These were written for a fellow mum about to have two under two. I no means achieved them all but good to aim to be organised!
- Stock freezer /dry goods. We used foil containers with lids so you can put straight into oven/ not use all Tupperware. Write on contents and frozen date.
- Write list of easy meals for toddler / you and partner that your partner can cook. Harder to survive on takeout if you don’t want toddler eating that for weeks! Expect that you won’t be doing any cooking!
- Get into habit of meal planning – boring but does help!
- Set up a basic online shop so you have list ready to be able to reorder
- Get paperwork in order:
- Centrelink/benefits prep
- Tax paperwork up to date
- Will (for you and partner)
- Life insurance (for you and partner)
- Upcoming bills paid ahead / partner knows what is due when and how to pay
- Birthdays / events for next few months organised (cards gifts rsvps etc)
- Check expiry of key documents and renew if needed (passport, drivers licence etc)
- Write a list of admin you will need help with ones baby arrives – birth registration, benefits, opening their bank account, child care update, citizenship certificate / passports etc
- Have a clear out of wardrobes / toys / books etc. as you will probably get more stuff.
- Organise your normal clothes so that you have options to breastfeed – split tank tops with a lift up panel and shirts are easiest to wear when feeding in a carrier. Also recommend having shorts/ skirts/ trousers with pockets that you can store keys phone etc without worrying about another handbag/ rummaging while you get use to juggling.
- Do nice things for you – massage, time out without toddler etc
- Get a babysitter and have date nights!!
- Ask for help from friends / family with toddler in last few weeks if needed. Find out who will be around / available on what days when baby arrives.
Toddler help/prep for change
- Set up labour care for toddler – write instructions of toddlers routine and pack a bag if needed. Include list of extra items to add in at last minute.
- Make safety changes ahead of time – e.g. Extra gates, so the toddler doesn’t associate with baby too much. Think about where you will sit to feed and what you can / can’t see from there! Rearrange furniture if needed. Consider climbing risks as they may push limits when they know your hands are tied.
- Get partner used to doing some night settling / nap putting down etc if you normally do it. Work on self setting if they are not doing it yet.
- Write list of activities to do with toddler for people helping if needed. Talk to partner / other about how you think first few weeks will go. Write out anything that will help them manage the house / toddler so you can focus on baby.
- Read up on toddler behaviour / development/ adjustment to a sibling so you have some strategies. Also look up some new activities including quiet time/ high chair contained ones.
- If you can (depends on age) encourage toddler to play independently for few minutes to get them into the habit.
- Practice stand up nappy changes with toddler as can be hard to do lie down ones when you have sleeping baby in carrier.
- Set up easy tidy up options to help you feel on top of things – remove some toys to rotate (don’t used clear boxes if these will be able to be seen by the toddler) and have big boxes / drawstring bags for the toys left out to tidy up together. Try and get them tidying up before they go to sleep.
- Consider setting up double pram (if getting one) to seat two toddlers so they can go for a ride with friends before baby arrives and get used to it. Take pram to shops / on buses etc to check for accessibility before trying to do on your own.
- Read up on how to co-sleep safely in case you end up doing it.
- Review what you need for baby and borrow what you can.
- Consider getting partner to adjust hours a few days a week to help with dinner/ bedtime. If they can be home by 6 makes a big difference both in last month of pregnancy and early weeks when baby arrives.
- Ask friends and family not to buy more clothes/toys for baby if they are not needed – end up with them anyway but if they have tags you can swap for bigger size / voucher. Be specific about what you need / say money will go to their education/ driving lessons – think of the compound interest 🙂
When baby arrives
It takes a good month or so to get used to having two to look after but it does get a lot easier!
- PMA = positive mental attitude is a big help. Have the expectation you can do this!!! Mental attitude is not to be underestimated.
- Delegate as much as you can to others and focus on baby. Stagger visits and ask for help playing with toddler / bringing a meal/ putting washing on /hanging up etc.
- Hand over the baby and have a shower – even if they cry, you will feel a million times better and it will all feel more doable.
