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.
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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