Life With Two Babies
I'm glad I waited a few months to share on the topic of having two babies two years apart (22.5 months to be exact). My thoughts and feelings change weekly so now I have a little more gathered together to put down on paper.
In the months leading up to having Layla I was anxious to share my heart with another child other than my first. The idea of giving all of myself to each of them seemed impossible. I have talked in the past about my mama guilt and how I struggle with that fuuuuur reals. I am always asking myself if I'm meeting my kids needs, so I knew taking on two would be hard. I assumed it was going to be extremely challenging initially getting the hanging of everything.
The moment I met Layla I fell in love. My heart grew a billion times bigger and made room for this sweet angel of ours. Seeing my son with her makes me love them both even more. The first week was a lot of my hubs taking my son to play outside of the house while I hung back at home with our new babe. I felt guilty and disconnected from my toddler and missed him dearly but I knew I needed to rest and that he would soon be mamas boy again. The following week dad went back to work and it was game on! I was ready to take on the challenge of doing two but my sister who had a month head start with her newborn and toddler insisted she would help out and show me the ropes. Guys, this was huuuge. She was so helpful, when I needed to nurse and we were at a park she would take over and watch the toddlers and push them on the swing, etc. She helped me gracefully figure out how to do two outside and in stores by myself. Having a friend/sister there with me gave me a safety net just incase I needed someone to help out for a sec. I highly recommend gathering together with another mama you're close with and asking for help that first month. We learned to venture off on our own but we still plan a lot of play dates with my sisters who both have newborns and are germ conscious and need to find shaded areas for their kids to play so the new babies have protection from the hot summer sun. Play dates with other mamas are always welcome but these first few months you have to be that annoying guarded mom who asks "has anyone been sick within the last two weeks?". Usually i have found my mama friends to be very understanding and always wanting to protect the baby too.
The first couple months made me feel like super mom. My son was adjusting well, loving on his sissy every chance he had. And I felt like I was managing two pretty well without too much additional stress. Things were going smoothly and the transition was easy and natural. Life wasn't back to normal completely aka grocery shopping solo or leaving whenever I want to, and sleeping all night without waking up. Lol. But things were going better than I had expected adjusting to two would be.
This third month took a little turn because we went on vacation, I'm heading back to work twice a week now, we began a healthy sleep routine/starting some sleep training, and little lady is currently going through a 'wonder week'. When all that goes on all at once it can cause some unwanted stress and change a moms tune about having more than two kiddos ha! So moral of the story, parenting kids is going to change from week to week, especially the first year of an infants life because they are going through so many changes nothing ever stays the same. Their schedule changes so often I can barely keep up, they're learning new milestones, staying awake longer periods and needing to sleep at different times. Just when you think you've figured it out and have a routine down you have to adapt to their needs and change it all up again. The best pointer I can offer is just to roll with the punches as hard as that is. Try not to think too far into the future and worry yourself overall the unknowns. Try your best each day to do what you feel is right in the moment and not to beat yourself up later if you get it all wrong. Make sure to have a lot of 'check ins' with your partner on how you're both coping and handling all the change and crazy foggy days of lack of sleep, handling multiples, etc. And most importantly get on the same page with your spouse. I can't tell you how important having spousal support and having them back you is! I would've have been able to sleep train or have a bed time routine without my husband backing it 100%. He helps out, he keeps us on track too, and he supported me when I felt like giving up or had a hard day of Cash napping all whacky. Now our 2 year old still takes a 2-3 hour nap and falls asleep all on his own, anyone can put him down for bed because he does the work himself, he hasn't woke up at night since he was 9 months old, and he sleeps 11.5 hours at night with the same bed time every evening. We are working on Layla's sleep routine, she's currently going to bed between 6/645pm depending on her last nap. And wakes up throughout the night usually 1-3 times to eat, then goes back down. Sometimes we are lucky and she only wakes once. Other times she's going through a growth spurt and wakes a bunch. But that's what I mean by rolling with the punches. She sleeps in until anywhere from 730-10am. The first couple months it was always 9-10am that she would wake for the day, but since around 13 weeks she's had a few days of waking earlier around 730-830 so I think she's finally getting into a normal groove. You can't be too scheduled with newborns, they change literally almost weekly. She has great sleep cues to let you know she's tired but she's also very consistent with her optimal wake time being 40-50 mins. So I put her down usually around 40/45 mins of wake time so she's asleep within 15 mins of then. I've tried to gently implement healthy sleep habits like we did with Cash early on. So around 8 or so weeks we started doing the majority of naps upstairs in a white dark room with the sound machine going. Not long after we began this routine for naps and bed we also started rocking just until her eyes barely closed and then putting her down so she could fall asleep on her own (i had to do this early on because my toddler would get upset every time i left to put her down so i needed the time i spent upstairs without him to be a shorter period due to his new adopted struggle of me walking away with the baby). Some days I would have to help her out and pat her back and other days within a few mins she would drift off all on her own after laying there for a bit. She is a tummy sleeper.. Feel free to judge me. I probably would've sat here and told you all the safety issues with this but we only let her snooze on her tummy for naps (since we can watch her closely)and then flip her on her back for bedtime. About a week ago she wasn't into the bed time on her back anymore so we started letting her sleep on her tummy the last few nights and she wakes far less and easily goes back to sleep now. Some babies just prefer their tummy and really struggle on their backs. Cash wasn't a tummy sleeper until he was way older and could slip himself on to his tummy. Every baby is different and you have to adjust your parenting to what they each individually need. I pray over her every day and feel that shes strong enough now since shes been flipping over onto her back since 4 weeks old.
A couple tips for moms going from one to two babies:
Invest in a double stroller.
Invest in a wrap so you can wear them for a couple naps out because your toddler will NEED to have social interaction and play time outside the house. And newborns sleep a ridiculous amount of naps the first few months so the wrap is my best purchase yet! I wear it daily for 1-2 naps. She takes 4-5 naps a day that are around 1 hour sometimes her afternoon naps are 2 hours.
Introduce the bottle early on around week 4, keep trying if they don't take it. It's important to have just for an emergency or if you're interested in ever having a date night without worrying in the back of your mind if your baby wakes up that they won't have a way to eat. Also if you're a working mom this is obviously necessary
Invest in a good cover and get comfortable nursing in public quickly. With your second baby running to the car to nurse or trying to plan out when they need to eat before you go somewhere isn't always doable.
If you're going to nap your new baby in the wrap be sure to try and time how long you'll be at the destination for.. Because around 3 months a lot of babies don't do well with transferring from the wrap asleep into their car seat .. And you know the rule, "never wake a sleeping baby". So make sure you are at your destination long enough for an hour nap (or however long your baby usually needs)
If you have a hard day or hard week know that the next week will probably be different and keep your hopes up.
Don't make decisions on whether you want another child in the future when you're still in the sleep deprivation mode and when your baby is still extremely dependent on you. Just don't do it. lol
Make sure to eat and drink enough water if you're nursing. Trust me sometimes I forget if I even ate breakfast. Toddler life I tell ya. And I'm clearly in a sleep hAze.
Take help if people offer it.
Know that this phase is temporary. Soak in the good days of newborn yumminess and know that the hard days of feeling tired and low energy and irritable will pass. I tell my husband this frequently.. because right now having two little ones demands alot of a mother, hes so supportive and that comforts me.
If you guys have specific questions I would love to hear them and answer below in the comment section.