I always wanted to have kids close in age and I was lucky enough that our first child was very calm and easy going as a baby that we could try for our second. Our son was just 15 months old when our daughter was born. With the exception of my pregnancy symptoms and getting a few illnesses at the end of my pregnancy, raising my son had been a breeze. Suddenly we became a family of four with “2 kids under 2.”
So what did we go through being parents of two so close in age? Well here’s how our first year went.
“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. I’m left with a simple “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 and she asked how old our son was because she found out this wasn’t our first. I told her he was 15 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.
And then there’s all the “experienced” comments like “Enjoy these days, they grow up so fast.” My answer again, “uh huh.”
As well as the follow up questions, which are weirdly invasive when it comes from total strangers, like “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. These people just love baby talk but sometimes it can be a little creepy and invasive.
THE PRO'S OF HAVING KIDS CLOSER IN AGE
All at once. Mom deals with back to back pregnancies and can lose all the weight all at once rather than lose to end up gaining back and struggle the loss a couple years later. 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 15 month difference is 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!
The Daily Struggles
Entertaining my toddler while comfortably nursing my baby. I had to sit my older child on the couch so that I could sit in the living room to nurse my baby. This was very difficult the first few months because my 15 month old was just getting the hang of getting on and off the couch on his own and had only a few months experience walking.
Diaper changes. I had to convince both children to stop what they’re doing to come with me to my daughter’s room, where I could keep an eye on them, so I could change one of their diapers. And right after we settle back into playing somewhere else, the other one poops and we have to stop again.
Sleep Schedules. 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 once. When she reached the one a day I had both kids napping at the same time after lunch time which was perfect. But before that it was hard 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, and so that we could play without worrying about waking anyone up. Our oldest had his bedtime but our youngest wasn’t sleeping through the night until about eight months old so we were exhausted.
Going Out. For the first year, going out was the most difficult. I think things finally changed once I stopped nursing after a year. My daughter was on the breast every 2 hours at least. I had to get everything ready, including taking my dog out and getting my toddler dressed and fed, before going anywhere and I had to nurse right before getting in the car (hoping for no spit ups) so that we could go anywhere. And 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.
Buying groceries. I’ve written a post about this, getting groceries is difficult because your baby (with little neck support) needs to be in the car seat and once you situate both your toddler in the seat and the car seat in the cart you’re left with little to no space in a shopping cart. Not to mention the logistics of getting in and out of the car.
Illnesses. 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… but I was also nursing 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 2 days. That was our worst. Our second worst was when we were all taking turns on a stupid cold for almost 3 months, of which our son ended up with a nasty nighttime cough that wouldn’t let him sleep. These things 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
Generally: The toddler needs the most attention, 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. This will take a shift though once your baby starts crawling, climbing, and walking. Focus on your older child 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 a few times a week so that he could enjoy himself.
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
There are pro’s and con’s to anything in life at any time. We felt this was right for our family and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
What were your experiences and struggles like raising 2 under 2?
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.