They say that going from one child to two hits you just as hard as going from none to one.
It’s even harder when there is a small age gap.
You have two very dependent little beings that each have their own wants, at the same time (and you only have two hands!).
I knew it would be tough with two children under two years old, and so I made sure to ask EVERY mom that had already done it for her tips on managing.
Now it has been 9 months since my youngest was born, and if I can say anything about it it’s that it has been both incredibly challenging and rewarding at the same time.
I can also say that I have learned so much in the process and I know now how important it is to share my experience with other moms that will come after me.
These are my tips on what worked for me.
Use them more as a resource guide rather than an instruction manual.
Every child is so different, some things that might have worked with my kiddos might not work with yours.
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Disclosure: This post may have affiliate links to products that I have used and enjoyed. These are for your convenience. I do receive compensation without any increase to your own price.
Prepping Your Toddler For Your Baby
Now if you’re only pregnant, I would recommend getting your toddler ready for the baby.
These tips are still super helpful even if your toddler has already met their newborn sibling.
Going from being an only child to having a sibling is as much of a shock, if not more, as it is for you.
So guiding your toddler through this complicated process will help to ease any insecurities that may arise when a new sibling enters the picture.
Here Are Some Ways You Could Prep Your Toddler For A New Baby
1. Get Them Used To A Baby Doll
If your firstborn is under two, the concept of a baby sibling can be almost impossible to grasp.
No matter how many times I pointed to my belly and said baby and even pointed at other babies and then at my belly, all my toddler did was giggle and continue doing whatever she was doing.
She didn’t understand what I was trying to tell her, it was too abstract.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be always referring to the baby is your belly, it just means that they might not be able to understand.
If they’re not right there then they don’t exist to them quite yet.
One way I introduced the meaning ‘baby’ to my one and a half year old was by getting her a baby doll.
This might not work with all toddlers, but it’s something worth trying out.
She immediately took to the doll and started taking care of it.
While she would play, I would make sure to always reinforce good habits and discourage bad ones.
For example, gentle treatment of the doll was encouraged, but if she threw it down or hit it then I’d softly correct her telling her that that hurt baby and that we shouldn’t treat a baby like that.
We introduced our toddler to this doll from Amazon.
What I love about it is that its body is soft plush, so it’s gentle to the touch for little hands.
It wasn’t bulky or heavy, so it was perfect for her!
The only thing I would advise watching out for, if you will be trying this out with your toddler is that you make sure that your toddler understands that only momma can pick up and move the real baby around.
They really do not understand the difference sometimes, so remind them that they have their own baby to take care of while you take care of their younger sibling.
Related Post: 36 Toddler Tips, Tricks & Hacks
2. Get Them Used to Walking
In other words, gradually (you don’t want to push this all of a sudden as they might feel rejection or distancing) try to limit holding as much as possible as you approach the due date.
I mean you probably don’t want to be holding anything heavy anyway when you’re that big and ready to pop, and you won’t be able to pick up anything/anyone heavy during postpartum recovery, especially if you have had a C-Section or vaginal tearing.
So, this is something to start thinking about early on in your pregnancy.
If your toddler doesn’t expect to always be held before the baby is born, then they won’t feel rejection when you aren’t holding them postpartum.
Postpartum will be a sensitive period for both you and your toddler, it’s a life-changing transition, and the less changes your toddler experiences during this time, the easier things will be.
I’m not saying that there won’t be regressions, but at least you won’t be treading new territory.
So, encourage your toddler’s cravings for independence before baby arrives and remind them that they’re a big kid.
Remember, big kids love to walk by themselves!
Related Post: 21 Early Pregnancy Symptoms To Watch Out For (The Ones BEFORE Your Missed Period!)
3. Help Them Be More Independent
Your toddler’s ability to be semi-independent doing mundane tasks like putting on their shoes or washing their hands after using the potty will also make a world of a difference once the baby arrives.
Just make sure your toddler is ready for this and that you aren’t forcing independence.
One way you could do this is by having step stools in the restroom and kitchen to help with reaching counters and sinks.
We purchased this popular wooden one from Amazon, and it’s the perfect size and super sturdy!
Putting on shoes can be a bit trickier, but stickers can help.
Literally, any sticker works!
All you do is cut your sticker in half and place each half on the corresponding shoe so that when you put the shoes next to each other the sticker lines up!
Getting them to brush their teeth is even trickier.
You probably won’t be able to get your toddler to independently brush their teeth well by the time their baby sibling arrives, but you can make sure that brushing is less of a hassle
I have a SUPER helpful post that will help you get your toddler to enjoy brushing their teeth.
Plus, it’s full of a bunch of tips on ways you can help them prevent cavities along the way!
Related Post: Tips on Toddler Cavity Prevention and Brushing that Every Parent Should Know!
4. Toddler Proof The Rest Of The House
Didn’t I just say that you want your toddler to be able to do things on their own.
Well, yes and no.
You do want you toddler to be able to do certain things without or with minimal help, but you definitely don’t want your toddler getting into everything and causing a mess.
My tip, toddler-proof the cabinets and doors you don’t want your toddler opening.
We used these magnetic locks on all of our kitchen cabinets, they’re compatible with all cabinet types unlike the ones on springs.
The best part is that they still work great, even with two years of wear and tear!
We never had to really toddler-proof the doorknobs because my toddler didn’t do a whole lot of ‘exploring’ the bedrooms on her own, but I have heard stories of kids escaping and making a mess out of forbidden rooms like the office.
Better safe than sorry!
5. Get Rid Of The Pacifier Before Baby Is Born
There’s nothing wrong with a toddler still attached to a pacifier, that is until it starts messing with their teeth.
Pacifier use after 2 years starts to permanently affect teeth alignment, so beware.
The reason why you should consider weaning your toddler from the pacifier before baby’s arrival is that it will be a lot more difficult separating your toddler from their binky if the baby still gets to keep his/her own.
