10 Tips to Juggle a Newborn and a Toddlerby Elizabeth MacDonald
Your heart grows the moment your newborn enters your life, but so does that mom guilt. Life was wonderful with your firstborn being the center of the world; how will you possibly help him (and yourself) realize that he is going to have to share the spotlight? More-so than transitioning the spotlight, how are you going to juggle to demands of a newborn and a toddler? You will need a new balance, a new plan, a ton of patience, and a willingness to ask for (and accept) help.
Sleep is always a challenge as a mom. Just when your toddler has the hang of sleeping well, maybe he’s even still napping, you are re-entering the newborn up-every-two-hours-at-night phase. It is normal to struggle and feel sleep-deprived, and it is normal to need a break. If your older child has given up napping and still isn’t sleeping well at night, the next few months may seem to pass in a slow-motion blur. Add in potty-training, diapers, baths, laundry, cooking, cleaning, budgeting, errands, relationships, and possibly work, and you may be in need of some advice.
10 Tips to Juggle a Newborn and a Toddler
Eliminate What You Can
Cancel anything you can for the next few months. This can mean toddler gymnastics or regular date nights. The less you have on your daily list, the better right now. You do not need to prepare 3-course meals or wash your hair daily, either. Find happiness in living simply.
Set a Flexible Schedule
A routine helps everyone survive this stage of life. Your toddler will thrive on a schedule, and your newborn - when fed on demand - will fall into a nice routine of her own.
Laugh Things Off
You have to keep your sense of humor right now. There are going to be messes and unplanned moments where you can easily lose your mind, but laughing will be so much better for everyone involved.
Give Your Toddler Jobs
Let your older child help whenever possible. He can help load or unload the dishwasher, make beds, vacuum, clean up toys, etc. He wants to feel respected, needed, and loved.
Hold Your Toddler
Whenever possible, give your toddler extra snuggles. Share a few secrets with him and kiss him often. It doesn’t take much for jealousy to rear its ugly head, so get in as much special time with your first baby as you can. Read books, do puzzles, and hold his hand walking around the house. That physical touch means so much to both of you.
Keep a few plastic tubs around the house with items your toddler can play with solo. Skip anything that will require a vacuum to clean up.
Toddlers tend to have more toys than they could ever play with, and having them all out can be overwhelming. Hide most of the toys in a closet or attic space and rotate them every week or two. You’ll be amazed at how much more use they get!
Toddler Proof One Room
Choose a room that can be locked or gated because you may need to nap - physically need to. You can toss down a pillow and blanket and nap right on the floor knowing your toddler can't reach the stove or pull a TV on top of him. Go ahead and take that nap while your newborn naps.
Hire a Cleaner (if you can)
If you have the funds, hire someone to come in and scrub the toilets, showers, sinks, counters, and make the beds once or twice a month.
Give yourself grace. Accept imperfection. Let go of your personal expectations or the perceived judgements of others. Live and let live in this moment - it will pass all too fast.