Having two kids under the age of two is nowhere near easy. The struggle is real, but so are the snuggles! Every mother can still say at the end of the day that it’s more rewarding than anything. Still, it’s always nice to have a few “hacks” or tricks up your sleeve to make life easier. Here are ten ways for a new mother of two kids under the age of two to get things done!
1. Keep a crib or pack n’ play in the room your are in most throughout the day.
For example, I am in my living room most often with my two boys so we keep our pack n’ play in there. Our pack n’ play has a napper and changing station (these are just bonus items.) This way you always have somewhere to lay down the baby to sleep away from the older child. If the baby was in a swing, bouncer, or something else more accessible to the older child, toys could be more easily thrown and more accidents are likely to occur. Plus, most toddlers will want to play with any sort of apparatus that is placed in their play area, which is no doubt dangerous with a baby. Having a pack n’ play or crib also works as a great changing table with space to keep wipes, diapers, and creams where the older child can’t get into them (I know mine always wants to play them!)
2. Have a special toy for your older child that they only get to play with when you are feeding the baby.
This helps prevent the older child from feelings of resentment towards the baby since you have to spend so much time and attention focused on them when feeding. You have to present it to the child in a specific way: that they get to play with the “special toy” while mommy feeds the baby. This will make your child feel more included in the feedings and excited about them. Because your older child only gets it during feedings they are more likely to stay entertained by it longer since it isn’t something they have constant access to.
3. Make nap time happen everyday!
Decide how long a nap should be based on your older child’s age. Stick to a routine and put them down at the same time each day. A child this age is obviously not going to want to nap everyday, but you can still put them in their crib for “rest” or “quiet time.” I put a small plush toy in the crib with my son so if he doesn’t want to sleep, he can rest and entertain himself a bit (for safety reasons don’t ever place plush toys or stuffed animals in your infants crib.) This is so important for both the child and for you. Nap time becomes a guaranteed time each day where you only have one child to watch (sometimes no children, if you can get the other one to sleep at the same time.) Even if your older child is fussing you know they are safe and there is still a good chance they will eventually fall asleep. You can now plan around naps and gets some chores done, to-do list items crossed off, Netflix shows watched, or even a nap yourself!
4. Baby Wear
Newborn babies love warmth, their momma’s heartbeat, and movement. All three they get when they are worn. I suggest using a baby wrap like the Boba, Moby, or any wrap like it (they all tie basically the same way.) The wraps are comfy for mom, make the baby feel cradled, and still give them the chance to have skin to skin contact on your chest so they can hear your heartbeat and feel your warmth. My newborn son seems to fall asleep almost instantly when put in the wrap, allowing me to prepare snacks, some meals (I wouldn’t cook anything hot or splattering while baby wearing,) fold laundry, and, attitude permitting, even your toddler’s diaper! Baby wearing is also great for going to the store because you are hands free and can easily pack the cart of groceries and keep watch of your toddler.
5. Always say “your brother/sister” rather than the baby’s name or “baby.”
Even if your toddler doesn’t speak yet or completely understand your words, make sure you always reassure them that the baby is theirs. Having ownership over the baby can help prevent some feelings of resentment when mom is spending so much time and attention with the baby.
6. Let your child play with a baby doll
Monkey see, monkey do…right? Children love to copy their parents. If you give your child a baby doll to play with it will help them feel more included. When your toddler gets fussy because they want your attention while you are trying to change a diaper you can say “why don’t you change your baby’s diaper!?” It helps the child to feel like they get to participate in the activity. Besides, how cute is it to see your little one copy you and try and rock their own little baby. Young children are caring and loving by nature, so most will love their baby dolls. Baby dolls also give you the chance to teach your toddler not to touch the baby’s eyes, pull on their arms, etc.
7 Double Stroller. A double stroller is a must have when you have two kids under the age of two. You will want one that you can use for infants to toddlers, preferably one that your infant car seat can click into. Your older child can sit in the front, while your infant can ride in the back in their car seat. Most of them even have extra storage space beneath. Most of the time the rhythm of the stroller will rock your infant to sleep and your toddler can ride to whatever destination needed.
8. Don’t use the baby as the reason
The more your toddler feels resentment against the newborn, the more likely they are to have regressions and act out. You want to create loving and understanding feelings with your toddler as best as you can. To help prevent those resentments try and never use the baby as the reason you can’t give your toddler attention. For example, instead of saying “I can’t read you that book right now because I have to change the baby,” try saying “ I’m not going to read that book right now because we are going to read it at bedtime. Why don’t you play with your dump trucks/dolls right now?” Make up a reason if you have to, but don’t make it seem like the baby is the reason you can’t give your toddler attention.
9. Get up earlier than your oldest child to feed the baby, even if that means waking your newborn up.
Picture this…it’s 7am and everyone is asleep. All of a sudden your toddler wakes up in bed with a poopy diaper and is crying, while your newborn awakens and is hungry; also crying. Who do you attend to first and how long will it be before you can get to the other child? You will want your newborn to be fed, changed, and burped every morning before your oldest child gets up so you can give them full attention and get them set up for the morning. Everyone has a different routine with their children, but you do not want to be trying to accomplish that routine while your newborn is screaming because they are hungry or wet.
10. To be safe, don’t bathe either child without someone else home to help!
The first time I tried to bathe my newborn was a disaster. I had set up everything I needed for the bath: towels, washcloth, diaper, change of clothes, bath flower in the skink, Baby Wash and Baby Soothing Oil. I had just made my older son dinner and sat him in the high chair. I figured I had at least least 15 minutes while my son ate his dinner. As soon as I put my newborn in the sink with running water my older son began to throw his dinner on the floor, smear it everywhere, and scream at the top of his lungs. My newborn was cold and I needed to bathe him quickly, but couldn’t leave in the sink by himself while getting my older son out of his high chair. Let’s just say it all ended in a huge mess of food and two very unhappy children. This is just one example of bath time going wrong. But if you think about it, at any times things could take an unusual turn and one child who may be sleeping or eating could need you. Plus you never want to leave a child unsupervised in the bath. It’s safe to say, someone should always be there when you are bathing a child. Not only is it safer, but might help you maintain some sanity.
Having two kids under the age of two is hard. Especially the first week. But seriously, it’s extremely rewarding. Your hands will be full, but so will your heart.
Let me know of some ways you accomplished the first week with two kids under two in the comments!