2 under 2
What to expect when you bring the baby home
I am a mother of four. My two youngest are 17 Months apart. I wanted them to be close in age in hopes that they would be best friends and be interested in the same things. I was very excited to see them grow up together so close in age.
What to expect
First of all every child is different, they have their own personality and energy levels. My daughter was 17 months old when I brought home my new baby boy. My daughter was very attached to me. I was still nursing. I decided that I would do tandem nursing in hopes that my daughter would still feel important and loved by me. She sleeps next to me at night. I just wasn’t sure what to expect.
For the first couple of weeks a newborn is usually more quiet and sleeps more. Check out my newborn checklist. I tried giving most of my attention to my daughter at this time. I just nursed him to sleep and then my attention went back to her.
She was very jealous. There were moments where she would caress him or try to help me change his diaper. But she was sneaky. She would smile at him and pet his head and then before you know it she would smack him. It’s funny how sneaky she was but at the time it worried me. When he would cry, she would cry. She knew if he cried, then I would nurse him, so she would try and get to me first. She didn’t want him to nurse because she felt like that was for her only. Every time he would cry she would cry and when she cried he would cry. It was non-stop crying and non-stop diaper changing. I would change his diaper then her diaper then he would poop then she would poop. He wanted to be held then she wanted to be held. He had a hard time napping because her crying and tantrums would wake him up. I felt like I had no time for myself to brush my teeth or shower or brush my hair. I was watching her every move because she would try and hurt him if I turned my back. She would try and hit him, kick him, stand on him. I would have him on the floor doing his belly time and she would start running around and get as close as she could to try and “accidentally “ step on him. I was just anxious to get through the first 6 months so that he would get bigger and not be so fragile and helpless. I tried weaning her so she wouldn’t have so much jealousy when he nurses. The first 6 months were really hard while my daughter adjusted to a new sibling and just being worried that she would hurt him. But don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful thing to have them so close in age, but it was also difficult, but good things don’t come easy.
Things were easier after 6 months. I weaned her when she was 2 years old and he became a big strong boy. I had some relief. I was able to take her to the park and I would put my baby in the carrier and I was able to handle her running around while holding him. I would go for a walk with him in my carrier and her in the stroller. And they would take a nap and I might get the only silence that happens all day.
What I learned from my experiences
- Have a safe place to put the new baby down for naps, that is out of reach from the toddler.
- Have a carrier, so you have your hands free for your toddler.
- Spend as much time with your toddler as you can. If the baby is napping, then I would play with my toddler even if that meant cleaning up would have to wait.
- Get help. If you have people to help you, ask for help, plan for help, because this will be a very difficult time. Have a support system. People to talk to you when you get stressed out.
- Take lots of pictures and videos. You’ll be so tired all the time that days will become fuzzy and they will flash by.
- Play music. When I would feel overwhelmed I would turn on the music and we would dance and sing and laugh and those tense stressful feelings would wash away.
- Go for a drive or a walk. There were times that they would both be crying nonstop and I felt like I would go crazy. I had to take them for a drive or walk and hope that they would calm down and maybe take a nap.
- Let things go sometimes. I would try and clean up after I put the baby down for a nap. But then my toddler would start crying and it would stress me out that I couldn’t get anything done. But if I accepted that I can let the mess stay for now and just be with my toddler, she would be in a better mood, which would make me in a better mood.
- Know that you are enough. As mothers were constantly living in anxiety of not being enough for our children, but we are. They need our love, we give our love, and our love is complete.
- Be forgiving to yourself. You may make mistakes, and this is okay. It does not make you a bad mother. We all make mistakes. We just do the best we can. Your child loves you unconditionally.
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