Newborns and Toddlers and (teddy) Bears, oh my!
Family planning is a totally personal issue. BUT... When you choose to become a mother (or when motherhood chooses you, as the case may be), you are immediately subject to all sorts of opinions and unsolicited advice about everything. So instead, today I would like to share some tips with you that you can incorporate at your own discretion.
- Not all advice is wanted advice, so be sure not to let others who think you are not doing your job properly bother you as difficult as that may seem.
- As much as possible, hand the baby over to someone else so you can pay more attention to/ have one on one time with your toddler. Newborns don't really care who's holding them apart from when they're being fed if breastfed, so take advantage of their oblivion.
- When it's not possible to hand the baby off, make room for your toddler and try to involve her in whatever you're doing. Most kids love having a "job" whether it's holding the clean diaper or handing you the baby's clothes or even choosing what baby should wear so try to make newborn care something your older child can help with. This will not only be a chance to bond with big brother but also strengthen his bond with baby sibling.
- Never leave the kids alone unsupervised for more than a few seconds. I mean, sometimes you just have to put the infant down and have a solo moment (pee break, for example) but try to arrange it so that you won't return to the room to see your toddler putting the baby in the trash can or something even worse.
- If you can't take the toddler with you, grab that tiny, uber-portable baby and just multi-task with the newborn in your arms. Or put the baby in her car seat, crib, anywhere safe where she can't escape. Even if she's crying, you gotta do what you gotta do!
- Ask for help/pay for help. If this means asking for granny to come babysit or asking someone to bring your older child home from preschool, then so be it! Most people will be more than willing to help. And if this means ordering take-out (even every day if you can afford it), then do it. Your health and happiness is the most important thing to your children's health and happiness, so put that first whenever you can.
- You need to have a diet of REAL food, not just garbage you can eat with one hand while standing in the kitchen trying to rake the chaos into a hidden corner! How else can you recover from giving birth, have the time and the milk to breastfeed, and have the energy to change 20 diapers a day and give attention to your toddler?!
- You have to be flexible. Everything will be okay. These days that feel like they're going to last forever will over in a blink of an eye. One day that baby will sleep through the night. It may take 2 years and nine months, like for my first-born, but it will happen.
- Enjoy these moments because you will probably be wishing for problems as simple as laundry and no sleep when you have a couple of teenagers in your house twelve years from now.
- Lastly, remember that growing your family is a beautiful thing!!