What an adjustment! I’m a few months into taking care of a newborn and a toddler. While I knew things were going to be hectic, here are seven things I’ve learned during my newborn haze:
- Toddlers are much harder than newborns. Yes newborns leave you sleep deprived, but when there was just one you could at least try to nap! Now with two? Forget it. Toddlers not only have never ending energy, but now they’re cooped up inside more often while you take care of baby.
- It’s important to make the toddler feel special and included. We saved up little toys, books and activities all summer to give my son when we needed to distract him during a feeding or to make him feel special. I also appreciated (and never thought of) the gifts people brought over for my son when they came to visit the baby. Something as small as a sucker made a big difference! We also look for little ways he can help with the baby, and that makes him happy too.
- Keep TONS of healthy snacks handy. I love to eat and rarely skip a meal…until now. There just isn’t time to sit down to eat regularly, so I’ve been grabbing whatever I can reach – which has been too much sugar! Plan ahead for grab-and-go nibbles you can eat with one hand. Cheese sticks, hard boiled eggs, sandwiches, and trail mix are all good options.
- Track your showers along with feedings. If you were a bit dazed after baby number one, just wait. It hit home when one day I asked my husband if I had showered that day. He looked at me like I was nuts. I still don’t know if I did!
- Don’t stress over screen time. Some days I feel like my toddler watches way too much TV. Instead of beating myself up over it, I recognize some days we are in survival mode. If an extra television show helps both of us get through the day, so be it.
- Let it go. I didn’t really adopt this mentality the first time around. Now to avoid stressing myself out, I’ve learned to be okay with dishes in the sink, laundry piled up and toys scattered everywhere. It’s just a season, and seasons change quickly.
- Divide and conquer. When my husband is home, he mostly takes care of the toddler and I take care of the baby. It’s a good method when both are screaming or need something. But at the end of the day I realize that my husband and I have barely spent any time together. So at the least, I make sure to kiss him good morning and good night!
I know things will get easier and this is just the season of our life right now. While I may not remember the last time I sat down for a meal, showered, or mopped my kitchen floor, I do know that my heart is full and my family now feels complete.