Coping with a newborn and toddler can seem a little overwhelming to begin with.
You probably just adjusted to a routine with your toddler and now you find out you are pregnant again and have a newborn baby on the way.
Well, firstly I can tell you that it’s not a hopeless situation and you can do this!
COPING WITH A NEWBORN AND TODDLER: WHERE TO START
Well depending on if your bundle of joy is already here or not I would suggest that you begin by introducing your baby to your toddler even as your baby is still in the womb.
There is a very good reason for this and it will make your life a whole lot easier later on.
When you get your toddler familiarized with the fact that they have a little brother or sister on the way who can’t wait to meet them, it builds excitement. I mean who doesn’t like to feel special?
Keep talking to your toddler about how the new baby can’t wait to meet them and how much fun they will have together.
Not only will it make your toddler feel super special but it will also give them the role of big brother or sister.
I have heard of some people buying a gift for their toddler on behalf of the baby. I’ve not tried it personally but it sounds like a really great idea.
All of this inclusion will hopefully make your toddler feel a part of the process once your newborn arrives.
This will mean that you won’t need to worry so much about your toddler feeling left out later on.
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FIRST FEW WEEKS WITH A NEWBORN AND TODDLER
The first few days at home with both your toddler and newborn will be the most difficult.
Adjusting from 1 child to 2 is never going to be easy especially when one is a toddler.
Toddlers have their own set of emotions going on and now you have a newborn baby to throw into the mix.
This baby requires your full attention for their every need.
Having been in this situation myself I can tell you that it does take some getting used to. You have to adjust to new sleeping routines, feeding times and a whole host of other things.
TIPS ON COPING WITH A NEWBORN AND TODDLER:
#1 PREPARE IN ADVANCE
If you are still pregnant, make up some frozen meals that you can easily take out of the freezer.
This will help you out a great deal as you won’t have to find time in your day to cook.
I find that packing the meals into smaller containers makes things much easier rather than having a large container full of one type of food.
#2 EMBRACE THE MESS
Realize early on that your house WILL be a bit of a mess. Whilst you are focusing on your newborn baby your toddler is probably off somewhere doing something very imaginative.
It probably won’t be anything in your benefit so understand that you will probably have some tidying up to get done once your toddler gets bored with whatever it is that they are doing.
I remember when I had my third child my youngest 2 children were 3 and 4 years at the time.
I was busy feeding my newborn one day and the children were awfully quiet.
I didn’t think too much of it at the time and to be honest I was quite glad for a few minutes of peace. So I let them continue to play.
Anyway once the silence had got a little bit too much for me (I knew something bad must have been happening) I went to investigate.
The children had filled the toilet with a whole roll of toilet paper. I had no words.
Up until today I still don’t understand what kind of game this was.
Don’t think this was the only time. There was the time with hanging up of the washing from the machine. The thought was there but the execution was not great.
And the time they decided to pretend to have a bath and cream themselves. I’m truly grateful it was just cream she got her hands on.
I could tell you 100 more of these types of stories but I’ll spare you the agony haha!
Anyway on to step number 3.
#3 ACCEPT HELP
Let people help! This might seem like pretty basic stuff to you but it will help you out so much.
Try “running” to the post office really quickly before they close with a newborn and toddler. It’s an almost impossible task, believe me, I’ve been there.
I can guarantee you that one of your 2 children will decide its time for a poop as you head out of the door. Test it out and see. Lol.
Coping with a newborn and toddler is not easy by any means.
This is why it’s so important to accept and ask for help when you need it. It is even more so true in those blurry early days with your newborn baby.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT ADJUSTING FROM 1 CHILD TO 2?
You can expect to feel overwhelmed and like you won’t be able to cope, but you will. As the days go by it gets easier.
Your only goal for the first few weeks should be to make sure everyone is fed, bathed and happy. You won’t be able to do much more beyond that.
Your new life now consists of:
- How to get 2 children to sleep at the same time without one waking up the other.
- Buying more nappies than you could ever imagine
- Breastfeeding (or bottle feeding) whilst bursting to use the toilet
- Eating with one hand
- Dividing your attention between 2 children
- Trying to find time to get some sleep for yourself.
