Going from one to two kids is a game-changer. There are some really amazing moments – Wyatt gets just as excited as I does when Hadley does something new. There are also some not so fun moments – when one kiddo needs a diaper change and the other needs to eat, for instance.
Most of the time I wish I could clone myself or score an extra pair of hands. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon (which is definitely a good thing for the world), so these are the things I’ve relied on to make caring for two kids easier:
1. A baby-wearing device. Ok, so maybe you can have an extra pair of hands! I wore Wyatt from time-to-time but I wear Hadley several times a day. In the grocery store, on playdates, when we play in the backyard, or when I attempt to cook. My favorite carrier for the newborn period was the Baby K’tan – Hadley was in that sucker from week one. We switched to the Ergo primarily a little after 2 months (she was 13lbs + by then). The Ergo is much lighter for the summer and has more low back support, so I prefer it to the K’tan now that Hadley is bigger. Note: you can wear the Ergo when baby is smaller if you use the infant insert – which we had but it is hot!
2. Several safe places to put baby down. You’re going to have to put your baby down in a moment’s notice. Toddlers fall down the stairs, run into walls, and get their fingers stuck in doors all the time and need mommy now. So, you need a safe place to put baby down so you can pick up your toddler. Downstairs, we had the Boppy Newborn Lounger on the couch when Hadley was smaller, a hand-me-down bouncy seat in the kitchen, and her playmat in the living room (I really don’t recommend leaving baby on the floor, though, when you have a crazy toddler running around). Upstairs, we have the swing in between the playroom, Wyatt’s room, and bathroom. I really like having several set places to put Hadley. For the first couple of weeks I was lugging the swing around which was ridiculous – it’s amazing I didn’t fall down the stairs!
3. Ready-to-eat toddler foods. When toddlers want food, they want it 5 minutes ago – which can be tricky to do when your baby just fell asleep on you after a half hour long screamfest. I keep Wyatt’s snacks – almonds, raisins, bunny grahams, cheddar bunnies, and pureed pouches -- on the bottom shelf of our pantry so he can easily access them. He also knows where the string cheese is in the fridge, and I keep a container of washed, chopped fruit at his level in fridge, too, so he can easily reach it without my help.
4. “New” toys. I’ll admit, the TV has been on in our house more than I care to admit since we’ve had Hadley. I’ve started hiding some of Wyatt’s toys in a closet and rotating them in and out to keep his interest. This way, every few weeks he gets “new” toys. When I leave his toys out all of the time, he gets bored of them. But when he sees an old friend for the first time in awhile, he’ll actually entertain himself and play for 15 minutes alone or so. I stock up on stickers and band-aids when they go on sale, and have a stash of toys from the Target dollar bin ready to go in case it’s ridiculously hot or raining out and we can’t play outside. We only take out play-doh on special days, too.
5. “Me” time. This is the biggest lifesaver. People always ask me how I’m able to wake up at 5 a.m. to work out 6 days per week. It’s simple – it’s the only guaranteed alone time I get all day so I have no problem hopping out of bed. If I slept in, a toddler would be in my bed by 6 a.m. anyway, so it really is a no-brainer for me. I can’t even tell you how much my hour of alone time means to me each day. It’s a chance to completely unwind and clear my mind before the day’s adventure begins. I’ve heard from other moms that they feel guilty taking time away from their children to exercise or do something else that makes them happy. My annoying unsolicited advice? Don’t feel that way. Take plenty of time for you. You can’t have a happy family without a happy mama.
What’s made your transition to two (or more kids) easier? Facetime and grandparents who want to see their grandbabies every day helps a lot, too. Well, until the toddler hangs up on them for the tenth time!
Another week down, and “only” 14 weeks to go until the big day! That seems really far away, but when NYCM posted on their facebook page on Friday that the race was 100 days away, I totally freaked out. That seems much closer!
Here was this past week’s plan:
|4mi easy + lifting; 3mi stroller||Spin||5x 800m at 7:30 pace (1mi w/u, 400m recovery between each, 1/2mi cooldown = 5mi)||Spin||10mi||3mi stroller + spin||OFF|
Here’s how it played out:
|4.25mi at 8:22 pace; 3mi at 9:10 pace w/the double stroller||Spin||5mi at 8:08 pace, including 5x 800m at 7:30 pace; 20 minutes lifting||Spin||10mi at 9:20 pace||3mi at 8:11 pace; 45 minute TRX class||OFF|
- Monday’s workout was the hardest of the week. Both runs were on the hilliest route in my neighborhood. Pushing the double stroller up those hills – I needed a few walk breaks – in crazy humidity (I ran at 4pm, which I don’t recommend) killed me. I was sore until Wednesday.
