Let’s start by saying I don’t exactly feel ‘qualified’ to write this post. Transitioning to two children has been bumpy. I’ve struggled and made mistakes. However, I’ve learned quite a bit about what works for us. Since a few expecting mommas have asked for advice on how to handle two children under the age of two [specifically what gear I think is essential], I thought I’d share my thoughts in a blog post.
transitioning to two children
coming home from the hospital
I read plenty of articles on how to prepare the older sibling for the arrival of the new baby. There were lots of fun ideas, but since Colin was only 22 months when Jillian was born, he was really too young to wrap his head around the concept. After everything, here’s my advice: have the baby give the toddler a gift. More specifically, a gift that’s going to provide extended entertainment for the toddler.
My recommendation: a backpack filled with activities [coloring books, sticker books, lift-the-flap books, play-doh, etc]. There are going to be many moments in those first few weeks, when you just need quiet time with the baby. Pull out a new activity from the backpack… it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
getting out & about
Many, many people make life work without a double stroller, but I am not one of them. I wouldn’t be able to leave the house without our City Select by Baby Jogger. It took me a long time to make the double stroller decision… side by side jogger… sit & stand… cheap umbrella…. just wear a baby carrier and keep our single stroller… but ultimately, my decision to buy the City Select was totally the right one for our family. Guys, this stroller rocks. Right now, Colin sits in the front seat and Jillian stays in her carseat on the top [using the carseat adapter], but soon we will transition to two seats. It’s truly hard for me to pick a favorite feature of this carseat, but I think it’s tied between the enormous basket underneath [because with two kids comes double the stuff] and the fact that it easily fits through doorways unlike a side-by-side stroller. It isn’t as easy to fold or maneuver up/down curbs as our old City Mini [which we sold to fund the double], but really… did you expect your life to get easier after adding another kid?
My next tip for getting out & about: find a great baby carrier. With Colin, we got the Baby Bjorn, which I tolerated. But when I realized there were much more comfortable options, like an Ergo, I knew I needed to switch gears for Baby #2. Honestly, I haven’t used the Ergo nearly as much as I anticipated (mostly because the stroller is working so well for us), but I see this becoming a bigger player in the next few months when we’re no longer using the infant carseat.
After Jill had been home for a few weeks, Colin started throwing intense tantrums. Multiple times a day. Over anything. Not only was it wearing me out, it was making it hard for me to feel comfortable leaving the house. A friend of mine (a mom of three) said her oldest went through the same thing after bringing home the new baby. Her pediatrician recommended she spend fifteen minutes of one-on-one time with the toddler every day, in a different room than the baby. It sounds easy, but it was hard to find a way to work one-on-one time into our day while caring for a newborn [I should note that my husband didn’t get paternity leave so it was just me… all day]. Most days, while Jill napped in her swing, I would take Colin up to his nursery and play. Just like we used to. The tantrums didn’t magically disappear but they significantly improved.
Before we had the baby, I worried about how we would manage bath time with two. We bathed Colin in the sink until he was old enough to sit in the tub, but the sinks in our new place weren’t the right size. I ended up posing a question on my facebook page and an experienced mom recommended the Angelcare Bath Support. This thing is wonderful! AND it fits in the tub next to Colin so I can actually bathe them at the same time. I only wish we had this our first time around!
This one is still hard for me because I really struggle to ask for help. We were lucky that my mother-in-law gifted us some daycare for Colin, since she lives out of town and can’t babysit. For the first few weeks, I took Colin three mornings a week. As we got the hang of things at home, I scaled back. Colin still goes one morning a week. He loves it. I love it. It works for us.
Yes, we’ve had our ups & downs, but overall, things have been quite a bit easier the second time around. Was that true for you too? Any other tips to share with expectant second-time mommas?
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