I should begin by saying that by no stretch of any imagination would I consider myself a pro-I don’t even think I could confidently use the word “experienced”; however when I am deciding what to write about on this darn blog I usually refer back to what I want to read about on other blogs.
When I was pregnant with Everett, I constantly sought out advice on how in the world I was supposed to take care of two children AT THE SAME TIME!? I knew it was possible of course but when it came time to sit down and think through the logistics (I need a plan for literally everything in my life), I knew I was in trouble. I just couldn’t figure out how I was going to do things without help. Luckily, for the early days/weeks, I had help. Thank goodness. BUT, not everyone does. So, here are some tips/tricks/just plain suggestions when you bring that second babe home.
Be ready with activities.
You can create a special bag/basket of fun things that only come out when you need to be occupied with the baby. This may even mean watching special shows on the iPad or your iPhone. I am giving you permission to do this-your child will be fine and if it saves your sanity-it’s well worth it.
Feeding & Baby Time.
Set up certain rooms/areas of the home that are completely and totally safe so that you can leave your older child unattended if needed. I don’t mean leave them for long periods and completely unmonitored, but there are times when you might need to be in a separate room or run up to the nursery for an emergency diaper change and your toddler/older child will not want to go. Let them stay and play where they are but make sure it is safe and YOU feel okay leaving them for a few minutes to get what you need to done. For me, this meant installing extra gates and even a camera in the play room so that I can peek while doing things in the kitchen.
Schedule your day accordingly (naps, play time, errands, etc…). This doesn’t apply early on as babies sleep most of the time but as you drop naps and consolidate feedings, take the time you need to determine who needs to go down for their nap first and then plan for it. For example, we do all meals together now and the baby only gets three liquid feedings now. This means that after we all eat breakfast, Everett goes down for his morning nap and frees me up to have one on one time with Ellery (when she isn’t in school). If needed, we do some chores (together) otherwise we play! Then, all together we run our errands, eat lunch and then they will both nap together in the afternoon. Depending who is more tired, they get put down first. In a perfect world they both sleep at the SAME TIME! Same goes for bed time. Typically the baby needs to go down first and the older child can wait a bit longer (what kid doesn’t want to hang for a bit before bed, anyways!?) Sometimes if they’re both super cranky and tired, I will set up some books, the iPad, whatever for my daughter and she will just relax until I can get her ready and into bed. Again, schedules are tough, and you are always asking one of them to wait, which is hard! You are only one person and have to do the best you can.
When I lived in the city, grocery shopping consisted of Fresh Direct and picking up miscellaneous items as needed while out and about. Now, it’s a totally different ball game. We have to plan our trips and it takes a LOT of work. When I bring both kids, it’s full on. Bring lots of snacks, be prepared to come home with items that weren’t on your list (and likely forget several that were) and try to remain calm. You will get through it. If you can, put baby in the carrier and wear him/her and put older child in the cart. Do what you can to keep them contained. Seriously.
Transitioning to two kids is hard but it does get easier…I promise! The best part? Watching them become the closest, most wonderful friends that can actually PLAY together even before the baby is one! You can do this!