My husband and I always wanted to have kids close in age. We had a set goal of having about three kids with an age gap of two to four years.
Even after our first child was born we still agreed we wanted a second baby at some point soon.
When our son was just a few months old, I had the crazy thought to have our second child right away. Our baby was so calm and easy that we felt like we could handle another baby.
Within a few months, we agreed to try for our second and suddenly we became a family of four with “two kids under two.” Our son was just 15 months old when our daughter was born and things got so much more exciting for our family.
So what did we go through being parents of two so close in age? Well here’s how our first year went.
Comments Received As Parent of TWo Under Two
People always have something to say, especially around moms and kids. These are some of the most repetitive comments I received from strangers when I would go out with my two little ones in public.
"You've Been Busy"
On Repeat!!!! I don’t think I put enough exclamation points!!!
I swear everyone would say this to us. It was so unoriginal that maybe a few people actually thought it was funny.
"You Have Your Hands Full"
This is the go-to comment for people who don’t know what to say. It’s almost meaningless to me because I’ve heard it so much.
I’m left with a false “uh huh” as a reply especially since my babies have been pretty chill up until toddlerhood. But still, what’s the real meaning of this comment?
"Are They Twins?"
Are you serious!? One’s a newborn and one is a giant baby!
These were the people who really don’t understand babies… I hope. Did they think one of my kids was either really tiny or the other was really big… I’m still confused.
"You know you can get pregnant again after you have a child"
Wow really, is that how that happened!?
The day my daughter (our second child) was born, a nurse came to check my vitals while my daughter was in the NICU. She asked how old our son was because she found out this wasn’t our first. I told her he was fifteen months and she was shocked, not in a good way.
I had to convince, yes convince, her that it was intended and we actually wanted to have two little ones.
"Enjoy These Days" & "They Grow Up So Fast"
And then there’s all the “experienced” comments like “Enjoy these days, they grow up so fast.”
My answer again, “uh huh.”
They’re not wrong but the comments were just unnecessary. It’s kind of annoying when someone tells you how to live your life or when a complete stranger gives you parenting advice.
"Are You Planning On Having More?"
These are likely the same people who approached you while you were still pregnant asking what sex you hope your baby is or insisting they know the sex of your baby by looking at you.
They just love baby talk but sometimes it can be a little creepy and invasive.
THE PRO'S OF HAVING KIDS CLOSER IN AGE
There are always pro’s and con’s to anything. Despite the cons, we chose to have our kids close in age because of all the pro’s.
All At Once
Mom deals with back to back pregnancies and can try to lose all the weight all at once rather than going through a cycle of weight gain and loss. The weight gain and weight loss process is slow and frustrating and can easily make any person depressed.
Despite the convenience of having my kids back to back, I still have my pooch/FUPA though- oops!
The Close Sibling Bond
Because of their small age difference, they’ll have more in common and can build a closer relationship. They will be their own best friends.
On rainy or sick days when we can’t go out and play with other friends they’ll have each other to entertain.
They'll Go Through similar Phases Around the Same Time
Both will be in diapers for the same time and both will be potty training back to back or maybe together. So as parents, we don’t have to balance drastically different stages.
For the first year, a fifteen month difference feels like a big difference. But once they’re both toddlers they’ll be doing some of the same things and teach each other how to handle their struggles.
And the same goes for their daily schedule, they can both have meals, nap time and bedtime all at once- hallelujah!
Daily Struggles of Raising Two Under Two
Like I said, pro’s always come with con’s. In this case, the con’s were part of my daily mom struggles of being a full-time mom of two under two.
Entertaining My Toddler While Comfortably Nursing My Baby
Every time I needed to nurse my baby, which was every two hours, I had to sit my older child on the couch so that I could sit comfortably in the living room.
It was the best way for me to keep an eye on him. And to keep him there, I often had to put the TV on, which wasn’t ideal for limiting screen time.
This was very difficult the first few months because only had only a few months experience walking and was just getting the hang of getting on and off the couch.
He was so young, I didn’t want him to get hurt while I was nursing.
Two kids under two means lots of diaper changes. And kids never pee or poop when it’s convenient. So I was frequently rushing both kids to our changing table so I could change one while keeping an eye on the other.
And, of course, right after we settle back into playing somewhere else, the other one would poop and we would have to stop and get up again for a diaper change.
A newborn should sleep almost all day. By a few months old they will likely nap a few times a day.
Mine only napped maximum twice a day, until she eventually switched to one nap.
When she dropped down to one nap, I struggled to get both kids napping at the same time after lunch. Once we got that pattern down, it was perfect.
But the months before their joint nap, it was hard for me to get anything done because I was taking turns with one or the other playing quietly while the other one napped.
