Mums' Opinion: How To Survive With 2 Under 2
With young children, it’s easy to feel quickly overwhelmed; particularly if your babies are close in age, or when your partner is preparing to return work. But though you might feel isolated, one of the most important things you can do is to ask for help, reach out to other moms for support, and recognise that you’re not in it alone!
That’s why it was so heartwarming to see all the responses to a recent Mum's Query on the subject, which offer just the support you might need:
"Hi fellow mams and dads, I’m looking for some advice on having 2 kids under 15 months. I have a little boy just turned 15 months and a little girl not 2 weeks old yet. My partner will be back at work next week and I’m starting to panic a bit about how I’ll manage with the two of them all day.
Has anyone got any advice on how I can get through the day? ... Any tips or advice would be really appreciated because so far I really don’t know how I’m going to get through the next few months without becoming a very smelly and stressed house-bound Mammy! Thanks."
Dee: My little boy was 16 months when my girl arrived in September. You adjust with time and plenty of organization. I'd shower before my husband went to work. I’d feed baby first and put her down upstairs, then bring my boy down for his breakfast and change him. If we were going out I'd have the bag packed from the night before, any housework was done in the evening when my husband got home. You work out a routine in no time. Have toys in the sitting room to occupy the older one when you’re feeding. I got the two down napping together and did dinner then. A sling is a godsend. Take every offer of help. Best of luck - you will do absolutely fine!
Samantha: Maybe try get himself or you to do some batch cooking over the next few days before he goes back to work, you can freeze loads of meals, that way you can just take it out in the morning. Also if you have a slow cooker you can lash that on in the morning and dinner will be ready later on.
Anita: You'll adapt fairly quick! You won’t be long working out a wee routine. I had an 18-month-old and newborn, I used to bring them into the bathroom so I could shower, baby in her wee bouncer seat and wee fella on the floor with a couple of toys, or in a buggy if you've got the room. Wait for baby to nap to put on dinner and let the toddler help, like wash the spuds in a wee basin beside you. Or set them up at the table with some colours. I used to give my fella his snack when it was time to feed the baby. Also, I used the double buggy a lot, just to get out of the house, only down the road for a stroll but you feel better once you get out for a short while.
Aoife: Travel cot in your sitting room so you can put baby down safely while not being attacked by toddler. Pack the changing bag the night before and keep replenished. Eat pasta for dinner. Go to toddler groups in the mornings - the toddler will play away, come home wrecked, and you will get to feed the baby. Above all remember (as my mother-in-law said to me) nobody ever died from crying: You will have to leave one to attend to the other, but they will be fine. Good luck, it will be fine & they'll be great buddies.
Take Time for your older child(ren)
Julie: You’ll figure something out and you’ll be doing great. It is a very difficult job, but we find our way somehow. I had an 18-month-old and a newborn, both mine and my husband's families are not living in Ireland, so for the birth of our second child we had a schedule of visiting, so I could get help. When I was on my own it wasn't easy, but once I breastfed, I would read a book for the eldest, while baby was asleep, I’d try to give my eldest as much attention as possible. Somehow we managed, it was a difficult year but our newborn is almost one now, and time flies.
Louise: There is 11 months between my first two boys and you will surprise yourself how quickly you get into a routine. A favourite toy or cartoon is always great for the older child while feeding the baby or give them a drink so they feel you’re doing the same thing with both of them. I’d also get my eldest to help when changing the nappy, he loved helping out.
Elaine: I had a little bag of new things: Not expensive or anything, just stuff the toddler hadn’t seen before and I used to just take it out when I was feeding the baby so it kept him busy. Finished feeding, pop it away again so he nearly looked forward to me feeding the baby to get the bag. Also, always keep a drink and a snack close for toddler when you’re feeding because that’s when they look for everything. I kept the baby in the pram downstairs and had to push them into each room with me as my toddler kept poking them in the eye! At some stage I’d get a break, and I’d go in and throw stuff in the slow cooker for dinner. You’ll be grand. Just chill the first few weeks. Get used to it all. You’ll be flying soon.
