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20 + Tips from Real Moms on What to Do when You have a Newborn and a Toddler

We are having our second child in March and will be bringing home our new little addition to the family while having a 20 month old running around. I am excited, nervous, and a little scared. Scared of the unknown of a life with two under two. Nervous about the demands of a toddler while having a new baby. Excited to hear what tips other moms might have for me.

Thankfully, I am not the first woman who will experience the life of a mom with a newborn and a toddler. If you’re like me and scouring the Internet for tips, hacks and advice on how to survive as a new mom for the SECOND time, then look no further.

While I have mixed feelings about being what some might call a “Modern Mom” or a “millennial parent,” I without a doubt and grateful for the over 11,000 moms whose support I have in an awesome online mom group. I’ve seen these women post day in and day out with questions and concerns about how to survive with a newborn and not pull your hair out with a toddler.

So when I started worry about what this chapter of my life was going to be like, I knew I needed to hear the realness of this adventure straight from the horse’s mouth. Mamas, I give you to you REAL advice from REAL moms about how to navigate the life of having a newborn and a toddler. Here are there top tips for us new moms!

 

Read more for tips on brining home baby while having a toddler. Quick tips and reminders for mom with two under two.

Erin said: “My youngest two are 16 months apart. Best advice- GRACE. give yourself lots of grace. It gets better, but it will be super rough at times. Don’t stress about little stuff, just take it a day at a time (sometimes an hour at a time.”

Sarah said: “Grace. Lots of grace for yourself and for both kids. Mine are 17 months apart and here are a couple things that helped me.
-a “nursing basket” with special toys for the toddler while you nurse
-have your toddler do room time during one of the feedings
-get out of the house and don’t feel guilty about it!
-go to bed when baby does until night time sleep gets better because you can’t really rest much.
-ask for help with the toddler (wish I did more of this)
-when they’re both crying, determine the highest need and go wth that one first 😉
-let baby sleep in the swing or in the carrier the first 6 weeks!
-start “sleep training” week 6-12.
Grace. Everyone needs it. And if you cry, that’s ok!”

Kerry said: “If you’re a perfectionist like I am, lower your expectations for yourself a little. I expected to nail it, and was disappointed in myself over and over. Now I don’t pretend to have it all together, and it’s so much more freeing. And when things go bad, I’m like, whatever, that’s life. And when things go good I’m like yaaaaa!”

Claire said: “Let your older one say that he does not like his brother/sister or even horrible stuff. Do not yell at him for that. Just explain him/her that you love them both, that you are listening to his/her frustration and you will protect and love each of them the same way. Do not say that the older one will help you. He/she is not the parent.”


Kiah said: “Schedule a pedicure/massage/hair app whatever makes you happy before baby is born, have a plan and stick with it. It’s crucial to take care of yourself. Also schedule realistic date nights even if youngest baby tags along.
-Meal plan/freezer meals if possible, see if someone knows of a college girl or maid service that’s inexpensive.
-Purge the house of stuff you don’t want now and organize the rest. There are lots of videos on YouTube about how to organize on a budget.
-I used lots of positive affirmation with my boys preparing for baby #2 and #3
You’re going to be such a good big brother!
Are you going to hug and kiss baby when he’s born?
Baby loves you sooo much! Look how he smiles at you!
Anytime there was a misguided comment about how jealous they would get etc I would politely turn it around.

Ashley said: “Mine are 13 months apart with no family nearby😳😂
I really tried to make the toddler a part of the newborns care- not only did I keep my daughter busy, but I really believe that they are pretty close now because of it, it also taught her how to be kind and caring towards a baby. While I would nurse the newborn, the toddler and I would have special conversations or songs that we would only sing while I was nursing.
-And when I was caring for baby, I was constantly talking to both of them about what I was doing. ” Ok, mama’s gotta change brothers clothes…again”😜
-I pretty much lived down on the ground with them reading and playing. I would put his jungle gym down on the floor and lay some books out for her, and a lot of the time I could cook and clean with no issues! They both really enjoyed music too!
-I praised my 13 month old so much for being nice to her brother. To this day she gives him so many kisses, hugs, and brings him all of his favorite toys. Now, they are to the point where he is mobile and they chase each other and play all day – it’s great! they are 22, and 9 months- looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way!”

