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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My dd will be 18 months on 11.6, and we are due with our 2nd dd on 11.14.<br><br>
I'm doing what I can to prepare the house, the baby and the hubby... but am interested in preparing me too. I'm curious how other moms felt about the experience of having babies close together.<br><br>
I wonder how challenging it will be... how long it will take to feel like some normalcy is back in the house... what advantages did you find to having kids close together?<br><br>
Of course, any hints and tips that you have, would be welcome as well.<br><br>
TIA!
 

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Well, mine are 20 minutes apart. :LOL<br><br>
Seriously, I think there are some similarities between having closely spaced children and having multiples.<br><br>
I would start by realizing that A) you are heading down a road that millions (billions?) before you have taken, in other words, it IS do-able and you are NOT alone. I take comfort some days in just knowing that. And B) a reality check: you may not be able to be the AP poster girl anymore. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> Meaning you will probably have to compromise on certain things, centering around how you meet the needs of both children individually while still maintaining your (and dp's) sanity and health. I have done some things that I probably wouldn't have had to do if I had just had 1 baby. You will also likely mother your 2nd baby a little differently than you mothered your first. It's just doing the math... you have 50% less time. Before getting upset about this, know that I now think of it as an advantage and a blessing. I have had to be a lot more creative and a lot more critical (in a good way) of the choices I make than if I only had 1 child. I think it's common when you have one baby to be "all about" that baby (and with good reason!), but having two (or more) children, forces you to think on your feet and come up with creative solutions. Like what you do when your toddler is crying but you are changing baby's diaper. Or baby is hungry and you are in the middle of playing a game with your toddler. Or both baby and toddler are sick and need mama 24/7.<br><br>
First of all, I would seriously consider obtaining Mothering Multiples (a La Leche League book). Yes it's about twins/triplets, but there is so much in this book that will help you too - tandem nursing two young ones, handling sleep/naps, cosleeping when the family bed is really the **family** bed!!, and many other things like babywearing two at a time, how to keep your sanity, and on and on. If this is the only book you read, I'd read this one.<br><br>
I think a lot of advice re: tandem nursing, cosleeping with more than 1 child, etc. you will find in that book, but in terms of other nitty-gritty stuff and lessons learned, here's my attempt:<br><br>
* If you don't have one, invest in a good baby sling. Wear your baby everywhere, with ready access to breast, and you will be able to play with your toddler, cook/eat, go on walks, and so on much as you did before. I like <a href="http://www.peppermint.com" target="_blank">www.peppermint.com</a> for the best one-stop-shop for finding/buying the right sling for you.<br><br>
* GET HELP. OK so shoot me. Maybe this isn't AP. But you're gonna need it at least for a few weeks (months... years...) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> Line up family, friends to come help, and by help I mean cook, clean, and do all the things around the house so all you have to do is spend your time on your baby and your toddler. I consider this a must-have, and realize that help comes in many forms - volunteer, hired, and friendly/neighborly. Delegate everything you can except mothering.<br><br>
* Enlist DH. Having 2 children often changes the game from just mama/baby to parents/babies. If your dh has been marginally involved with the first baby, he is going to have to become more involved now. This means laundry/cooking/cleaning as well as baby care and fathering your toddler as well. It is going to be critical for your sanity that he know how to settle/soothe as well as you. So if baby is fussy for example, he knows what baby likes - say a certain hold, a neck nestle, a certain position in the sling (that he learns to wear if he doesn't already!). This means a deep attachment with both baby and toddler so that it doesn't have to be you instructing him on what to do, or you being overwhelmed at 3am when both children wake up needing comforting at the same time. This only comes with direct frequent parenting on his part, and early attachment with your new baby.<br><br>
