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Pls talk to me about 18month age gaps

(32 Posts)
deckchair Sun 14-Sep-08 20:27:08

I know it's probably be done a thousand times before, but i may be pregnant again and just need some advice / tips/ or preferably a chaos avoidance manual if poss to manage!!!
Would also have a DD who would be 3.9

Clary Sun 14-Sep-08 20:33:49

I have a 21mth gap betwen my second 2 and also 2yrs between old 2, so not dissimilar.

I found DS2 fitted in very well into the routine.

Used a sling a lot as practical way to carry him and hold hands with 2 under 4s at the same time - even if only for short distances (eg from car to nursery etc) I would recommend it.

Slotted him into bouncy chair and he just watched the action/fell asleep.

I never had a double buggy (hate them) but depending on walkign ability of yr 2nd child you may want one. We had a buggy board and used sling so that was much easier IMHO.

Bathtime and bedtime can be tricky - sometimes it's best to get the toddlers ready and leave the baby to one side (as it were) for a while then do him/her last, just because you need to keep the routine for the older ones.

I was lucky enough to be able to keep my fab CM going 2 days/week while on mat leave which made my life easier. On those days I got so much done! (ie when I just had DS2).

Good luck btw and congrats!

Thankyouandgoodnight Sun 14-Sep-08 21:16:04

oooh congratulations!!! 19 months between mine and I have to say - it's alot of fun and much easier than I thought it would be. I would say that as long as the older one is walking, you'll be fine. I absolutely love it and I was terrified!

It can take longer to leave the house BUT having said that, I manage to get them up and sorted and me up and sorted and out of the house in an hour (from all of us being asleep) from the word go, so it can't be that bad!


Have nappy changing stuff and spare clothes and PJs for both on every floor of your house (just makes life easier).

Get clothes for next day and buggy loaded up and snacks / lunch for older ones etc sorted the night before.

Turn on the TV if you need to keep them occupied while you cook dinner or need to do something else quickly - don't use it all the time as it doesn't work so well if you do!!

Get a sling that you can bend over hands free with (e.g. wrap sling) - it will give you options for bed time / in the park / shopping / bath time etc

Accept any help on offer and if nursery or childminder is an option for any time, go for it so you can catch up with yourself / lie of sofa / enjoy new baby

Don't panic - the worse that can happen is they all scream at once hungry, tired and covered in poo and sick. That's not life threatening. Just prioritise and methodically work your way through to getting them clean, fed and sorted again, ignoring the noise and tantrums and sure enough, before you know it, all is well again!

Mung Sun 14-Sep-08 21:22:33

I have 18 month age gap and its been tough, but I am starting to see the benefits now. DS is now 3 and DD follows him around everywhere, so I can actually begin to tidy up the mess that has been left for the last 18 months smile. The age gap almost seems to be decreasing with time and its great.

I think organisation and routine is the key, as already suggested. Its not something I managed blush. However, one thing I did learn was not to bother with all the things I did before. I remember trying to still head off to the library for the siging sessions and feeling exhausted and frustrated by the time I got there...late. Once I stopped all that and found a new way of doing things with two, it got a bit better.

I was also really shocked with how long it took me to get out of the house at first. I was always so annoyed as I was running late for everything. Then I realised that I couldn't leave the house in 2 minutes, like I used to. So, I started leaving 15 minutes earlier and I began feeling less stressed.

Some great tips from the others...

You'll be fine.

Thankyouandgoodnight Sun 14-Sep-08 21:24:09

oh yes - bath time - shove baby somewhere safe and older infront of the TV, then....

Run bath and get towels in bathroom plus a towel folded up on the floor to lie the baby on and a new nappy for baby and stuff it's going to sleep in + pack of wipes and a nappysack.

Get PJs and nappy for older pne ready and warm bottle of milk for older one.

Give toothbrush to older one to 'clean teeth' while you strip and bathe the baby, getting older one to 'help'. Dry baby and dress in nightstuff and put on new nappy etc while encouraging older one to undress themselves if they can. Lie the now naked older one on their own bath towel on the floor while you take their nappy off (if it's pooey so you can wipe bum etc), otherwise just rip it off. The shove older one in the bath. Baby should be fine lying on the floor listening to everything going on but you can easily feed it at this point if it needs it

At end, scoop up older one in their towel and take to bedroom and dry and dress quickly. Let them run around in PJs while you go and get the baby from the bathroom (who's probably just twigged that you've all gone) and plonk it somewhere safe like the cot. Give milk to older one while you feed baby if you need to. Then baby back in cot and older one in cot. They may both be screaming at this point but fear not, take the baby downstairs with you and once it's out of ear shot, you may find the older one stops and goes to sleep!

jeanjeannie Sun 14-Sep-08 21:24:13

Hi - I've got a 18 mth gap - it's hectic!

Best tip I've got is to try and keep your routine going with the others and let baby follow. The times I find hardest are feeding - especially as DD2 is breastfed, so it means I can be stuck to the sofa. I've had to let CBeebies help out, although I swore I wouldn't hmm

I just bought a small table and chairs for DD1 and when I'm feeding I can sit down near her and read or watch her draw. I spend a lot of time on the floor with her and baby on knee.

