Maxwell and Amelia are 23 months apart. So to be fair, I only had 2 under 2 for 23 days. First tip: You’re a rockstar mom and doing awesome! Don’t be so hard on yourself, it will get easier. (Or at least this is what everyone keeps telling me!) My current situation is a one month old and a 24 month old, so I’m writing up this little article in the midst of the madness. But, I have learned a few tips and tricks and products that have been very helpful for having 2 under 2. So, if you’re about to join me in this wacky world of tantrums and newborns (and lots of sprinkled in adorableness), here are my 11 (hopefully) helpful tips!
11 Tips for 2 Under 2
Note: There are a few affiliate links in this post. Of course only for items that I have tested and love!
Keyword backpack! I love that I can carry of all 3 (sometimes 4 if Andy is coming along) of our things on my back and still have 2 free hands. Oh and I also love that it’s cute, see the above picture. And comes with a changing pad! The changing pad as little creatures on it and folds up and fits nicely in a pocket inside of the bag. Also note that there are 3 drink holders, one for me, one for Max, and the front pocket works perfect for one bottle! This backpack has pockets galore inside and out a definite must have for 2 under 2. I also love that the fabric is water resistant and easy to wipe clean!
I use this almost every day as a car seat cover! I secretly love that it discourages strangers from touching my tiny baby, and it keeps the sun from getting in her eyes on walks and in the car. It doesn’t fall off like a blanket use to when I would throw it over the car seat on walks. It’s advertised as a 4 in 1 device, but I actually think it’s a 5 in 1 device… Nursing cover, car seat cover, infinity scarf, grocery cart seat cover, and my invented device: after nursing snuggler (as seen in this picture). The material is stretchy, light weight, and cute! Maxwell loves to stick his head in and give “Bebe” kisses… I mean how cute is this?! Why is this a must have for 2 under 2? Since baby #2 is on the move a lot more than baby #1, I love that this keeps baby snug and sleeping longer in her car seat, I can also whip it out to nurse while we are at the Children’s Museum or music class or sitting on a crowded park bench. I’m all for anything that helps make life a little less complicated.
3. Double stroller
This is a no brainer for having 2 little kids. And the double stroller choice can be overwhelming. If you have no idea which one to get, check out this article on Lucies List. We already had and love the UPPAbaby Vista stroller for Max. Lucie’s List put this stroller in the convertible category since it can be converted into a double stroller. (Which is one of the reasons we decided to get in the first place.) So, for baby #2 we needed the rumble seat and then decided to invest in the Piggyback skateboard that attaches to the back of the stroller for Max to stand and ride. The rumble seat is only rated for a 35lb kiddo, so Max is 2 years old and getting pretty close to the limit. Once Amelia gets big enough to sit in her own seat, we will transition her to the rumble seat and Max will be back in his toddler seat that is good for up to a 50 lb kiddo! I also like this stroller is not what I call a “double wide”. It can easily fit through any regular door. And I take it on walks to stores regularly, so this is really nice for our lifestyle. And shocker, I’m using the car seat cover on the stroller! Love. That. Thing.
4. Get organized before baby arrives
Where is the newborn going to sleep? Do you have a place for diapers, wipes, extra clothes, and burp clothes nearby? This was something I was scrambling to figure out after baby arrived. A friend is letting me borrow her Halo bassinet, which has these handy pockets on either side that I keep filled with all of the nighttime essentials. Another note on organization, I’m obsessed with these drawer organizers. Since our kiddos are sharing a room (more on that soon), we invested in a large dresser (check it out here). The IKEA organizers are kind of amazing (If you don’t live near an IKEA, you can buy 2 packs on Amazon (12 organizers) for $29! IKEA has another organizer that looks like the one in the picture below, it’s one peice and great for lots of little things. (Here it is on Amazon for $21.) Here are the links to the organizers on IKEA: Set of 6 boxes and single divided box, both $7.99 at IKEA. Warning: You will want these for every dresser in your house! I’m obsessed.
5. Borrow things/ Buy used
Two kids are expensive! Save some money and borrow what you can. Like I said above, my friend is letting me borrow her Halo bassinet. It’s an expensive device that my baby is only going to use for a few months. For Maxwell, I used the bassinet that comes with the UPPAbaby Vista and borrowed the wooden stand made for that bassinet. Also search facebook for local mom groups/ neighborhood swap and sale groups in your area. I know Austin has a ton! You can always put a “ISO” (In Search Of) ad up in a facebook group and buy a gently used baby item for way less.
6. Introducing toddler to baby
I was pretty nervous about how this was going to go down, but it turned out to be such an adorable moment. I went into labor at 5pm on March 1st and had the baby by 8:30 that day, we were home by 1am! (You can read the whole story here.) But all of that to say, we were able to introduce Maxwell to his baby sister at home the next morning. When Max woke up that morning, he came and got in our bed, like he does every morning, and we showed him his new baby sister. We let him hold her and kiss her and it was adorableness… heart melting to be exact. Then, baby sister gave big brother a present! He was very excited about that too and still points to his truck and says “bebe”! (Here’s what she got him.) It’s fair to note that we had been reading a big brother book to him for a few months now, so he at some tiny bit of knowledge of what all of this “big brother” talk was about.
7. Let toddler hear a baby cry
I had a friend tell me her toddler was terrified of her newborns cry. So anytime her newborn cried, the toddler screamed too. Yikes. Nobody needs that. Her toddler had never heard that noise before and it totally freaked her out. I was lucky that Maxwell was able to experience a few infants prior to Amelia coming home, but if this is not the case for your family YouTube a few videos of infants.
8. Start teaching toddler independence before baby comes
Simple things like washing hands and brushing teeth. Do you have a step stool at the sink to make that process easy for the toddler? Or climbing into the car seat by himself since you’re now going to have the giant baby seat in your arm! Another fun tip, I started letting Maxwell help me simple things that are actually very helpful, like opening and closing the garage door. I put a step stool by the garage door button and it is Maxwell’s job to open and close it for us. He loves his new job, and I love that he is actually able to help me.
9. Plan to have help
In case I haven’t made myself clear, a toddler and a newborn is a ton of work! Especially since you are still recovering from giving birth. If your partner can take paternity leave, do it! If mom or mother in law are willing to come help, take it! If someone offers to help you, say yes! Consider scheduling out play dates so your toddler has some fun activities planned that can give you a little time to relax/ nap. snuggle baby in peace and quiet. Is your toddler in preschool or mothers day out? Not a bad idea, just sayin’! But, I do suggest doing this before the new baby arrives, you don’t want to overwhelm the toddler with so much change all at once.
I made a list of 14 things I wanted to have completed before baby was born or shortly after. Simple things to make your life easier like get a haircut before baby is born and stock up on some simple freezer and pantry basics (hello peanut butter!) so you and your fam don’t starve. Or ask a friend to start a meal train for you!
11. Baby wearing
For the love, make sure you have some device that allows you to wear your baby! I am currently using the Baby Bjorn One Carrier that I used for Maxwell too. It’s comfortable, has a built in newborn insert, and can be used for up to a 33 lb toddler on your back. If you wear the baby on your chest, diaper backpack on your back, and toddler gets a hand, you’re all set to conquer the world! Or uhh… at least get out of the house every once in a while!
If you liked this, here are some more baby posts from yours truly:
- 8 Tips for 2 under 2, 1 year later
- 15 Things I learned about newborns
- Tips for flying with babies
- Tips for long car rides with babies
- Tips for traveling with a mobile lap baby via plane
- 11 Things to add to your registry now
Any other tips or tricks for 2 under 2? I’d love to hear!