Before having my second daughter, I did SO much research about having two kids under two and I’m beyond grateful I did. Although nothing will really prepare you to have another baby, I want to share some tips on how to prepare for 2 under 2, so you can have an easy transition too.
Let’s be honest, adding another baby to your family is a bit overwhelming. You are probably wondering how you will balance it all. Any mom with multiple children feels this way, so know that it’s completely normal.
After bringing home our second daughter, I really struggled to find balance for the first few weeks. I had a bit more of a learning curve since our littlest has a heart defect which made things a lot more difficult. Needless to say, we worked out the kinks and our family is really thriving!!
If you can take one piece of advice away from this entire post it’s this – know that this season is short and it only gets better…. I promise!
22 Tips on How to Prepare for 2 Under 2
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1. Talk to Your Oldest About the Baby
I think that our transition from 1 to 2 was fairly easy because we had talked about the baby from the day we found out. Even though our oldest was only 23 months when her sister was born, she completely understood what was going on.
I know that it may seem like your little one doesn’t understand much, especially if they can’t talk, but they will understand the concept of welcoming their sibling the more you talk to them about it.
Here are 3 Ways We Talked About the Baby:
- Books – We read LOTS of sibling books. This was a really easy way to help her to understand the big changes that were coming.
- Noticing Babies in Public – When we were at the store or the park and noticed a baby, I would point him/her out and tell my daughter that she was going to have a baby like that. Once we knew the gender, I began saying “that baby is like Jo jo in momma’s belly!”
- Getting Them Involved With Your Belly – Let them feel the baby kick, read stories to their sibling, and even let them try using the baby doppler! This is a great way for them to get hands on and start to understand why your belly is growing!
2. Feeding Prize Box
This was one of the BEST things I did. So basically, I put together a box of random prizes and during feeding time my oldest could pick out something to play with.
Especially in those early days, you are getting the hang of feeding, and having your toddler distracted will make this run much more smoothly.
My prize box included crayons, notepads, sticky notes, stickers, mini books, and other random things I found.
3. Quick Snacks
I’m not sure if it’s only my kid, but she is snack obsessed. It seems like I clean up breakfast and somehow she’s hungry again. I ended up putting together some quick snacks that I could let her choose from that didn’t require me to make anything while my hands were full.
I actually still use this trick, but instead of buying just pre-packaged snacks, I have reusable snack bags that I fill with some easy snacks. I usually prep these snacks at the beginning of the week, so I’m not filling baggies every day.
4. Prep Meals for Yourself
I really struggled to nourish myself in the first couple of months. I felt like I barely had time to feed my kids let alone make something for myself. Needless to say, I made some pretty bad eating choices because my blood sugar was low and I just needed to eat something.
I’ve found that having something simple for breakfast like sourdough, sausage, and fruit helps me to start my day off right. Then for lunch, I usually just eat leftovers from dinner. That way I only need to cook one meal a day and of course, feed my toddler.
5. Put Together EASY Recipe Ideas
Head over to Pinterest and create a board of EASY recipe ideas. You want things that you can throw together even with a baby in your arms.
Having a list of yummy recipes to choose from that you know are easy will take the stress out of meal time. A lot of moms love to prep freezer meals, I just don’t have enough room for that but it’s definitely a time saver!
I ended up using a BUNCH of recipes from Farmhouse on Boone. Here is one of my favorite freezer meal prep videos:
6. Mentally Prepare
Like I said in the intro, know that those first couple of months are rough. If you go into it setting your expectation low, you won’t feel as frustrated or disappointed when things aren’t going so great.
One thing to be mindful of is that your toddler is going to struggle with the transition. You may notice sleep regressions and behavioral outbursts. This is completely normal, they are just learning and adjusting!
7. Pick Up Your Groceries
I love that (almost every) grocery store has a store pick-up option. This gives you the ability to roll up, open the trunk, and get your groceries FAST without any hassle. This has also saved us quite a bit of money!
If you have Target near you, they do have a great grocery department. I’ve utilized this when I need various things like diapers, make-up, and a side for dinner!
8. Use Screen-Time (Sparingly)
We aren’t huge into screen time, but when we need it we use it. In those moments when you are feeling overwhelmed, pop on a tv show or movie and give yourself a minute to regroup.
If you overdo it on screen time, they won’t be as excited…. So use it when you need it… but not as a babysitter!
9. Plan Quality Time with Your Toddler
Like I said earlier, your toddler will probably struggle with the transition. One of the best things you can do for them is carve out one-on-one time with them each day. It’s totally normal to feel bad about not being able to give them your full attention any more, but when you have this special time together it will help you both to bond.