Although we weaned our little girl from her pacifier a couple of months before our baby was born, she still would take it from him and suck, for fun.
I can’t imagine if she was still attached, then weaning would be nearly impossible without tears!
Related Post: Tips on Toddler Cavity Prevention and Brushing that Every Parent Should Know!
6. Start Potty Training Before Baby’s Arrival
I will admit that you might have a potty training regression once the baby is born, but I would still encourage the concept so that your toddler already starts getting familiar with going potty on the toilet.
This will become a HUGE deal once you have two babies in the house still using diapers.
Not only does it start getting expensive, but it’s also a big hassle to always be changing two bottoms around the clock.
Having a potty-trained toddler makes things so much easier since the only thing they really need help with is wiping.
They can get up and sit on their own and go, no need to lay them down to clean their entire stinky bum!
The best part is that the nursery starts smelling a whole lot better as well!
Even if your toddler regresses, the fact that they’ve gone through the potty training before will make it incredibly easier for both of you to figure out the potty the second time around.
7. Remind Them That They’re a Big Kid
Just before my second was born, my toddler began craving for independence.
She wanted to do everything herself.
She didn’t want me to help her at all, now I realize that that was actually a good thing!
Reinforce this feeling by referring to your eldest as a big kid, especially leading up to the arrival of a younger sibling.
Now once the baby is born, there will be a regression and your eldest will start to want to be babied again and that’s ok too.
Enjoy this (snag as many extra cuddles as you can while they’re still giving them!) and try to avoid scolding them for wanting to always be held or for starting to cry like their baby sibling.
It helps when they understand that you haven’t forgotten about them by spending a little time exclusively with them while someone is with the baby (I’ll cover other bonding tips later).
Still, you want to gently remind them that they’re the big kid, along with the perks of being older.
For example, you could point out that the baby isn’t able to run, jump, and play like them (good to point that out when you’re holding your newborn), or that the baby can’t eat something delicious that they can eat (good to point that out when you’re breastfeeding/bottle-feeding your newborn).
Doing this will both help your eldest enjoy the concept of being older a little more while also giving you the opportunity to meet the physical expectations of caring for a newborn without upsetting your toddler.
8. Make a Game Plan for When Baby is Born
Regardless of how much you try to prepare your toddler for it, the shock of having a new baby in the house is inevitable.
In order to minimize the impact and any negative feelings your toddler might have towards their new sibling, you will need to DISTRACT them as much as possible.
Come up with a game plan with your spouse on how you will do this.
Whether it be that your spouse takes your toddler out every afternoon to the park or that you get them a big exciting new toy that only ‘big kids’ can play with and they take that out to the park every afternoon (that’s what we ended up doing since our baby was born around Christmas; my husband got her this super cool kids’ ride-on Lamborghini!).
Whatever it may be, make it special and only something that your eldest does.
You will have to spend a lot of time with your newborn as mom, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
Plan for this and brainstorm some ideas for when YOU could break away and just focus on your toddler while your spouse watches the newborn.
Talking about this doesn’t mean that everything will work out as planned, but it will get you and your husband on the same page when it comes to making sure that your toddler is alright throughout the process.
My Tips For Two Under Two
There really is no ‘right’ way to manage two babies.
It all depends on each child’s personality, the resources you have available, and what your daily goals are.
It does, though, help to know how other moms get things done, nonetheless.
So, without further ado, here are some of my tips for managing two under two and still getting things done!
1. Make Stations
One system that worked really well for me was having stations around the house where I could conveniently manage both my toddler and my newborn baby.
I would cycle through these “stations” throughout the day, in correspondence to their nap/sleep schedules (as best as I could!).
Each station had an area where I could lay down my baby on his back (newborn to 3 months) or tummy (3 to 6 months) AND where I could also easily occupy my toddler with an activity or task.
Sometimes these stations needed to be prepped ahead (like when I would get an activity ready for my toddler), but mostly they were ready to go and set up around the house since we would strategically station all of our baby items accordingly.
Station 1 would be downstairs in the living room and kitchen area.
This was an area with a large rug where we spent the bulk of our playtime.
I also ended up purchasing a large portable large play mat (not pictured) where the kids could safely play (we have tile so we needed a softer alternative) and where messes could be easily cleaned up (water-resistant!).
I would have our baby swing there and our Dock A Tot or a portable pack n’ play (this one comes with a diaper changing station!).
I’d also make sure to have anything else I needed for diaper changes, feedings, nap time, and play time conveniently downstairs.
Since I didn’t have a portable pack n’ play that came with a diaper changing station, I ended making this portable diaper changing kit so that I wouldn’t have to run upstairs if there was a blowout or accident (don’t forget the extra onesies!).
As my baby got older I’d make sure to have a blanket laid out for tummy-time (don’t forget the famous tummy-time mirror and the raved for Dimpl), the Sit-Me-Up for when he was ready to sit, and then finally the Jumperoo when he was more curious about standing.
This was our main hang out spot and the place where I needed to have ‘free hands’ as much as possible so that I could also cook and clean when needed.
For my toddler, I had a little table where I would have an activity set up.
Usually, it was our Melissa and Doug Play Clay Set with lots of Play-Doh or a coloring book with washable markers set up.
She would have the option of being next to me while I went about the day or playing on her own.
This little table was where she would eat as well.
Since my toddler was still potty training, I would also have a ‘potty training kit’ downstairs, ready to go for any accidents.
This super convenient basket had all of my necessities for when my toddler didn’t make it to the potty.
For cleaning up the mess I had Clorox wipes, absorbing towels (x3), and Urine Stain and Smell Eliminating Spray (plus a black light!).
For the changing, having Water Wipes, a washable bag for soiled clothes (I toss it in the washer with the soiled clothes at the end of the day), extra padded underwear (x3), and changes of pants/shorts (x3) is also essential and eliminates a lot of running up and down the stairs for me.
Station 2 was our backyard.
