I remember like it was yesterday when I had a toddler and a baby at the same time. And BOY was it a busy time. While I was surrounded by an abundance of adorable cuteness, I also felt like I was “in the trenches” with, essentially, 2 babies at home.
Let’s just say that stage was a bit of a blur!
If you are in this stage right now, I’m sending you lots of love! This isn’t easy!
In this episode, I’m giving you my top survival tips for getting through this stage so that you can enjoy it to its fullest and avoid burnout. Have a listen!
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Hey there, you’re listening to the, My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.
Okay. So in today’s episode, I’m going to be talking all about the biggest tips that I have for those of you who have a baby and a toddler, because I have been there. My girls are just over two years apart. They are two years and four months apart to be exact. And so I remember like it was yesterday, how adorable that phase was, you know, having a big baby and a little baby at home at the same time, but I also distinctly remember how bloody exhausting that stage was. And so I want to give you guys all, some of my top tips for not only surviving that stage, but being able to really enjoy it to its fullest, because it goes without saying that that stage just has so much cuteness that you don’t want to miss out on. And so let’s make sure that that happens because it is real when they say that your little ones are only the, the days are long, but the years are short.
And I cannot emphasize how true that is given that my girls are now 10 and eight. And I do remember like it was yesterday when they were a toddler and a baby. So when I think back to that stage, when, you know, a Muna was two years and four months when Eliana was born and people ask me, you know, what would you say is like your biggest piece of advice or, you know, what would you say is like the, the thing that piece of help that got me through that stage, the first thing that comes to mind, and I’ll be totally honest with you is the fact that I had a Muna and a nursery program that I really truly believe was a huge savior for me, because it meant that Monday to Friday, she was in school from nine until three. And it meant that when the baby was a newborn and the baby was napping, I was able to nap as well because Eliana at the time was a newborn waking me up throughout the night.
And so I was naturally exhausted the next day. And so I distinctly remember dropping a Muna off at school, you know, lugging the car seat with me, you know, into the building to get a Muna and just school. And I kept saying to myself like, okay, in five minutes you can go home and nap Eva. In five minutes, you can go home and happy because thankfully school was only a five minute drive from home. And so I was able to get her to school, get the baby back in the car, go home, feed the baby baby would then go to sleep. And I was able to go back to sleep with the baby. And that was a game changer for me because if a Muna had been home with me, then obviously that would be much, much harder. So, um, even, even if she had been in a nursery program for half a day, just having those few hours just with the baby, allowing me to at first rest.
And then to be honest, to be able to have some one-on-one time just with the baby for me, was something incredibly enjoyable. And so I know that it might not be something that people aren’t expecting me to say off the top of my head, but I’m going to be totally honest with you. It was a game changer for me because I remember when a Muna would be home from school, perhaps there was, um, you know, a winter break of some kind or, you know, a PD day, or there was some reason why school was off specifically. I remember when there was a mid winter break and they were off for a five day period in January. And my husband was at work obviously during the day. And so it meant that, you know, that Monday through Friday, it was me with both babies. And I remember it felt like I was running a bit of a marathon getting through each day where I, you know, each day I had to figure out, okay, what am I doing to keep this two year old occupied so that she doesn’t climb the walls and, you know, go crazy.
And by the end of the day, I remember being so proud of myself, feeling so accomplished that I kept my two-year-old and my baby alive. I kept them alive and fed and dressed and occupied. And my two year old, you know, it didn’t didn’t climb the walls or break anything. It felt incredibly accomplished, but I will be totally honest with you when she went back to school that following Monday, it was a huge relief because, um, I have never been, I will totally admit on the record that I have never been that mom, that ha that dreamt about being a stay at home. Mom. Um, I have the utmost respect for those of you who are stay at home moms, especially since I would get a taste of what that was like when my two year old was home from. And, uh, and it was exhausting.
It was really, really hard. And titering, so I just want to say, like, my hat is off to you, you know, for those of you who choose to do that, for me, it’s just not, it wasn’t something that I ever wanted to do. So it was especially exhausting having her home on that days, but it made it that much more, um, important for me to have her in something so that I didn’t get drained. And so that I could be the best version of myself as a mom, because I know that when I picked her up from school at three o’clock and I took her home and there was, you know, that few hours of time before she would go back to bed for, let’s say seven o’clock it meant that I could give her some really quality time. It meant that, you know, my tank was full.
I wasn’t drained because I know that I would have been drained if day in and day out I was home with the two of them by myself. And so it really was for me, um, an act of not only an act of self care for me, but I do believe that it allowed me to be the best mom to Amona because it meant that when she came home from school, she had a well rested, you know, functioning, happy mommy that was in her best interest, just as much as it was mine. So it meant that I could really give her some undivided attention. Yes, the baby would be screaming and crying here and there, but, you know, that’s, that’s also live. So those few hours where, you know, a little bit chaotic, but, um, we made it work. And for the most part, it really was enjoyable.