Elisha said: “Be kind to yourself. Take one day at a time and don’t try and do everything ask for help!”

Dara said: “Don’t be afraid to live completely in survival mode for the first 6 to 12 weeks or as long as you have to. And also, on the other hand, don’t be afraid to go out of the house whenever you need to keep things normal.
-The best advice I have received so far, is to use the toddler as your flex point. By this I mean if you need both kids to nap at the same time with the toddler down for their nap earlier or later based on whatever the baby schedule might be. The same thing goes for bedtime. If all hell is breaking loose and you need to tend to the baby you can put the Toddler down a little bit later and they will be just fine.”

Sarah said: “Crying has never killed anyone. If baby has to cry while you care for your toddler, they will be fine. If you have a toddler screaming at your feet while you feed baby don’t let that stress you. If you have to leave BOTH kids wailing to take care of your own needs, do it. This only lasts for such a short time. They do get the hang of sharing you! You are super woman, but you’re not God. You don’t have endless untapped energy and you can’t be everywhere at once.”

MORE POPULAR TIPS FROM THESE MOMS:
*Hire someone inexpensive to help clean or cook and if they can, be with the toddler for a little bit.
*Don’t freak out about everyone crying. Prioritize who needs attending first. Oh, and don’t be afraid to cry yourself!
*Get outside and exercise when you can! This may mean investing in a double stroller.
*Freezer meals AND snacks you know your toddler will eat without much complaint.
*Don’t be afraid to ask someone to set up a “Take Them a Meal” system.
*Have second baby’s room set up as much as you can before second baby arrives.
*Get those busy bags ready and only pull them out for the toddler during specific times. Thank God for Pinterest. Also, check out my 45 Daily Activities to do with a PreToddler for quick, free, and easy tips.
*Make sure and take care of yourself!!!
*Try to keep a date night to connect with your spouse!
*Let others help you!

WHAT ABOUT YOU MAMAS? What else would you like to add? Let us know in the comments below!
As always, cheers!,
Glo

 

Words I Can Live Without: Feminine Vulgarity

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Twelve years old, I was riding my bike down our neighborhood hill as fast as I could. I remember beating my neighbor friend at the bottom of the hill and enjoying the thrill of winning against him. He was one of the “wild” kids in our little tribe and my girlfriends and I never really went over to his house to play. Unless he asked us to jump on the trampoline. That was pretty awesome. But he hated to lose and had let me know in some vulgar words what he thought about me winning. So to restore his manliness, I guess?, he wanted to race down a hill not too far from our neighborhood, but far enough on a busy enough road that I remember not being comfortable competing against him anymore. That’s when I heard this word for the first time. Pussy. I’m not gonna lie, I cringe as I write it now. I don’t remember a lot of first time-preteen worldly exposures, but I remember this one. And I remember the feeling it gave me back then. I felt like I got punched in the gut. I felt bad for being a girl. I don’t want to go into some big lecture about feminism but I can tell you this much:

I HATE all vulgarity that relates to women’s genitalia that turns around and gets used as negative and degrading. And really, I’m not a big fan of masculine genitalia that gets turned around and used vulgarly either.

I think of so many of these words and how they affect the perception of women when used. Calling someone a “pussy” instantly denotes a feminine and WEAK counter part. As if you’ve been called a girl and that’s somehow incredibly insulting. Not just a girl, but a girl’s vagina which, I don’t know about you, but our vaginas are pretty flippin amazing. I mean, my son came out of there. And for some reason, a teenage kid thought calling me a pussy was a good insult. Hmmm. Wonder where he got that idea.

via GIPHY

I think of these things a lot these days now that I have a son. Not too long ago my husband made a comment about “crying like a girl.” And since we’re being honest, I know I have said that before. I don’t really remember my parents running around spouting off gender degrading comments. I’m guessing most of my gender stereotypes really came from TV and friends, growing up. When my husband made that comment around my son, not saying it to him but I knew my husband said it, and I knew we weren’t going to be talking like that in this house. Not anymore.