Learning how to share time between your kids will take some getting used to (for everyone!!), but focus on quality of quantity.
10. Get Your Toddler Involved
We made sure to invite our oldest daughter into every activity in the early days. Whether that be diaper changes or bath time, let them help! This will encourage them to bond with their new sibling too!
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11. Create a Village of People
Maybe this is your family, friends, or church, but talking to the people who you are close with BEFORE baby arrives is really important. Get a plan in place for if and when you will need help. I actually planned to have different family members help us transition during those first couple of weeks.
I highly recommend having these conversations before. It makes it a lot easier to ask for help later!
12. Time-To Rise with Toddler
If your toddler is 18 months or older, I highly recommend introducing time to rise. This basically lets them know when it’s time to get up in the morning. We use the Baby Hatch, which turns off her sound machine and turns the night light on at 7 am, so she knows it’s time to get up.
Whether she sleeps, plays, or reads books until then doesn’t matter to me! This gives me a bit of time to get myself together before I have to start caring for both of the girls.
13. Make a Game Plan with Dad
Before the arrival of our second daughter, my husband and I had many conversations about what life would look like with another baby. I highly recommend you take the time to do this. It helped us to both get on the same page.
[Not sure what to discuss? Here are 24 of the most important things to talk about.]
14. Let Your Toddler Start Learning to Play Independently
As soon as we found out I was expecting, I felt like the clock was ticking. I knew that the one-on-one time I had with my oldest was going to come to end and I wanted to make the most of every second.
One thing I wish I started to encourage sooner was independent play. From this moment on, I highly recommend helping your child learn how to play by themselves. This means practicing being busy too. It won’t be quite as much of a shock once the baby comes.
15. Use a Baby Carrier
You will be so grateful to have both hands free and you may even wish you had a few extra.. haha. I utilize the baby carrier a lot, especially around dinner time. If you have a clingy baby, this will really help your new little one to feel connected to you even though you are busy!
16. Accomplish One Task a Day
Yes, you read that right. In the beginning, plan on accomplishing one task each day. Maybe that is a load of laundry, the dishes, or simply cooking dinner.
There is so much on our plate as a mom (especially with 2 under 2) and jumping back into our normal duties can be overwhelming. When I started to feel like one task was easy to accomplish, I would add another. But, I always keep my expectations low!
17. Find ONE Thing to Look Forward Too
Being home alone with two small children can feel overwhelming and chaotic at times. Truthfully, sometimes I just want to talk to an adult!
Something that has helped me to feel more “normal” is having one adult thing to look forward to each day. For me, it’s a cup of coffee at nap time or baking sourdough bread. Keep it small in the beginning because if you miss a day, you might find yourself feeling a little grumpy.
18. Lower Your Expectations
I’ve hinted toward this in my previous tips, but seriously keep your expectations really low. This will help you to feel more successful and productive at the end of the day!
19. Prioritize Sleep
I’m so glad I took my midwife’s advice and prioritized sleep. Even still when Josie has a rough night, I make sure to take a nap the next day while the girls are napping. This makes me a much more patient and loving mom, which makes the day run much more smoothly.
20. Start Quiet Time with Your Toddler
While we are talking about sleep, your toddler may start to refuse naps every now and again. This is totally normal, especially once the baby arrives. But no matter what, make sure you incorporate quiet time into their day.
For our oldest, we call her nap “quiet time.” This creates so much less pressure around sleep which usually leads to a well-rested toddler. Either way, creating this space helps me to regroup and get a little break halfway through the day.
21. Consider Hiring a Postpartum Doula
If you didn’t know, there is such a thing as a postpartum doula. They are usually hired by first-time moms, but I think second-time moms benefit the most. A PP doula will help you transition into thriving on your own with two under two!
22. Pray + Ask God for Strength
I am constantly praying and asking God to give me the strength I need to make it through the day. Lean into Him and ask the Lord to help you through those difficult moments.
I know it’s not easy to spend time with God.. and that’s okay! Look for little ways to spend time with God as a mom… you don’t need to spend hours journaling and reading through Bible Studies. You will be amazed at how much your relationship with the Lord can deepen over a sink of dirty dishes!
Two Under Two When Does It Get Easier?
Yes, it absolutely does. Two under two gets much easier after the first two months. At that point, you know your newborn much better and you’ve begun to establish a routine.
Every day won’t go smoothly, I promise you that… but you will start to have a lot more good than bad days.
Having two little ones can feel overwhelming at first. But with a little preparation, you can make the transition much easier for everyone. I hope these tips help you to get ready to welcome your new baby…. I promise it’s not that scary!
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