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How to juggle a baby and a toddler

Find out some top tips for coping with looking after both a toddler and a new baby.
Having a new baby when you already have a toddler can be a daunting experience. You may wonder how you'll cope with two little ones vying for your attention, and how to divide your attention equally so that they are both getting the love and care they need. Every mum is different, but most find that they settle into their own way of juggling a baby and toddler after trying out various methods and seeing what works for them. To help you get started, here are our top tips for dealing with these challenging years of juggling both a baby and a toddler.

Prepare your toddler

It's a good idea to talk to your toddler before your baby is born, to prepare him or her for the new arrival. Even if you think he or she isn't old enough to understand, talk through what will soon happen to your family and what the new baby will be like. When baby is born, you may find that your toddler becomes an invaluable helper - they may be keen to help out with feeding and nappy-changing, even just by fetching you things you need.

Keep toddlers occupied

There are bound to be times when you must give your undivided attention to your baby, such as when breastfeeding. During these times it can be really helpful to have an emergency supply of toys, crayons, books, and games to keep your toddler occupied. This way you can give your baby the attention he or she needs without making your toddler feel neglected.

Enlist help

As a mum it can be tempting to take on all the responsibility of caring for your toddler and baby yourself, but it's important to enlist the help of others around you so that you have some time to yourself too. It's a good idea to ask your partner, Mum, or friend to help out regularly - you don't have to do it all on your own.

Keep them both occupied

Instead of trying to find separate things to keep your little ones occupied, try keeping your kids occupied by finding activities they can do together under your supervision. If your baby is still very young, just holding him or her in your arms while your toddler is nearby playing can work wonders.

Often Mums find that baby is fascinated by toddler and vice versa, so your baby may be happy just to sit and watch your toddler play with his or her toys or read a book. You could also try watching a film together with baby in your lap and toddler sitting with you.

Go for walks together

Going for a walk with your baby and toddler can be a great thing to do when either toddler or baby is restless and you could do with some fresh air. Pop baby in a sling or carrier, and he or she will usually be happy just being close to you. Meanwhile your toddler can burn off some energy walking with you, or can be pushed in a buggy.

It's important to remember that these days won't last forever; soon both your toddler and baby will outgrow these stages and you'll have 2 growing children to juggle instead (which of course can come with new challenges!). Experiment with different ways of keeping both toddler and baby happy, and you should find things that work for all 3 of you.

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hi i have a 22 month old lil boy and a 5 month old daughter, i am doing fine, i breastfeed my lil girl she is on demand feed, and i also spend time with my son, i play on floor with them both, he loves his lil sister, when you do anything involve them both it is alot of fun
by avfcgal 20th Jun 2013, 2:46pm
meganelizabeth, honestly i think you'll be fine! My son was 12wks wen i fell with my daughter she was due on his first bday, how about hat for timing but came at 37+5. The first few weeks she slept and skept lol so he got used to having her here. But with her being a newborn he seemed so grown up. And adapted really well. You may have to tinker with the routine slightly and even if it goes completely out of the window you will find a way that works you have too. Good luck hope all goes well. Xxxx
by tex86 12th Jan 2012, 9:11am
i hv a 9 month old an i am also 21 wks preg wit my second an i wonderin d?how im goin to cope? especially as they reccomended demand feeding? hw cn i keep my first's routine in place an try to stop him feelin unsettle
by Meganelizabeth 27th Jul 2011, 10:11am
As bigheaded as it may sound, I actually find it easy juggling them both. My daughter was 17 months when my son came along. I'd heard about children getting jealous when siblings come along but it never happened! I used to put my son in the Moses basket next to me and my daughter when we played and let her approach him in her own time. When she did I used to tell her who it was and explained he has come out of mummys tummy and now he is living with us and when he's older he can play with her toys with her! Eventually she used to go up to him and say hiya of her own accord and even gave him sly kisses when she thought I wasn't looking. The best thing that helped me I think, was the fact my daughter was in a stable routine, we still do the same things at mealtimes bedtime and bathtime and my son fits in around that. Not only are things still familiar to my little girl but now my son has a routine and my little girl likes having him join in, as she thinks he's joining in with "her" thing! She will be 2 next month and having a little brother around that she can help feed, bath change and play with makes her feel more grown up because she gets praised everytime she helps out and because she thinks she's being a good girl doing it, she has never shown any jealousy and accepts him fully now! So my biggest piece of advice would be ROUTINE!
by stacie89 16th Aug 2010, 5:05pm
i have a premature baby by 8 weeks and my other little one is 14 months i am finding it difficult to juggle the two at the feeding time of my little premi boy my 14 month old wants to read a book or play i try to do this in between feeds but it doesn't seem to matter as soon as i sit to bottle feed my premi baby he just wants more attention and to top it all off my little premi baby has a reflux any help would be appreciated
by margaret33 5th Jan 2010, 3:42pm