In our house, we don’t need to tear down each other by degrading their gender and using stereotypes. Shoot, I’m pretty sure we can do that with good, old fashion curse words that don’t involve anyone’s genitalia. And if my son gets beat by a girl in a bike competition, I hope he’ll tell her congrats and not“take it like a man” but authentically respond like a child should. Tell her she cheated.

What about you? Have any memories like this? How will you approach this with your children?

Some of us blogging buddies are committed to writing more weekly on our blogs! We have a variety of topics we’ll be writing about! To check out these lovely ladies and where their writing is taking them, click on their blog links below! And as always, tip your waters.
Aimme at mamacentric.com
Abbie at grumblinggrace.com
Emily at emilyfisk.com
Harmony at mywanderingheartsong.wordpress.com

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Quick Tips You Need to Help Reduce Toddler Tantrums

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Ohhhh the toddler days. Threenagers. Terrible (or Terrific!) Twos. Whatever kind of animal you’re dealing with you as you go through toddlerhood, I think many of us can relate to toddler tantrums. I am so happy to have a guest post today to offer you some quick tips on ways to defuse a toddler tantrum.

I met Heather through a mom’s group on Facebook. I was desperate for help with Bubby and his napping and she has literally saved me! Once I started communicating with her more through the group, I did what anyone would do and stalked her profile 🙂

I found out that she is an advocate for Love and Logic. I had heard about L and L when I was a teacher and used bits and pieces of the philosophy in my classroom. It never occurred to me to think about using some of those skills when it came time to discipline my son. Just like any parenting advice, you take what you want and leave what you don’t need. Heather’s tips today are ones you’re going to want to add to your toolbox!

Heather has shown great patience with the many moms she has helped through our mom’s group. She encourages you to review what you’re doing and see what works best for your children. I have seen it in her comments to other moms over and over. If you are interested in more of what Heather has to offer, you definitely should check out her Facebook page she has listed below.

If you are interested in knowing more about Love and Logic, this book is a great starter that introduces the foundation of its philosophy. I’ll let Heather finish the rest!

reducetoddlertantrumspin

 

 

PARENTING & CHOICES: The More Control You Give, the More Control You Get

It’s split in the parenting world about what parents think of giving children choices.  Some parents feel like it creates choice addiction, or that kids should just do as they’re told.  Others believe giving choices empowers children in the decision-making process, thus creating a more cooperative child.

Giving my children choices is my secret weapon.  I’m a mom of two energetic, brilliant, and some may say strong-willed (gasp!) children, ages 3 and 22 months.  I am also a facilitator for the Love and Logic Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun Curriculum. I have enjoyed presenting a different way to view parenting and giving parents simple tools that are life changing.

Choices is one of those tools.

The interesting thing about control is the more you give, the more you get.  The more control you can give your toddlers, the less likely they are to experience tantrums from feeling “powerless.” The reality is, picking their own color of cup or deciding if they want to skip to the car or sing to the car as you leave the library, can empower your toddler while defusing a tantrum.

So how can we as parents use that to our advantage? The secret is giving your child small choices throughout the day so you can make “withdrawals” on the larger issues.  However, things can go very wrong if choices are not used properly.  Here are a few quick tips you can start using now to reduce upset toddlers.

  1. Give 99% of choices when things are going smoothly. Don’t wait until all hell has broken loose at bedtime to start giving choices!

  2. Provide choices on issues that are not dangerous or cause a problem for any else.  Always provide two choices that you can live with.

  3. If the child does not choose in 10 seconds, choose for the child.  For example, if your child hesitates too long  when asked, “would you like milk or water?”, respond, “looks like milk.” Pour the milk. So what happens when the child throws a major fit because you chose? No problem! Respond with a simple, “I know, it’s hard.  I bet next time you’ll make a fast choice!” And move on.

  4. It never fails that your child will want to choose the invisible “Option C.” Respond by repeating your choices and choose for the child if no appropriate choice is made.

