Hello, my Gals! It’s been a minute, or two!
Potty training, bed training, teething, and just generally trying to keep the house in a state of somewhat organized chaos keeps me busy. I’m sure you understand.
A lot of people told me that having 2 under 2 would be hard, but honestly, it’s not quite as difficult as I’d worried it would be! It’s busy, that’s for dang sure. I’m twice as tired, but my heart is twice as full. ❤ And so far (for me, at least), it’s been pretty manageable!
Of course as with all things babies and kids, it’s all subject to change! But for now I’m taking what I can get!
When I was still pregnant with Mikey I tried reading all sorts of material on how to handle 2 under 2, and there’s some good stuff out there! So I thought I might throw in my two cents into the two-under-two tip jar and tell you all how I personally have been doing with this crazy beautiful little adventure.
So here’s something I didn’t find much information on: How to be pregnant with a baby under 12-18 months!
Let me just tell you, it’s e x h a u s t i n g.
A good friend of mine online who also has two under two said that she was much more tired while pregnant while caring for a toddler than she was with a newborn waking up every few hours and a toddler. The same was true for me! So if you’re in that boat right now worrying about how you’re going to tread water once baby number two comes, rest assured after a while it feels like smooth sailing in comparison.
What really helped me out was having Vinny in a good routine. At the time he was taking two naps a day for at least 2 hours at a time, so I was able to rest when I was feeling sick and when I was generally exhausted later on. Having a “First (Trimester) Aid Kit” by my side with some gin-gins, saltines, ginger ale, etc was also helpful while I was playing with him so when I was feeling ill I could grab something without having to leave him unattended.
And of course my village came in clutch a bunch of times to get supplies, help with Vinny, and help me clean up every now and then.
As far as preparing him for his soon-to-be sibling, Vinny was only about 10 months old when we found out we were going to have another baby. I can’t say for sure how much he understood about the situation, if anything at all at the time, but regardless, I would show him my app with “pictures” of the baby, point at my belly and tell him his little sister or brother was in there.
I also brought him to a few of my OB appointments, in particular the first Doppler appointment, the first ultrasound screening, and the anatomy/gender reveal ultrasound. Again, I’m not sure what he got from that exactly, but I like to think it helped start some kind of bond beforehand.
I brought him to a few bonus appointments towards the end of the pregnancy, where he would “help” the doctors measure my belly and watch them in awe as they ran the Doppler over it, listening to baby’s heartbeat.
Vinny was 18 months and 2 days old when Mikey was born, so he was still practically a baby himself. But I have to say, I think he took to his new sibling fairly well.
My in-laws graciously agreed to look after him at their house while we were at the hospital, and for one additional day after. The day after Mikey was born, his Gram and Pop brought him to see us, and his new brother.
This visit wasn’t very long, as Vinny quickly became overwhelmed, so it was kind of a “Hi/Bye” thing.
Then when he got home, we made sure to go to him and give him lots of hugs and kisses. Instead of “forcing” Mikey on him, for lack of a better word, we kept him in a cot in the living room for Vinny to interact with him on his own terms.
I feel like this slow approach really helped in giving Vinny more of a sense of “control” over the situation, if that makes sense. Over time, Vinny began to seek out Mikey and want to interact with him, and occasionally he would share my lap with him.
I also tried to include Vinny in as much to do with caring for Mikey as possible, so he didn’t feel slighted that Mikey was getting so much more attention.
For instance, if Mikey needed his diaper changed, I would ask Vinny to “help” me by taking wipes out of the container (one of his favorite forbidden activities) and hand them to me so I could clean Mikey up. Then we would walk to the trash bin together and I’d have Vinny lift the top so I could throw the dirty diaper away.
I can’t say for sure, but I think he liked the feeling of taking charge in a way, and to this day if we’re in the other room and Mikey fusses, I can say to Vinny, “Mikey needs our help, let’s go help him!” and he will lead the way to the rescue.
Of course, he still had his jealous moments, and he still does once in a while, but generally he seems to adore his little brother.
The Fourth Trimester And Beyond
My three biggest tips for anyone considering or about to embark on 2 under 2 life are try to get on a schedule, get your little one comfortable with independent play, and learn to read a book one-handed.
I breast-fed for about 3 months, until the well ran dry due to the flu and a stomach bug not long after. Vinny has always loved and still loves sitting on my lap and being read to, and while I was nursing was no exception.
The cross-cradle hold was my breastfeeding position of choice before, as it’s the most comfortable for me, and it kept one hand/arm relatively free, which helped me be able to read to Vinny while feeding his brother. Vinny could sit snuggled up to me, or even on half of my lap, and I would hold the book with one hand and hold Mikey to me with the other. I quickly got good at turning pages one-handed, when Vinny didn’t feel like turning them for me.
This skill also came in handy when Vinny didn’t feel like helping with diaper duty because he had only heard “Giraffes Can’t Dance” three times that morning and he was wayyy overdue for a fourth and fifth reading.
If your little one doesn’t love reading already, I recommend helping them fall in love with it as soon as possible! I feel Vinny’s love of reading was pivotal in helping us survive those early days after Dad went back to work and Mikey was constantly feeding. While he was listening, he wasn’t getting up and getting into trouble.
As I was saying about schedules, having Vinny in a routine was also wicked helpful. When Mikey came, Vinny was waking up at 8, napping from 12-3, and going to bed at 7, and eating at the same times each day.
Because of this rhythm, I even think I was able to get Mikey on some kind of loose schedule without even trying.
At one point, he and Mikey even started napping at the same time each day! I’m going to chalk that up to luck to be perfectly honest, but if you can somehow manage it, it’s awesome! This was how I was able to get a load of laundry and the daily dishes done lol!
It didn’t go a hundred percent smoothly all of the time, but most of the time I was able to tend to Vinny when he needed food, nap, etc and get to Mikey before he got too upset because Vinny was used to doing things at a certain time.
While I was still pregnant, I soaked up as much one-on-one time with Vinny as I could. Those days were really special to me, and I’ll cherish them forever.
However, I also knew that he was soon going to go through a major life change, and he would have to learn to share me. To make this transition easier on him, I tried to get him used to playing by himself as much as I could.
I would give him his own space with his own toys and encourage him to play with them. At first, he only wanted to interact with me, but eventually he would stack his blocks, use his shape-sorters, and attempt puzzles on his own. These would keep him happy for a good half hour at a time, which was enough time to get Mikey through one feeding before Vinny wanted something more or it was time for his own feeding.
I would also try to give Mikey tummy time each time I needed to tend to Vinny, whether it was to set him up with his lunch, snack, naptime, etc. Because it would take about a minute or two each time, it was the perfect amount of time to let Mikey work it out and I was able to get back to him before he got too too upset.
One quick side note: I highly recommend meal-prepping if you can! Starting while pregnant. I made several freezer meals in my third trimester from my Pinterest List, and would prep ingredients and quick snacks once a week after Mikey was born, and it made a tremendous difference in getting everyone fed quickly and efficiently.
Crock Pots are also a beautiful thing. Just saying!
So that’s more or less my advice on how to navigate all this wonderful madness! Of course there are good days and bad days, and lately it’s been more challenging with all of the training and teething, but you just need to roll with the punches and soak up all the preciousness.
Because with all of the rough moments, there are plenty of Kodak ones as well.
And as we all know, the days are long, but the years are short. Someday we’ll miss this.
What are your biggest fears about having 2 under 2? Any moms happen to be reading this who already have 2 under 2? If so, what are your words of wisdom? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks for reading, my gals! 😘😘
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