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Parenting 2 Under 2: What You Need to Know

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

Parenting is hard. Childbirth is hard. And when you're doing both of those at once, it can feel like you're on the verge of a nervous breakdown every day (take it from someone who was there and made it to the other side!). We've got some tips and tricks for surviving the first year with two under two, in addition to answers to all your most burning questions about life as a parent with another baby on board. So buckle up, because we're going deep into parenthood's wildest ride yet.


It's okay to get help.

When it comes to parenting two children under two, it's important that you realize that you are not alone. While this may be your first time around the block when it comes to raising small humans, there are people in your community who can help support and assist you along the way. Below I've outlined some of the different resources available for parents of two under two:

  • Family and friends: You might not have thought about enlisting their assistance at first, but family members and close friends may be able to lend a hand with babysitting or other duties around the house while you take a much-needed break. Even if they don't have children themselves, they know how stressful having a newborn can be on families—and they're likely more than willing to help out!

  • Hire an experienced sitter or nanny: If you'd rather bring in someone else than ask family members or friends for assistance (or if no one is available), hiring an experienced nanny or sitter will ensure both babies get enough attention while allowing parents some time away as well. These services aren't cheap; however, there are plenty of options available at reasonable rates if cost is an issue for your family.

  • If you're breastfeeding, work with a lactation consultant. Email us for a referral if you need one!

  • If you're struggling with both or one of your children's sleep, work with a sleep coach. Erin works with newborns, and both Erin and other LCS team members work with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers through age 10.

Find a parent’s group: If you don't have many friends with children, joining a local parent's group or moms' club can be an excellent way to meet other parents who are in similar situations as well as find out about local resources such as daycare centers and activities for babies.


You're not alone.

Many parents find having a second child a welcome change to their lives, but the adjustment period can be challenging. You might feel overwhelmed, anxious and exhausted—and it's easy to feel isolated and alone. But know that you have support available if you need it. Here are some resources:

  • Talk to other parents with experience. Don't hesitate to ask questions! In addition to asking friends and family who've had one or two kids (they may also have some great stories), consider reaching out more broadly by joining parenting groups online or attending meetups for young families in your area so that you can learn from people who've been there before you.

  • Talk with your doctor or pediatrician about any questions or concerns related to parenting 2 under 2—being open about these things will help ensure that both children receive the best care possible during this time period—and remember that it’s okay if what works for others doesn't work for your family! Your doctor likely has plenty of experience working with families similar in size and structure as yours; he or she can offer advice based on his/her own experiences dealing with similar problems before they became yours too!





Remember they won't be this little - and needy - forever.

When you think about it, the fact that they're so small and helpless is actually pretty miraculous. It's easy to forget how quickly their bodies will grow up, but when you do, it can help you realize that there's a lot more fun ahead for both of you.


You'll be able to see them off at school one day soon (or maybe even start sending them themselves), and enjoy getting back your evenings and weekends – assuming they don't want to spend every waking moment with their friends or doing other things outside of your control!


They may even learn a few things on their own: Did you know that by teaching them how to use cutlery while they're still little, they'll have an easier time learning how not to stab themselves in the eye when they get older? We didn't either!


Your older child will still want attention.

You’re doing the right thing by giving your older child some attention, but keep in mind that this will mean your older child is going to feel left out. Don’t worry about it – you can make up for it later!

Your older child may also want to help with the baby. Even if you do not have time for this now, it’s good for them to see how much work a newborn takes!


Your older child may act out...or play more gently.

Your older child may act out because they are jealous of the new baby. They may also be scared of the newborn and therefore more likely to lash out at other family members or even themselves.


Another common scenario is that your toddler gets bored with his toys and needs something else to play with. Sometimes, this boredom manifests itself in behavior problems such as tantrums or aggression toward you, your partner or other siblings in the household (including pets).


Your toddler may also feel tired from lack of sleep due to either having a new sibling who wakes them up frequently at night or not getting enough sleep during the day because they're always on the move while their parents try to tend to their newborn's needs.


You'll be exhausted, but you can regain some energy by strategizing and letting people help.

You will be tired. The good news is that you can get more energy by strategizing and letting people help. For example, ask friends and family to watch the kids while you take a nap or go for a walk. If you don't have anyone to lend a hand, consider hiring a babysitter on occasion or getting some help from your partner. It's okay if your mom wants to stay at your house while she visits; just make sure she doesn't mind washing dishes or folding laundry in return!


If you're feeling particularly exhausted, eat healthy foods that will boost energy levels such as oatmeal, eggs (for breakfast), berries (for snacks) and yogurt (before bedtime). Exercise regularly as well—it doesn't have to be anything complicated: just go for walks around the neighborhood with the kids in tow!


Your friends and family will likely be happy to spend time with your new baby.

Your friends and family will likely be happy to spend time with your new baby. This is a good thing, but it also means that you’ll need to make sure they know what you need help with. If you don’t want them to watch your toddler while they nap, let them know so they can plan accordingly. And if you do want them to watch your toddler while they nap, be clear about that as well!


If someone offers to come over early in the morning while you are still getting ready for work, ask them if it would be OK if they can come by later on instead (especially if it’s someone who usually visits at night). If one of your neighbors comes over unexpectedly, tell her not just that she should wait outside until she hears from you but also give her some warning so she knows when exactly she is welcome inside; otherwise she may feel like an intruder when entering without notice.


Don’t forget: no one wants to feel like an imposition! So ensure that everyone knows what kind of help would really benefit from their presence before asking for assistance – whether in person or through technology such as email messages sent via text messaging apps.


There are ways to make it work when you have a young baby and a toddler.

There are ways to make it work when you have a young baby and a toddler.

  • Get help. If your older child has an old enough babysitter or school, take advantage of these resources as much as possible. The more time your older child spends away from the two-year-old, the better off everyone will be in the long run.

  • Remember that they won't be two forever. Your older child may act out or play more gently while their sibling is around, but they'll need their own space once their little brother or sister gets a bit older and starts engaging them less frequently (which happens relatively quickly).

  • Let other people help you out! You'll be exhausted after caring for both kids all day long—and there's no shame in needing some outside assistance now and then—but if family members can help out with shopping trips or errands each week, you'll regain some energy (and sanity!) back over time by strategizing with others about what works best for your family

Conclusion

Those are some of the most important things to remember when you're raising a new baby and an older child. Remember that it's okay to get help and that you're not alone! There are lots of resources out there, including this blog post with more information about how to do bedtime with two under two. And if all else fails, just smile and make it through another day -- one step at a time.

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