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Going to toddler groups or classes with 2 young children - how do you do it?

(28 Posts)
JennyPenny22 Thu 04-Jun-09 10:26:46

DD1 is 17 months, DD2 6 weeks. I am fine with them both at home but we haven't really been out much on our own yet. I want to get back into going to toddler groups etc but finding it quite difficult! I am going to be going once a week with my mum so she can help me or sit with DD2.

I just can't work it out logically - there is nowhere within walking distance, so that means driving. So then I have to get both of them from the car to the toddler group first of all - DD1 has only been walking a few weeks so still in the noventy stages so not going in the right direction, falling over, wanting to be picked up etc. So will probably mean carrying both. Then, when we get in there, DD1 wants to do everything that has the slightest big of danger in it! She needs somebody to follow her round really to keep her safe and help her on things.

But DD2 will be wanting feeding, holding, changing or whatever - unless i am extremly lucky and she sleeps through it all, but she isn't really very good at sleeping through all the noise!

So just don't know how to do it! I feel bad for DD1 though. She is quite advanced for her age (other than being a late walker) in that she is already starting to recongnise her colours and number, animals etc so really she needs a toddler group or a class.

BlueCowWondersAgainAndAgain Thu 04-Jun-09 10:34:53

baby in sling? I'd concentrate on older one as babies tend to me more malleable.
Good luck! It does get easier.

I only have one child but I know of a mother at playgroup who has three small boys, one of whom is about 6 weeks old too. Her other boys are a bit older than your dd1 but she still has to wander about after them as they tend to fight and cause chaos. She is supremely calm it has to be said

She brings in her double buggy, and the eldest of the three walks, and while she's in the group, when she isn't bf and if the baby isn't asleep in the buggy, she carries him in a front carrier. She just juggles the baby with wandering after the other two.

Remember at playgroup everyone wants to watch over or even hold your baby. If there's someone there you trust, or even the play leader - you can leave them to hold your baby or push the pram back and forth while you look after your eldest. I would! I love tiny babies. <sigh>

littleboyblue Thu 04-Jun-09 10:41:26

Hi there. I have 2 ds's. They are now 22 months and 4 months (both today). I was a bit worried about this, but did it straight away so I din't give myself enough time to actually think to much and be put off it.
First of all, I'd recommend either dd1 in reins to get her from the car safely, or if not a cheap umberella buggy for her. I don't drive so get everywhere on buses. Second, I agree with PP and would concentrate mostly on older one as they are more likely to get into danger quickly. I took a sling with me so if need be, I could wear ds2 and still be mobile enough for ds1. I have found though that when people see you with 2 very little ones, they tend to help watch the older one for you, or hold baby whilst you are with older one. Either way, it all works out.

JennyPenny22 Thu 04-Jun-09 11:13:40

I did wonder about leaving baby with others BUT I would be starting a new group, with complete strangers so I could be leaving by baby with anybody iyswim?

I tried the sling when I went with my mum, but found it hard work and took her out.

BiscuitStuffer Thu 04-Jun-09 11:50:45

Oh it's easy.

You have the baby in a sling and wander around following your older one and find the whole thing stressful, get home and then realise what a good time your older one had and that you should do it again!

Seriously - you will manage. Get yourself in there. Take a sling and a changebag and a drink and snack for the toddler. Find yourself a chair and plonk you and baby down with all your clobber. Toddler can then dart off or cling to your leg. If you need to change the toddler, put baby in a sling and tustle with toddler (but you will manage) and if you need to change baby, toddler can either come too or someone will keep an eye on her.

These things are always a nightmare until you've been once and sussed out your 'system'.

Also - some places don't have the room for buggies to br brought in, so don't assume you can do that. Not that you were!

I also used to take a blanket that I could lie the baby on on the floor if there was a safe place next to me to do that.

BiscuitStuffer Thu 04-Jun-09 11:51:59

What sling have you got and have you adjusted it properly for you? If you're finding it hard work, it sounds like you may not have it set up quite right?

JennyPenny22 Thu 04-Jun-09 12:33:17

I have the close carrier. I love it in general but she isn't over keen on it if I am not walking round all the time. And find by the time I get her in it, she is grizzly, then ends up doing a poo so have to get her out and change her then fiddle about putting her back in, byt which time she is usually getting upset and so is DD2. And then if she wants feeding I end up having to take her out again to feed, and if she falls asleep feeding, I can't get her in the sling without waking her up. Also, she always puts her face flat against my chest and I am always worried about her not being able to breath. I have big boobs which get in the way blush.

I also have a ring sling which I haven't tried with her yet but didn't get on with it with DD1 when she was small.

HuffwardlyRudge Thu 04-Jun-09 12:45:10

When ds was tiny I just ignored him really. Either tied him on or left him to sleep or handed him around the room of willing strangers dying for a cuddle. Dd needed me more, practically and emotionally.

JennyPenny22 Thu 04-Jun-09 12:48:10

Huff - what about needing to feed etc? I am BF and she rarely goes more than an hour or so some days without wanting a feed? And she poos about every hour too!

misshardbroom Thu 04-Jun-09 13:18:53

grin at HuffwardlyRudge. I think I ignored DS2 until he was about 5 months old and he's now a very lively, curious, affectionate 3 y.o.

