Tips for Surviving Two Under Two
I’m so glad you are here! Are you stressed? excited? scared? tired? overwhelmed? I hear you! When Chickadee was 10 months old we found out we were pregnant with Sprout. It was a little bit of a surprise & while I was excited I was also pretty overwhelmed. I mean I had just written that post about surviving the first three months with a newborn; we weren’t even to a year yet, and now another one little bundle was coming in less than 9 months. But here is the deal. I am here to tell you…YOU CAN DO IT. Sprout has turned one and Chickadee is 2.5 and we made it! And while there have been ups and downs and a lot of sleepless nights, the last year has been the most perfect gift from above. And for that reason I want to share what I have learned.
So all of the tips I shared after Chickadee was born are still ESSENTIAL to bringing home baby number two. So make sure and check out that post also! These tips below are in addition…. I must note that all families are different, just like all babies, so what works for one doesn’t work for all. Please take all my advice with a grain of salt!
- You will feel like a failure. YOU AREN’T. Did you find your mom crying in bed? Read this article on how to stop my mom from crying in bed. There will be days when you haven’t showered (a lot of days), dinner won’t be ready on time, you have both spit up and boogers on your shirt, the baby didn’t nap, and the toddler isn’t listening. I am not here to tell you it will be easy…it won’t be. BUT you are not a failure. God chose you to be the mama to these two little ones and for that reason you are exactly what they need. So take a breath, pull up those yoga pants, order a pizza, and just BE with them. Play. Give lots of hugs. Read lots of stories. and remember you will never get these crazy days back.
- Find something to entertain your toddler & keep them still, while you are feeding the baby. So I was one of those moms who thought their children would never watch TV. Well, I was wrong. During those first few months with Sprout, Curious George on PBS became our best friend…with Daniel Tiger coming in a close second (he is on Netflix!). She didn’t watch a lot, but during at least one of Sprout’s feedings we snuggled on the couch and let George and/or Daniel allow us all a moment to rest. A few other ideas are coloring, reading a book, or playing in a gated playroom!
- Get a good baby carrier. For Chickadee I LOVED the baby K’tan when she was little. But Sprout was an infant during the summer and I found it to be too hot. So I tried the Solly Baby with him instead & I LOVED it. The fabric is a lighter weight and very breathable. Now that Sprout is bigger I still carry him but use the Ergo instead. It is especially great at playgrounds! A baby carrier is a must when chasing after and trying to play with the toddler!
- Grocery/Errand Shopping. Okay…this one is tricky if you are trying to do it with both, but it is possible. And I HIGHLY suggest getting out to save your own sanity. You can do it! You really have two options. First, you can wear the baby in a carrier and let the toddler sit in the front of the buggy. This is a must if you are trying to do a BIG shopping trip. If you are just going for the essentials you can place the baby down in the large basket portion of the buggy and let the toddler sit in the seat (or you can wear the toddler on your back if you have an ERGO!). Other tips would be to bring snacks to keep the toddler busy. Also park near the cart return. That way you can get a buggy and load everyone up before you have to walk into the store (which is really hard carrying a newborn and holding the hand of a toddler). Once the baby is able to sit, we LOVE Publix, Kroger,Target and Costco around here because they all have the double buggies that have the double seats for two kids!! This is a must. Having the toddler try to walk & baby ride is a recipe for disaster around here.
- Naps. Now that you have two instead of one you won’t hear anyone telling you to “Nap when the baby naps.” Let’s face it, for a while that will not be an option. For the first few months make sure you keep your toddler on the SAME sleep routine. They need to continue to nap and go to bed at the same time. Once the baby is a few months old and you’ve worked out a “routine/schedule” your main goal should be getting them both to take their afternoon nap at the same time. I was able to do this around the time Sprout was 4-5 months. They now both nap about 1:00 from anywhere to 2-2.5 hours. Here is an example of our routine/schedule when sprout was around 4 months.
- Bedtime This will be different for you depending on how much help you have for the bedtime routine. I can only speak from experience, so I will share how we do it. I am super blessed to have a husband who is home most nights by 6/6:15. When Sprout was little we started bath time with both kids about 6:45. After playing for a few minutes, one of us washes the baby and takes him into his room to change into his pajamas (about 7:10), he then will nurse or take a bottle. The other stays with our toddler and plays a little bit longer in the tub. Then bathes her and takes her to put on pajamas. Then we all congregate in one room to read a story, usually from the Jesus Storybook Bible. After that we say the baby’s prayers, one of us puts him down (7:30). With his sound machine on!! The other takes our toddler to brush her teeth and usually read another story. Then we meet up in her room to say her prayers and tuck her in. Obviously there are nights where this plan goes out the window, but if it’s a normal night…it’s what we shoot for. If I am solo I usually feed the baby in the bathroom while my toddler plays in the tub. Then get her out to help me put baby boy down for the night before starting her bedtime routine. And some nights…we just skip baths all together because it’s too much. Figure out what works for you here and stick with it. Kids thrive on routine for a peaceful bedtime experience.
- Who Needs You More So it is inevitable….there will be moments (lots of them) with both kids are crying at the same time. It is in these moments you have to make a motherly judgement call and decide who needs you more in that moment. This can be hard sometimes but trust it will all be okay & most likely because they are so little they will not be scarred for life…they probably won’t even remember in an hour!
- Make Your Home Childproof (or at least a space you can confine them too) There were more times than I care to admit that I left Chickadee alone for a few seconds to run upstairs and get a diaper, or go to the bathroom, or reheat my tea for the 27th time. However, our home is pretty childproof. Furniture is secured to the wall, breakables are far out of reach, cabinets locked. We also have gates on both doorways to our playroom to help keep everyone pinned in if need to be.
- It takes a Village We don’t have any family close by, but were lucky enough to have our parents trade off staying with us for the first two weeks after Sprout came home from the hospital. Having others around to help with household chores, cooking, toddler playing and baby holding was invaluable. However, after those first few weeks they went home and we were faced figuring out our new reality. Thankfully, our Sunday school class had a meal plan set up that took us through the first 3 months (2-3 meals a week). So that took cooking off of my to do list for a while. (Now I food prep during naptime!) If your husband suggests you have someone come clean the house, take it! If a friend says “Why don’t you drop off big brother/sister and run your errands with just one little one?” Say OK! Asking/accepting help does not mean you are failing. It only means that you realize it takes a village to raise little ones. Be thankful you have a village!
- Remember it will get easier! You will figure our your groove, your routine! One will become potty trained (less diaper deliveries!!!!). The nursing sessions will spread further out and everyone will start eating solid food. The baby will start sleeping through the night and your will remember to ALWAYS park next to the cart return at the grocery store. You will embrace your new normal and realize YOU CAN DO THIS. Soak it in. Enjoy two little ones snuggling in your lap during a story or splashing in the tub. They will be the best of friends and you won’t be able to imagine life any other way!
- ish…take lots of pictures, get a good double stroller (we love this one…and this one), remember to spend time with each child one on one, leave them with grandparents or a babysitter and go on a date night, ALWAYS have a change of clothes for everyone and lots of snacks, do the best you can and remember you are doing the best you can!!
YOU HAVE THIS MAMA!
Any other tips for new mamas joining the two under two club?
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