Having Two Kids Under Three – Things and Routines that Help Us
We planned to have our two children with the age gap that we have. My eldest was two years and four months old when our second baby was born and I think that’s a nice gap that will hopefully be good for our daughters. Eight months down the line, I can confirm that they are already close friends! It is, of course, quite exhausting having a baby and a toddler at the same time but it’s doable and there are some factors that have helped us a lot.
My firstborn baby is not the best sleeper and we are still working on it now and she’s three this month. She sleeps in her own bed but comes into our bed quite often halfway through the night. We went through a great phase recently when she slept through in her own bed for weeks and weeks but then we went and stayed with family and had different sleeping arrangements and now we’re working on getting her to sleep through the night… again.
With our second baby, I decided to co-sleep using a co-sleeping crib but this remains mainly unused as baby no 2 had reflux and I had to keep her laid on her side all through the night and I could only do this by laying really close to her in our bed. We co-sleep in our bed and it makes life a lot easier. We all sleep and since I’m breastfeeding, I can feed her in bed when we go to bed and in the early morning whilst still sleeping so that we don’t have to get up really early. I never thought I’d co-sleep but it’s definitely helped keep me more rested and enabled us all to sleep more and better.
The nights that the eldest comes into our bed, she knows to get in on my husband’s side so she’s never anywhere near our baby in the bed.
I would have preferred if we could have finished potty training our eldest before the birth of our second baby but that didn’t work out. We are still trying but she’s not quite ready yet.
Naturally, one child in nappies is easier (and cheaper!) than two in nappies so if you can get your eldest out of nappies before having another baby then that’s great.
If not, you have to change more nappies! It helps my sanity if I change both kids’ nappies at the same time so that I don’t feel like I’m changing nappies all day long. Throughout the day, I change them at the same time unless one of them has a poo, then I’ll of course change that nappy straight away. We hope to have the potty training done soon though!
Getting the children ready for bed at the same time is helpful for both us parents and them. They know that they’re both getting ready for bed and if I’m putting our eldest to bed, I usually have our baby with me too as we read books and sing songs.
At the moment, she still comes back downstairs with me but when they’re a bit older, I hope that they can go to bed at the same time.
Bath time, like changing nappies, is something we try to do at the same time. Our girls don’t have a bath together yet but I usually bath our baby, then my husband gives our eldest a bath. We do this a few times a week.
Our girls love sitting at the kitchen table together and eating at the same time. Sometimes, they have the same things or some of the same things and other times, they just eat at the same time. This keeps the children entertained and encourages them both to try new foods as they see each other enjoying different things. Feeding the kids at the same time saves time and money too when they eat the same things.
With a toddler and a baby on the way, I considered buying a double or twin pushchair but I ended up keeping our single prams/pushchairs and using a baby carrier when needed. In the early days, I sometimes carried the toddler in the baby carrier on my back or front when the baby was asleep in the travel system and the toddler had tired legs.
Now I use two pushchairs (this one from Greentom and this one from Little Tikes) and both the children can go in those (not at the same time). If we are out for a long time or on a long walk, my toddler sometimes goes in the pushchair and my baby goes in the baby carrier. This works for us!
We don’t have any childcare at all but having two children in nursery is of course very expensive. A nanny might be a better option as most nannies charge a fee per family and not per child which probably makes having a private nanny more cost effective than nursery.
Having worked as a nanny myself for many years and having worked in a nursery too, I can also say that the quality of care is better with a good nanny as your children will get much more attention and be taught more as there is more time available to focus on just them, their education, wellbeing and development.
Hopefully your little ones will develop a good relationship and become good friends. It’s also important to think about your relationship with each child. I try to have one-on-one time with each child when possible so that they don’t always have to share my focus and attention.
Have you got two under three? How do you make it all work? Let me know in the comments!