Selena: Only advice I can give you would be to separate them. The baby just wants to sleep, so any chance you can, let them and have the monitor on to hear. It’s just the toddler you have to keep entertained: Also, involve toddler when you’re feeding, changing, washing baby (if anything like my little lad he’ll have no real interest but checks in on baby all same). But I'd get rid of sling idea. Makes baby too clingy and might also make toddler jealous.
READ MORE: 12 Tips For Helping Your Firstborn Adjust To A New Baby
Believe You Can
Martha: You do what you have to do to survive … but you will survive.
Kalish: You'll be fine: I'm a childminder and had to go back to work when my baby was four weeks old, minding other young kids too. I kept the baby in the sitting room when he was sleeping away from other kids as much as possible it turned out fine and for it now he's two and tough as nails and very independent because he wasn't stuck to me 24/7 just to get yourself organised as much as possible when baby’s asleep. The only thing I found was absolutely no time for myself: When baby sleeps, you sleep, that definitely never happened, but bet you will be fine. It all works out in the end.
Rachael: I had 18 months between mine and I remember that anxiety exactly. The best advice I can give is don't over-think things. Don't try too hard to get everything as perfect as you expect it. Luckily the little one will sleep a lot over the next few weeks while you find your routine and things will fall into place. Don't get the little one too used to being in your arms although being a mum you will be an expert at doing everything one-handed. Mine are now four, three and I've an eight-month-old. It's always hard, but eventually you will look back and think ‘how did I manage’ and you will have managed.
Kate: Shower in the evening when hubby is home. You'll manage. You'll be amazed how you'll get by. Some days you'll win, some days you'll lose. Make one-pot dinners, stew etc., Buy a few jars of sauce to keep for the days that dinner is too much to handle. It's ok to give cereal for dinner the odd night. I had three under four: It was manic and still is! Make sure to make plans for the week: Have friends over. Go to the shop just to get out. And if you can get the kids to nap at the same times then you're winning!
Fiona: Very hard few months all I’ll say is: Feck the house, just sort yourself and the kids always make time for you to eat even if you have to stand shoving a sambo down while your making babies meals then get a chance for a cuppa and a minute to yourself later if you can! Put newborn down in the cot wherever they sleep and then put toddler down! I’d invest in an angel mat so you can hear them and know they are safe while you get a minute to catch up! There’s no point asking about food routine as you will find your own way! My two are three and one now and life is crazy but much easier in many ways so doesn’t be long passing just be kind to yourself.
Megan: It is hard and it is very daunting the idea that you are now responsible for two so small little ones all of a sudden! Mine are 13 months apart and all I can say is that don’t put yourself under pressure, take your time with getting into a routine and don’t be too worried about it - you will just find your feet. Sometimes the older one will cry whilst you’re feeding or something and in my head it was ok to let them whinge for a while until you finished, soon enough my oldest realized that when I was feeding I couldn’t do much for him. And make sure that you take time to have a cuppa tea too - don’t let exhaustion hit you - there will always be more washing to do, ironing, toys to be picked up. Just sit on the couch one on each side and enjoy it while you can.
Sandra: 1. Don’t worry you’ll be GREAT.
2. Have a rough plan of what time you would like things done. Nap/feed/make dinner/bath.
3. DON’T FRET when your plans don’t work, try again tomorrow.
4. Help the older child first, they will not become jealous. And the little one will never know it waited another 30 seconds.
Olivia: If you can manage to get both to sleep at same time, crawl into bed yourself for a rest too and don’t feel guilty. Have something in the fridge or prepared for yourself as a quick fix. This I found tough, but it is very much needed to keep you going. Housework: Do the minimum and don’t feel guilty, it will get done eventually but the most important thing to do is care for you and the babies. You will be fine: The thought of things is worse than it actually will be!
Are your children close in age? What were/are your strategies for managing, and how did you get yourself into a routine? We'd love to hear.
Please Note: Some comments have been edited for editorial purposes, but this has not changed the content or meaning of the comments.