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Advice on how to cope with 2!

32 replies

dazedandconfused · 08/08/2004 22:01

DH and I are expecting our 2nd baby at the end of Jan, by which time DS will be 20/21 months.Trouble is, almost everyone we've told has gone on and on about how horrendous it's going to be for us! We're starting to get a bit freaked out...Obviously we know it will be hard work with a toddler and a new baby-but just how bad can it really be?!

Any advice? Or good books to read?

OP posts:
Tommy · 08/08/2004 22:10

Same gap as we have! It wasn't horrendous and not even twice as much work (as many people told us it would be!)bloody tiring though and it always takes a very long time to get out out of the house (don't plan too many things in same day. Ultimately, I'm pleased with the gap - they really are starting to play with together now.DS1 (now 2y7m) a bit mean to DS2 at the moment but DS2 coming into his own and crawling and taking toys etc! Enjoy!

xoz · 08/08/2004 22:19

My 2 dd's are 21 months apart and yes, it's been hard work -dd2 is 22 months now- although nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be. I think that 2 kids is always harder than 1, no matter what the age difference. They're really good friends now and starting to play together. I'm glad in some ways that they are close in age. Just do things in the best way you can, most importantly, that you're comfortable with, and don't worry about what everyone else says.I also had lots of people say that sort of thing, but They also say how horrendous a big gap is. You'll never please everyone and it's not like you can change it now!!! So don't worry, just enjoy it as much as you can and you'll get through.

Yorkiegirl · 08/08/2004 22:44

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lolpop · 09/08/2004 09:48

there are 2 years between my boys (3 and 1 this month) and although the first 6 months was really hard (not all due to children - my parents splitting up as much as anything!) they're now playing together beautifully!

if you're having a hard time with them just tell yourself that it doesn't last long, by the time the second one is a year old you'll (probably) be enjoying every minute!

Twiglett · 09/08/2004 10:33

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motherinferior · 09/08/2004 12:11

DON'T read that Three Shoes One Sock book, or at least don't take it too seriously. Especially her grim warnings that you'll be fat and incontinent.

29 months between my two and it's wonderful.

honeybunny · 09/08/2004 13:02

My gap was 17.5mo and I wont lie and say it was plain sailing. It was really hard work with dh working long hours and g/parents miles away and us living in a new area. I found support thru ante-natal NCT gps (I did both the first time and refresher Nct classes) which were invaluable as a source of meeting mums with similar aged children. It gave me the excuse of getting out of the house and having some adult conversations. The boys have the usual spats but love each other dearly and play together well. My youngest is now 2.4yrs. Its getting easier, but just as I was thinking of resting on my laurels, we're expecting a third in Dec04 so its all going to kick off again.

I must confess that friends from the first timer NCT gp are pg again too and I cant help but tell them what a shock to the system its going to be, and how much hard work etc etc, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Think of everything as a phase and you know it will pass.

Enjoy your pg and dont worry, you'll cope!

allatsea · 09/08/2004 13:33

CONGRATS dazedandconfused. Ds was born last December and there's a 21 months gap between him and dd. Everyone (and I mean everyone - friends, family, shop assistants, complete strangers) said that it would be horrendous, but no-one ever said that a different gap was actually better or easier. Having 2 children is harder than having one that's for sure, regardless of the gap. I usually read every book going, but I didn't this time, and I was told not to read Three shoes ... We didn't say anything to dd about the baby until about 4 weeks to go. We decorated a new room for her and moved her into it 3 months before ds was due and she has no clamouring for her old room, which helped. She liked helping me get out the moses basket etc and seeing if she still fitted inside it etc. We also had to contend with Christmas which added its own challenges! Most of the time dd ignored ds, and I did have a special bag with new toys, books, special snack and drink to be used only when I was feeding ds. The first few weeks were hard as we got used to having a baby again and juggling the sleep patterns of two children, but as ds got more predictable in feeding and eating times it got much easier to go out/play with dd/know what was going to happen next. Ds is now 8 months old and has been crawling for the last 5 weeks. Although dd says things like 'i don't want him now' when she's tired, she generally very good with him and can make him smile when no-one else can. It's much easier now that dd no longer has a nap so we can get out of the house more easily. I do miss having some free time during nap times, but since every thing else is going quite well it seems a small price to pay. Try to take it easy is the only advice I could give

SenoraPostrophe · 09/08/2004 13:40

Exactly the same gap as my 2! DS is now 6 months, dd 2 and a bit.