There I’d make sure to have our Baby Björn bouncer for my baby since it’s lightweight, portable, and he loved it (especially when I got the cute toy attachment!).
I also made sure to have my Ergobaby Omni 360 baby carrier close by in case my little guy preferred to be held.
Station 2 would usually be pre-planned as it was the alternative hang out spot after breakfast if we weren’t going out for errands.
My toddler would either play at her water table outside, to which I’d make sure to have a change of clothes, a towel, a hat, and sunscreen ready to go.
She could also play at the playset, to which I would have to help her get on the swings (requires me to have free hands) and play with/watch her.
Once my youngest was able to sit I made sure to purchase a baby swing attachment, so that he could also swing with his sister and I could have a set of free hands to move either around when needed.
Or, she could help out with watering our little garden.
That’s an idea if you have one at home, and if you don’t then you should totally consider starting with a plant or two!
Stations 3 and 4 were the upstairs play areas.
We’d move to this station after we spent some time outdoors in the sunlight.
It was where we would usually snack and start to wind down for our nap/sleep time.
The first of these play areas was in a small nook where we held my toddlers’ kitchen set, while the other was in their bedroom, which also had loads of toys.
Depending on where my toddler chose to play, I’d then move the baby’s activity gym there so that he was also able to lay and play nearby.
Just be sure to never leave your baby unattended in the activity gym, especially alone with your toddler.
They’re both still babies!
My Baby Björn bouncer would also go upstairs with us since sometimes he preferred sitting to laying.
This baby essential literally moved with me and the kids wherever we went!
Oh and don’t forget about the potty training kit!
That came with us upstairs as well!
Station 5 was our master bath area, where I would usually bathe my toddler.
This was the go-to place for potty accidents.
Accidents would usually happen at the worst possible times, and oftentimes both my babies would be screaming to be held, at the same time!
The only thing that really worked with calming both down was bath time.
So, if my little girl had an accident, I’d clean up with the potty training kit, and then I’d take both her and my baby upstairs.
My toddler would wash and play in the tub, while I would calm the baby down in either the Baby Björn bouncer or the car seat.
It would just depend on what I was able to carry upstairs at the moment.
I wasn’t always able to get the bouncer in one trip, especially if my toddler also needed to be carried upstairs.
In these instances, I’d quickly strap my baby into the car seat and then carry him in it with one hand while carrying my toddler in the other.
That was the only way I managed a single trip with two upstairs!
The bathtub was also considered our pre-nap/bed station where we would wind down and play a little before heading to bed.
This station is adorned with easy to reach toys on the wall via our super awesome bathtub organizer.
I love this Amazon discovery in that not only does it aesthetically hold all of the bath toys keeping them clean and organized but it also makes them easily accessible for my toddler.
Super convenient when you have to deescalate a situation with limited hands!
Station 6 was my bedroom where we had our toddler bed and bassinet for some time.
Since we co-slept prior, our best option to smooth the transition from our bed to a ‘big kid’ bed for our toddle was to temporarily keep the toddler bed in our master bedroom.
This meant that both baby and toddler were sleeping in one room for some time.
Not the best option (I’ll cover later why), but it worked for us through the newborn stage until about 3 months when we transitioned our baby from his bassinet to his crib.
So our room was the nap and bedtime central.
It was also the room we started the day in.
If your toddler sleeps in their own room, then that could be your Station 6.
Here I’d make sure to have my Boppy pillow for newborn lounging, in the morning or after nap time.
For pre-nap and bedtime, I made sure to have plenty of accessible books for a quiet activity to occupy my toddler while I put the baby down for bed.
Then once the baby was sleeping, I’d focus on putting my toddler to bed.
And then we’d begin the cycle of stations all over again!
Other ideas for stations:
So, these were my ‘stations’ but you can make your own based on your own rooms, resources, needs, and schedule.
I know moms that just use a stroller inside of their home and have that as their ‘traveling bassinet’ easily movable to any room, so you wouldn’t necessarily have to create stations all over the house.
It really depends on your baby and their needs, your preference, and your inventory of baby gear.
I had a lot more to work with the second time around, which allowed me to scatter everything all over the house and create stations in the first place.
2. Have A Schedule
You will quickly learn that productivity and sanity will really depend on whether you have a plan or not.
Getting a schedule down with a toddler and a newborn will take some time, though.
You probably had a schedule with your toddler, but more likely than not, this schedule will get a little disrupted once you have a newborn in the picture.
One suggestion I’d give is that since your newborn will be on a random feed, change, sleep cycle, have your schedule based primarily on your toddler’s sleep times.
As your newborn gets into a more consistent schedule (usually when the cluster feeding settles down), then you can include these times in your planning as well.
When it came to schedule application, one thing that I did that worked well for me was starting the morning in the kitchen and living room areas once everyone woke up and then working my way through the stations back to the bedrooms as we approached naps and bedtime.
We have a two-story home which also meant that changing floors had to be done at a minimum throughout the day, so this strategy was compatible with this requirement as well.
Also, things are usually unpredictable with a toddler and a newborn, so definitely give room for spontaneity and go with the flow of the day!
Things won’t go as planned most of the time.
Our sample schedule:
Here is how the ideal schedule for the day would go for us with a two-year-old and a 6-month-old, and even this would change on a daily basis.
8:00 AM – 6-month-old is up (feed immediately) then playtime
9:30 AM – Toddler is up
10:00 AM – Breakfast
10:30 AM – 6-month-old nap
10:30 – 11:30 PM – Playtime with the toddler
11:30 PM – 6-month-old is up (feed immediately)
11:30 – 1:30 PM – Play together, snack, and slow down to nap together
1:30 PM – Toddler and 6-month-old naptime (put the baby down first; meanwhile occupy toddler with small activity or have them sit on potty)
1:30 – 3:00 PM – 6-month-old naps
2:00 – 4:30 PM – Toddler naps
3:00 – 4:00 PM – Feeding then playtime with 6-month-old
4:00 – 5:00 PM – Cooking, feed toddler once up
5:00 – 6:30 PM – 6-month-old naps; playtime with the toddler
6:30 – 8:30 PM – Snacks and getting ready for bed (bedtime routine)
8:30 PM – Toddler and 6-month-old bedtime (put the baby down first; meanwhile occupy toddler with small activity or have them sit on potty)
8:30 PM – 8:00 AM – 6-month-old sleeps
9:00 PM – 9:30 AM – Toddler sleeps
3. Stay Consistent With The Schedule!
Consistency is key to keeping your little ones happy and secure.