* Be sure each child gets "mama time". Whether that's nursing your baby quietly just the two of you while MIL plays with your toddler, or taking your toddler to the grocery store for a quick outing while daddy watches a sleeping baby, or cuddling/reading to your toddler while baby naps nearby. I love the few times I get each day when one baby is sleeping a little longer or off playing with daddy, and I get to be with one baby alone for a little while.<br><br>
* Set up various "stations" throughout the house. When you just have one child, you and that child can go together upstairs for a diaper change, or into the next room for a snack... But now what happens when your toddler is playing in the kitchen and your baby needs a new diaper?! Make sure to have diaper changing supplies in at least 2 convenient places (ours are upstairs in our bedroom and downstairs in the family room), we also have a system of baby gates to ensure that if I need to take one child out of the room for a moment (e.g., to put down for a nap), the other child will remain safe and secure. If you are nursing or pumping, think about the fact that you won't be doing that in your bedroom or the nursery, but probably right in the family room because that's where your toddler plays! So bring your rocker in there, along with your nursing pillows, etc. There are so many more examples of this, but these are a few.<br><br>
Hmmm.... I've written a book. Anyway, I hope this helps. I could probably go on and on, so I'll check back in a few and see if there's anything else I forgot. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"><br><br>
Oooh, and I should have started by saying congratulations! What a wonderful time for you and your family. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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You certainly should put your feet up and breathe now! I have two boys, 14 months apart. I have never had multiples, but I think I may have had a glimpse into what it may be like for those who do. The beginning was difficult for me. Upon baby's arrival, my toddler wasn't sure where his place was. We did everything to continue on a normal routine as we had pre-baby. For us, the first two weeks were most challenging to get adjusted to another baby. After that, things fell into a decent rhythm. For my sanity, organization has been key. Knowing where things are and such has been the best when the unexpected arises. Using cloth diapers for both has been a great deal of work, but with a rhythm or routine, it hasn't been bad at all. I certainly haven't thrown in the towel and gone to disposable.<br>
You will have such great rewards while being stretched in every direction. My boys are best friends and love each other dearly. Had I to do it over again I would do the same thing. Close is good. They are so close in age there are seasons in their development they are very similar and can be involved in the same activites. This is great being able to do things everyone can enjoy on the same level. The older my boys get, the better it becomes.<br>
On those days you are tired and weary, know it gets easier and the blessings continue as they get older<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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1. Learn to be shameless in asking for and/or receiving help. If you don't want to hand off child-care, then have people bring you meals or do some housecleaning. This is a really hard thing for some people (including me) to swallow, but it will really help you keep your sanity.<br><br>
2. Realize that the super hard newborn period (say, the first 6 weeks) will END, and then it will get better. It helps if you can find a specific support group for people who have gone through what you're going through--at least for me, it is far more comforting when mamas who have been there say "it's tough, plow through it, it'll get better!"<br><br>
3. If you've never been one to relinquish "control" to DH (as in, all parenting is done your way by you), it's now time to psyche yourself up for letting go. Dad/partner is really essential for one's sanity with close-spaced sibs...but he needs breathing room to do things his own way too.<br><br>
4. It's okay to cry when things get overwhelming.<br><br>
5. It will be harder than you think to adjust to the new triad of you, your older child, and your younger child...but you will probably get there sooner than you think.<br><br>
Maybe my experience is flavored by having closely spaced kids composed of a singleton and twins. I have often thought that having just two closely spaced would be easy...but then again, so much depends on personality types, so I know that's not true. It's hard, hard, hard, mama. But you can do it, and it gets more and more fun every day after 2 months.
 

