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15 month age gap - how on earth do you manage to parent - any practical advice?

(24 Posts)
whattheheck Fri 06-Nov-09 10:12:57

So - basically what it says. Am pregnant with DC2 (oops) rather sooner than I thought. DC1 has been a very easy baby and been fairly relaxed and disorganised with her. BUT know this is just not going to work with a 15m and a newborn. How on earth do you do it???? I'm thinking of the basics of feeding, washing, changing. How on earth can you get anything done? Is the only solution to go all GF? And I don't want DC1 left ignored for the newborn.
What are your best tips? HELP!

jeee Fri 06-Nov-09 10:17:52

I had a 15 month gap, and everyone saw fit to tell me it would be really difficult. Which in some ways it was. But the thing is, DC1 is still young enough to be relaxed and disorganised with. You don't have to worry about school runs, etc. You can just play everything by ear. And in a couple of years time you'll have both DC past babyhood whilst everyone else is having to deal with a newborn again.

My only rule was DC1's bedtime was sacrosanct. I'd put DC2 safely in the front room, hopefully asleep, and give half an hour to DC1. Even if DC2 woke up, I'd ignore the crying and focus on DC1 which guaranteed that she had my undivided attention at least once in the day.

NorktasticNinja Fri 06-Nov-09 10:21:31

I have an 18 month age gap (planned shock). It's hard work but doable. The very best piece of advice I was given was, if both DC are crying deal with the toddler first. They know what is happening and it really helps to eliminate jealousy.

posieparker Fri 06-Nov-09 10:24:13

14 month gap and not difficult at all. get a decent twin pushchair and be prepared (nappy bag ready) to go out whenever it gets a bit much. I had two perfect babies who went to sleep, no tears, and ate well. So my bedtime routine would be to read DS1 a story with cuddles and DS2 feeding, I would ensure stories when ds2 was asleep so he didn't feel left out. Then DS2 would feed whilst DS1 went to sleep and DS2 would go down....although I can't remember the early days as I had a GA section.

Will write more later, have to go and get a car!!

NorktasticNinja Fri 06-Nov-09 10:36:49

Oh yes, a double pushchair is essential. After endless research I got a Phil & Teds (the Vibe but they are all much of a muchness TBH) it's good, but not ideal. I don't really like the concept and would have preferred DC to be facing me. BUT, I'm convinced it's the best of a bad bunch, there have been many situations that have made me very pleased I didn't get a side by side or a long tandem.

Congratulations on the pregnancy by the way grin

NorktasticNinja Fri 06-Nov-09 10:37:44

Oh, meant to say, I have friends with a 12 1/2 month age-gap. They have manged fine smile

thatsnotmymonster Fri 06-Nov-09 10:41:07

I have a 16mth age gap followed by a 21mth age gap.

16mth gap- easy. DC1 is too little to be jealous and as others have said- no school runs etc so you can pretty much stay in your pj's all day for a while if that's what you need to do!!

I wasn't all GF but I did make sure that all my dc's napped everyday at roughly the same time, meals were at the same time every day and bedtime is always 7pm (or earlier!)

My top tips are

1. get your dd into a habit of napping after lunch because when the baby comes it will give you a small window where you can spend 1:1 with baby OR hopefully you will get baby to nap too and you will get some much needed time out!! This worked very well for me and I even managed to keep it going with 3 of them!

2. In the early days put dc2 to bed earlier (say 6.15pm) which gives you time to concentrate on dd1's bedtime routine.

3. Don't feel like you need to do too much. Don't worry if cbeebies is on more than you'd like or you have to resort to using those Kid's ready meals (a God send at times like this).

If you are pretty relaxed anyway you should be fine. There are definite moments when it can be very stressful but you'll be fine!

Congratulations!!

andgodcreatedwoman Fri 06-Nov-09 10:41:51

I have a 19 month age gap, they are 20 months and 3 now.

I wouldn't lie to you, it IS hard work at times. Mainly logistically tbh so I agree with being packed and ready to go out when things get too much.

I think you suffer less from jealousy with a smaller age gap too but agree that the toddler knows more so should be dealt with first.

We still have hard times, but seeing them play together is priceless.

thatsnotmymonster Fri 06-Nov-09 10:49:01

Oh and DEFINITELY get a Phil + Teds - I have the Sport one and I LOVE it.