Having your babies eat, sleep, and play around the same times every single day will help to eliminate a lot of avoidable tantrums and will make your days go by a lot smoother.
Of course, you’ll have surprises here and there, but generally, your kiddos know what to expect so they won’t question or fight something that they know will happen.
Another thing that I have also found to work is constantly talking to my toddler about what we are doing and telling her what we will be doing next.
Like, if we are currently playing but her naptime is approaching, I will tell her,
“We will play for a little more, but soon we will be going to nap.”
If she says no and that she still wants to play, then I reaffirm her telling her,
“Sure, we will still play, but only for a little bit longer. Afterward, we’ll be taking a nap.”
And if she is still fighting it, then I tell her,
“Don’t worry, we’ll play again but only when we nap for a little!”
Then I focus the rest of the conversation on what we will do once she wakes up from her nap.
This strategy has made naps, leaving the park, and getting out of the bathtub a lot less like a battleground!
4. Prep Ahead!
Once you have a general schedule down, prep for any activities you can the night before.
This goes for any activities you will be doing with your toddler (even if going on an errand run), any stations that need setting up (like if you’ll be having one of the playtime sessions outside, so prep in advance with any portable bouncers for the baby and extra clothes and sunscreen for your toddler), and any food prep you can get done the night before to make dinner prep go faster and smoother.
Prep, prep, prep!
Creating ‘kits’ for literally everything you do can simplify a lot of things and help you get more done easily .
Like, if you plan on cleaning a certain section of the house while the kids sleep, then get a cleaning basket assembled the night before.
Or, if you plan on heading out in the morning to get some errands done, have the diaper bag and a car kit ready to go with everything you might need for your baby and toddler for the short amount of time you’ll be out of the house.
For cooking, as I mentioned earlier, try to prep as much as you can the night before (chopping veggies, trimming fat off of meat, marinades), so that all that you mainly have to do is apply heat.
5. Utilize Down Time
Knowing when your babies sleep is KEY to being a productive momma.
Prep for this time too and use it WISELY.
I get most of my blogging work done when the kids sleep, so it’s definitely something I like to plan ahead for.
To make the most out of your kids’ downtime, one thing you could do is to break up your tasks into 30-minute time blocks.
This makes it less likely that you’ll be in the middle of a big task if one of your babies wakes up earlier than expected, which happens quite often.
6. Try To Go Outside As Much As Possible
Bedtimes and nap times can be tricky if you have a toddler still full of energy.
Get them tired by heading outside during playtimes as much as you can.
I remember reading how important it was for your newborn to see the sun’s light early morning to help with their day-night recognition, so I remember making sure that all of our blinds were wide open during that phase.
It not only helped my little guy sleep better, but it also improved nap time for my toddler.
That’s why, ever since then, I try to get both of my kiddos some sunshine and fresh air early morning, and it makes the rest of the day run smoother.
Morning and afternoon stroller walks to the park are a great way to get started.
Everyone gets in both some Vitamin D and exercise!
Try getting your toddler a scooter to makes those walks even more exciting!
We had a phase where my toddler started to want to be in the stroller with baby and the only thing that helped was getting her this scooter (you’ll see it in the following pictures).
You want your toddler running and riding around, how else are they going to get tired?
7. Use A Toddler Leash
If your toddler was anything like mine, going out was an absolute marathon.
My little girl sprinted at the sight of green grass and swings, and I couldn’t convince her to hold my hand when we walked by the street even when both of our lives depended on it!
That said, when my newborn entered the picture, the idea of going out alone with them both was out of the question.
That is until someone suggested the idea of using a toddler leash.
I used to always think that these things were ridiculous and that parents were crazy for keeping their kids on a leash like their pets… until I had my own 😅.
Now I TOTALLY get it.
My children are priceless, and I’ll do whatever it takes to keep them safe.
We bought this super cute toddler leash from Amazon, and my daughter adores it!
She loves the concept and even helps me attach everything.
I have a hard time convincing her to take it off!
We use it during our park walks and she will usually ride her scooter next to me because of it.
I’d recommend purchasing a retractable leash in addition to this as the leash that comes with this pack is a bit short.
That is if you want your toddler to be able to ride off a little while still having control over how far.
The set also comes with a hand brace for when you go out to a store or any other public location.
It’s perfect if your toddler has a hard time holding onto your hand, in very crowded areas especially.
I wish I had gotten one sooner!
8. You Need a Carrier!
No question about it!
If you thought having a carrier was super handy with your first, then you will see how absolutely indispensable it is with baby number two!
A carrier gives you free hands while still holding your baby.
Freehands that you will need for your toddler.
If I didn’t have my carrier, then there would have been a lot more crying, screaming, tantrums, and meltdowns than there was.
The carrier that I swear by in the Ergo Omni 360.
Hands down the best one I’ve tried, and I’ve tried and returned others.
The Ergo is sturdy yet comfortable, and definitely more reliable than a wrap!
9. Your Toddler Needs A Carrier Too!
Since you’ll be carrying the baby around so much, your toddler might feel left out and a little overlooked, which can contribute to more tantrums and even regressions in an attempt to get more attention.
A nice way to keep your toddler more involved and distracted is by getting them their own baby carrier for their doll.
Yes, they definitely make those!
I found out that Ergo made a toddler-sized baby doll carrier identical to the adult-sized one, which was perfect for us!
