Shortly after having our first baby, my husband and I were in agreement that we wanted our offspring to be close in age. One of the main goals of the small age gap was to hopefully consolidate the hard parts of having small children. Two in diapers? Fine with us. I’ll take the overlap, we can do this! In the words of my midwife when I asked her about age gaps, “If you’re already in the weeds, you might as well stay in them!” Well, another pregnancy later, and here are we nearly seven weeks in with two under two with a 17-month age gap.
It hasn’t been an easy seven weeks, but we didn’t think it would be! I would say we have achieved our goal of consolidating the hard part. On the other side of the first few weeks with two under two, the following came to mind as key elements to our survival.
Having Some Help the First Week
Our help was Grandma (my mom). Having her stay with us to help with the toddler for the first week was beyond a blessing. I don’t know how we could have done it without her (thanks Mom!). Having help allowed us to take time with the new baby without feeling like we were spread too thin.
Husband (or Partner) on Leave
You take care of the baby and your partner takes care of you. My husband had the opportunity to be on leave which provided me a support system and facilitated him bonding with the new baby.
These came in clutch and continue to be meal staples for us. My husband is responsible for the breakfast burritos (eggs, sausage, cheese, peppers) and I manage the traditional burritos (ground turkey, rice, beans, peppers, corn, cheese). We typically yield about eight to ten burritos per batch. It’s been so nice to be able to have real food on hand to get us between meals and through the night.
Supplemental Donuts (and Other Snacks)
In addition to freezer burritos as meal replacements, one-handed snacks are key during the early baby stage. This is especially important for the breastfeeding mamas that require the extra calorie boost. Nothing maintained my supply better while breastfeeding my first than donuts. You can have your teas and various other milk-enhancing supplements. I’ll have a donut. Or three. Other grab-and-go (and healthier) snacks I keep on hand include deli meat (lots of protein! My choice was salami), overnight oats, Greek yogurt, and fruit.
Making sure we both had time to shower and brush our teeth every day was important to us. Taking time to take care of yourself does wonders mentally.
We’ve only lived in our neighborhood for a year, but our neighbors came through for us those first two weeks. We were been showered with hand-me-downs, lasagnas, pizzas, swaddle samples, steak dinners with baked potatoes, freshly baked sourdough treasures of bagels and English muffins from a fellow St. Augustine Mom’s Blog writer (thanks again Katee!), and dog walks.
A common practice is to have the baby sleep in your bedroom for the first several months. However, we found what works for us is to have one of us sleep in the baby’s room while the other one gets a few off-duty, quality sleep hours in the master bedroom. For our second baby, we have a couch in his room for the on-duty parent. For our first baby, we had the guest bed that we’ve since downsized. Whatever works!
This newborn phase seems extra special this time because in hindsight it’s so short. The first time around it felt like we were going to be in the baby stage forever — before we knew it she was on solid food and turning down cuddles before bed. We are soaking up all the frog cuddles and newborn quirks we can!
There you have it! Even though we are by no means out of the weeds yet, we are well on our way to getting there.