- I moved Monday’s lifting session to Wednesday. I’m probably going to tweak my training to do this some weeks. I’m planning one treadmill session/ week so I can have one flat run and it makes sense to lift that day so I don’t have to make an additional trek to the gym.
- I had no trouble hitting my 800m interval paces which surprised me. Are they too slow? Maybe the treadmill helped me? My next 800m repeat workout is schedule for week 4 when I’m in NJ, so they’ll be done on a track. If that’s still relatively easy, I may need to shoot for a quicker pace.
- Saturday was supposed to be a stroller run, but my running buddy wasn’t awake by my 6:30 a.m. start time! Maybe two-year olds do understand after all that you’re supposed to sleep in on weekends?
- I did the TRX class instead of spin because I was feeling burnt out on cardio – and OMG. It was so hard! I’d love to find a way to work it into my training regularly – maybe swap it for a spin class? – but that may be too much. Perhaps this is just something I’ll have to pick up after NYCM training is over.
Hadley had just turned one day old. The nurse came in the room to take her vitals, but I didn’t want to move my baby. She had just fallen asleep after a long nursing session and I the last thing I wanted to do was disrupt her.
“Is there any way you can check her here? I don’t want to move her,” I begged.
“I wouldn’t ask you to,” the nurse responded. “She’s in her favorite place in the world.”
Cuddled up against me. Her head resting so perfectly in the crease of my elbow. Her torso pressed firmly against my chest. The world must be so overwhelming for babies but here is where she felt warm, safe, and at peace. Feeding brought her comfort.
At the time, I thought breastfeeding was the best thing ever.
But eventually those feelings faded. Thanks to the nipple injury, I dreaded nursing because of the pain. And now there was the bottle issue. I felt trapped – unable to ever leave my daughter’s side for more than two hours. I feel so selfish admitting this, but I need her to take a bottle. I understand that it’s a short time in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a big deal to me. I have nights away from her planned, I’d like to start working more again, and my husband wants to feed her, too. I hated myself for getting into this situation – and I started to see breastfeeding in a negative light, too.
This week we ended up at the lactation consultant. A last-ditch effort of sorts. I’d already tried all of the ideas the LC suggested. We tried a few new feeding methods – bottles for babies with special needs and an SNS system – without luck. The LC called the pediatrician in to see if he had any other ideas, but he came up empty, too. Hadley’s doctor asked how everything else was going with her and I responded, “she’s the perfect baby. This is her only flaw.”
“Honey, it’s not a flaw,” the LC said. “How can you blame her for only wanting to nurse? The breast is her favorite place in the world.”
Her words hit me like a ton of bricks.
Of course it’s still her favorite place in the world. Just because I have been less than happy with nursing lately doesn’t mean she ever felt any differently about it. I realized that it makes sense that she’s been turning down bottles. We should have just kept offering them gently. Instead we’ve changed the nipples, the temperature of the milk, the position and environment she nurses in, we’ve let her get really, really hungry and tried to feed her when she wasn’t hungry at all, etc. She associates eating with warmth and safety and here we were rocking her world. Not to mention she likely felt our stress, too – which just upset her more and made her even less likely to take the bottle.
Her doctor assured me she’d be OK when I need to leave overnight in September. Even if she’s still not taking a bottle, she’ll be fine for one night. And same thing if I need to be away for an afternoon to do work – she won’t starve. Plus, as the weeks pass by, we’ll have more feeding options. We’ll introduce a sippy cup at 4 months and solids around 5 months (we’ve been advised to start her on food on the early side since big brother has food allergies). I won’t be “trapped” by her side for a full year.
I left the appointment feeling at peace. We’d keep trying with the bottle but we’d be more relaxed about it. If I need to take her with me on my trips, so be it. It is what it is. I was no longer going to blame myself – or my baby.
Who really is perfect! You have no flaws, baby girl. Only mommy does.
I explained this all to Jeff that night, but I asked him to try one more thing that the lactation consultant suggested. Dream feed her. About two hours after she falls asleep, pick her up, don’t unswaddle her, hug her tightly up against you, and touch the bottle to her lips. See what happens. Let her see that bottle-feeding could be comforting, too.
I wasn’t hopeful.
Around 10 p.m., Jeff walked into our room.
“Jen, Jen, Jen. Wake up.”
I sat up in my half asleep stupor and saw him holding something. Why was he bringing her to me if she wasn’t crying? I told him to just rock her back to sleep – I didn’t want her to get used to nursing at this hour. He held her out to me.
Only it wasn’t her.
It was an empty bottle.
“She chugged the whole thing.”
Last night played out the same way. Far from ideal, but a step in the right direction.