I ended up searching through Amazon for a toddler baby carrier when my toddler started to try on my carrier and get frustrated that it wasn’t sitting on her as it did on me.
She was THRILLED when this one came in the mail!
It was the sweetest thing to watch her put on the carrier.
She would forget that I was carrying her newborn brother around so often and would instead focus on taking care of her baby.
It reduced a whole lot of sibling rivalry!
10. Try Utilizing The Car Seat?
Before I begin with this tip, I want to emphasize that you should never leave your baby unattended in the car seat or let your baby sleep in the car seat while it sits on a flat surface.
The reason for this is that when sat flat of the ground, some car seats tilt forward, increasing the risk of asphyxiation.
The car seat is ideally built for its placement into its base or into a compatible stoller attachment to which it sits slightly tilted back.
With that said, using the car seat supervised to temporarily hold or move your baby around is not unheard of.
I will add that I only resorted to this when my baby was at least three months old and when both my toddler and my baby wanted to be held AT THE SAME TIME.
I only have two hands!
I discovered this trick one day when we came home after a long trip and both my baby and my toddler fell asleep in the car.
Not wanting to leave one or the other alone in the car, I grabbed the car seat in one hand and held my toddler in the other arm.
And in this way, I was able to both carry my baby AND my toddler at the same time from the first to the second story without an issue.
I obviously wouldn’t recommend this if you’re not able to carry both, so know your carrying capacity before attempting.
I continued to use this method whenever we would have a potty accident and my toddler needed an emergency bath, since my baby would always happen to get fussy around the same time.
I’d just secure my baby into the car seat and move them both upstairs to the master bath.
It worked out as the perfect transporter up until my baby started crawling!
Motherhood is all about improvising and utilizing what you have to get things done.
When I didn’t have another adult around to help, the car seat was my ‘second-hand’.
11. Organize Lots Of Playdates!
If you have other mommy friends, organize LOTS of playdates together.
Other moms are the best people to hang out with when you have kids (especially two under two!), not just because they get (understand) you but also because they always got you.
Moms usually look out for one another when they hang out anywhere.
It’s like a mutual trust that’s unspoken of.
The ONLY times I would go out anywhere alone was if I had my mom or a close friend with me OR if I was hanging out with other moms with young kids.
My newborn would require a lot of attention during feeds, and so having someone keep an extra eye on my toddler was essential.
Hanging out with moms with little kids also meant that my toddler had playmates with which she could get distracted and play with while getting all her energy out.
I definitely had WAY more playdates after my second because of these reasons!
12. Invite People Over
If you can’t go out at all, because lets face it going out with newborns is tough stuff, then invite people over.
For the first couple of weeks when my husband went back to work and I was alone at home with my babies, I tried to have someone over as much as possible.
This gave me a necessary helping hand as I was still learning how to manage two under two.
It also kept my own mind distracted and busy which minimized my postpartum anxiety.
Talking to another adult face-to-face regularly really does impact one’s sanity with haywire hormones!
13. Have Your Baby And Toddler Sleep In Separate Rooms
If possible, of course.
Trust me, this is HUGE in helping your kiddos get the sleep that they need.
Both naps and bedtime have been struggles in our house ever since I can remember, and adding a second baby to the mix made things that much harder.
When they’re going to bed in the same room, chances are they’ll keep waking each other up.
We learned this lesson the first week home when our newborn cluster fed and had bad colic sessions where he would just scream for an hour.
Our toddler did not sleep.. no one slept.
However, once they got into normal sleep-wake cycles, they never synced up and they would always end up waking one another, sometimes accidentally but oftentimes intentionally!
Your baby needs a quiet and dark room to efficiently feed and fall asleep in, while your toddler is anything but quiet going to sleep.
This might sound like common sense, but it’s not something that everyone thinks about.
For example, we thought it would be a great idea to co-slept and have the bassinet in our room until we realized that they couldn’t both be with us and sleep.
They each needed their own beds, and frankly, their own rooms.
14. Be Strategic With Baby Monitors
I will admit that I didn’t really use the baby monitor much with my first.
I always stayed nearby my baby when she slept throughout the day, so there really wasn’t much of a need for it then.
Well, now with two, keeping an eye on both, at the same time, gets trickier!
That’s why I say, be strategic with the baby monitors, and that’s not just referring to the baby.
Of all places, I would often place the baby monitor in the playroom.
My toddler liked to play there while I would cook breakfast.
The problem was that the playroom was upstairs, so I needed to somehow keep an eye on her while she was alone up there.
The baby monitor was the solution!
I would keep the baby by me in the Baby Björn bouncer‘and I would still be able to see my toddler while she played, all while cooking breakfast.
I’d just make sure to close the doors to all of the other rooms upstairs as well, toddler lock them if necessary.
I don’t want her going anywhere else without my supervision.
15. Have A Baby Only Space
Never leave your baby alone with your toddler.
Everyone knows that right?
You have no idea how many times you’ll forget or consider breifly stepping out of the room throughout the day, but it’s so important, for the safety of both your baby and toddler.
No matter how careful your toddler might be, they still don’t fully understand how to handle themselves around a new baby.
And, it is not fair to a toddler to be expected to know those boundaries and then get punished when they cross them, so avoid testing them and just keep a distance between your toddler and your baby unless you are right there with them.
A great way to keep your baby safe and secure is by using a Pack N Play.
If you already have a convertible Pack N Play that you use as a bassinet, then you already know how versatile and handy these multifunctional play yards/portable cribs are.
Not only can you use this one as a bassinet, changing table, and play yard, but it also a great way to keep your baby away from a toddler’s reach.
Just make sure that both your baby and your toddler are in your sight.
Some toddlers can be quite ambitious and still try to get into the play yard.
16. Have Your Toddler Help You As Much As Possible
Having your toddler at your hip can be a bit overwhelming at first, they ask a lot of questions and they’re very principled (I wonder where they get it from? 😅), but it’s so worth it in the long run!
