Gosh, I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely found the jump from one to two kids harder than the adjustment from none to one. The 18 month age gap between Harper and Paxton has been amazing and challenging in so many ways. I knew I wanted my kids close together so I wouldn’t change it for the world, however it has come with lots of highs and lots of lows. Parenting is a tough gig! Especially with my two, who always keep me on my toes! For those of you who are about to make the leap from one to two kids, don’t worry, I’ve put together some of my top tips that really helped me survive the first six months.
* My Top 10 TIPS for those of you about to take the jump…*
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I hate asking for help. But in the early days, when/if people offer to help, take it! Whatever it is, if it’s to help with the groceries, bring over a meal, take your toddler to the park, whatever it may be, don’t turn it down. It will do you a world of good. Even if your fridge is stocked, you can always freeze a meal if you don’t need it then and there. I still find having meals in my freezer as backup, so helpful! Although I must admit, a sneaky bowl of cereal or some eggs for dinner when you’re feeling extra lazy never killed anyone! If no one offers to help and you’re really struggling – Just ask! Even ask your partner to have both the kids one morning so you can get that extra hour or two of sleep or even just a chance to wash your hair in peace. You know you deserve it. If someone offers to take the baby for a walk, go take your toddler out for some special time. I also found having that special one-on-one time with Harper really important, she loved it and really needed it. She was so used to being my only baby, that having a new baby was a really big change for her too.
This was a big one for me! A big help that is. I loved breastfeeding my kids, I found it crazy challenging and painful for the first couple of months with Harper but after that, I loved it! I breastfed Harper exclusively until she was eight months. But with Paxton, we introduced formula very early on, initially for one feed a day. Even though I had an oversupply of milk for both of my kids (I will discuss all things breastfeeding another day, in another post) for some reason, come 5pm every day, I felt incredibly run down and my supply was low. To take the pressure off, from the first few weeks of bringing Paxton home, that 5/6pm feed, was always formula. It also meant that if someone else was over, they could give Paxton the bottle and I could give Harper dinner and bath her. It was such a load off my shoulders and so nice to have that time with Harper! Plus, it meant by 8/9pm I had enough milk, that I could express for the next feed (the dream-feed) which Jase would give Pax from the bottle around 10/10.30pm and I could get to bed around 9.30pm. It was such a great little routine for us! It worked so well. Jase loved having that time with Paxton. Plus, it meant that I could sleep from 9.30pm until the next feed, so I was always guaranteed 4-6 hours sleep in a row! Which any new mum, can understand how good that is!
In saying all of this, I know breastfeeding isn’t for everyone and not everyone can do it. If you fall in that basket, don’t beat yourself up about it. In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with formula. You must do what works for you and your baby.
The baby-carrier is your best friend!
Especially with a needy toddler, the baby carrier is awesome! You can still use your hands, cook dinner, walk the dog, push the pram, take your toddler to the toilet, push them on the swing, etc etc. Both of my kids were refluxy, so they needed to be up right after feeds, so the baby carrier was perfect for that too. Although most days I ended up with vomit all down my shoulders. Use it, you’ll love it! I also bought an awesome double pram which I use to death! Definitely worth the investment too.
Be prepared to breastfeed or bottle feed wherever you are.
Always make sure you’re wearing breastfeeding appropriate clothes. Or if you’re bottle feeding, make sure to have formula, a bottle and anything else you may need on you at all times! You never know where you might be when your baby needs a feed. And that brings me to my next point…
Make sure to carry snacks, nappies, baby wipes and spare clothes on you at all times.
You never know when your baby is going to stop you in your tracks for a feed. I found it super important to always carry snacks on me for Harper. It just meant if I got stuck doing a long feed and I was out, Harper would stay seated next to me eating. Nappies, baby wipes and spare clothes are just a MUST for all the time! I carry them with me wherever I go. But especially with newborns. You never know when the next poo explosion or big vomit will be!! Fun times hey!
Do your best to time your kids sleeps so you can have them both down for their daytime nap at the same time.
I was quite strict on routines with Harper when she was a baby. She needed it. But luckily, with Paxton, he was more flexible. He had to be. I did my best each day to time his sleeps so he would go down around the same time as Harper. This meant that most days (and still to this day) I would get 2-3 hours of downtime to myself. I remember at one point, I even slightly changed Harper’s day sleep to later, and then put it back to earlier when Paxton changed from one to two sleeps. She adjusted quite well to that too which was lucky. You have to do what you can to keep yourself sane, and for me it was this. Knowing that I just needed to get through the morning and then I’d get a break to myself, gave me something to look forward to every day. It did come with challenges in the earlier days whilst I was trying to sleep train Paxton. Harper got woken a few times here and there from his crying. But she got used to it and they both learnt how to put themselves back to sleep. It was all worth it.
Don’t be afraid to turn on the tv.
Each to their own on this one, so you might not all agree with me, but tv has been my saviour at times for Harper. During the first four months of my pregnancy when I was incredibly unwell, and during the first couple of months when Paxton’s feeds were taking a long time, play school became Harper and my best friend!! I know too much screen time isn’t good for kids but I couldn’t have gotten through it without it! Just make sure to balance it out with plenty of fresh air, games, arts and crafts, make believe play, etc.
The first 6-12 months were all about survival for us. Do what works for you and don’t worry about being judged. Try and stay positive and when both kids are hysterically crying, laugh it off! The jump from one to two kids is hard! You will do a great job!! I promise, it will get easier.