I have had First Wheels (too flimsy, too wide, too awkward, though great design)

Mclaren umbrella style double (impossible to push)

Mountain Buggy terrain (too big to get in most cars, too awkward to move when folded, too wide to get through doors when open BUT great to push off road)

The Phil and Teds is really, really good. Sturdy, easy to push, fits through any door, can be used as double or single, fits in any boot, easy to fold/unfold, good off road too, my dc's all like going in the top or the bottom.

posieparker Fri 06-Nov-09 12:10:52

Right, back now.

Some tips,

Get a travel cot for downstairs if you don't have a pram. This means ds1 can't touch dc2 when you pop to the toilet or cook etc.

I had a side by side Maclaren, Phil and Teds was just coming out on the market. Have to say I hate the idea of a Phil and Teds, especially the lack of seat adjustment and a child underneath. Side by side fit into every doorway, including my Victorian house.... and my dcs used to hold hands (priceless).

Get DC1 into routines now that will help when the new arrival comes. As there was a possibility of caesarean I ensured DS1 could get into his highchair without me lifting him....
We had a few quiet games to play... although he was very young he did understand.

raggamuffin Fri 06-Nov-09 14:43:35

Hello

I have a 14 month gap and really feared it - mainly because mothers burst out laughing when I said - but any mother I spoke to with a similar gap said it was fine. I agree with lots of the comments already made.

Definitely have a travel cot or playpen (we have something called a parc - popular on the continent and it is a wooden playpen which you can set with the base 10 inches or so from the top whilst baby is small) - invaluable when you need to go into the kitchen, loo etc - to keep baby safe.

I have a CS and did have help from husband and stuff in first few weeks. For me routine worked so DD1 had good nap and sleep routines and baby now 6 months has slowly slotted into that. I worried about BF but I amused DD1 with toys and sometimes in highchair with a snack or a puzzle and stuff like that.

It is far easier than you would imagine as DD1 will go in cot or playpen for 5 mins if I need to do something with baby.
I have a side by side buggy again very useful as DD1 walks well but if she refuses to walk I can put her in there.

Be easy with yourself for the first few months and take things at your pace. DD1 is now going to nursery 2 mornings a week but for 6 months I had no worries about having to get dressed or out or anything.

Both DD's now smile and laugh at one another and it is just fantastic even after this short time.

whattheheck Sat 07-Nov-09 10:19:51

thank you for those very sensible suggestions. Yes I was worrying particularly about breast feeding....but maybe DD1 can spend her time eating rice cakes...I will have to be more disciplined.

Raggamuffin the continual laughing and 'oh dear how hard' comments are begining to get me down a bit!

I will start looking at playpens.....

juuule Sat 07-Nov-09 10:29:07

I had a 16m age gap between dc2 and dc3, then 15m between dc3 and dc4. Also had to do the school-run. It could get busy at times but I did enjoy it. Obviously had off days but in the main I loved it. Don't let people worry you with their comments. You will be fine. Some good suggestions on this thread. The double buggy and being willing to go out for a walk is a good one.

juuule Sat 07-Nov-09 10:31:28

Oh and br-ing was a boon as I could top the baby up before we went anywhere or had something to do and then give a good feed when we got back or I'd finished doing whatever needed doing.

CarGirl Sat 07-Nov-09 10:35:58

I had a planned gap of 14 months (don't suppose I expected to conceive immediately) it was fine.

Playpen was invaluable, pop the baby in it. Basically the older one was put first 90% of the time. Dh started doing a lot for the eldest when I was till pregnant due to me having severe spd however this was wonderful in hindsight. Whenever dh was home the eldest wanted his time and attention and I was left with the baby. It took her about 3 days to be happy with Daddy holding the baby, before that she looked very cross about it but after that there wasn't any jealously.

The age gaps of mine are 5.5 years, 14 months & 24 months. Believe me the 14 month gap was the easiest overall. You change nappies one after the other, shop in the evenings or on-line basically life is a bit limited for a while but it's easier than entertaining a 2 year old.

NorkilyChallenged Sat 07-Nov-09 10:38:23

Yes, the comments make you start to fear for your own sanity don't they?

15m gap here (planned), dc1 now 2.9 and dc2 18 months

Some good advice here, basically it will not be as bad as you fear. bf'ing was easy actually, though I became expert at feeding any and everywhere.

side-by-side didn't fit through my (modern upvc) front door so we have p&t but I don't love it. But getting out every day was a lifesaver. mum & toddler groups, playgroups, soft play in the village hall. Often people will help with the baby, who was frequently sleeping in the car seat or feeding on my lap while dc1 played happily. I was surprised how easy the first 4 months were.