There’s two types of choices I have pinpointed- choices that really don’t matter to you, the parent (“red cup or blue cup?”) and choices that are preceding a power struggle.  Make sure you try to include similar styles of choices throughout your day! Then when you know certain situations are always power struggles, start out with a choice. “Time to take a bath! Do you want to hop like a bunny to the bathtub or crawl like a bear?”

When I do this in my home, I can actually see my child’s brain go from “NO!” to actively thinking about which choice he’s going to make.

Brainstorm choices ahead of time so you will be ready when the situation arises.

Here’s a few ideas for choices you can incorporate in your daily routine.

“Would you like milk or water with breakfast?”

“Are you going to put your shirt on first or your pants on first?

“Are you going to wear your red shorts or your blue ones?”

“Do you want a story before bed or no story?”

“Do you want your night-light on or off?”

“Do you want to — now or in 2 minutes?” (This is a great choice for transitions)

“Do you want to walk to the car by yourself or do you want me to carry you?”

“Do you want to hop like a bunny or crawl like a bear to the bathroom?” (Get creative!!)

Go ahead, offer your child some choices and watch your child’s face light up as the ball is in their court! I’d love to hear some testimonies of how choices have worked for your family! To catch videos and tips of me using L & L with my kids, be sure to check out my Facebook Page.

I’d love for you to stop and post any success you’ve had to encourage other parents! Also, you are welcome to contact me through my page with any questions about parenting struggles you’re facing.

As always, let us know any tips or successes you’ve had in the comments below!

How to Swaddle Baby in a Car Seat

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swaddlebaby


Does your baby get fussy while riding in the car seat? Have you tried ways to swaddle your baby in the car seat, but haven’t had success? Here is an easy way to calm your baby, particularly a newborn, while in the car seat and still be safe.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click through and end up buying something, I get a tiny commission to add to my coffee and writing fund. Thank you 🙂

Bubby was not much of a sleepy newborn. We could go places with him in his car seat and some times he would fall asleep, but not very often. He always wanted to see what was going on. Such a silent observer, like his dad. So, we would try covering the car seat with a blanket to block out too much stimulation when we wanted him to try and catch a catnap while we were out, but he’d begin to scratch his face off. Newborns look so funny when they do this. It’s sort of like watching a monkey hit himself in the head over and over. He gets mad, but he just. Can’t. Stop.

I wish I could say that this ingenious idea came from me. I was too sleep deprived to come up with something like this. But it did come from a friend of ours. How many of you use the Summer Infant swaddle with velcro tabs? We were able to use these on a regular basis for only a couple of weeks before Asher figured out how to get out of them BUT we were able to use it in the car seat!! Here’s how.

First you got your Summer Infant Swaddle. Duh.

Ever wonder why there is a hole in the back??

Lay the swaddle in your car seat and pull the straps over it, as pictured below.

Pull the snap part of the buckle through the hole, as pictured below. Aha!

Place baby in seat and buckle in.

Place baby’s feet in the bottom pouch of the swaddle.

Pull the baby’s right side of the velcro over his body and attach the velcro to the center like you would normally. When I do this. I gently put baby’s arm to the side so it’s not rubbing on the seat buckles.

Finish by gently pulling baby’s left side of the swaddle over to velcro across the baby’s chest. Again, I gently put baby’s arm to the side so it isn’t rubbing on any part of the buckle.

There you have it! Easy way to calm baby while riding in the car seat!

If it was warm out, we had Asher in only a diaper and t-shirt. We were always in air conditioned locations so we never had an issue with heat. If I got paranoid, I would leave his feet out of the bottom pouch. I would not do this if you are planning on being outside when it is warm. I can’t say this is technically pediatrician approved, but our pediatrician saw how I did this with Asher and he thought it was super awesome. Seriously. He said super. He planned to pass the good news on to his patients if they had a fussy baby in the car seat!

Please, pass the good news along! Live long and prosper, my friends.

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How to Transition Baby from a Rock n’ Play to the Crib

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transition from rocknplay

Photo credit: D. Garding via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

How do you know when it’s time to transition baby from his Rock n’ Play? I remember feeling conflicted about it. The crib just seemed ginormous compared to him when we brought Bubby home for the first time. Not only that, but I had no idea how I would go about transitioning from the Rock n’ Play to the crib. Mamas, if you feel like you’re in the same boat as I was, then this newborn life hack is for you.