Now, the other thing that I alluded to, which I just want to emphasize is when there’s that famous saying that says sleep when the baby sleeps, I know that it is tempting to roll your eyes at it and go, yeah. Okay. Am I supposed to do laundry? When the baby does laundry? Am I supposed to clean the floors when the baby cleans the floors or make dinner when baby makes dinner, I get that. But I also really want to emphasize how much truth there is behind it as well. Because especially when you’re in this stage, when you have a toddler, but also a newborn, and that newborn is waking you up at night, you want to make sure that you’re getting in some daytime sleep. Maybe it doesn’t mean that you’re sleeping every single time the baby sleeps, because let’s be real. Your newborn is going to be sleeping a lot during the day.
But even if you can get in one nap in the morning with the baby, or maybe if you have both of your kids home with you and your toddler is taking a midday nap, then you can try and go down for a nap yourself when your newborn is napping around that time. So make sure to prioritize even one nap a day for yourself so that you don’t get drained. You don’t get burnt out and you can be the best version of yourself and really be able to enjoy your cute, adorable kids. Okay. So here are, here are a few other tidbits of advice that I think really got me through this particular stage. So one thing I want to emphasize is that you want to get yourself a really good baby carrier, because you’re going to want to have your hands available when your toddler is running around, right.
If you’re out and about with your toddler, um, and your baby likes to be held, which is very, very common when you have a newborn, you know, for your newborn to want to be close to you, investing in a good baby carrier that is not going to break your back is huge. Personally, I got myself the ergo when I had Eliana. And, um, if I recall, I mean, gosh, this was eight years ago now. Um, but the ergo at the time had an insert for newborns because it’s not meant to be used for babies under the age of three months without the insert. So obviously it goes without saying that whatever product you buy, just make sure that you’re following the, the safety instructions. But that particular insert allowed me to wear her as a newborn with proper back support so that I wasn’t throwing out my back by the end of the day, having this baby, you know, strapped to me.
Um, so make sure that you get, get yourself a really good baby carrier so that when you are out and about with your toddler, you’re, you’re able to carry your baby and have your hands free. Um, another piece of gear that you’re going to want to make sure you have is a good double stroller, because even though your older one is now a big brother or big sister, remember that they’re still, I like to call them, you know, I called him, you know, my big baby, I had a big baby and a little baby, and yes, they might want to walk sometimes, you know, when you’re outside or, you know, doing an errand or you’re at the mall or whatnot, they’re, they’re gonna want to have a chance to sit as well. And you might not want to have your baby strapped to you all the time as well.
And so I had a really good double stroller. I still do. Um, I still have the same double stroller that I had, um, that I got when I gave birth to Eliana. And that has been a piece of gear that has gotten so much love and so much use because there are going to be those days where your toddler is going to want to sit and you might not be in the mood to always have your baby in the baby carrier. So you’re going to want to make sure if you live in a cold climate, that you have a double stroller with solid wheels that can plow through that thick, heavy snow, that your hope that you might have to plow through for a good chunk of the year. So keep that in mind, I’m a good baby carrier and a solid double stroller. Um, because the other thing to remember about this stage is that you don’t have to be housebound for your newborn snaps.
One of the great things about the, about having a newborn is that for the most part, they are very mobile, right? They don’t have to be at home for every single nap. In fact, they’re napping so frequently throughout the day that telling you to be home for all of your newborns, naps would literally make you housebound. And so naps on the go at this stage are totally fine naps in the stroller, in the car, in the baby carrier. It’s all good in your arms. If let’s say you’re at a playground or, you know, an indoor, an indoor playground of some kind, and your toddler is playing around and you’re sitting in a holding the baby, you can let the baby nap on you. It’s no problem. Cause baby is super mobile at this age. So just keep that in mind that you do have that flexibility to be able to be out and about with your toddler while your newborn is napping on the go throughout the day.
Let’s talk about screen time now. So I’m going to embarrassingly admit that with my first kid, I was that mom who was adamant that she not be around any screens. And I think that I am not alone here. You know, a lot of my friends with their first kids were like that as well. Um, spoiler alert, it’s not as feasible to be that strict with your second one is specially, especially if your toddler is home with you full time. If you’ve got both kiddos home with you, then go easy on yourself. And I’m not saying so plunk your kid in front of cocoa Mellon all day long, but there are going to be moments. There are going to be times throughout the day that you’re going to need some downtime. You’re going to need a little bit of time to relax. Maybe the baby is sleeping and you don’t want to go to sleep, but you just kind of want some quiet time.
And that is where the screen can help you get that quiet time to be able to fill up your tank. Again, don’t be hard on yourself. It’s a really wonderful tool to help you get through the day. And it happens to be that there is some pretty educational stuff on kids, YouTube, if I do say so myself, so get rid of that mommy guilt that you might be experiencing, oh, my first kid never watched any, any TV. And now she’s in front of the TV all the time. I’m not saying to just let go of everything and let them be from the TV all day long. But when you need a few free minutes to yourself, or when you’re trying to get the baby down for a nap and you need your toddler occupied and you don’t want your toddler, you know, running into the baby’s room, waking the baby up, when you’re trying to get them to sleep, then a little bit of screen time is going to be a godsend for you.