After the first few weeks, things will start to settle down a little bit.
This is a great time for you to start trying to get yourself into a routine of doing things like cooking, cleaning and going out.
One of the hardest (and scariest) things you will have to do is probably the grocery shop.
Yes, you can do most of it online but for those times that you have to go out, you need to be prepared for it both mentally and physically.
I found it really helpful to get a twin buggy for my children because my children were fairly close in age.
My son was just 1 year old when I had my daughter, so I knew he wouldn’t necessarily want to walk for the whole time.
The buggy meant that I could push both of them around the shop and put the groceries under the buggy.
I always put the groceries under the buggy because that would free up my hands in case I had a crying emergency on my hands and needed to pick up one of the children.
The first time I ventured to the shops alone I was scared stiff! It actually turned out alright in the end.
Another time I went, my newborn was crying hysterically in the middle of the supermarket because he was hungry. I was stood in line at the checkout at the time.
I didn’t know what else to do so I took out my breast and fed (yes whilst in the middle of the queue).
After having made so many terrible mistakes as a mother, I began to learn new things.
I learned that if I wanted to go out with my children I had to make sure everyone was fed just before we left the house.
I had to make sure that all diapers were clean and that I had spares.
I had to make sure that we began to leave the house WAY before we actually needed to in case we had to stop over for one reason or another and I always had to make sure I had snacks.
Snacks, not just because my toddler might still be hungry but just as a source of distraction for the journey. (Have you ever had to drive with 2 screaming children before?) Not fun at all!
SLEEPING ROUTINES FOR YOUR NEWBORN AND TODDLER
How do you get a toddler and a newborn to sleep at the same time?
I’ve no idea, how do you get a toddler and a newborn to sleep at the same time? (haha, see what I did there?)
That’s because it is a joke. It is almost impossible to get a toddler and a newborn to sleep at the exact same time.
I’m almost convinced that they somehow plan that they will take it in turns to sleep so that you can’t sleep.
Unfortunately, that’s just the way it pans out most of the time and there’s not an awful lot you can do to change that.
The good news is that, as your children get older they begin to fall into a sleeping pattern.
There will be the odd few times where both your children will have an afternoon nap at the same time giving you some much-needed mommy time alone.
The best way to tackle night time sleeping routines is to get both children bathed with the lights as dim as possible.
Then read a book to both children in bed. Usually, the toddler will fall asleep whilst the baby is feeding.
Once both children are asleep, get some rest yourself because you never know when or which child is going to wake up – soon.
It will be very tempting to quickly do some tidying up or wash the dishes etc but believe me your best bet will be to get some much-needed rest.
I’m not sure about you but when I haven’t had enough rest I can get very grumpy.
The last thing I want to do is to be short-tempered with my children so that means going to bed early.
When I have a newborn on my hands I usually go to bed around 9 pm at the latest because in a few hours I will need to be up again to breastfeed. Sleeping early helps me to get some balance.
Transitioning from 1 child to 2 can be tough but the more children you add the easier it gets to do.
Personally speaking, I would say its more difficult to go from 1 to 2 children than it is to go from 2 to 3 (if that makes sense)
When you have your first child (especially if you don’t have much experience with newborns) there is quite a steep learning curve.
You have to get familiar with the ins and outs of motherhood with baby number 1.
You then have baby number 2 to now look after and you have to adjust to a tighter routine, that’s when things become a little more tricky.
This is definitely the hardest part because once you’ve mastered this baby number 3, 4, 5 and so on easily begin to fit in.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON MANAGING WITH A NEWBORN AND TODDLER
If you do feel very overwhelmed by trying to cope with a newborn and a toddler then it would be wise for you to seek help from a professional.
They will be able to talk you through any concerns that you may have.
Sometimes motherhood can feel like a bit of a lonely journey so it’s important to ask for help when you need it.
I have found that even speaking to other mothers helps me to get better reassurance and feel like I am making good choices for my children.
Cut yourself some slack because there is no mother out there that is 100% sure of what she is doing all of the time, we are all just trying to learn every single day.
If you have any suggestions on adjusting to life from 1 child to 2, I would love to hear them in the comment section below.
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