The Fisher Price Rock n’ Play is an awesome baby product. I would highly recommend one to my friends if their little one likes to be held and feel snuggly. When we came home from the hospital, our friends loaned us one and it was just what we needed. We used it for naps and his short spurts at nighttime. I used it during the day when I needed him to be in the room with me while I cooked dinner. I liked it for sleeping because it keeps baby elevated and Bubby was a spitter, so the inclined feature was a great bonus. This could be especially beneficial if you have a reflux baby.

Can we stop for a minute and talk about how annoying it is to type Rock n’ Play? Too bad I lean towards having a perfectionist problem, so I’ll be typing it correctly. We could make it a drinking game. Every time it’s mentioned, you take a swig of your drink. No judging here whatever you got in that cup of yours 😉

Eventually, I knew we needed to transition. If you’re like me, you Google a lot and I started realizing that having him in the Rock n’ Play (shot please?) too long as he started to sleep longer was probably not a great idea. I realized it was time to go to the crib for full time sleep (well, that was if we weren’t surviving with him sleeping in the swing, but that’s another story, another day…sheesh).


WHEN SHOULD YOU TRANSITION BABY TO THE CRIB FROM THE ROCK N’PLAY?

If I could do it over, I would have transitioned Bubby sooner. He was 2 1/2 months and going from the snuggly feeling of the Rock n’ Play to the crib was a little tough for him. Also, he was used to the incline, so laying flat seemed odd to him, I think.

I think the best indicator is when they start sleeping longer stretches. Head shape, neck muscle development and all that jazz that occurs by sleeping on a flat surface is something to take into consideration when you start using the Rock n’ Play for long stretches of time.

Another indictator we needed to transition was because Bubby kept pushing himself off the bottom while laying in the Rock n’ Play. I was a little paranoid about this, even with the built in buckle! This also caused him to struggle to fall asleep because bouncing around was more fun than napping! If your baby starts to act restless, you might want to consider the possibility he is no longer comfortable in the Rock n’ Play.

HOW TO TRANSITION FROM THE ROCK N’ PLAY TO THE CRIB

I hate to be annoying, but this really depends on your baby and their disposition and if you are dealing with any reflux issues or colic. I am NOT an expert, so as everything you read here, I can only give you my experience.

Bubby had eventually fallen into a somewhat predictable nap routine. I knew he would take so many naps a day. Since I didn’t want to mess with the possibility of poor sleep starting at the beginning of the day, I decided to start with the end of the day naps.

My advice, start with the last nap of the day. I did this so if his sleep was disrupted, we could survive with an early bedtime or cluster feeding. For this nap, I placed him in his crib. Once he got used to this nap in the crib, I moved up to the next nap and so on. It took us almost two weeks before all day sleep was a go in the crib.

The results for this can vary depending on how you put your little one to sleep. If they are used to being rocked to sleep and wake mid-nap for you to come rock them back to sleep, then waking while in the crib doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like the crib over the Rock n Play. I would pay attention to how long it takes for them to fall asleep in the crib over behavior with midnap waking.

Once I felt like he fell asleep with ease in the crib we moved to nighttime. He did it with no problem at that point.

SHOULD YOU USE A CRIB WEDGE TO MAKE THE TRANSITION SMOOTHER?

I had this epiphany that maybe we should incline his crib as part of the transition process. Looking back, I feel like it made me feel better about the transition. My husband thinks it didn’t matter. Either way, the $25 made me feel good about the process. We used this one and I plan to keep it incase I think we need it for baby #2. I figured I can resale it when we’re done having kids so I don’t lose all my money. Hey, peace of mind and some sanity go along when you have a newborn in the house. I gladly paid the $25.

We used it for a few weeks until things got wiggly for him and he became a ninja sleeper.

Alright, how did your transition go? Have any extra tips about this to share with our other mamas? Let us know in the comment section! (Anyone keeping track of how many drinks they took?)

Peace,
Glo

how to transition from the rock n play to the crib