DD2 is VERY clingy and needy so I spend a lot of time with her stuck under one arm! I can't use a sling as they play havoc with my back - but if I could - I would!

I got a double buggy (cheap Phil & Teds off ebay) as DD1 didn't walk until 3 weeks after DD2 was born - so obviously it was a necessity.

I'm not sure if chaos can be avoided - I think it comes as standard smile

Congrats and good luck!

Fleecy Sun 14-Sep-08 21:35:06

Congratulations! I've got a 19 month gap and it's been sooo much easier than I thought it would be.

Agree with planning and organisation. Keep nappies/sacks/wipes/changing mat/muslin and spare clean clothes upstairs and downstairs. I keep the downstairs stuff in the changing bag, along with hats and suncream, so I can just grab it when i go out, rather than packing from scratch.

Dn't be afraid to use TV as a temporary babysitter if you need to! Give the older ones a drink and snack while you feed the baby.

Stick to your normal way of doing stuff as much as possible - your baby won't remember if you have to leave him/her crying for a few minutes but your other two will feel resentful if they always come after the baby.

Plan, plan, plan and don't stress. You're probably good at all this stuff anyway as you've already got two so you'll be fine!

deckchair Sun 14-Sep-08 21:35:07

Thank you to all for your advice so far. I have a Tomy baby carrier, but i think I will check out slings nearer the time.
As far as buggys are concerned, DH is not keen on a double, but I do walk alot with dd and ds, so ds will probably need the option of resting / sleeping if he is walking by then.
Quick qu for Mung - did you feel guilty that you didnt do as much with the 2nd as with 1st. I feel guilty that i dont do as much with ds as i did with dd and so know i will feel even worse with no3 who may never leave the house!!

jeanjeannie Sun 14-Sep-08 21:36:34

Oh, some fab tips......**notes them down for self!

Just to say I think that Thankyouandgoodnight's suggestion of loading up the buggy and getting everything ready for the next day is a real life-saver.

I do my changing bag each eve. I bought 2 drawstring wash bags (different colours for each DD)and keep the nappies in there. I also bought two travel wipe cases which slot into the wash bag along with some nappy sacks. Then, if I'm out with DP or friends and someone looks after one of the girls - I only have to take the washbag to change them rather than the whole bag. Also means it's easy to grab each DDs changing stuff without rumaging around for nappies, wipes etc.

deckchair Sun 14-Sep-08 21:51:51

Jeanjeannie - that's a real gem of a tip with yr different coloured wash bags.
I am pretty good and re-packing the bag when i get home but do need to check I have the right sizes of clothes in there. (An incident today where ds had dd's socks on brought it home I need to check more!)

Clary Sun 14-Sep-08 22:07:57

I had a pal once with four children (2yrs between each) who used to take a bag with a one-size-fits-all pair of trousers (sound sbizarre but not impossible with a baggy look grin) for the 3 youngest (all boys) - better maybe than having lots of spare clothes always?

jem1969 Mon 15-Sep-08 10:05:37

Ooh- great thread. Was thinking about asking for bathtime tips etc with an 18th month gap and here is one already! Baby not due until Feb but already getting in a bit of a panic! DD is 14 month and not walking yet but hopefully she will be by Feb.
Planning on a Phil and Teds I think- 100's of them here in SW London!

wasabipeanut Mon 15-Sep-08 10:18:52

OOh this is very interesting. We are ttc number 2 now and at best (if I am preg now - 3 days to wait to test) we will have a 21 month gap.

Whilst my heart tells me I very much want another I had often wondered about the practicalities!

conkertree Mon 15-Sep-08 12:36:03

another grateful thread reader - due in april and ds will be 20/21 months by then so am noting down these tips.

my change bag started off so organised with ds, but is now a bit chaotic so i guess i will need to get back to being organised before april.

Fennel Mon 15-Sep-08 13:11:49

I had a 17 m gap between the first two dds, then a 2.5 year gap. It was OK. Hard work for the first 6 months with 2 under 2, of course. but not impossible.

There are many advantages. Mine have played together properly, as peers, from when dd2 was 8m old. Now they are 8 and 7 and they still play for hours together. They do bicker and fight too, but they are easy to entertain in that they are so similar in age and interests. dd3 fits in quite well now too so I find having 3 in 4 years quite good, the 3 of them do just play and play for hours (on a good day).