Months 4-8 were utterly dreadful but that was a combination of a non-sleeping dc2 and me being quite ill so don't think that will affect you!

NorkilyChallenged Sat 07-Nov-09 10:40:50

I still struggle with bathtime if I'm by myself so only bathed them together when DP was around to help.

Bedtime - we did the opposite, kept baby up later. But dc1's bedtime was sacrosanct and sometimes dc2 had to be left to cry. and yes the focus is the older child at first.

CarGirl Sat 07-Nov-09 10:44:38

I had one of them plastic rigid baby supports they are vital for bathtime sanity but I was never big on bathing mine lots anway.

www.mothercare.com/Mothercare-Ergonomically-shaped-bath-support/dp/B000IVQQNQ/sr=1-3/qid=1257590633/ ref=sr_1_3/275-2368939-9034669?_encoding=UTF8&m=A2LBKNDJ2KZUGQ&n=44537031&mcb=core

NorkilyChallenged Sat 07-Nov-09 10:51:16

Oh just remembered that dc2 would sleep in the pram downstairs quite often in the early months, in the day and in the evening. Worked quite well for us (had a clingy dc1 so it was hard to get away to put the baby down for a nap upstairs as dc1 would hang on my leg and cry and wake up dc2) so dc2 slept in pram downstairs, then wheeled in to the hall where it was a bit quieter.

The great thing was that dc1 slept in the day until dc2 was nearly 1 so giving some 1-1 time with baby or (on the rare occasions when they both slept) a cup of tea/snooze on the sofa/trip to the toilet by myself for me wink

CarGirl Sat 07-Nov-09 10:53:02

Yes I had a silver cross pram downstairs that was fab, high up out the way and could be wheeled outside if need be.

NorkilyChallenged Sat 07-Nov-09 11:02:11

Also, I'm sure you know this but the small age gap has been great for mine (both girls) as they adore each other and are interested in the same things now as they are so similar in age. They ask for each other first thing on waking up and kiss & cuddle each other all the time. It's very very sweet and totally worth all the hassle wink It's good because the same activities are interesting to them both, whereas I had a 3 or 4 year gap with my siblings and can remember never really being interested in the same things at the same time.

stuffitllllama Sat 07-Nov-09 11:16:36

It's really ok I think, as people say. I almost think the whole day can be pretty random-ish so long as bedtime is a big focus. That's where I put my energies towards creating a routine.

Partly because the day is quite full on and you need to know that at eight o clock (or whenever you decide) they are asleep for at least a couple of hours and you can have a tiny bit of time to yourself, which is terribly important as you know.

DanJARMouse Sat 07-Nov-09 11:21:09

playpen - definately! We used it for DD2 to sleep in without being mauled by DD1!

I too had 15mnth age gap. It is hard, but so rewarding! I will admitt to perhaps using Cbeebies a little more than I would have liked, and agree with whoever mentioned ALWAYS having a change bag ready to go with both size nappies, wipes, change of clothes and bibs and juice cup (and bottle if FF)

We always had breakfast at the same time, same with lunch and dinner, and a rule of children in bed by 6.30pm.

It meant I often didnt eat during the day (could have but was so tired and stressed couldnt be bothered!)and DH would make me a decent meal in the evening.

Was also tucked up in bed by 10pm myself every night.

Search out a toddler group - it is perfect for being able to pass a new baby around and also to get 10mins to spend with DC1 on a 121 basis.

Without my toddler group which ran monday,wednesday and friday I would have gone fruit de loop!!! It took up the morning so the children would sleep after lunch and I got time to run the hoover round/tidy up and then sit and enjoy the silence!!!

You will enjoy it, I then had a 25mnth gap between DD2 and DS and to be honest, that was sooooo much harder! Would have preffered to have them a lot closer together, but hindsight is a wonderful thing!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

nellie12 Sat 07-Nov-09 11:25:36

18 mo gap here. all I can say is that you just end up getting on with it and find your own level really. Things that helped me were;

Bath them together.

If anyone offers to take the toddler for a few hours take them up on it.

Try to get out with friends so you have a break from the routine.

it is lovely seeing them play together though and I also think they learn sharing and other social skills better when they are close together.

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