All of our children are 20 months apart (except 2 and 3 are 28 months apart b/c baby 3 was my VBA2C baby and I took more time). It’s hard. So hard. Here are some things in hindsight that helped (and wished I would have known beforehand).
1. Let go of expectations. If you EXPECT both children to nap at the same time, when they don’t, you will get so frustrated. If you don’t expect it, you will be (more) OK that they don’t and when they DO it will be wonderful.
2. Be open to change. For example, what might work for a few months with sleeping arrangements, may change and that’s OK. Your older one may be going through a growth spurt or your younger one teething. (I suggest The No Cry Sleep Solution for sleeping ‘issues’).
3. Your older child, who has been your baby, will all of a sudden seem huge compared to your baby. Don’t forget they are still a baby too. You now will be holding your new baby…a lot. Don’t forget to snuggle your other baby as well.
4. Have things just for your older child to do. Also, when your younger child starts crawling, take your toddler’s activities up to the table. That way the little one won’t be frustrating the older child by knocking over their action figures, knocking down their castle or crumbling their art work!
5. Encourage them to be friends. Around the time your younger child is 18 months to 2 years, you may notice them starting to really be able to play together.
6. Babywear. Buy a sling or wrap that you like and wear your baby. This lets you and baby bond while you have your hands free to take care of your toddler/other child.
7. Strollers are OK too! So it TV. Yep, I heard a mom once say she gives her self a 6 month ‘TV is OK’ post partum allowance. Nick Jr. is great!
8. Take breaks. Yes, you…the mommy. You need breaks too. Take a bath when hubby gets home, go read a book, have a girl’s night or date night, or whatever else you like.
9. Speaking of date night…don’t forget your husband! You two still need time! Even if it’s super late, it is worth is.
10. Ask for and accept help! This is so important and hardly done. Women (like me) have a hard time asking for help. Family, friends and church members WANT to have the opportunity to serve and help. Let them. Tell them exactly what you need (meals, driving older kids to and from school, help with the toddler so you can nap with baby, help with both so you can shower, etc.)
Transitioning from zero to one or 1 to two or three to four kids can be easy or challenging depending on many factors. Do what will help and don’t forget to ask for help! If you have any other tips that have helped you, please share in the comments.
*Thank you Katelyn Demidow and Shannon L for your pictures