happypiglet Mon 15-Sep-08 13:13:35

I have 18m bewteen DS1 and DS2 who were then 3.5 and 23m when DD came along. So similar gaps and I had all 3 at home until last week when DS1 started school!
I echo everything about organisation, slings and bath time.
I did bath all my three together when DD was quite little and couldn't have managed without my plastic bath support (c £8) which was a god send in and out of the bath- DD used to lie in it off the (usually) soaking wet floor whilst I dealt with the other 2. And she loved seeing more about what was going on than just lieing flat on the floor!
I would then have her in my arms whilst I read bed time story etc. (now she maraudes around pulling out toy boxes while I do bed time story!!)
Both times I made sure that the older child no longer needed milk directly before bed- that is I made sure they had it downstairs before bath/teeth/ story- this meant I could put them to bed first and then BF the baby alone in a dim room etc before putting them down (once the baby had got past the feeding all evening thing!!)
I did have a double buggy first time round. I think 18m is quite little for a buggy board but second time I used a sling.
To be honest the early days are OK, I am finding it tougher now that DD is 13m and into everything. She and the boys don't mix in terms of play things- she is at the demolishing phase, they are at the chockable bits of lego phase. But they are still very close and DS1 & 2 are an 'item' and totally inseparable- last week DS2 was pineing for DS1 whilst he was at school!! I think 18m is an ace age gap. Good luck

deckchair Mon 15-Sep-08 21:38:05

Thanks to everyone for their tips so far. Have booked to go to the midwife next week so it's made it a little more real (iykwim)
Good luck to everyone else in similar situation! grin

sweetkitty Mon 15-Sep-08 21:46:36

18 months between my first two DDs can't have been that bad as I have DD3 who is now 9 weeks (2 1/2 years between DD2 and 3).

Double buggy a must at 18 months my DD1 would have run off also good to have both of them secure in a buggy and under a raincover in winter, I had a side by side a huge tandem now I have a P&T and love it best double ever IMHO.

Bathing them together at first was scary but agree the plastic bath support a must.

I had special BFing books I read to DD1 as I fed DD2 and of course cbeebies.

First year is hard and exhausting but it gets easier once the second one can run after the first, they are incredibly close too but have their moments but are like twins most of the time.

PinkTulips Mon 15-Sep-08 21:54:26

dd and ds are 18 months apart and tbh, the pregnancy was hard as dd didn't walk til close to 15 months but once ds was born it was lovely.

she ran right up to him when he came home from hospital and gave him a kiss and never had any jealousy at all until he was almost 2. even now i wouldn't call it jealousy, mors just sibling bickering.

they have a tendancy to fight rather physically and things can get a little loud but they adore each other. they insist on sharing a room, dd cried because ds couldn't go to playschool with her, they share friends even at this age (3.5 and 2 btw)

i've also found that ds seems very advanced for his age as he copies everything dd does. he has the verbal skills of at least a 3 year old... closer to 4 year old. he can play co-operatively for months already which most of the other kids his age at toddler group don't seem to be able to do.

and dd is always so proud of her little brother, she's very protective of him and they love each other to pieces.

there's going to be a 2.5 year gap betweeen ds and dc3 and tbh i'm panicing about that now as i loved the smaller gap!

PinkTulips Mon 15-Sep-08 21:58:08

jem1969.... have you found the february ante natal thread yet?

come on over and join in, the more the merrier!

sweetkitty Mon 15-Sep-08 22:00:55

pink tulips - I have found the same thing with DD2 she's a lot smarter then DD1, she did things at 2 that DD1 didn't do until she started nursery. I think it's the way I treat them as well I do tend to treat them as twins sometimes, DD2 doesn't have a nap anymore so if I'm doing things with DD1 DD2 has to do them as well so stories are more advanced toys etc than if she were a PFB IYSWIM. DD2 has the same imagination as DD1 as they play together at their role play games she's a lot more advanced than a 2 1/2 yo.

I have the same age gap between 2 and 3 as you will have and thought the same but theres no jealously at all between DD2 and 3 in fact it's the opposite, DD1 and 2 fight to see who can get closer to DD3, who can kiss her the most hmm and get her nappies etc

PInkyminkyohnooo Mon 15-Sep-08 22:09:23

Just over 16 monbths betweeen mine. They have a greatb time together. Due no.3 in Nov, my youngest will be just 2.

P&T a fab buy for me, lifesaver. Also a good quality wraparound sling.

Often ended up bfeeding whilst reading DS his story, but sonmetimes she would have a little sleep. Now DD gets into DS's bed and they have story together, it's very sweet!

You find yoursefl constantly planning your next couple of moves all day but you soon find little stragegies for manging.

Don't fall into trap of always getting dh or someone to entertain your elder child whilst you do the baby- make sure you hand the baby over sometimes and spend time with the toddler, that should abate any resentment.

Hard work at first but well worth it.


PinkTulips Mon 15-Sep-08 22:23:28

sweetkitty... i had one man ask me if they were twins already and i expect that to happen more as they get older grin

i do the same as you of just treating them the same and doing the same things with both, we all pay the same games and read the same stories and dd has always included ds in all her games. ds was playing tea parties with dd well before he should have had any grasp of imaginative games for instance. and he learned to pull up so he could reach the toy kitchen and play cooking with her grin

i'm convinced he learned to walk, talk, feed himself and lots of other things alot earlier simply by trying to copy her.

good to know your older 2 took to the baby well, i'm afraid mine will either both revert to babyness for attention or else gang up and terrorise the new arrival!

sweetkitty Mon 15-Sep-08 22:28:04

Mine don't at all they love the baby too much and won't leave her alone, never jealous of her at all, I think it will all change when she's messing up their dolls.

PinkTulips Mon 15-Sep-08 22:36:08


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