Your toddler wants to feel important and noticed, and having them around you and helping you out assures them that they’re not forgotten and that they’re needed.
It gives them a role and shows them that completing mundane tasks are a group effort!
It’s also a great way to introduce chores and responsibilities, a super important facet of parenting.
Best of all, it’s a great way to keep your toddler from messing with the baby!
Some ways I’d get my toddler involved was by letting her help me get some of the washed dishes out of the dishwasher.
While I’d wash the dishes, I’d let her help herself to her own sponge and ‘wash’ her little plates and utensils.
She’d also help with transferring the laundry out of the washer and into the dryer, and handing me clothes while I folded.
I’d even let her lightly salt and scramble the eggs while we would cook breakfast (all under supervision, of course)!
She really enjoyed any time she felt her participation was important!
I also ordered this Melissa And Doug cleaning kit from Amazon, and it took helping momma out to a whole to level (I was even tempted to order the kids version of the Dyson!).
She now had a broom, mop, and dust set that was just her size so she wouldn’t have to struggle with all of the adult-sized gear!
You know a toy is a hit when even your friends’ kids prefer it over screens!
17. Set Apart Time With Your Toddler
It’s one thing to have your toddler by your side throughout the day, it’s another thing to set aside at least 30 to 45 minutes where you just focus on playing with them.
I would try to spend as much time with my toddler, alone, as I could, when my son was born.
Since I was breastfeeding, I was mostly with her little brother, but once he napped or once daddy came home, I’d focus on her as much as I could.
It was something we both needed and it was one way I let her know that I was still her momma and that I still loved her just as much.
18. Rotate The Toys
Keep it interesting by rotating the toys weekly or biweekly, depending on the number of toys (and storage) you have.
The more excitement and distraction, the easier it will be for your toddler (and you) to get through the newborn phase.
By rotating toys, you keep your toddler’s interest in the toys that they already have.
Each week they’re able to play with different toys, so it always feels like something new, and since they’re not overwhelmed by a whole lot of choices they’re able to play with and enjoy each toy a little more, opening the door for a lot more creativity!
One thing that we did, that also worked like rotating toys, was we opened a new packaged toy every couple of days.
No, we didn’t buy a bunch of new toys just to entertain our toddler.
They were gifts from her birthday, which happened to be a little after her brother was born (also something to think about if your newborn will be born around the Christmas season).
Instead of opening them all together, I set aside all of the presents and had her choose one to open every couple of days.
It worked out AMAZING and was a highlight of the week for her!
You could also gift wrap some of your child’s old toys, and have them open them up every couple of days instead.
Kids just love opening up ‘gifts’, I mean it’s no wonder LOL dolls are such a hit!
Other Tips For Getting Things Done
Here are some other tips for how you can better manage two under two, or any age toddler and new baby, to get things like cleaning, cooking, and working done more efficiently.
1. Do The Laundry Throughout The Day, And Fold It While You Put The Kids To Nap/Bed
Throw in laundry loads throughout the day, while the kids are up.
Once each load is done washing and drying, have your toddler help you switch them out to keep them involved that way.
Then, you could try folding your laundry while you put your toddler to nap/bed.
This worked well for me when my baby was 1-3 months old and easily fell asleep while being gently bounced in the Baby Björn bouncer.
I’d get my toddler in her bed and my baby in the bouncer and they would just watch me while I would fold the clothes.
By the time I was done they were usually both asleep!
This, as with anything, only worked temporarily, but it’s worth a shot so definitely try out this routine to see if something like it would work for you and your kiddos!
2. Use. The. Dishwasher.￼
Is this even a tip?
Yes, there are moms that NEVER relied solely on a dish washer for clean dishes 🙋♀️.
I always hand washed since I never trusted the machine to get all the grease off.
But, I definitely gave the washer a shot when we had the second baby.
It didn’t stick too long since our washer isn’t that great, however, if you have a good washer, USE IT.
You really won’t be able to keep up, or you’ll have a hard time trying to do it.
I managed to still wash by hand because my baby was so great in his bouncer (I know, I just can’t stop raving about it!).
If he would get cranky mid-way, I was still able to rinse while he’d be in the carrier.
I’d get the washed dishes out of the dishwasher with the help of my daughter, and then I’d easily put rinsed dishes into the dishwasher.
3. Opt For One-Time-Use
I am not exaggerating when I say that using one time use plates, cups and flatware SAVED ME from stinky piles of sitting dishes those first months.
I would not have been able to manage washing all the dishes by hand.
This was one thing my husband suggested and I was not a fan at first, but once we were in it (newborn stage with a toddler) I was VERY thankful to have a stash in the pantry!
Literally, if I could give one tip for managing during the newborn phase, it would be this!
4. Use A Basket
Every time you switch stories, try to take something that needs to be put away with you in a basket.
This, of course, goes mainly for those with multistory homes, but I still find it helpful generally as you are able to also free up a hand by carrying things in a basket.
The point is to never waste a trip upstairs or downstairs and simultaneously clean your house up on-the-go.
I discovered this tip via another mom blogger’s cleaning tips and thought it was so genius for two under two!
The more free hands you get while still getting things done around the house, the better!
5. Clean In Increments
A good strategy practiced by many moms is ‘timed cleaning’.
You set an alarm clock to 30 minutes and you clean whatever you can in that short time frame, and you do that once or, if possible, twice a day.
One way to make this strategy even more effective is by planning it in advance.
Break down your chores into 30-minute time blocks (either by room or by effort) and then put these blocks into your schedule.
Try to schedule chores that take more effort and concentration for when the kids nap/sleep or when you have a second-hand.
These include things like cleaning the bathrooms and the kitchen.
Tasks that you could do while the kids are awake can be scheduled after breakfast or lunch, preferably when the kids are happy and fed and ready for playtime.
These include things like dusting, folding laundry, and doing the dishes (just not a sink full!).
