I was 9 months postpartum when I became pregnant with Baby #2. We were super excited but had no idea what was to come. Our two children were to be 18 months apart….
Holy cow, we will have TWO UNDER TWO. Prepare for crazy….
When our second son was born, in September 2017, our lives changed. Balancing life with two children under the age of two was a job in itself. In my head I felt like my older son was already grown up and “a big kid.” But when our second arrived, I realized, he’s still my baby too!
As the first few days and weeks went by, I realized there are a lot of things I wish I had known before baby #2 was born.
Here are a few things I wish I knew (or had realized) about raising two under two.
- The older child will mimic the newborn. When our newborn would cry, our older son would pretend to cry. If the newborn got a bottle, he also wanted a bottle. Am I the only one who has experienced this?
- Getting on a schedule is NOT easy. For some reason, in my head I thought that our 18 month old would have no issue with the little one being part of our day but BOY was I wrong. Our typical morning routine consisted of mommy and toddler playing, eating breakfast together, snuggling on the couch…. Now it ALSO included mommy nursing a newborn, holding the baby, consoling a crying baby…. Yeah, our toddler was not ready for this.
- Even if both kids sleep, you’re still exhausted. I feel so thankful that my two boys sleep well. My toddler sleeps 12 hours every night which very few late night wake-ups. Our newborn has been sleeping 4 hour stretches since birth so in reality, I get decent sleep! Yet…I still feel totally beat everyday.
- It’s going to be extra hard some days. Yup, that’s just the truth of the matter. Having more than one child will be difficult no matter the age but two under the age of two has it’s own challenges. (Jealously, confusion, separation anxiety, etc) But with that said, it also has truly incredible moments too.
If you are expecting baby #2, here are a few ways you can prepare.
Talk to your older child about what is to come in a way they can understand. We played with a baby doll A LOT in preparation for our sons arrival. We would put the baby doll down for a nap, give it a bottle, burp him, etc. And the entire time reminding our son that he will soon have a baby brother to help care for. I know a lot of people don’t think they can comprehend this at such a young age (between 12-17 months) but I genuinely think my son did.
Ask for help. So many people don’t do this and I don’t know why. There are days where I will call a family member and ask if they either want to get together or want to take my toddler for a few hours so I can have some time with just the newborn (and a cup of coffee). Being a mom is hard and it’s not meant to be done totally alone so phone a friend and use your village.
Remember you’re not alone. The stress or anxiety you feel before your child arrives is totally normal. The frustration and exhaustion you feel with two under two is normal. I promise you, mama, you are normal!
Hopefully this helps you feel not alone.
What is one thing you wish you knew before your second child was born?
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Megan Zars is a mom of two boys who are 18 months apart. She lives in Michigan with her husband Jacob and works in marketing for a non-profit organization. When she isn’t keeping up with her active boys she’s tending to her garden, teaching dance lessons, and running her online health business.