I feel like for 6 sweet months I was part of a secret club that no-one fully understands unless they have been part of it: The Two Under Two Club. A toddler and a newborn is an interesting combination – masses of energy mixed with sleep deprivation is a challenging concoction – but I survived. It was a period of my life that I will always remember very fondly and do you know what… I rather enjoyed.
Of course there were the difficult days, when the toddler refused to nap and the baby was having a feeding marathon, but I felt very calm and content with my two sidekicks. Ted adored his baby brother from the moment he met him, and has been gentle and sweet with him ever since. That has made a big difference on how easy it’s been to cope. Arthur was a very content newborn, happy to be put down and listen to his brother’s garbled commentary about trains and play-doh. He slept fairly well, waking for feeds and going back down afterwards – something I had not experienced the first time round, so it felt like a small miracle. During my pregnancy with Arthur I felt anxious as to how I would cope with two babies, if I could be enough for them both. Despite changing more nappies a day than I can count, it has been a really special experience. I now recommend a small age gap to everyone I meet!
Here are some of my tips to survive two under two:
- Babywear! It is great to be able to have your hands free to play with/ restrain your active toddler, and baby gets what they need being so close to you. It can also mean you don’t need to take out the double buggy if you are just nipping to the shops. I often had Arthur in the sling around the house to get things done and know that he is safe and feeling nurtured.
- Plan Ahead – I know the last thing you want to do in the evening is prepare for the following day, but it really does make things easier. Re-stocking nappies in your changing bag, laying out clothes and making a lunchbox for the toddler. It makes leaving the house so much easier if you have things ready.
- Toddler Activities for Feeding – However you choose to feed your baby, it is nice for it to be a quiet, calm time – which is pretty difficult with a toddler on the scene. I had some special toys and activities I only got out when I needed to feed Arthur, so that Ted was occupied during that time. Sometimes I read to him whilst I fed too which worked well.
- Dust If You Must – but really, don’t worry about it. Housework is not as important as enjoying the early days with your newborn and watching your toddler grow and develop. Accept that you can’t do it all and you feel much happier.
- Self-Care – with two small people to care for, it is easier to forget about yourself. But don’t – you are just as important. Steal some time for a soak in the bath, a nap or a walk around the block alone. It is OK to ask for help and give yourself a break – it will make you you much happier in the long run.
Now that Ted is Two I have been kicked out of the club, but I am still doing the juggling act of a small age gap. Arthur is now mobile and Ted is his usual curious and excitable self – but it really is lovely. I love watching their strong bond develop and seeing them playing and interacting together (and dressing them in matching outfits…….). Some days are good and some days are hard – but I take each one as it comes and know I won’t ever get this time back.
Here are some posts on how to survive with two under two:
Do you have a small age gap with your children? Let me know in the comments below! Xx