Toddler groups with 2 or more babies is tricky stuff but you really can find a way. Without knowing your particular setup, it's hard to give you a step by step 'how to', but it definitely can be done.

I remember wondering how I'd ever get out of the house with a 15 month old and a newborn, and somehow doing it... and then with a 2.6 y.o and a 15 month old and another newborn thinking it would never happen... and it did. Somehow.

My top tips would be:
1. Give yourself loads and loads more time to get there, get in etc than you think you need. If you're rushing, it's stressful.
2. Accept help from anyone and everyone. I used to think that people offered to help because they thought I couldn't cope. This is crap and nonsense. Accept with a smile.
3. The feeding / pooing thing is tricky but she's 6 weeks old. That's how it is this week. Next week will be slightly easier / more predictable, next month will be a breeze compared to now.
4. Make your older child's lunch before you go and put it in the fridge. So then when you get in, you can give it to them straight away without any whining, and if it's finger food they can probably sit in the highchair with it and help themselves while you feed / change the baby / deal with pooey clothes you've had to take off the baby etc. Who knows, you might even get to put the kettle on.

But do it, it's bloody isolating being at home alone with the very tiny, you need some adult chat and a biscuit.

HuffwardlyRudge Thu 04-Jun-09 13:59:14

I just bfed him whilst doing other stuff I think. And whereas with dd (pfb) I would not have dreamed of interrupting her feed, ds (nsc) just got picked up and plonked down regardless of whether he was finished or not. He's a very good natured little chap, I don't know if this is in resigned acceptance, or just sheer luck.

JennyPenny22 Thu 04-Jun-09 14:14:01

Ok, you have all convinced me to go to more! Am doing friday mornings with my mum but will also look on netmums for another one too, which will be on m own.

misshardbroom Thu 04-Jun-09 14:32:51

look on where? shock shock shock

bigchris Thu 04-Jun-09 14:35:33

yes you need to go
it will make you feel so much better
the other mums will help out
if you need to change the older one the other mums will be happy to have a cuddle with the younger one
hopefully the youngest will sleep,l I'd put it in a pram and push it into the toddler group, hopefully transfer from car seat to pram still sleeping

Try her in the ring sling. I was a rubbish breastfeeder (I have crap saggy boobs which seemed to want to suffocate my child in all but one position) but even I managed to feed in a ring sling for the first few weeks, plus the fabric gave protection so no-one was subjected to seeing said spaniels ears mid-feed.

You can just put your boob away and let her sleep there, plus her face shouldn't be buried in your chest if she's lying on her back. My baby rapidly gained weight after the first couple of months though and the sling got far too hard on my back. (But by that time she wouldn't be feeding as often)

JennyPenny22 Thu 04-Jun-09 15:42:57

Well when I have tried BF her in the close, which, in the breastfeeding position isn't all that different to the ring sling, she just seems to big, and it does say in the manual that this might happen quite quickly. She is quite a chunky baby!
When I have managed to BF her in it, it has been in the upright position, which did work, but was hard and I had to hold my boob back at the top the whole time so it didn't cover her face! Will try the ring sling later when DD1 goes to bed if I can find it.

JennyPenny22 Thu 04-Jun-09 15:44:07

And and sorry for mentioning netmums! lol. But at the end of the day, mumsnet don't have the local info like netmums do i'm afraid!

Good luck with the ring sling, I had an upright carrier too and found them very different. The benefit to a ring sling is that you can pull them across to the "rugby ball hold" quite easily, which is the only position I could use.

2cats2many Thu 04-Jun-09 15:52:56

I always went with friends. That way they could hold the baby while I changed the older one's nappy, helped her with something, stopped her bashing someone over the head with Megablocks, etc.

muddleduck Thu 04-Jun-09 16:09:24

Another vote for "ignore the baby"

Worked for me grin

also IME toddler groups are full of mums who are starting to get broody again and are only too happy to help out with the baby.

Chaotica Thu 04-Jun-09 17:08:17

I vote 'ignore the baby' too - DS has been going to our local surestart playgroup since he was 7 weeks (now 20m) and he grew into doing things. (Helped that the place I go has a 'baby corner' so the LOs can be sort-of safe and everyone keeps an eye out anyway.) DD loved it (she was 17m) and it made the early months of her having a brother so much more bearable.

Sling is good, but I opted for a car seat for the first couple of times so I could put DS down safely.

JennyPenny22 Thu 04-Jun-09 23:36:50

Thanks all. Am just going to have to go to a few a find one with a good set up. The one I used to go to with just DD1 had a seperate room for babies, which is no good as I wouldn't even be able to watch from a distance!

JennyPenny22 Thu 04-Jun-09 23:37:15

I guess soft play is a whole other story?

JennyPenny22 Fri 05-Jun-09 13:37:11

I went this morning with my mum. Was fine, although would have been a bit tricky towards the end on my own as they did singing and dancing which DD1 wanted help with and DD2 was awake and they had packed away all the baby stuff and unblocked the cornered off bit so it was all just the big hall. Would have managed though.

Not sure if soft play would be as eay though?!

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