Guys!! For those of you who have been following my blog and have wondered where I had gone…I HAD THE BABY! I now have a baby AND a toddler. Gulp. First thing on my mind (besides absolute joy and awe): how to survive the first few weeks with baby and toddler???
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She’s a beautiful baby girl. A gorgeous Peanut. Nugget is crazy about her new sister. We are now the proud parents of two beautiful daughters.
Since we had gone through fertility issues (read about my journey for more info), the fact that we had not one but TWO children was mind boggling. We were so grateful and thrilled beyond belief.
Still, I was terrified at the prospect of Hubs going back to work and leaving me alone. I honestly wondered about how to survive the first few weeks with baby and toddler.
It’s been three weeks and I am happy to say:
I AM STILL ALIVE.
Though some days, it feels like barely.
For example, today I:
- made 6 cups of coffee but drank my first and only cup at 2 p.m.
- barely made it to the library for story time on time…and we live across the street
- in an attempt to look moderately presentable, accidentally lined my eyes with burgundy lip liner
- fished a nursing bra out of the hamper to wear
- left the house without wearing said bra
- butt dialed her grandfather at 6:30 a.m.
- texted her dad
- emptied the entire contents of the recycling bin onto the floor
As we head towards the one month mark (YAY!!), I’ve been doing a lot of reflection and have come up with the following pearls of wisdom:
1. Realize that baby and toddler are different…and roll with it!
Every baby is different, just like every pregnancy is different! My pregnancies were SO VERY different…I guess it should come as no surprise that Nugget and Peanut are different as well. For some reason, I had it in my mind that Baby #2 would be JUST LIKE Baby #1. Everything from temperament to nursing habits to sleeping. Take lessons learned from Baby #1 and try to apply them the second time around…but know that you’ll also have a lot of “firsts” with Baby #2 that you didn’t with Baby #1.
- Nugget was nearly impossible to wake up for feedings. Peanut easily wakes, feeds, then goes right back to sleep.
- Nugget rarely cried and seemed very content. Peanut cries a lot unless she’s asleep, being fed, or held.
- Peanut is gassy and often is happiest being worn in a carrier. Speaking of which…
If you haven’t already, start babywearing! It is an absolute lifesaver for me, especially when Peanut is crying. It will also render you hands free, allowing you to tend to toddler, clean, cook, or eat. I can wear Peanut and she will just SLEEP (whereas she will sometimes wake as soon as I set her down). I’ve even worn Peanut WHILE holding/rocking Nugget to sleep! Babywearing allows you to simultaneously tend to baby and toddler. These are the carriers I have and love:
3. Accept/ask for help with baby and toddler…and anything else.
This one was a hard one for me. One, because I am used to doing things myself. If anything, I am usually helping others. Two, I didn’t feel like I had a huge support system. Three, it’s hard to ask for help! It’s like admitting you can’t do it all.
I had to quickly “get over myself”. I can’t do it all. It’s ok to ask for help. And I have a bigger support system than I realized. It’s exciting and humbling at once. Hubs and I don’t have our moms but we have extended family and friends who have stepped in to help in different ways. We are so grateful!
Three weeks in, and I’m still asking for help when and where I can get it. 🙂 This is a key strategy in how to survive the first few weeks with baby and toddler.
THINGS I HAVE HAD MY TRIBE DO…
- Grocery run(s)
- Entertain my toddler so I can tend to baby
- Hold baby so I can put my toddler down for nap
- Walk the dog
- Pick up take out
- Bring me a home cooked meal
- Drive me somewhere
More than ever, Hubs and I worked together as a team. He basically has taken over bedtime duties with Nugget while I am dedicated to Peanut. So far, it’s what works for us! I give mad mad props to single parents who do this alone! It’s definitely doable but oh so much harder.
4. Keep food simple.
If you are reading this BEFORE you’ve had the baby, take my advice and STOCKPILE your freezer. I had this vision of making lasagnas and casseroles and freezing them a month before Peanut was due…HA! I did, however, buy a bunch of said lasagnas and casseroles from Costco and filled our deep freeze. (They lasted us a good month or so!)
Those first few weeks are going to be so busy, the last thing you will want to do is cook!
If you are reading this and you’ve already had your babe and didn’t do the stockpile, it’s ok. Just keep things simple. If you can, outsource and have your SO, family, or friends bring you food. If this is not possible, stick to meals that require very little prep, like sandwiches, pre-cut fruit and veggies, hummus, and rotisserie chicken.
5. Take care of yourself as best you can.
This was my second c-section so I kind of knew what to expect…then again, I must have blocked some of it out because I forgot how painful recovery can be! Stay on top of your pain management, try not to lift your toddler (I succeeded until the second week), sleep when baby sleeps, at least during those first few weeks! Especially if you have help with the toddler. Eat well, rest when you can, and bond with that precious baby.
6. Make time for toddler.
This little piece of advice is also key in the “how to survive the first few weeks with baby and toddler” saga. (In actuality, it will probably be key in the rest of their lives!) Nugget was 15 months old when Peanut was born. In many ways, she is too young to experience jealousy. (At least, she hasn’t exhibited any signs of it.) Hubs and I have both tried to make time for her one-on-one throughout the day and involve her as much as possible in the care of baby. We realize that her world was just turned upside down, so we are flexible and trying to go with the flow as far as adjustment period. So far, she has been adjusting beautifully!
The challenge is tending to, bonding with, and spending time with baby…while also continuing to make time for toddler. It’s an adjustment for all involved!
7. Give yourself grace.
I thought I remembered the sleep deprivation. I HAD BLOCKED IT OUT. It’s so much harder this time around, maybe because I am older? Or still recovering from the last time? I keep telling myself that this season of life is short and it too shall pass. I try to catnap when and where I can and am just laying low for a while. I’m saying ‘no’ to social invitations that are too overwhelming and am just focusing on daily survival.
8. Get out of the house at least once a week with baby and toddler.
With Nugget, it was the middle of winter and I was way too overwhelmed to leave the house unless absolutely necessary. Now, with baby and toddler, it is IMPERATIVE that we leave at least a few times a week (if not day)! It’s important for me to keep Nugget occupied, active, and busy; however, I’m also breastfeeding Peanut, so…there’s the added fun of juggling that! I’ve decided though, that no matter how challenging it is, we MUST get out.
Peanut is now 6 weeks old. Yep! It takes me three weeks to complete any task, including writing blog posts!
Peanut is now 14 months old and Nugget is almost 2 1/2. EEEEK. I can’t believe that much time as passed!!! To read more about our crazy adventures, see how to tandem nurse like a boss, how to go places alone with 2, and how to get out of the house.
What do you do to survive those first few weeks?