As a new parent, nursing and caring for your little one is like a full-time job that keeps you busy day in and day out. From diaper duties to sleepless nights, you’ve probably been through it all, and yet, you can’t seem to have enough time left for yourself. As your baby transitions from the infant to the toddler stage, your responsibilities will only increase. Toddlers, unlike infants, start talking and walking, asking questions, throw tantrums and have a mind of their own. Often, they would do exactly the opposite of what you expect out of them. All those tantrums can leave parents feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.
And during such times, if you decide to welcome a second baby your responsibilities would hit the roof. Whether it’s planned parenthood or purely accidental, be assured that you and your partner will have some heavy lifting and juggling to do. However, with some planning and early interventions, you can at least better prepare yourself. This would require good support and understanding from your partner as well. If you’re struggling with juggling between a toddler and an infant and want to find ways to manage them better you’ve come to the right place. We’ve lined up great tips and tricks which would help you juggle your baby’s daily routines with ease. Let’s dive in:
- Communicate With Your Toddler
Don’t alienate your older child when a new one is on the way. They will feel left out and alone.
Involve your toddler in the pregnancy and the nursing process of your second child. For example, let them know when the baby in your belly is kicking. Tell your toddler that they will be a brother or sister and prepare them for it mentally. Get your toddler as excited about the baby as you yourself are.
- Introduce Your Toddler To Books
One of the best things you can do for your toddler is instilling the habit of reading. Reading isn’t just a fun activity; it can also significantly contribute to your child’s development. It promotes cognitive development while effectively enhancing communication skills and social behavior (1). It also gives you some time to focus on the newborn without having to worry about your toddler.
- Get Your Child A Doll Or Soft Toy
The whole idea is to give them a chance to play mommy (or daddy). When they have their mock child to take care of, they understand better the need for you to take care of your second child. Toddlers are highly creative and imaginative and it is common to see toddlers talk to their toys. Toys are more than playthings for toddlers, they are their companions and friends.
- A Gift From The Newborn
Children love gifts. Go ahead and give them a gift on behalf of the baby. You can do this when the little one has just arrived. This way, your toddler won’t feel like all the attention has been stripped off from him/her and given to the newborn. The toddler will also warm up to the new baby instead of being repulsed. This is almost like a kid’s version of an ice breaker.
- Playing Fair And Square
It is important to tell your big baby that the newborn needs a little more help and attention. However, make it a point to show your toddler that his/her needs are being met as well. For example, when your focus is on your older child, tell the little one to “wait” for a bit. This way, the toddler knows that he/she is not the only one that has to wait in line for your care and attention.
How To Take Care Of Yourself
After childbirth, a mother’s body is weeks away from being fully recovered. She needs ample rest and relaxation. However, with a newborn and toddler to take care of, catching some good rest is stuff you can only dream about. Nevertheless, a mother shouldn’t overwork herself and try her best to catch some rest. So far, we’ve spoken about how to make things easy for your toddler, now let’s focus on a few things that can help you:
- Daycare To The Rescue
You’re a strong mommy, but even strong mommies need some respite. Think about daycare options for your first child. This can also prepare your firstborn for school. A few hours of daycare a day can benefit you and your children.
- Seek Help From Friends And Family
You might be someone who doesn’t like asking people for help. But when it comes to handling two babies together, it just makes sense to get as much help as you can manage. Having people around would not only help you catch some much needed rest but also spend enough time with both of your kids. Toddlers often feel left behind when mothers care for the younger child. You spending time playing with the toddler will reassure them that they too are loved and cared for.
- Plan Meals Ahead
If you plan your meals for the week ahead of time, you can get your groceries in order and avoid confusion. You don’t have to bend over backward trying to cook a five-course meal for your whole family. Keep the dishes simple, and get help when it comes to doing the dishes.
- You Deserve Some ‘Me Time’
Things can get overwhelming. You need to get a breather as well. Take some time off each day to spend with yourself. During this time, your husband, mother, or friend can watch over the kids.
Babies are lovely, and the joy of being a mother is like no other. However, there is no denying that it can tire you out. Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. It does not make you any less of a mother. Your children love you and will forever be grateful for the time, energy, love, and care you put into bringing them up. Do you have any helpful parenting hacks up your sleeve? If yes, share them with us in the comments below!
- Early storybook reading and childhood development: A cross-sectional study in Iran