And baby makes two: tips from parents

toddler and a baby

Having a new baby brings all sorts of change, even when it’s not your first baby. I asked some parents to share their experiences and tips for managing the early weeks and months with their baby and toddler

  • “Some days you just need to do the basics – just making sure everyone is fed is a win!”

  • “Use the babysitter in the corner (TV) when you need to.”

  • “If by 2pm (or 12, or 10am for that matter) you are all in pj’s, the toys are all over the floor, the playdoh is all over the table and the floor and the walls, the tv is on and your hair needs a wash – write the day off. And if there’s no chance of dinner, order a take-out or make beans on toast.”

  • “When you have a great day – toddler gets ready, the baby doesn’t poo as you are ready to walk out the door, you get along to a group, the shopping is done, the washing is on, dinner is made, there is order in the house – enjoy it, rejoice, shout it from the roof tops but don’t expect that of yourself everyday because it’s exhausting!”

  • “If your toddler has a schedule with toddler groups, it can be useful to stick with it so their routine stays the same and they get the chance to burn off some energy.”

  • “Having a baby seat or safe place for baby in all areas of the house.”

  • “Where to begin?! Super mum is a myth. It feels hard because it is hard. And I hated this one when I was *in* it but it really is all a phase, even the good stuff. Ride the wave as best you can & hold onto the good moments when they happen to get you through the other stuff.”

  • “Expect some regression with sleep and using the potty or toilet and we also experienced more tantrums and ‘naughty’ behaviour as a way of getting my attention away from baby and on to her. As hard as it may be at times, just ride it out because it will pass – try not to lose your temper or tell them off too much and try not to make a big deal of these changes. They are adjusting to sharing you and your time and that may take a little bit of time.”
  • “Some older siblings aren’t that bothered by the arrival of a new baby because the baby doesn’t directly impact on their life as they are not taking their toys but when your baby is crawling and wants to share the toys, that’s when older siblings might become a little more bothered!”

  • “Ask for help and accept it. Plan in more support where possible.”
  • “Get a sling – it can be a godsend to keep your baby happy and your hands free to look after and play with your toddler.”
  • “Bedtime routines may need to continue as normal for your toddler and you may need to do this with your baby as well. Apart from the first couple of weeks, bedtime stories in our house usually involved baby too. We would snuggle in bed to read story after story until it was time for my eldest to go to sleep and her baby sister would either be feeding, sleeping or lying on the bed with us.”
  • “If you are doing bath-time on your own you can try using a sling or bringing the Moses basket or a bouncy chair into the bathroom so you are hands free for bath time. Or if this is too stressful – can you ditch the bath altogether?”
  • “When my husband was in to help with bath-time, I would have a bath with my baby and toddler. He would then take the baby to get her dry and dressed so I could play splashy games with our eldest daughter.”
  • “Every family does it differently, and you will find what works for you.”

  • “My biggest learning curve was learning to ‘lower my standards’. Learn to live with a little bit of mess (which I found really hard).”
  • “Just don’t be so hard on yourself – family life isn’t perfect, it can be stressful, lonely and hardwork.”
  • “Juggling the needs of a 2 year old and a newborn was “fun” and we constantly thought we were failing one of them but we muddled on through and in hindsight they had all they needed. It was also handy to have some easy distractions to hand for our eldest – sticker books, play doh etc…all things that I could help with one handed.”
  • “For me, I had to learn to pick my battles. And that routine isn’t everything, you all adapt (kid 1 had fairly solid routine, kid 2 had none). I also didn’t feel guilty that the toddler still went to nursery while I was on mat leave – she enjoyed it and I got 1:1 time with baby!”

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