Two kids under two is no joke. Mine are 23 months apart, and about to be 1 and 3 years old. I wrote a post with 11 tips for 2 under 2 when my baby was only 1 month old. Y’all. I had no idea. I mean, I gave you the best info I had, but I’ve learned a few more things that need to be shared. I’m basically going back through that old post and giving you the real deal about strollers, baby wearing, and all the other contraptions/devices people told me I needed. Plus how to fee like a real human while caring for two tiny humans. And if you are a mom to 3 or more kids, you are my hero.
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8 Tips for 2 under 2, the real deal:
1. Stroller(s): For me, having a double stroller is a must with 2 under 2, but I think the answer is different for everyone. It totally depends on your lifestyle. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- How often do you use your single stroller now? Not a lot? Then don’t bother with a double.
- Where do you stroller to most often? Would baby wearing and an umbrella stroller work?
- Do you like to baby wear? If not, get a double stroller.
- Does the toddler enjoy the stroller? If not, toddler likely won’t enjoy the double either.
- Have you considered a skateboard attachment to your existing stroller? (Max loves this!)
Here is the low down on my stroller situation: We have 3 strollers. I know, a little crazy town, but the 2 big ones were gifts at my older son’s baby shower. The 3rd stroller is a Volo Maclaren that is super light weight and lives in the trunk of my car. It is also the stroller we use for airports. Max or Mila can use it and it is typically for weekend outings. I also keep my Baby Bjorn in the car, that way if we want to give Max the stroller, one of us can carry Mila in the backpack. Or if necessary, I can haul both by myself: Max in stroller and Mila on my chest.
My most used stroller is the Uppa Baby Vista. It’s pricey, buy justified considering it has been used multiple times a week for 3 + years. One of the awesome things about it is that it can turn into a double stroller. So, instead of having to buy a whole new stroller, we just bought the extra chair and piggy back when we found out I as pregnant again. This is the stroller I use during the day to go to the grocery store, park, kids museum, or fire station when I have both kids by myself. Max has the choice to sit in a seat or stand on the PiggyBack Ride Along Board. This stroller never goes in my car. It’s heavy and big, and lives in our garage.
Our third stroller is a baby Jogger Summit. It’s for Andy. I don’t run unless someone is chasing me. My favorite part? He has no excuse not to take a kiddo with him on a jog after work! For the record, Andy really likes this stroller.
Bottom Line: Strollers are not a one size fits all situation. If you don’t already own an umbrella stroller (Volo Maclaren), get one quick and keep it in your car. If your still unsure about the double, consider waiting until the 2nd baby comes and see how it goes.
2. Baby wearing: I’ve done a ton of baby wearing with multiple carriers. Here’s the low down: if you like soft, cotton wraps and you are trying to decide between a Moby/ Solly style wrap or a K’tan. Get the K’tan. You don’t have time to wrap yourself up with a 5 foot piece of fabric that drags on the parking lot ground. (Although I did finally learn a tip for this: wrap yourself up before you go get in the car to go shopping.) I used a Moby Wrap when Mila was tiny, and I did like it, but that is only because I did not know the other existed! When Mila was about 2 months old my friend let me borrow her K’tan, and I’ve never gone back. The K’tan is easier and faster to use. The one downside is the K’tan comes in sizes, so it might not fit both parents.
The K’tan, in my opinion, is great for snuggly babies. Max was not a snuggly baby, but Mila loves it. So, we also own a Baby B’jorn and I was recently gifted a Beco 8. (I am wearing the Beco 8 with Mila in the picture above.) These are backpack style carriers and owning one is certainly a must for having 2 under 2. I need to use the Beco 8 more to give real feedback about which carrier I like better. But, I can say that the Beco 8 has built in pockets, comes with an infant insert, and has a zippered airflow panel that I’m excited to use during crazy Texas summers.
Bottom Line: Assuming you enjoy baby wearing, you need 2 carriers. A soft wrap style for when baby is tiny (K’tan) and a sturdier back pack style carrier (Baby B’jorn or Beco 8) for baby to grow into and for dad to wear.
3. Sharing a room: Good luck! (Kidding, kind of.) In theory, my kids share a room. There are 2 cribs. Well, one is now a toddler bed. (See tip #4-Never let the toddler out of his crib.) The point is, all of their things share a room (and a single closet), but both kids do not sleep in the same room. Mila takes naps in their room when Max is at school. On days when Max is not at school, Mila naps in a pac n’ play in another room. She also sleeps in the pac n’ play most nights. I love my sleep, and the thought of one waking the other up with her nightly shenanigans is terrifying.
Bottom Line: If you have the space, don’t have them share a room when they’re tiny. Or do what I do and let their things share a room, but have them sleep in separate rooms.
4. To buy another crib or not: For the love, keep your toddler in a crib for as long as possible! Cribs are amazing. This was a big debate for us. If we had not been given 2 red cribs, I would not have bought a second crib. Mila slept in a bassinet next to my bed for 6 weeks and then moved to the pac n play in the living room. Max started crawling out of his crib right before Mila was born and by the time she arrived, he was climbing out of the crib way too much despite my efforts to keep him in it.
Bottom Line: Don’t buy a second crib. If one is given to you, great. But the baby can sleep in a bassinet, pac n’ play, or heck, Andy’s claim to fame is that he slept in a drawer as a baby.
5. Don’t give up on naps: This one is hard. You will want to give up. Please, please keep trying. The toddler will (hopefully) continue to nap for you or at a minimum have a quiet time for an hour (or 3) in his room each afternoon. If you can get the baby to sleep at the same time, winner winner chicken dinner! Also fair to note, the baby will have to skip her morning nap on occasion and that worked out fine for us, but I was adamant about that afternoon napping.
Bottom Line: Nap time will make you feel crazy some days, but keep the routine up with your toddler — you will stay in room and do something quiet and alone each afternoon, and hopefully that includes sleep.
6. Preschool/ Mothers day out/ Swap: Max does a Mother’s Day Out (MDO) program here in Austin a few days a week. If it’s in the budget, I highly suggest it. Another option, is to do a kid swap with a friend. Once morning a week you watch her kid(s) and then the next week she watches your kid(s). Both mamas get a little free time every other week. Win- win! (And it’s free!) Gym memberships with childcare are another great option! (And no judgement if you just relax in the locker room with wifi while your kids are being watched, ha!)
Bottom Line: Make time for yourself a priority.
7. Get out of the house and meet up with other adults: It seems daunting in the beginning, but you can do it! Start small with stroller outings around the block or trips to the park. Make an effort to meet up with other mamas of littles at kid friendly places to ensure that you have some adult conversation and let the older kiddo run. (Read: Ensure the toddler takes a nap!) Try setting a weekly date. For instance, every Friday morning you meet Alexis at the Nature Science Center at 10am (or whatever). Psst… Austinites, that place is free and amazing!
Bottom Line: Get out of the house.
8. Highchairs: Instead of buying a second high chair, we got Max an IKEA kid’s table and it has worked out great. I love that he can eat and play there. We do games, puzzles, play dough, and soon enough Mila will be doing lunch with big brother at the table too.
Bottom Line: 2 highchairs is not necessary, and the kid’s table as turned out to be a lot of fun.
Be sure and check out my original post with 11 tips for 2 under 2, a backpack diaper bag is still great, nursing/ car seat cover was awesome for the first few months. If possible, borrow one 😉 Bottom line, enjoy those little nuggets and all the insanity that they bring. Time is flying.