Hey, y'all. I know some of you were pregnant and now have a little baby, as well as a toddler. I just had my little baby 5 weeks early (he is almost 2 weeks old) and I want to check in with those of you in the same boat. How is it going? What are you learning? What is most challenging and how are you handling it? How are you managing logistics such as:
a) Diapering for two
b) Bedtime and nap time for the toddler
c) Putting down baby for a nap when your toddler wants you
d) Setting limits around touching the new baby/supervision of time with the baby (i.e. how to keep your toddler from trying to lie down next to your baby and poke him/her while you are using the toilet)
I am lucky enough to have my DH home with me for a little while while we get settled. But eventually I will be doing this solo half the time (DH works 7 days on, 7 days off). Any ideas? Oh yeah, and ideas for slings that work for really little babies (he is 5 pounds, 5 oz.)?
a) can't help with that. DD1 was only wearing nappies for bed.
b) We all laid down together. I started off feeding DD1 to sleep but it got too hard so I would just pat her or sing to her. If DD2 was restless I would stand up with her and sing to DD1. We moved, fairly quickly, to DH putting DD1 to bed whenever possible.
c) I didn't put the baby down for sleeps for the first 4 months or so. She slept in the carrier. Now that DD1 is older I let her watch a program on the computer while I put DD2 down but DD2's sleeps have been the hardest thing for us logistically and she moved to one sleep a day before she was ready I think.
d) this wasn't an issue for us either as I always wore DD2. I lay between them in bed. If I had to get up to go to the loo when they were both asleep I put a pillow between them until I got back. We didn't put any limits on DD1 touching DD2 as long as she was gentle and DD2 wasn't upset.
I used my Beco right from the start but for a very tiny person I would have used a Moby wrap I think. That's what I used for DD1.
All the best, going from one to two is hard work.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
I currently have a nearly 3 yr old son and 3 mth old daughter. And Im STILL trying to get a hang of it, they are both changing so quickly, once I get used to a routine with them they switch it up on me.
a) Luckily my son decided himself that he was done with diapers on his 2nd birthday so just cloth diapering for 1 here (although part time EC has made my life MUCH easier)
b) He also decided to stop napping once baby arrived...UGH!
c) My daughter often just naps in the carrier and I continue to play with my son as much as I can, this has been the easiest way to get her to stay sleeping
d) I havent had too many issues with this one, Im able to use the bathroom while I strap her on the changing table which is in our bathroom. We all co-sleep as well and I sleep in between them. I let him hug and love on baby as long as hes gentle, she will tell us when hes gone over the limit and he will ease up or stop whatevers hes doing to bother her. Ive been very lucky to have such a loving and protective big bro for her! He just sometimes gets over excited and I have to be cautious when that happens like the hyper time before bed.
Ive used just a regular homemade ringsling, used it for my son from birth till currently and I LOVE it for my daughter now!
I just ordered 2 slings online, and so looking forward to using them. I was thinking of encouraging my 2yo to drop the nap, actually, just to get over that hurdle - is that crazy? I think he would go for it, as long as we didn't get in the car at nap time (which would make a nap inevitable).
As of posting, DS has become overall mostly gentle with the baby. We had some luck with saying "slow down" when he was getting really excited about touching him and about to grab or kind of jump on him with joy, rather than other phrases (like tired old "gentle touches," which often gets the response, "go away!").
I guess I'll figure it out. I just wish I could just spy on some families to actually see how it's done.
I would advise against giving up the nap time. It is important for their brain development. Also it gives you some time to rest up or get things down. My 26 month granddaughter still has a 2 hr nap each day and sleeps about 9-10 hours at night. On the few occasions she missed her nap she was hyperactive and cranky. She has had a new brother for one week now and , so far, loves him to bits.
You may have to wait until your toddler is more settled with the new baby before tackling toilet training but you can encourage this by taking your toddler into the toilet with you and giving him/her a turn too.
At nap/bed time just take the baby in too when reading bedtime stories. As long as he is not a crier it should be fine. My daughter reads and breastfeeds with both children in the bed. The little girl loves to cuddle her baby brother and is being encouraged to be gentle.This is the time when you can help them become loving siblings.
Never leave the baby alone with the toddler as the baby could be hurt if the toddler plays roughly.
I hope things settle down and you enjoy this time together.
One thing I want to say, which is just my opinion: Don't beat yourself up if you need to take shortcuts in the beginning (well, at any point, really) because many things are "little things" when it comes to raising your children into happy, healthy adults. I really wanted to do everything the same for both kids, but I have come to realize it just isn't going to happen and in some situations, it isn't what is best for the kids. Overall, with my youngest being two now, I'm pretty happy with how well we did the things we wanted, but I'm also happy I was flexible when I needed to be because I would have struggled far more if I wasn't a little flexible.
I'm not saying my compromises are the same compromises you'll want to make, I'm just saying that you should try to remain flexible on things that don't really matter when you're struggling.
I've passed this stage, but my kids are two years apart and here is what I recall from that time:
a) Diapering: I just made it work. My younger child was teensy, too, so cloth diapering was out for a couple of months because I didn't have a stash that would fit and it wasn't worth the investment of new diapers. We used sposies and it helped in a lot of ways - less laundry, just ease of putting them on, etc. I had my older child help with things as much as I could and as much as he wanted - getting a wipe, getting a new diaper, etc.
b) Bedtime and naptime for the toddler: Naptime was a difficult one for us because my baby didn't want to be put down and didn't sleep great. We kept the time(s) the same, but I just held my baby through the naptime ritual (i.e. reading, singing a song, etc.). Oftentimes I had to stand and rock the baby while we did our naptime ritual, which meant DS would get a story from my head rather than an actual book. My Moby wrap was also necessary. For bedtime, DP took over with our toddler, which worked for everyone.
c) Baby napping when toddler wants you: This was another difficult time for us and we just winged it, too. It seems like 90% of the time my toddler wanted me during this time so I just did what I had to do. For a long while I refused to do TV/DVDs, but then I used DVDs (since I could control it) to get us through the rough spots. I hated every minute of it (screen time is one of my "things" and it may not be for you), but it did help, especially since he hadn't seen much of anything up until that point. I probably did this for 2-3 months until we got to some stability. Eventually this got much easier to where my toddler was okay without me (I would leave a fun activity/task for him to do while I was gone, he would play on his own, etc.) and they began napping on similar schedules.
d) Toddler/Baby boundaries: I had to take my baby everywhere. Everywhere. I used a wrap (Moby) and that was my salvation for this, too.
I had a Moby wrap for my first child, purchased on Craigslist, and I just kept it for baby #2. I loved it since my second baby was very, very small. It does have a learning curve, but YouTube has a lot of helpful tutorials. My baby practically lived in this wrap. I did have to be careful because there were only certain holds that felt comfortable and safe, but that also made it easier to master. There may be something easier/better out there now, but I already had it, it was cheap, and it worked.
Thank you! I have been putting my toddler down for some naps by singing with the baby in my arms, which is working fine now. I change my toddler's diaper on the floor and lay the baby down next to me but away from him, which seems to be working, too. Thanks for the support and advice. I'll try to be flexible and definitely keep my older one's nap for as long as he'll take it. It so nice to have some time.