The other thing I’ll mention about this stage, and I think what really helped was getting my older one involved as much as I could now, obviously what your toddler is going to be able to help you with is going to vary from child to child. Obviously an 18 month old is not going to be able to help the way let’s say a three-year-old’s might be able to, but for example, teaching your toddler where the baby’s diapers are and having your toddler, your older one, go and get you a diaper when it’s time for a diaper change, I think is such a cute, adorable way to get your older one involved, make her feel empowered, get her really excited to be able to help you right, to be able to be mommy’s helper, which so many of these kids are just dying to do, right? It makes them feel so empowered and so, um, important and accomplished.
And so that was something that immuna was able to help me with from the very beginning, which to be honest, was actually very helpful because newborn babies sometimes need diaper changes quite often. And so being able to say to a Muna, Hey, can you go get me Eliana’s diaper? It meant that I didn’t have to get up and do it myself, which was a huge help. I taught a Muna where Eliana’s burp plots were, where the wipes were, where the diapers were. Um, and then as she got older, as Eliana got older and Muna would know where Eliana’s favorite toys were, Hey, can you get Eliana’s rattle? Can you get her her little stuffed bunny? And she was actually a very helpful little assistant for me. So I think when you get them involved from the very beginning, it’s a really wonderful experience for everyone.
Um, and Muna also got involved when it was time to put Eliana down for a nap. So Amuna would come with me again. I would change her, I’d sing her a goodnight song. I’d have a new non-common sing with me so that again, she was able to help me put Eliana to sleep. And I think that that was a really cute, adorable, and special moment for us. And I think that it helped lessen the jealousy that a Muna was probably experiencing at burst with the birth of this new sibling, um, which by the way, is so normal. It’s so unbelievably normal for your toddler to feel a combination of excitement and love and appreciation for this new baby, but at the same time be feeling so jealous all at once. You know, it’s like these big, massive emotions that are, that they’re experiencing, you know, all at the same time.
Um, and so, you know, to help lessen that feelings of jealousy, getting your little one involved with being a big sister can really, really help. And then one thing that I actually forgot to mention with regards to the jealousy piece is, and this is a, this is I find, you know, especially applicable when your newborn is in those first days or weeks, and you might have family coming by or friends coming by to help you. I find that the best help is to hand your newborn off to your family member, because usually they don’t care. Who’s holding them, you know, as long as they’re being held, you know, they’re happy and take that opportunity to, to give your toddler some quality one-on-one time, because remember, they’re excited about being a big sibling, but they’re also feeling likely incredibly overwhelmed and jealous the as well. And so even giving them 10 minutes of uninterrupted, one-on-one, you know, special mommy time is going to really go a long way in terms of helping them with this transition though.
I’ll be totally honest. The more I think about this particular stage, the biggest game changer for me really was having a Muna in nursery school. But again, it was the help that I needed. It was the, the support that I needed to be able to enjoy my maternity leave, enjoy being a mom of two and not feel overwhelmed and burnt out. But that’s, that is me. That is my experience. Um, there are, I have a lot of friends who love being a stay at home mom, and they loved having, you know, a baby and a toddler, just, they were just home, the three of them, you know, all throughout the day or going out and about they loved it. And, and for the most part, you know, we’re not feeling burnt out on a day-to-day basis. And if that is you, as I said, that’s amazing because it’s a really, really hard job.
But if it’s not, you don’t feel guilty because we are all different and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying, you know what? I love my kids dearly, but I think I need a little bit more support. And it happens to be that a Muna thrived in nursery school because she is such a sociable happy go lucky kid that I found that sometimes she would just get really bored, hanging out with me and hanging out with her newborn sister who didn’t really do much at the time. So having her in school where she was able to be with other kids in her age range was I think a game changer for both of us. It’s definitely an exhausting stage, regardless, a hundred percent, even with all the tips that I just mentioned, that I implemented to enjoy this space to its fullest. There were definitely moments of overwhelm and burnout and sheer exhaustion, because that is par for the course when you are not only a mom, but a mom of two babies, big baby and little baby, it is a lot.
It is a physically demanding stage that you are in where, you know, they both need help with everything right there, especially your toddler is not nearly as ends up as independence as she’s going to be as she gets older. So please, you know, give yourself some grace, if you are in this stage or if you are going to be in this stage soon, because it definitely isn’t an easy one. So to sum up, in addition to finding the support that you need through additional childcare to get you through the day, make sure that you have solid gear in terms of a baby carrier, in terms of a double stroller, get your little, your older one involves, don’t worry about some extra screen time. And remember that you do not have to be house bound with your newborn all day. You can absolutely enjoy the freedom with your newborns naps on the go, if you want to be out and about with your toddler. So, and of course, don’t forget to make sure that you get some sleep in during the day as well, right? So sleep when the baby sleeps, even sometimes so that you can refill your tank and not get burnt out. So I hope that this was helpful and that you all have,
Thanks guys for listening. Have a great day. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @mysleepingbaby, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org until next time have a wonderful restful nights.