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My boys are 19 months apart, and I never understand people who say that the first couple months are so hard. When it starts to get hard is when the youngest starts to crawl into the oldest's train tracks, animals, or books or when they can both run opposite directions fast. I always have found the first few months so sweet, not an adjustment so maybe that's just me.<br><br>
Is he still nursing? If not have you though about starting again? Tandem nursing is hard but I can't imagine what it would have been like with out being able to sit or lay down and have both of them confined to me- noone is throwing something in the toilet or trying to get out the front door. And at least for my boys if one is almost asleep and the other needs me, I can usually get him to latch on instead of just crying and completely waking up the other. My oldest was hardly nursing at all near the end- maybe once or twice a day, I am had had no milk for a long time. But really was exclusively breasfed again after my milk came in, he didn't eat solids for months- I always joke that they started solids together, but it's not a joke<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"><br><br>
We spent a lot of time outside at first, several hours (like 4-6) a day. Babies are often less fussy outside, walking and nursing in a sling what more could he want-- toddlers are distracted by salamanders (we lived right next to this lake in Maine when #2 was born and I thought it was so cool to find salamanders too, but any creepy crawlies will do<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">), or bigger kids, or slides and any messes made could be left in the pile of clothes at the front door.
 

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Mine are 16 months apart and to be honest - it's very difficult. At least it was in the beginning. My older DD was still a baby when the new baby came. She didn't understand why I couldn't meet her every need as soon as she had it anymore. She really struggled and I felt horrible. Those first few weeks were especially hard. I missed my time with just my older DD. I missed being able to snuggle and play with her, lay down for naps with her and just have our special time. It made it difficult for me to bond with the new baby. I was very tearful and my heart ached for my DD. However, after about 6 weeks we started getting into a routine. Abby realized that the new baby wasn't going anywhere and slowly came to accept her and now she adores her. I know this experience doesn't happen to everyone but for me, I had no idea how I would mourn the loss of my one on one time with my DD or how guilty I would feel for taking a part of myself away from her. I wish I had been prepared for that. But, here we are 13 weeks later and life is wonderful! My DD adores her baby sister and I know I've given them the greatest gift in the world - each other <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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it can be a real butt kicker for a while, but it does get easier. and now (my dds are 4 yrs and 2 1/2 yrs) it's SO WONDERFUL!!!<br><br>
seek help and support often.
 

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My dd and ds are 20 months apart. I don't think it's that difficult. Yeah, some days are hard, but isn't it like that with children who are farther apart? ds is now almost 5 months and dd just turned two. The best advice I have is if your oldest child is only taking one nap a day, like my dd, than wait to put him/her down until baby is ready to sleep and them you go to sleep too. It is so nice and dd adapted very well to the new schedule. HTH. Serenity
 

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Very timely post. DS#2 is due in 2 months and DS #1 will be 16 months old when it happens. I am very blessed that DH will be home for at least 3 weeks after the birth and MIL has offered to stay with me for a week if need be. DH has also been a really hands-on parent and will fill the need for DS #1 in the beginning weeks which I expect will be rough on him.
 

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My kids are 23 mos apart and the first 6 mos were the hardest, but I wasn't nursing until ds was 4 mos, I was pumping and fingerfeeding. If ds had been nursing, it may have been easier. It was also very hard for me b/c dh went on an overnight schedule 6pm to 630 am when ds was a month old. That meant he slept during the day and was at work at night.<br><br>
One problem I had in the beginning was that dd had always been able to sleep in the car if I couldn't get her to sleep at home. DS hated the car, so napping in the car, or even trying to take an outing was very challenging. It was either have cranky toddler at home or screaming newborn in the car.<br><br>
Overall, I have to say the hard times were/are harder and the good times are better. I felt horrible when both were crying for something and I had to choose which I would tend to first. I usually decided by whichever was either more urgent or which would be quickest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I never really thought about this all as being close to having twins. Interesting idea.<br><br>
I have to tell all of you that I absolutely loved your responses. Overwhelmingly, I got that it's tough, heck yeh... but rewarding beyong belief. I figured as much, but it was really neat to see it from so many moms.<br><br>
I've been cooking <i>big</i> 3 times a week (quadrupling the recipe and freezing 3 of them), so I should have close to 35 meals in the freezer by the time she arrives. That's a huge help.<br><br>
My dh is going to work 4 day weeks, and my mom is going to visit 1-2 times a week. I have some close friends nearby and neighbors - none have really offered to help, but I know that if I need them, they will.<br><br>
Again, thanks so much... I think this is a wonderful thread. I really appreciate your time!
 
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