I had to force them into the same napping schedule so that I could accomplish anything around the house, not to mention shower. All so that we could play without worrying about making noise or waking anyone up.
As for night time, our oldest had was a great sleeper and had a set bedtime but our youngest was still a nursing infant who wasn’t sleeping through the night. We only started to have fuller nights of sleep once she was about eight months old, and occasionally one of them would wake up for one reason or another.
For the first year, going out was the most difficult. I think things finally changed once I stopped nursing my daughter when she turned one.
I had to get everything ready, including taking my dog out, getting my baby and my toddler dressed and fed, packing up our diaper bag with diapers and snacks and making sure I somewhat looked decent before going anywhere.
My daughter was on the breast every two hours at least. Right before getting in the car, I had to nurse her one last time, hoping for no spit ups, so that we could go anywhere. From the moment we finished nursing my clock ticked down to 120 minutes or less.
I was okay with nursing in public but that meant I could not be as available to my other child, who was still very little.
Our trips were usually to let my toddler play somewhere for a couple of hours, so driving trips longer than thirty minutes were outside my reach once nursing, mealtimes, and nap times were calculated in.
Buying groceries with two kids under two is very tricky. So much so, that I’ve dedicated an entire post for this topic.
The baby, with little neck support, needs to be in the car seat but shopping carts and carseats are already incompatible.
Placing the car seat on top of the shopping cart is dangerous, as it becomes top heavy and can tip over. An infant car seat can fit, fairly snug, within a shopping cart, leaving you with little space for placing groceries. A stroller is often an option for parents.
But with two under two, a double stroller can be difficult to carry through a store and limits your storage for groceries within it’s basket and your vehicle.
Also, with two under two, the logistics of getting in and out of the car can get very complicated.
When one person in the family gets sick, get ready because its going to be one hell of a month, yes month! You will all take turns catching that cold or virus and you might get it more than once.
Our worst was our son’s stomach virus which I then caught and spent a night releasing, well maybe that’s a little too much information… At the time, I was also nursing my infant and ended up so dehydrated that I couldn’t get myself out of bed to go to the doctor.
When my mom and husband helped me to the car I fainted and landed myself in the hospital for two days. That was our worst.
Another illness struggle for our family was when we were all taking turns on a stupid cold for almost three months. And at the end of it, our son ended up with a nasty nighttime cough that wouldn’t let him sleep for a few additional months and doctors couldn’t fully explain.
These illnesses are so contagious that you try to separate the family members but when you’re home alone with two kids there’s only so much you can do.
My suggestion, don’t stress it. It might be better to have your kids be sick at the same time rather than back to back so you can end the cycle.
And if you’re nursing, your breastmilk will help boost their immunity. But if you’re sick as a dog take a little nursing break so you don’t land yourself in the hospital like me.
Pleasing Both Kids in our Daily Routine
Becoming parents of two under two is a struggle in itself. Your heart grows in ways you never imagined and your parenting skills and habit have to adapt.
Everyone knows babies need a lot of attention. But personally, I feel the oldest child needs more of the parents’ attention during this major life change.
The baby will need to be fed and changed from time to time but can be laid or sat down while you entertain your toddler nearby.
However, you’ll have to adapt and balance your attention as your baby starts crawling, climbing, and walking.
Focus on your older child at first because they will soon be going through a jealousy phase, which is better treated when they feel you are giving them the needed attention.
In My Case
Jealousy and giving my son his needed attention was my concern from the start. I tried to show him that “the baby” was delicate and sometimes I would need to tend to her but that I would still be his.
I would literally leave her in her bassinet, swing, play mat, or stroller so that I could be more with him. She even developed a bald spot on the back of her head from laying so much- oops!
He never got jealous, he always wanted her nearby and would climb on top of her to give her kisses. But I always made sure that we would go to the park and see some of his friends from our support group a few times a week so that he could enjoy himself with kids his own age.
I still do this, it’s so important! I notice a negative change in his behavior when we go a few days without going out or without seeing his friends.
It Was Worth It
The pro’s definitely outweighed the con’s. We felt this was right for our family and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Our kids are growing up together and having a blast, I have more to look forward to with this wonderful sibling bond.
There will always be times when I wonder how much calmer things could be if I could focus with just one child but I also find so much more to gain from having my kids less than two years apart.
What were your experiences and struggles like raising kids two under two?
My name is Paula and I’m a mom of two scrumptious cuties. Thanks Mommy Blog became a project for me to help guide other new moms and current moms through any of my own personal experiences and struggles. My hobbies include singing, doing jigsaw puzzles, baking, designing and trying to stay creative.