Just try not to do more than one time-block of cleaning in between naps as your kids need their momma during playtime as well!
6. You’ll Also Need Cleaning Baskets!
The best way to efficiently clean with two under two is to have your cleaning supplies assembled and ready to go.
You want to be able to use all of the 30 minutes to clean, not burn half the time running around the house looking for your sanitizing wipes or cleaning solutions.
Since I have only one basket dedicated to cleaning basket (it came as a free gift with my Grove Collaborative cleaning subscription; you get free stuff to try with every delivery of your eco-friendly cleaning supplies; you can check them out -> HERE), I try to assemble specific supplies that I will be using for that day only and place them in the room that I’ll be using them in.
Just make sure they’re out of reach of little hands!
It really is a great way to get the most cleaning done with the least amount of time!
7. Can’t Do Increments? Try One Day!
Cleaning in increments doesn’t work for everyone, I’ll admit that I don’t get the satisfaction of cleaning unless my entire house is fully clean at the end of the day.
I still feel overwhelmed and stressed out when the rest of the house is still dirty.
If that’s you, then you’ll need help!
I am making this a tip for those of you that think that you have to do it all by yourself.
Nope, it definitely takes a village if you want to stay sane!
Set aside a day and have someone over, watching the kids, while you exclusively focus on cleaning.
It’s just one day when you don’t primarily focus on the kids.
Of course, you’ll still get bugged for things like feeding and changing diapers, but you’ll have someone else focusing on the bulk of the childcare.
Now I know not everyone has an incredible human being willing and able to set aside their schedule to help a momma in need out, so if that’s you, then there are paid options to look into.
You can hire a temporary babysitter or, better yet, hire someone to clean your house for you!
Handy is an app that makes hiring a professional cleaner safer and easier, and the best part is that they give you credit towards your first purchase so you can try it out at a discounted rate.
It’s great for if you’re not too fond of cashing out on hired cleaning services but right now you feel you really need a break so why not!
Yea, why not?!
8. Get A Dyson!
Honestly, any cordless vacuum works amazing!
This is an affordable, popular cordless vacuum from Amazon if you’re on a budget.
But, I digress.
Getting a cordless vacuum made cleaning messes so much easier with two under two.
I could vacuum within minutes and with just one hand!
It’s really one of my best cleaning investments!
1. Meal Plan
Plan your meals if you don’t want to be eating out every night (it starts getting pretty expensive over time!).
I have found that planning our weekly meals on Saturday nights and grocery shopping on Sundays to be super effective and efficient!
I usually plan for about three dinners throughout the week, and on the other days we just eat leftovers.
If your family doesn’t do well with leftovers, opt for dinners that could be multifunctional (ex. rice and chicken for one night of burrito bowls and then another night of teriyaki chicken over rice; just separate and spice each separately!).
I also make sure to have easy-to-make breakfast and lunch ingredients on-hand like oatmeal, eggs, veggies, breakfast sausage or bacon, sandwich bread, tortilla rolls (quesadillas or breakfast burritos), and pita bread (Pita Pizzas! or gyros).
Make sure to also have plenty of snacks on hand (fruits like bananas and berries, ready-cut veggies with dips, fruit pouches), which are perfect go-tos when you have a hangry toddler AND a fussy baby!
2. Prep The Night Before
Don’t. Overlook. This.
Especially if you’re trying out a new dish!
Cooking usually takes longer than anticipated and that is extra time you will probably not get.
If you want to avoid chaotically running in and out of the kitchen and dinner being served at 10 PM because you needed to put down both kiddos for bed first (don’t ask..), then prep, prep, prep the night before, while the kids sleep (or while your hubby watches them).
Chop and mince the veggies, trim the meat fat, and prepare the marinades.
Have it all just waiting on heat and mixing.
This is the sane way to go, trust me.
3. Have Them Help
Just like with cleaning, make cooking a fun bonding activity for you and your toddler (or hubby, if the kids are asleep).
Your toddler will appreciate you keeping them at your side, and when it comes to your husband helping out, then you definitely should not be doing everything alone in the first place!
Give them easy tasks like mixing, scooping, or washing.
4. Opt For Quick/Easy Options
I wouldn’t really try crazy meals that I haven’t cooked before when both of my kiddos were two under two.
All we needed was tasty food we were all familiar with, so I just stuck with meals that we loved that took 30 minutes or less to cook (sorry lasagna).
These included chicken gravy over either mashed potatoes or buckwheat, pelmeni/dumplings, soups with sandwiches, casseroles, and burritos, quesadillas and tacos, among others.
I also used this time to try out the frozen foods section of Trader Joe’s (good stuff!), and I put the slow cooker and pressure cooker to work!
You do what you have to!
5. Reaaally Prep Ahead
If you really want prep ahead, you could do freezer meals and make cooking even simpler!
Just meal prep the entire week’s meals on the weekend, when you have help with watching the kids, put them into convenient gallon ziplock baggies and freeze!
When you’re ready-to-cook, just thaw, dump and cook!
There are LOADS of freezer meal ideas you could find on Pinterest, but if you’re looking for a quick idea list, I listed recipes for freezer meals we enjoyed at the end of this blog post HERE.
Working At Home?
1. Get Up Earlier!!
Like REALLY early!
A good day for me is when I wake up at 4 AM.
Of course, I don’t always do this otherwise I’d go crazy, but when I do need to catch up on work, it gets done while the rest of the family sleeps in.
2. Plan and Prep!
Having a good chunk of work time is one thing, actually being productive during this time is another.
Just like with cleaning, if you don’t plan ahead and prepare for it, then you will likely waste a lot of time just getting your thoughts together and trying to remember exactly what is it you had to get done in the first place.
Prepare your materials when you are able to and write down all of your to-dos on paper so that you don’t have to exhaust yourself trying to remember them all day.
Know what you have to get done before you sit down to do it.
3. Break Up Tasks Into 30-Minute Blocks
This is also a part of your planning and prepping for work.
