) - baby doesn't nap much

giving baby a bath - toddler watches and "helps"/drinks bleach

What do you do with your baby when your toddler is:

having a bath - baby lies on changing mat on floor/crawls around bathroom bumping head on toilet

needing help to go potty

eating a meal and needing supervision
bouncy chair at the moment, but I have been known to have him in buggy being pushed back and forth with my foot

being put down for a nap/bed
This is my biggest problem area. Usually toddler goes to bed once dh is home. If he's away it varies but it's problematic because the routine involves the toddler getting someone's full attention and she gets overexcited if the baby is around. If I'm lucky baby lies on floor while toddler gets stories; worst case has involved baby being in cot in another room, crying.

having some 'mummy time'
What is mummy time?

What do you do with both when you are:

doing the housework

We do minimal housework; we have a cleaner for 2 hours a week. Have been known to sort laundry with baby in one hand and toddler under my feet.

making dinner/lunch

clearing up after meals
ditto, or I clear up breakfast while toddler is having lunch and clear up lunch while she is having afternoon nap.

doing deskwork
Totally impossible. I deal with my mail when dh can take them both for a walk.

When they are both crying we call it 'total baby meltdown'. It happens. It doesn't matter. One day the magic day will come when your baby cries and your toddler does something to stop him crying - gives him a toy or makes a funny face. It's beautiful.
Sometimes toddlers cry for reasons for which you are not responsible, so you just have to let it go a bit and just be calm. You prioritise your children at any given moment - if they're unhappy but not actually in danger or pain there's no point in beating yourself up. I find it helps me if I say aloud what I'm going to do - 'Now, baby, I'm just going to get dd's lunch then I'll pick you up.'
Oh, and soothing music is good too - when there is TBM (total baby meltdown) you put on something nice, and once you're in a calm place it helps you perform your job of calming the children.

Kathyis6incheshigh Thu 12-Jul-07 22:44:45

Just realised I didn't mention tv - she watches a lot of that too!

Bibis Thu 12-Jul-07 22:45:54

What do you do with your toddler when you are:

bfing your baby - turned on tv or video
putting baby down for a nap (upstairs) - put toddler down to
giving baby a bath - didn't unless dh was around, if really necessary toddler was prob in high chair and washed baby in sink

What do you do with your baby when your toddler is:

having a bath - put in cot
needing help to go potty - put in cot
eating a meal and needing supervision - put in swinging chair or put on floor
being put down for a nap/bed - put in cot
having some 'mummy time' - put in cot

bit of a routine going on here

What do you do with both when you are:

doing the housework - housework is a thing of the past
making dinner/lunch - only one did it other entertained kids
clearing up after meals - ditto
doing deskwork - happened after bedtime

Pollyanna Thu 12-Jul-07 22:52:32

bfing your baby - read to your toddler or watch tv with him
putting baby down for a nap (upstairs) - rush back to toddler asap. I used to put the baby for a daytime nap in a carrycot downstairs while they were very young
giving baby a bath - dunk baby in toddler's bath

What do you do with your baby when your toddler is:

having a bath - lay baby on a towel on floor or bf him
needing help to go potty - plonk baby down somewhere
eating a meal and needing supervision
being put down for a nap/bed - plonk baby down somewhere or wear baby in sling
having some 'mummy time' what?

What do you do with both when you are:

doing the housework - baby is 2 weeks old. Wait until baby is 6 months old before doing housework
making dinner/lunch - wear baby in sling, put toddler in front of tv, or cook evening meal when toddler is having afternoon nap
clearing up after meals - do it very quickly
doing deskwork - you don't do this until baby is a bit older or until the evening when children are in bed.

I think the basic principle is that the toddler comes first. apart from feeding the baby and changing it etc, the baby won't notice less attention, but the toddler will. if the baby wants to be with you, a sling works well and then you can ignore the baby and concentrate on the toddler. while feeding the baby you can easily read or draw with the toddler.

And as for me time

zookeeper Thu 12-Jul-07 23:06:10

my biggest stress was ds who was 13months when dd was born - he was fascinated by her and wouldn't leave her alone - I was terrified he would hurt her unwittingly.

I caught him running a bath for her very soon after I brought her home from hospital - still makes my blood run cold to think about it

We put a little bolt on the door where dd slept - at least then I could put her down and shut the door and know that she was safe. I don't know how "hands on" your eldest is but it helped me

Can't emphasise enough that you should sleep whenever you can

Beartime Thu 12-Jul-07 23:13:57

Thanks so much for all the tips - will print off and put into practice tomorrow!

It's made me feel less depressed just reading all this

Mummy time is some time to do something special with toddler, just me and him.

dollydreamday Thu 12-Jul-07 23:40:53

hi I'm new to mumsnet,
Just wanted to say I agree with the other posts. My baby and toddler are 17 months apart. It does get easier. I used to keep baby out of way of curious ds when dd was tiny. i bathed her after ds was in bed, made dinner when he had his nap (dd also soon learned to have mega bf at these times). now dd is 9months old,they eat and play side by side. they have ahd baths together since she was about 4 months but we only bath them when dh is home in evenings (3 times a week). Try not to worry too much,you will be able to give them a bit of time each each day, even if it's just 20 mins. capitalise on when one is sleeping. Main thing is to get rest yourself, I find the day goes well if I've had a little break from both at some point and I'm not too tired. getting out of the house as much as possible helps too. I try to remind myself that amid the chaos, they are also great fun!

Pollyanna Fri 13-Jul-07 09:36:55

beartime, your baby is only 2 weeks old! I think you are doing very well if you get dressed at this stage .

It does get easier and in no time at all you will be coping fine. In the meantime if you have a partner, they can take the baby off you at weekends and then you can spend some time with the toddler. I personally found a sling invaluable as you can then forget about the baby and concentrate on the toddler.

annoyingdevil Fri 13-Jul-07 14:25:43

15 mths between mine. Here are my tips for the early days:

Forget potty training (for now)
Breastfeed on bed while singing nursery rhymes to toddler
ditto in front of Cbeebies or while reading a book
forget baths (my baby got one a week at that age)
aim to get naps/bedtime at the same time - will take a few months to master, but if I could only recommend one thing.....(for your sanity, if nothing else)
Sandwiches for lunch. Dinner what you eat (left over from night before if necessary)

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