- Only bath baby every few days if it saves you time/sanity. We really like the ‘tummy tub’ – water efficient and he really likes it.
- Venturing out – recommend packing bag including prep of snacks night before. If toddler eats lunch before nap prep / decide what having night before as well. Remember to add in change of outfits for baby.
- Also get out clothes for everyone night before so you can get ready quickly once you find time to shower.
- The more decisions you can make ahead of time the easier life is. ‘What shall we have for dinner?’ is not what you want to be thinking a 4pm with a tantrum-ing toddler to deal with.
- Set washing machine on delayed start overnight
- Use a white board to help remind yourself of thing you need before you leave / what time bottles / Milton solution prepared etc.
- Write a master list for by the door / on fridge, of what you need in the bag go out. You / others can then scan it and get a quick reminder before it is too late.
- If using formula and bottles get into the habit of preparing them with the boiled water once a day and leave to cool – last 24hours. Then get baby used to having at room temperature as then you don’t need to worry about warming them.
- Do small trips first and go further afield as you get more confident – try borrowing different baby carriers and see if you can master feeding in them as that is a life saver.
- Try carrier + single pram for small trips as feel lot more mobile.
- Double pram is useful for having a spot to change baby as well.
- When using carrier recommend doing things that require bending/lifting before you put bub in – suncream (for you and toddler), shoes, going to the toilet, packing the pram etc.
- Set up safe places for baby as you adjust to doing both – e.g. Move cot into living room/ use pram inside so you can put them up and out of the way while toddler learns not to throw things while they are on the mat.
- Have a cover to put on change mat for baby changes so you don’t have to keep sanitising between changes – ikea do a good large one (White and grey stripes).
- Consider having change items in living room so you don’t have to leave one unattended to change the other
- Get toddler to help with change time for the baby so you can see what they are doing
- Use a feeding pillow to help support baby and offer a soft barrier to stop toddler climbing on your knee at the same time.
- Use cot / high chair / pram to contain toddler if needed. Try and get them in in a fun way and give activity / snack to occupy for few mins. Means you can have a shower if the highchair can fit in the bathroom.
- High chair dressing. After breakfast while they are contained put their new top on. Or just buy PJs they can wear outside the house to save a change.
- If in doubt get out – play eye spy as you walk along, go to the park/shops etc. ask for toddlers help as you do things to try and engage them.
- While toddler naps make dinner, play with baby (after chatting non-stop to a toddler sometimes you have to remind yourself to talk to baby), nap yourself.
- Use kitchen scissors to chop up food one handed.
- For when you will be on your own in the day make play dates / go to playgroup /library etc. also discuss with partner what they can do to help in morning / evening to help you stay on top of things (washing, dishwasher, cleaning, cooking etc).
- Have somewhere to pop baby down in toddler’s room if still lifting into the cot.
- Get partner to do toddler night settling.
- In afternoon get prepared for bath/bed routine – cup for milk out, pjs and nappy handy etc so you don’t need to rush to get something.
- When doing toddler bath time on your own try doing a quick stand up wash with tap running and flannel so you get dirty bits done as less of a fight to get them out of the water. Use a 10,9,8… countdown and make a big deal of getting out being fun.
- You can also do afternoon water play while baby sleeps and wash then – can confuse them a bit though as might think bed is next!
- Also you will find you will be more relaxed about feeding schedules etc – if baby sleeps great, if they need more feeds fine, jut do what works for you!
- Have the expectation that toddler will behave. If they don’t, deal with it then. Having a positive outlook to start impacts how you deal with it.
- Give toddle choices (of things that you are comfortable with) encourage them to do more for themselves.
- Make sure you have some time when you put baby down and play with toddler. Can be hard but big help for their security.
- Use concept of taking turns if sharing is a hard concept. Remind yourself to keep up using lots of praise for the positive behaviour to lessen the negative behaviour.
- If the house is a mess it is OK!!!
- Eating chocolate and cakes is OK!!!!
- Remember to start to build in time for you – even if it is just to do your pelvic floor exercises 🙂
Do you have tips to share? Please post a comment or send me an email.