I was reading in Parent's Magazine tips for having two kids under two, and I thought - wow, that would have been really nice. Most of their tips we figured out, but we sort of did it on our own, scared we were making mistakes. I highly doubt they'll have tips for doing three under two & a half, but we know we're kind of paving the way with that one. I thought though, if it would be helpful at all - I'd share some tips with my friends who are about to have two under two, they may or may not work for you; but I would have loved for someone to tell me this stuff!
- In the beginning, don't be scared. Think about the things you're terrified of & really weigh out why it scares you or why you go to great lengths to make it not happen. This was definitely a truth I needed to hear when having my first, but I needed to know it all over again with two.
... When Glory's colic/reflux was in high gear, I was TERRIFIED to go places with the kids together, much less ride in the car with both of them. Then I really evaluated, why am I scared of her crying? If I made a sort of game out of it with Elias (getting him to sing to her or try to make her laugh, or even try & imitate her), he was always fine.
- Even if it doesn't seem like the best timing for the smaller baby, try & get them on the same nap schedule as soon as possible. We knew Glory could probably handle three naps a day (beginning as soon as 3/4 months) but we realized if we put them down at the same time (for two naps) and just made her bedtime a little earlier, it saved me a lot of sanity. That gave me two periods of time in the day to shower, do chores, rest, email, or just sit without my hands being full.
... When Elias dropped his morning nap, we just started keeping him in his crib, with the lights on, music playing and books to read. He will still last like an hour & a half, and he gets a little rest in.
- Also, in the beginning, I arranged Glory's nursing schedule to parallel Elias' nap and eating schedule. I'd either nurse her just after he went down for a nap or just after I got his food ready to eat... both were semi-hands free times. I also eventually used that time to eat myself when I got coordinated enough.
- Learn fun ways to carry them both down/up the stairs. You can wait for the toddler to go up & down, but it gets boring. Elias' favorite is when I let him jump on my back and I carry Glory in front. If you don't have stairs and have two under two, just thank Jesus.
- When doing baby-caring tasks with the little one, encourage the toddler to mimic you with a stuffed animal or doll. Sometimes I'll ask Elias to change Glory's diaper and he will very seriously go grab and diaper and wipes. By the time he fetches both materials, I've got her diaper changed. This also works really well with doing the laundry & feeding the baby.
- I'm not a crazy advocate of baby-wearing, it's honestly not my favorite thing in the world. But, I did realize that Glory was PERFECTLY content to be in some sort of carrier from around two months-six months, constantly. Also, for us it preemptively helped her colic. If I wore her for the first few hours of the morning, she was genuinely happier the rest of the day.
- Don't be scared to go places or not go places. I'm a constant worrier-planner, so I can spend days or hours before an event trying to figure out how I'll handle them both. I've learned now that if it really matters to me to go somewhere, I'll just do it and pray people will be there to help me. If one of the kids seems slightly off though, I've learned that it is way more worth it to just stay home and try again another day.
- Lastly, make up your mind that it's not that bad. I had so many people speak negative words to me and sometimes they were just being totally honest, but I had to decide that as far as I know, this is how everyone does it! There are days when I wistfully watch a mom only carry one child into the grocery store and feel a little jealous, but I just choose to believe that while my hands are full - my heart is too.
HOPE THAT IS HELPFUL! I'd love for some of you other moms to write some tip-filled blogs, those kinds of articles & conversations help me a ton!