The Truth About Looking After a Newborn And a Toddlerby Claire Moran
You may have spent your entire pregnancy worrying about how you’re going to cope and manage looking after two children. You may feel worried, anxious, nervous about how you’re going to look after a newborn whilst you have a toddler hanging off your leg and demanding biscuits. Or you may feel absolutely fine about it and are taking it in your stride.
Trust me, as a parent of two children I’ve been through it, I’ve come out the other side of it, and it is absolutely fine as long as you adjust your mentalities, sanity and your life in general.
I’ll be honest here your routine with your toddler will be thrown into jeopardy, and toddlers need routine, plus you need it to.
When I had my second baby I found that the best way to look after the both of them, was to tag team, so if you can get your partner to deal with your toddler that is the best way forward. That way your toddler can keep their existing routine without it being too interrupted by the new baby and hopefully keep them on a good level. The last thing you need is a toddler having a tantrum because they’ve gone to bed too late because you’ve been breastfeeding the new baby for what may feel like forever (but don’t worry about that, it’s perfectly normal).
One of my biggest concerns was bath time and bedtime, and how on earth would I manage it with two, particularly after having a c-section. Going back to tag-teaming, this was literally the only way I could do it. I dreaded the days when my husband would be home late from work. But if this does happen it’s good practise and actually helps to get you and your children into the habit of bath time and bedtime being done just by you. I promise that once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be nailing it. One of my top tips was bringing the baby bouncer into the bathroom whilst I bathed my toddler, this meant I had somewhere safe to put my baby especially when I had my hands full.
Bedtime was always a particularly difficult time for us and I would rejoice as soon as my toddler would be asleep. I often found that my baby would be screaming for food, or screaming to be asleep when I had to read my toddler a story. I’ll be honest here and I found that this went on for a few weeks, but as my baby grew the crying eased and they became happy to lay on the floor during storytime.
The early days are hard, that’s me being honest, I’m not going to lie to you. They are hard if you have one, two, three or more children. However remember that you’ve done it before, you’ve been there and you’ve got all that ammunition from your first that you can apply to your second. That is if you can remember what it’s like to have a newborn baby.
Yet no sooner are you worrying that looking after two is hard, or fretting about difficult bedtimes, it all changes again. It changes so quickly with your second. You’ll soon be getting your baby into a routine, they’ll be stronger and can join your toddler in the bath, and they’ll hopefully be sleeping for longer. A huge positive for me was being able to put them in the bath at the same time, and then being able to put my baby to bed first, which allowed myself the time I needed to focus on my toddler who needed the attention.
Looking after two is a complete whirlwind. One minute you’ll feel like you have it all under control, the next everything will be thrown into a spin. One of the things I try to focus on when having a bad day or bad hour is that the next day or next hour could be totally different. Don’t dwell on it, move it, and focus on the positives. Just getting out of the house or making a cup of tea that you drank warm is a positive.
It may sound silly and you may feel stupid for asking or accepting, but please ask for help and accept it when you need it. You now have two children and you need time to adapt to life with two children, you can’t possibly be supermum from the start. It will come, but it takes time. If someone can take your toddler for a few hours so you can sleep, have a shower, or just to bond with your baby accept it. If you have a c-section you will definitely need help with your toddler, this was my biggest worry, and fortunately, my husband did all the heavy lifting for a while.
I’ve been looking after two children for a whole year new. It was mega hard at first, but it did get a whole lot easier as time progressed, my baby grew, and my toddler adjusted to having a sibling on the scene. Although the days may be hard, tiring, exhausting, overwhelming, frustrating and emotionally draining, when you see your two children bond and smile at each other all those feelings are quickly put to one side.
So if you’re feeling “all the feels” about having two those are perfectly normal, just remember you will be fine, you will ace it and you are their mum. Take everything that you can and remember to look after you, even if it’s just 5 minutes to go to the toilet in peace to begin with.