Like the others say, it is hard work, but not necessarily as hard as you think. I've only occasionally thought "I can't do this" (I did think it on a few of the bad days though . In general though, things are good - at least I can still remember how to deal with a baby! And I think it's easier having 2 close together as they grow up - they entertain each other etc.

Things that made life easier:

  1. dd still going to nursery - she was late every day, but it gave me time alone with ds. (it did result in ds catching every cold going though, so maybe better not to send your ds to nursery until the baby is a month or so old)
  2. getting a good tandem buggy
  3. buying a baby doll for dd just before ds was born - all children love baby dolls and it really helped to prepare her.

    Things I should have done:
  4. bought a wind-up/electric swing chair!
  5. lived closer to my family
  6. swapped my dp for one that can manage on 8 hours sleep (never mind 5 or 6! )
aloha · 09/08/2004 13:43

My friend has just had a baby with a 21 month gap, and so far it's brilliant. Her dd is delighted by her baby brother, and my friend says it's so much easier than the first time as she is so much more confident. Early days for her, but she's very happy.

calcium · 09/08/2004 13:46

I too am expecting dd 2 in 6 weeks and dd 1 is 2 and 3 months. Everyone has told me how awful its going to be except a really good friend who has just had her second baby and ds1 is nearly 2. She said she thought it was going to be much worse and had forgotton that at least babies don't need as much attention as 2 year olds! I've also been told get first baby a doll with bottle/buggy/nappies so that they can do what you are doing with the baby to THEIR baby, I am definately going to try it. Good luck.

mckenzie · 09/08/2004 13:52

I'm expecting NO 2 in February by which time DS1 will be just over 3 and a half. A friend told me yesterday that she'd been advised to talk about the new baby as soon as possible (ie, now). Would Mumsnetters agree with that or do you think it'll then be a heck of a long time for DS1 to wait until said baby actually arrives and we might be better not telling him until we have to (ie when I get fat!!)

aloha · 09/08/2004 14:29

mckenzie, my ds is a similar age to yours, I think, 3 in Sept, and my baby is due in Feb, and I haven't told him anything yet. I'd like to find out the sex first, if possible, and, like you, think six months is an awfully long time for a baby, so might start talking about it after the 20 week scan.

SenoraPostrophe · 09/08/2004 14:38

PS I didn't mention that my boy was a bit of a difficult one in the sleeping/eating department - wouldn't take a bottle, fed all day, woke up lots at night.

With a normal baby it would have been a doddle!

almost40 · 09/08/2004 14:55

I have 2 dds who are 2.5 yo and 7 mos, so same gap. It is much easier than I ever thought it would be. I have lots of help though and that has made a big difference. I do think it helps to start talking about the baby early and doing as much preparation as possible. We also moved dd1 into her new room as soon as we could. I also found out the sex of dd2 so we could talk about dd's baby sister. I'm actually now trying to decide if I want a third child . Good luck! No advice or books. Just enjoy it, as it seems to go by so fast.

myermay · 09/08/2004 15:05

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shrub · 09/08/2004 15:29

congratulations! what helped me is to to all my food shopping online which leaves you to do nice things together when you go out and second try not to do too much and go out only in the morning and leave afternoon for nap if poss for you and baby (put vid on for ds1) and let yourself have plenty of time to enjoy them.

Damesmum · 09/08/2004 16:26

The opposite question: can anyone tell me what their experience has been having two 5 years apart? We are just trying for no.2 and ds is 4 1/2. He has always been lovely but high maintenance, i.e. very active, not great at playing alone, and I'm hoping that he will come into his own as the "big brother". I'm also nervous about having another at 39. It was hard enough at 34!

motherinferior · 09/08/2004 16:30

Aloha, Mckenzie, dd1 was about a year younger than your dss, but I think I just let it become increasingly apparent. I know she was talking firmly about her Bebbysista (despite feeble warnings it might be a brother) several months before said bebbysista emerged.

