Answer by Apparently Kids sleep consultant and second-time mum to-be, Tamsyn O’Brien
The slightly nerve wracking thought of the arrival of baby number two. This is currently my situation as I am expecting my second baby.
The questions running through my head …
- How will I manage bath time?
- What will I do with my newborn whilst trying to put my toddler down for his nap?
- What if my toddler wants me to hold him while I am feeding the baby?
- How will I go to the loo?
- How will I manage to get out the house with two?
And about a thousand other questions…. all these thoughts are completely normal and what always ends up happening; you just do it! Parents are INCREDIBLE. We all eventually find our groove and the routines that suit our family best.
I was a nanny for 4 years before becoming a sleep consultant, and when I think back I always looked after more than 1 toddler / baby at a time and I just found my rhythm and did what worked best for the kids and me.
A few tips I found to be really helpful:
- Always keep the nappy bag stocked and ready to go. I know it can be hard to stay organised when you are tired and racing around all day but just having a quick scan through the nappy bag and topping up on snacks (lots of these!), nappies etc makes for a much easier time trying to leave the house the next day.
- When it comes to bath time, have everything you need laid out and ready to go. Its usually easier to get your toddler in first and then pop baby in second, once baby is clean-get them dressed and then get your toddler out. Some people prefer to do bath time separately and will bath their toddler earlier in the evening and then their baby later on, once their toddler is asleep.
- When feeding your baby, have snacks and activities near by so that your toddler can sit and read a book with you or do a puzzle whilst you are feeding your littlest.
- Sometimes both of your little ones need you at the same time. You can’t do everything or be everywhere at once, so deal with the greatest need first. Just do what you can at the time. Depending on the situation, you might be able to go to your toddler first and encourage them to help you. That way the two of you can care for the baby together.
- Try to keep to your toddlers usual routine. Getting out and about with two can be very daunting, especially if you have a very active toddler. It can be really helpful to try and stick to your toddlers usual routine of activities, playgroups etc. to help them feel that not everything in their lives has completely changed. Possibly a grandparent or friend could take your toddler to playgroup for an hour or two.
- The most important tip of all…. ASK FOR HELP. Often we feel the need to do it all, but we are at the end of the day, only human and all that can be asked of us is that we do our best. Whether it been a friend, grandparent, carer etc, sometimes an hour or two on your own or just with one child can feel like a small holiday.
Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Often as mums and dads we put our mental health and physical well being far down on the priority list, everyone else is cared for first. I know it can be hard but make an effort to carve out some time alone, you will feel all the more human and re energised for doing so.