Break up your tasks into 30-minute time blocks.
Seriously, you don’t want to be interrupted in the middle of a task, and with kids, it is bound to happen!
You can get a lot more done this way and you will feel a lot more productive which will motivate you to get more done!￼
4. Stay With A Consistent Schedule
When you start a consistent work schedule, try to stick to it.
Like if you get up at a certain time, do that even on days when you aren’t working so that you don’t throw off your sleep-wake clock.
Being consistent with your schedule works to keep your kids calmer and less stressed, so the same goes for you.
If your body expects to be up or sleeping at a certain time then it’s easier to work productively or get well-rested then, respectively, in the long run.
That being said, it’s ok to once in a while have days when you wake up earlier (like at 4 AM) because you have urgent due dates, just make sure to compensate by going to bed earlier.
Breastfeeding with two under two was also tricky, especially once my husband went to work.
Here’s what I did to both prevent tantrums and take care of my babies!
1. You Can Bond With Both While Your Breastfeed
When you’re breastfeeding it can feel like all the bonding time goes to your newborn.
One way I got my toddler involved in the cuddling was to read a book with her while I breastfed.
She loved it so much that she’d already start looking for a book when I told her I had to feed the baby!
One thing I’d point out is that it would also be a good idea to have a small activity or toy ready for your toddler after you both read the book, just so your toddler could be busy and distracted while you put your newborn to bed.
You might wonder why even bother having your toddler by you while you nurse, why not just read after your newborn is sleeping?
Well, the biggest reason I did this was to prevent my toddler from dreading feedings.
I didn’t want my toddler to hate it when I fed, and although she still knew that I wouldn’t be able to be of much physical use to her while I fed her little brother, I made sure to let her know that we could still spend time together then, be it quietly.
She wasn’t forgotten during those nursing sessions, I was right there talking and giggling with her.
2. Potty Before Nursing!
I learned this lesson the hard way.
Yes, baby has to eat, but your toddler needs to go potty first, or else things will get a lot more stressed than they already are.
So many times I went to nurse my newborn without first asking my toddler if she needed to potty, and that had almost always ended in with two screaming babies while I quickly worked to clean up the mess (you have to dry things up quickly to avoid staining and odors!) and get an unplanned bath session done.
Nursing takes some time and if your toddler has to go, they can’t wait that long for you without having an accident.
So much unnecessary stress.
Just ask and then nurse in peace.
3. Feed Your Toddler First, As Well!
The same goes for when your toddler is hungry.
Feed your toddler first!
Usually, nursing ends in your newborn falling asleep, that will only happen if it’s quiet in the house.
A hangry toddler is anything but quiet.
Having healthy “independent” snacks is a great option for when you are pressed for time.
I made sure to have string cheese, granola bars, fruit pouches, and crackers, always on hand!
4. Breastfeeding Snack Basket!
Make a breastfeeding basket where you not only have your necessities for breastfeeding (nursing pads, nipple cream, Haakaa) but also snacks and water!
You will not get much time to eat and drink with two under two, so having healthy snacks and a filled water bottle always at your side will both satiate you and prevent you from getting too cranky.
Beware, though, those have a high likelihood of getting swiped by someone else (ahem, hubby or tot) so keep them close by!
Related Post: 13 Breastfeeding Essentials for First-Time Moms (And How to Use Them)
This should have probably been the first section instead of the last, honestly!
1. Have “Me” Time
Even if it’s for 30 minutes, have time dedicated to yourself.
A time frame when someone watches your kids while you either take a bath/shower, get your nails done, or just go for a walk or drive alone.
You need something to help you recuperate because otherwise, you will just burn out!
That’s bad for everyone!
2. Dress Up When You Can
I know this is probably what no one wants to hear postpartum, but I just remember how much it changed my day when I would just get up a little earlier and get myself dressed up for the day.
It made me feel like I was still me AND a mom.
And I was always more likely to go out with the kids when I dressed up.
Your idea of feeling good about yourself might be different than mine, but whatever it is, try it more often!
It really does make a HUGE different in how you feel and in how your day goes.
3. Start A New Wardrobe
Our bodies post-baby are definitely different than they were pre-baby.
It is already overwhelming having to deal with those changes, now add the fact that you’re reminded of them every time you try on something that used to fit you but now doesn’t.
It’s a terrible feeling.
Well, instead of beating yourself up over the problem weight, focus instead on building￼ a wardrobe that better reflects the new you.
You can always lose the weight, but you don’t have to sacrifice feeling good in clothes that don’t quite fit while getting there.
4. Start Your Day Right
This is something I keep having to remind myself.
I know that when I start my day with prayer and Bible study, I am 1) More Patient, 2) Happier, 3) Collected and Productive!
Why wouldn’t I prioritize my time to always start my day like this?!
I’ll admit, sometimes we just get overwhelmed, that we feel we have to fix it all.
God tells us to focus on Him, and all these things shall be added!
5. Schedule Date Nights!
We tend to forget that our husbands also crave to be noticed and loved just as we do, in the midst of having children.
Don’t forget to schedule some hubby bonding time.
You both really need it!
Our first date with two under two was a disaster.
We literally had dinner cut short because my newborn refused to take the bottle and screamed up until we came back home to my parents.
Still, we kept trying.
We noticed how much help and attention we both needed and how incredible it was to get some peace and quiet TOGETHER every now and then.
I hope by now you see that parenting really is a strategy, and we are all trying to figure out our best way of doing things.
We definitely don’t all have it together!
These worked for me with two under two, but they might not necessarily work for you.
Don’t be discouraged, just take these as examples.
Regardless, I wanted to congratulate you on your second bundle, and to reassure you that you got this!
If you’re expecting your second or if you are in the middle of it, know that it really does get easier.
There will be days you feel like you are a terrible mom, and that’s ok, your concern shows that you are the best mom.
Just take it day by day.
You’ll all make it, I promise!
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Until next time mommas!
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