woodpops · 09/08/2004 16:31

I have a 16 month gap between ds and dd. I find it harder work now than when dd was newborn. DD is 20 months and ds will be 3 next week. The trouble is now that dd wants to do everything that ds does and can't (she'll have a bloody good try at it though) so she gets frustrated which leads to a tantrum. And boy has she mastered tantrums. It's fab having 2 so close together and wouldn't have it any other way. I might argue that one on a bad day though!!

alison222 · 09/08/2004 18:56

alternatively read the book, scare yourself witless and then when the new baby comes along yuo can congratulate yourself that it isn't as bad as you thought it would be and pat yourself on the back at how well you are doing.
My ds and DD are 26 mths apart. Like everyone we had some bad days, but DD was a dream baby in comparison to DS and she fed and slept on cue. I carried on as normal as possible with DS and DD was carted to all sorts of playsessins etc with us. She fitted in no problem and loved the attention.
The worst bit was trying to catch up on sleep

hovely · 09/08/2004 22:24

The real bonus as regards No 2 is that you know what you are doing with a baby - eg you don't go into a flap at every bit of milk that comes back up, you have a better idea why s/he might be crying, etc - but for me the tricky parts have been

  1. hideous lack of sleep (on days when I have them both at home there is usually no time of the day when they are both asleep, and in the mornings invitably one or other of them will wake extremely early and wake the other one up)
  2. dealing with dd's growing stroppiness as she nears her 3rd birthday in situations when I can't pick her up or hold her because I am holding ds - ie trying to discipline or console her with voice alone.

    However ds is now 7 mths, dd will be 3 in November and I can certainly see that by the time this year is through life will be substantially easier. Above all dd has been completely loving and caring towards ds, she adores helping with him, and he in turn lights up and wriggles with delight at the sight of her.
    Advice - build into every day some regular time alone with your elder ds, eg just before bed, so that he knows that he will get his 'special time' for cuddles etc;
  • if possible also have some time alone with new baby when ds is doing something like nursery;
  • involve ds as much as possible in everything that you do with new babe eg feedng bathing nappies etc, and having his own baby doll is an excellent idea;
  • let ds spend a bit of time with somebody else's little baby so he knows that they cry and can't play at first;
  • get all moves into new beds/ rooms etc sorted out well in advance;
  • cut ds some slack as regards his behaviour (within reason) ie don't come down too hard on mess, table manners etc so long as he is treating new baby OK;
  • bear in mind that it's rather difficult to take care of an errant 2 year old who has decided to run away in the park while you are breastfeeding a small baby. Best to go with somebody else initially if you possibly can, or only go to confined spaces.
    But congratulations and good luck - it will be marvellous (at least some of the time!)
eldestgirl · 10/08/2004 12:13

My two boys are 26 months apart. The first 12 weeks were a bit sleep-deprived and hard work, but never THAT bad. DS1 was always so proud of having a baby brother. We lived in a 4th floor flat, thousands of miles from family and the main problem was summoning up the energy to take them both outside so that DS1 could run around. My saviour at 12 weeks was getting some help one afternoon a week. It meant that I could leave DS2 with her for an hour or so and take DS1 out for some mummy time (swimming, to a cafe for an apple juice), small things, but they meant a lot to him.

I used to call the scaremongers "prophets of doom". There are always people who love to tell you how bad it will be and how you won't be able to cope. I just used to smile sweetly, interrupt the conversation and say, well, I'll soon find out won't I?

I agree also, DS2 was SO much easier than DS1. Breastfed and everything!

nmd · 10/08/2004 13:45

There are 18 months between dd1 & dd2 - it was maybe a bit harder at first but inviting lots of friends round with similar aged children helped plus not planning too much per day and definitely not trying to get anywhere too early. Now they're 4.5 & 6 and for years (really since dd2 could laugh & be impressed by dd1, but especially since she could crawl) they have been the best of friends and play wonderful elaborate games together. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see them doing lovely things together. Of course they fight too but generally I think it's a fantastic gap, well done! (Whether planned or not - ours wasn't!) p.s. if you can afford to get help with the housework I can't recommend that highly enough!

dazedandconfused · 10/08/2004 21:07

Thanks all mumsnetters for the great advice. We feel very encouraged, and have taken on some of the tips. Roll on January! Then I'll probably be back for more advice

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