The secret to adjusting from one child to two
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Psst…are you struggling on adjusting from one child to two? Don’t worry, we did too! It was rough — full of sleepless nights, lots of tantrums, and pure exhaustion.
Not to mention, you just SURVIVED pregnancy with a toddler, as if that’s not rough enough, right?
However, I have one big secret and a whole list of things to help you get through this adjustment phase of life with two under two after being fresh out the struggle bus myself.
The secret to adjusting from one child to two
Alright…the big secret you’ve been waiting for — STOP ignoring the positives and only focusing on the negatives!
I know, you were probably expecting some more practical tip, like get 8 hours of sleep every day or ask for help (and yes, those are important areas to focus on), but the fact of the matter is, as long as our mind is focused in on the negatives, aka those struggle points of our day to day, we’ll never be able to give ourselves credit for all the AMAZING things we do for our little people.
A prime example of this would be:
- Negative thought & behavior: I cooked, cleaned, breastfed baby non-stop, and still wasn’t able to change the bedsheets. I can’t believe I didn’t change the bedsheets! (notice the primary focus is on NOT changing the bedsheets)
- Positive thought & behavior: I cooked, cleaned, breastfed baby non-stop and didn’t get to the bedsheets today, but that’s ok, I accomplished so much today! (notice the shift in focus to ACKNOWLEDGING your hard work throughout the day)
How this applies to life with two under two? Well, you’re going to be pulled in multiple directions day after day.
You will have a toddler kicking and screaming at your feet for attention simultaneously while your infant is crying to be fed…again. And at the end of a day full of these kinds of shenanigans you may find it easy to slip into focusing on all the things you couldn’t do, all the tantrums you couldn’t tame, or all the chores you couldn’t tackle. Please don’t.
Please take the time when you reflect on your day to acknowledge how AMAZING you are as a mother. Acknowledge how you kept two tiny humans alive and healthy. It all counts, way more than you think it does.
Find your ideal routine
This isn’t a secret, but as time goes on throughout your adjustment phase, you’ll notice you start to slip into a pretty consistent routine — one that is beneficial for everyone!
The best part about having a routine is that children THRIVE on it, seriously, they love consistency!
If you’re looking for help getting a routine down with two under two don’t worry, I got ya!
Sync your toddler and infant naptimes together!
First tip is to get your little on the same nap schedule!
This one will be a lifesaver, I promise! Now, you may be dealing with a little bit of a sleep regression depending on the age of your toddler and how they’re adjusting. Just know, if they start to struggle with nap time after you bring home a new baby, don’t worry. It’s normal.
The best thing you can do is be consistent with their nap time routine and try to keep it as normal as possible for them. If you need a little more help than that, I’d highly suggest looking over the Taking Cara Babies blog & her sleep programs for little ones!
What I found was most helpful during this stage is I would start getting our baby ready for nap time a few mins before we started our toddler’s routine, this way baby would begin his nap first, it would give me some time to do nap time routine with my toddler, and then I’d put my toddler down and BOOM — both boys asleep as the same time.
At first, it was a messy routine as the baby would often wake up in the middle of it and throw us all off, but once we got it down, IT WAS GLORIOUS!
Start your mornings off with the newborn
We found that starting our mornings off with the baby was WAY easier than starting them with our toddler.
Whenever we’d start them with our almost 2 year old, he’d cry and beg for us not to go get his brother when he finally woke up. This caused a lot of frustration for everyone and just really made the mornings rough.
That’s when I decided I would wake up 1 hour earlier with baby to get him settled and then have baby calm and chill in his little swing by the time our toddler woke up.
This little morning routine trick helped SO much! It turned crying, whining mornings into calm, happy mornings.
Make it a point to get out of the house
I know, with two littles it’s tough. In fact the thought of it can be kind of daunting, but I swear to you, being outside ALWAYS gets our toddler in the best mood! And when he’s in a good mood, we all are, LOL.
But seriously, get outside and get some fresh air. I usually like to plan some ‘outdoor play’ into our daily routine after breakfast in the morning and then right after they boy’s afternoon nap.
It can be as simple as playing in your front or backyard, or going out to a park, whatever gets you outside and soaking up some fresh air!
My best tip for getting out of the house? WEAR YOUR BABY! Find yourself a comfortable baby carrier, load up the baby, and head out for a fun adventure with your toddler! It works for me every single time!
Must haves for parents of two
This section is helpful because there are some KEY ITEMS that helped get us through those early transitional days. Seriously, without the items on this list I don’t even know what I would’ve done or managed, but thankfully that wasn’t the case.
Reliable & comfortable baby wrap carrier
Our baby wrap carrier was probably the MOST USED baby item for the first 6-8 weeks.
It allowed me to move freely around the house, especially when our toddler needed me for something while still keeping the baby snug and cozy into my chest.
I will say, choosing a comfortable and breathable carrier is key, though. Since you’ll be using it a lot, you will want a wrap carrier that provides comfortable support for your and baby while not digging into your back or sides. My personal favorite is the Lillebaby Dragonfly Wrap Carrier. It’s the one we use constantly and so far it’s held up really well!
Hands free breast pump
Ok — this one has been life-changing! Don’t get me wrong, I love my last electric breast pump and still highly recommend it if you’re a first-time mom.
However, pumping with a toddler is almost impossible (at least for me it is).
My son would ALWAYS try to yank the tubes out from my pump or push all the buttons making it such a nightmare to pump. This is when I invested in a Willow Gen 3 breastpump!
My hands-free breast pump has allowed me to pump with ease without being harassed by my toddler. Not to mention, it’s overall a pretty quiet pump, doesn’t leak or spill if you’re moving around and has the option to pump directly into bags or reusable containers!
Backpack diaper bag
Do you remember when you had your first baby and you were SO excited to take your little bundle of joy out so you could use your super trendy (and totally in style) diaper bag?
Well, with your 2nd baby, it’s not so much like that. Instead, you’ll be looking for convenience. And a backpack diaper bag is SO CONVENIENT!
Not to mention, I found the backpack diaper bags have way more room to load up more stuff for your kids and it’s much easier to carry!
Front to back double stroller
Alright, hear me out on this one because I know the side by side double strollers seem to be all the talk these days, but there are a few reasons I actually was not a fan of them:
- they were more difficult to maneuver around a store
- you can’t always attach baby’s car seat to the stroller
- they’re large and bulky (in my opinion)
- they were more difficult to fold up and put away
The solution? Get a FRONT TO BACK double stroller!
It is way more convenient (especially with two under two children) to snap your baby’s carseat into the stroller and then hook your toddler in when you’re out and about. And if baby is sleeping, don’t even try to convince me to take them out of that carseat, LOL!
Portable baby swing or baby lounger
Another life saving item. When you have a toddler who is likely on the go, you’ll need an easy way to keep baby close by and supervised!
Whenever my baby isn’t in his wrap, I will bring out his little portable baby swing OR our baby lounger so he can just hang out and chill. Both of them work so well in their own ways which is why I personally love having both on hand.
Remember, any kind of big changes (such as moving to a new home, bringing home a new sibling, etc…) for our little toddlers can be a lot for them to handle. Quite frankly, it’s a lot for us too!
So remember, if your little one gets some extra screen time or independent play here or there, embrace it, and never forget that one day, this will all be just a memory, so savor it while you can.
More posts to check out:
- How to prepare for baby number two
- Positive parenting tips to keep your wild toddler happy & calm
- Helpful resources to help new moms adjust to motherhood